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Tag: Random

Helping My Kids with Math

I was not a particularly good student. In fact, that is probably being generous. However, my kids don’t have a better student as a parent, so I have to do the best that I can. Today, I sat and helped my kid with geometry and basic algebra. The Good I am pretty good with graphs and very simple geometry. I think visually and therefore can help him understand the concepts behind the math. I used PowerPoint to draw templates that he could use in doing the work. It started off slowly and we figured out what math happens in scaling,…

Our Maps are Upside-down

I am going to assume you believe the world is spherical. No point otherwise. Ok, imagine the sun in the middle and the Earth is spinning around it. I ask you this question, “Is the Earth going around the sun in a clockwise or counter-clockwise rotation? I think any normal person would say that the correct rotation is clockwise. We have precedent of clocks after all. This is how sundials work. So if you imagine we are going around the sun clockwise, it would look like this: Now, I would further espouse that if you were looking at the earth…

London Trip 2018

My youngest son and I just returned from visiting London for a week. Here are a few thoughts and highlights: Money Apparently, everyone in London takes credit card. We didn’t find one thing that required cash. Next time, I won’t bother with Pounds and instead just use Mastercard on my Google Pay phone. One interesting thing is that they don’t take your credit card to a central POS system. They all bring the system as a handheld device to the table. I liked the system as it doesn’t let my card leave the table. Also, a note on the money…

My First Blue Apron Meal

We are trying Blue Apron. It’s a service that sends you fresh ingredients and the instructions on how to cook it. We are trying the once a week plan. The first problem was that Blue Apron sent us too many boxes at first and then sent one late. The scheduling screwed up our plans, but we tried to make it work. We chose the Garlic Caper Chicken as our first meal. The picture looked good. Cooking was relatively easy with the instructions. However, I noticed that the packaging all felt a bit wasteful. Everything was individually wrapped in little plastic…

We Are All Capuchin Monkeys

Short 1 min video showing how fairness is baked deep into our psyche. Notice the monkey getting the grape. He seems happy. It doesn’t seem unfair to THAT monkey. It’s the monkey who gets the cracker that gets pissed off. I have privilege coming out of my ears. I am white, tall, male, and American. No one scrutinizes me when I walk around in a store. Police don’t pull me over for no reason. I don’t have to worry about being sexually harassed or getting paid less because of my gender. I have the grape. All day grapes for me.…

Talent Marketing

I was just talking with a friend who is in marketing. They are trying to hire someone and we were brainstorming different marketing techniques to land the candidate. We noticed a pattern. Recruiting is exactly like Marketing. The parallels between them is striking and it made me wonder why we recruit people the way we do. (HR departments make a website, schedule interviews and that’s it) Imagine a different way of thinking about recruiting. Imagine a team inside the marketing department which had the following responsibilities: Demand Generation This is a universally accepted tactic for generating sales leads. You have…

Deleted Post

Sometimes I wrote a whole post and then delete it. This is one of those. It was about gratuitous violence in mainstream movies and TV shows like Altered Carbon and the hypocrisy of Hollywood liberals who star in movies which glorify torture, mutilation and murder and then say mass shootings are caused by loose gun control laws. It was mostly a rant. It wasn’t even well written. Anyway, have a good day.

Basic Civility

Kindness. Empathy. Civility. I feel like the world is moving in the wrong direction on this. Maybe it’s the anonymity of the internet where you can say vile things to people on Twitter and feel no consequences. Even in a car, we yell at people, screaming that they are bad drivers when we would never do that in person. At work, I see an the volume of negativity increasing and the volume of camaraderie and collaboration decreasing. To be clear, I have an extremely limited view of the world. Of the 7.6 billion people worldwide, I interact regularly with a…

Nothing we can do

I passed a guy on the sidewalk talking to his friend. He said, “I know it sucks…but there is nothing we can do.” I have not idea what he was talking about, but those words haunted me from that moment until now. At first I was sad, thinking that life is truly hard. What can someone do if they are born with down syndrome or into poverty or an abusive family? What can you do if your coworker is an asshole but they are “indispensable”? It’s often tempting to say that there is nothing that can be done. Then something…

LinkedIn Connection Algorithm

Do I personally know you? Accept. Did we meet within the last 7 days? Accept, I guess. Was it longer than 7 days? Dude, come on. Fine. Jesus. Accept. Are you famous? I make that impressed frowny “not-bad” face. Acceptaroonie. Are you a product designer? I click the mouse like I am giving you a secret high five. Accept-five! Are you a relative? Ugh, serious eye roll. Fine whatever. Begrudging accept. Are you a recruiter? You just want to connect to abuse my connections. Nice try! Ignore. Are you a BDR/SDR? No, no, no, no.  I should publicly shame this person.…

2018 Wishes and Predictions

Politics Easy prediction: Trump will tweet stupid shit all year. The Russia investigation will lead to more drama and possibly impeachment along with sketchy pardons. My main prediction is that Democrats will gain one of the houses of congress. This will yield gridlock until 2020 (a good thing) when Joe Biden is elected president. Wish: I wish there were fewer stories in the news. I can’t take it. It’s just too much. Also, I wish that the liberals on the Supreme Court stay alive. Hang in there for 2 more years people. Sports I don’t care about the NFL anymore,…

Decision Models

In 2005, I worked for a year at Intuit and they claimed to be Customer-Driven. This came from a specific story. Originally the company produced Quicken, a personal finance tool. When they watched their customers, they realized that many of them were using it for business purposes. They realized this market and produced QuickBooks, which turned into the category king of small business accounting software. The customer DROVE them to build the software. They took their cues from the customer. They weren’t data driven or creativity driven or any other kind of driven. At early Apple, one might say it…

The Care Pie

We all care about lots of decisions. However, it’s not healthy to argue about every single decision. In fact, it’s not healthy to argue about 90% of the decisions that are made. I talk to people about the Decision-Care Pie. This is a pie-chart that has two parts. The first part is the 10%. These are the decisions that you truly should argue about. You should be passionate and defend your position. I sometimes call this “Using your chips”. The other part is 90%. These are the decisions that you should NOT argue about. You should let other people decide.…

History is not kind to Bill Clinton

Im a progressive. When I look back at Bill Clinton’s presidency, all I see is bad policy and embarrassment. He was not a liberal and no friend to progressives. Here is a run down of his “accomplishments”: Defense of Marriage Act: Clearly on the wrong side of history. He legislated against gay marriage instead of standing up for their rights. Within 15 years, this law is overturned. Repealed the Glass-Steagall Act: This one action sowed the seeds for the 2007 financial collapse. It is one of the worst decisions in presidential history and still stands as the law of the land…

My Dog has Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis happens when the pancreas becomes inflamed. That’s an organ near the stomach that helps digest food and control blood sugar. (Source) Leroy was not eating and passing blood all over the floor. It’s freaking me out. The treatment is not really a treatment. You give him fluids and hope it goes away. Modern medicine is amazing and can do crazy things, but doctors will also admit that they really don’t understand 99% about how our bodies really work. One colleague was talking about anesthesia that his child had received. The doctor said they know that certain drugs will knock you out for some…

Social Anxiety

According to the Social Anxiety Institute: Social anxiety is the fear of interaction with other people that brings on self-consciousness, feelings of being negatively judged and evaluated, and, as a result, leads to avoidance. I am absolutely familiar with this feeling. Although I can be charming, outgoing, and gregarious in group situations, I constantly have this feeling of being negatively judged. Although it surprises some people, I am an introvert. Spending time with people makes me uncomfortable and tired. To recharge my batteries, I need to be alone. I can “bend” my introversion when I need to be on stage…

Great Team or Great Players

I often hear people say they want to work at a company because they are led by a great team. What they usually mean is that the team is comprised of people who were successful before, or at least they were at successful companies. The same goes for venture capital investments. They often will invest in a great leadership team, but what they really mean is that the pedigrees of the leadership has been associated with previous success. In contrast, a true “great team” is a group of people who work well together. They are aligned in spirit with diverse…

Moving on from Engagio & MarTech

After 9 years of Marketo and 2 years of Engagio, I am moving on to a non-martech product. Engagio has a great future ahead of it and as a shareholder, I fully expect them to go public and be worth billions of dollars. I think I have built a good product foundation at Engagio that hopefully will serve them well for years to come. I have made great friends there that hopefully will stay in touch with me. As for Marketing, I have appreciated all of you and how wonderful it is to design products for you. There are so many…

Counter-Intuitive Thinking

The thing about counter-intuitive thinking is that its often the correct logical thinking and almost everyone believes the opposite. Logic and common intuition are not friends. For example, you can often ONLY get things done with the opposite person you expect. Some examples: Only a Jew can make fun of the Holocaust Just ask Mel Brooks. It’s OK to make fun because it’s our hardship to bear, but others can’t make fun of it. That’s anti-semitic. (I was raised Jewish btw and make fun of almost everything) Only a Black person can use the N-word We watch the show Insecure…

Teaching Excel in High School

My kids are in middle and high school. They are learning math at different levels. The thing that annoys me is how little they use Excel to do their work. Why do we teach kids how to calculate by hand? Think of the alternative: Start teaching excel early like kindergarden Accelerate through simple subjects like addition and subtraction Start to give harder problems to solve that require multiple cells with advanced math like geometry Make tests where you need to solve problems in Excel and “show your work” by breaking the problem down into discrete cells Super advanced levels –…

The End of Trust

I listened to a Radiolab podcast recently about some new technologies. One is called Adobe Voco. Voco allows you to easily manipulate audio of another person. You can even make someone say something they never said before. The other technology lets you create a video of someone saying something they have never said before. Sort of like video puppetry. (See example) Without going into the details, this kind of technology can be used to create fake audio or video. Remember that “Grab em by the pussy” audio of Donald Trump? If that happened today, I bet he would claim that it’s…

Grinding

There are particular kinds of games where you have to spend alot of time doing simple things to get your level up. An example is killing a million squirrels in the forest so you can buy the sword to go after a dragon in a cave. This technique is called grinding. Some games specialize in this kind of play. The psychology is pretty interesting. It clearly hits a part of my brain that is difficult to shut off. I feel like I can’t stop grinding. Madden NFL Mobile has a serious grinding mentality. I find myself needing to do it…

An ABM Adventure

I am Head of Product for Engagio, a SaaS application with lots of features and users who use them. (Is there any other type of SaaS application?) Warning: This blog post throws data around the web with total abandon and gets confusing. You have been warned. My Mission: To activate and spur usage in the system. First Step: Usage Tracking If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. (Thanks, Avinash for that lesson over 10 years ago.) We use Pendo for application usage tracking and other stuff. We spent a few weeks tagging every feature in the app and rolling up…

Why I eat food

I can think of five reasons I eat food. Hunger Boredom It tastes good Food is in front of me Other people are eating in front of me Hunger I almost never eat food because I’m hungry. When I was 17 I was hungry all the time. I could eat ALL DAY. However, this has waned for me in recent decades. I don’t think I have been truly hungry all year. I know there are plenty of people in the world who are hungry. I am just not one of them. Let’s call this 0%. Boredom I’d say I eat…

Sphere of Influence, Control, Concern

An interesting way to frame an employee is by spheres, specifically three of them: Sphere of Control is the stuff you can decide on your own. This is people you manage and project you do the work personally. Sphere of Influence is stuff that you can guide through collaboration or subtle techniques. Your friendly co-worker is part of your sphere of influence. Sphere of Concern is stuff you care about but you have no way to influence it. This might be happenings in other departments in which you don’t have strong connections. Let’s take a look at some different circle…

The Sweet Spot

There are many manifestations of the sweet spot.  Some examples: Product Strategy In this image, the sweet spot is avoiding competition while also focusing on what you do best. If you focus on the customer needs and ignore your own capabilities then you run the risk of failure to execute. If you only focus on what you can achieve, you might not find a market. If you drift too close to the competitors it creates other problems. Sports This image of a gold club shows how hitting the wrong part of the club yields a bad shot. There really isn’t…

The Death of the Unsubscribe Link

I’ve been getting alot of email lately from SDRs using tools like Salesloft, Tout and Outreach. I have noticed a couple of important trend occuring. There is no unsubscribe link There is no content, just a request for a meeting/conversation They are not personalized or interesting to me the recipient It is hard not to think of these emails as spam. I assume the reply rate is dismal. Most importantly, I feel like all of the content marketing techniques learned over the past 10 years have been tossed out the window. I have questions: Who is writing these emails? How…

Myers Briggs 2017

I had another Myers-Briggs for an executive team offsite this month. Previously my tests in 2014 yielded these results: 2014 INFP Introvert(11%) iNtuitive(75%) Feeling(12%) Perceiving(33%) Slight preference of Introversion over Extraversion (11%) Distinct preference of Intuition over Sensing (75%) Slight preference of Feeling over Thinking (12%) Moderate preference of Perceiving over Judging (33%) They call this personality type, the Mediator/Idealist. This time I resulted in INTJ, also known as the Architect/Mastermind. The different tests didn’t give me the same preference statistics, but the above shows the equivalent. I don’t have a strong preference for anything apparently. The descriptions of the personalities both…

Where am I from?

Ancestry.com has this chart to show me where I am from. (I sent in a sample of my spit) The little orange dots are matches for other people with connections in my DNA. As you can see, I am Eastern European. My ancestors lived right in the middle Empire central. The Holy Roman Empire, The Ottoman Empire, The Austro-Hungarian Empire, The Russian Empire and the Third Reich in Germany all controlled this area for some period. My people probably gave up deciding what to call their country.  Today it would be modern Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus. My children are the first…

Marketing Podcast 2017

I was interviewed on a podcast by marketers last week. Kristen Malkovich and Grant Grigorian did a great job making me feel comfortable and asking good questions. They need to buy some better audio equipment but otherwise, it went off without a hitch. I talked about the following topics: being the first employee at Marketo Marketo is a programming language the future of automation and orchestration of “plays” B2B design Take a listen and see what you think. I hate the way I sound. To my ear, it sounds like my brother, not me. Side note: I haven’t been blogging…