Happy 2018

An Introduction

Let’s start with the most important stuff (an invocation so to speak). E.B. White said that the role of the writer is to lift people up, not to lower them down. I learned about this quote from a commencement address by Maria Popova. Popova writes Brain Pickings, which is “An inventory of a meaningful life.” The summary of her ideas over the first 10 years is more useful than anything I could write — so you should just go there instead of reading this. Oh, you’re still here. Thanks! Taking White’s cue, let’s start off with some uplifting things on this New Year’s Day:

I wanted to thank everyone I was able to meet up with this year. I learned about a few great tools from friends:

  • Avi Eratapalli turned me on to the Five Minute Journal which is a quick and easy way of keeping a gratitude journal. I use it and like it a lot
  • Heski Bar-Isaac pointed me to the Farnam Street blog which is an awesome resource on how to think. They describe their goal as “We will work to better synthesize, connect, and explain timeless ideas that help you make better decisions, avoid stupidity, and kick-ass at life”
  • Quentin English from Quentin’s Friends shared the Way of Life app with me that helps me make sure that I’m doing the important things every day. It’s also a great way of implementing Marshall Goldsmith’s Triggers
  • Philip Ryan showed me NextDraft, the best daily summary of the news


I’ve realized that I need a better way to keep track of my writing. I had some free time this year and created a proper website using WordPress where I can more easily post my thoughts. Depending on your browser, you may see a little video clip playing from my New York Tech Meet Up talk earlier this year. Here are some highlights:

Work Stuff 

This year I’ve moved from Citi to AIG. I’m a Product Manager doing Agile Development. Some definitions:

  • Product Manager: Product Managers are the owners of products, setting the goals of products and ensuring they are met. We manage the product, not the people (i.e., the coders).  It’s common for the business to need one thing and technology to deliver something else. The product manager is there to ensure that the technology team effectively meets the needs of the business. For a non-technology example of miscommunication of business needs take a look at this cake or this one
  • Agile Development: People used to think that you should build software like you build a building. You make detailed plans and then take years to build it. However, we’ve realized over the years that we can solve most key business problems without building the whole software project — we just build the parts that matter. Also, people can start using the software before it’s done — which lets us revise the plans on a regular basis as we see how it’s used

Some resources:

How the Cyber World is Merging With the Real World

A decade ago, you had the cyber world and you had the real world. Today, they are becoming increasingly meshed together. Take the company KeyMe. In order to make a copy of your key you just take a picture of your keys and then, if you’re locked out, you can have a key made. This means that any person who could take a picture of your keys (e.g., a valet parking attendant) could break into your house.

Here’s a couple of interesting news stories that show how these worlds are colliding:

What I Read / Listen to Everyday

 For the Kids

Tweets and Quotes

Great Videos:

Great Stuff To Read

Cool Tools

  • A couple of versions ago, iOS added a Trackpad mode that let you more easily move the cursor around a text field
  • Fakespot is a wonderful tool that lets you understand whether an Amazon product is packed with fake reviews. It’s great for understanding which “5 Star” Chinese startups are really making quality products
  • This app lets you set the colors on the top of a couple of NYC skyscrapers. Talk about mixed reality!
  • My Fitbit Alta HR is an awesome alarm clock. It’s nice to be woken up by a vibration rather than a sound and it’s personal so I can get up without waking up Abigail. Also, it automatically tracks if I wake up in the middle of the night (somewhat useful) and tracks different sleep modes (unclear how useful this is). Either way, there’s some pretty cool graphs of my sleep pattern
  • McDonald’s was selling a Chicken McGriddle sandwich in New York earlier this year and it was amazing. Fried chicken between two pancakes infused with maple syrup that you eat with your hands. Then they took it off the menu. But there’s still hope. To order a Chicken McGriddle today order 1 Crispy Chicken Filet and 2 McGriddles after breakfast is over (they don’t have the chicken at breakfast)
  • Evergreen Popup Stores: There are a few wonderful stores in NYC that change every month or so. My favorites are Story (a completely new store every month), Sony Square (focuses on a new element of Sony) and Samsung 837 (which varies it’s Virtual Reality lineup significantly every few months). There’s also a number of cool ways to experience Virtual Reality
  • Recommendo is a weekly email overview of 6 Cool Tools by the editors of the Cool Tools website.

Thanks for making it through all of this! I wanted to end with something special this year, kind of like the special treat at the end of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Earlier in the year, I made my own business cards. So I wanted to give one to you:

It’s true my friends! You’re Awesome. Let’s Talk. I look forward to catching up with you in the new year.