Category Archives: Principle

Write Now, Edit Later. AKA – left brain shut up, right brain GO!

I am staring a blank piece of paper, a million ideas swimming in my mind, and none of them is good enough.  The pen is not moving, and I have no idea what to do next…

Right Brain Diverge, Left Brain Converge

Use the different parts of your brain at the right time!

That is how every writing exercise seems to begin for me. Then I get distracted by email or facebook and then never write a darned thing.  That was, until my favorite writer pointed out the brilliantly obvious point that writing is a lot like product design!  You can’t edit at the same time as you create.  You have to turn off that critic – that darned left brain!

Unicorn puking it out - write down everything you can think of

Puke it out!

Pick up the pen, the keyboard, or dictate into the microphone and just let it go.  There is no good or bad, no one will ever see this.  Whatever comes to mind, let it come out of you.  So that you can get to the good stuff.  In design, I call this the ‘puke’ phase.  After all, when was the last time that the first idea you wrote down was the best one?  Or even the third or fourth?  This puke time is dedicated to clearing out all the ideas so that we can move on to the good stuff.

So, what exactly do I do?  Just start writing, even if it is gibberish.  Write as long and quickly as you can.  Start anywhere, from breakfast that day to your childhood to the latest conversation with a co-worker.  Sure, maybe everything won’t hold together perfectly.  But you shouldn’t know that.  You will be too busy writing to see that everything is crap.  Besides, you won’t know exactly what you meant to write until well after you are done writing, you need at least a few hundred words on the page before the first decent sentence emerges.

Just accept it.  I am trying to. Stream of ConciousnessThis is just part of the way things work.  While we are all delicate, individual snowflakes, we are all still basically the same.  99% of what you write will be deleted or at least re-written.  Don’t be attached, don’t even really think about it, just get it out of your head.  If you can do that, then the good news is that you will be another 1000 words ahead of everyone else!

Mo Money, Mo Problems – Why being raised poor was kindof a good thing.

Mom and Dad in the 1970s

Mom and Dad in the 1970s

I grew up in Louisiana, born to a pair who lived in a 23 foot trailer.  Dad was a graduate student  in Wildlife Management and Mom was a clerk at the local grocery store to help put him through school.  They worked hard together to gather pennies, build ideas, and follow dreams.  It all worked out.

When you have no idea what real money is, you feel like you are always winning.  Every step is a step up.  I have always felt like I could choose the work that is right for me, not the work that makes money.

Thanks, Mom and Dad!

It is how fast you go and who you bring with you along the way.

Rotary Telephone in an iPhone World

Rotary Telephone in an iPhone World

When I was at Intuit, there was a mantra, “It isn’t how fast you go, it is who you bring with you along the way.”  While I agree with the last half of that statement, that the who is very important, you also need to go quickly.  Very often the downfall of big companies is that they don’t move quickly enough.  Yes, you have a large user base you might upset, but then again, you have a large user base you might upset.  People’s needs are always changing, the way they use the product is changing, and the world around them is changing.  To quote my redneck uncle, “You don’t want a rotary telephone in an iphone world.”  Every day your customer is becoming more savvy, and if your product’s don’t keep up with their pace, they will leave you behind.

Leaning In to a CFO Position in New York (Happy April 1st!)

Mo Money Mo ProblemsAs you know, I have been all about money my whole life – manipulating markets, creating inefficiencies, and generally living a very green life by not building anything that would end-up in a landfill.  It is with great pleasure that I announce that I have been secretly pursuing my degree in Finance.  I am abandoning my nerd life in Silicon Valley to pursue something far more valued in the world – the reporting and regulation of money and finances for a major bank in New York.  The time was right, I decided to listen to my friends and coworkers and Lean In more.