I remember the day my friend shot himself in the head.

He got into an argument with his girlfriend at the time, put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

He wasn’t a good friend per se, but he was a friend. I liked him, cared about him, and remember always having fun joking around with him. I always remember thinking when I saw him I wanted to say hello and see what he was up to.

I remember sitting next to his girlfriend in class talking to her about what happened and how she was doing. It was a genuine conversation that I never shared.

I remember knowing that no matter how I felt about all of it, a lot of people were hurting a lot more and I should listen more than I talked.


Our family has had CenturyLink internet services at the house for a while and they are reliable but the speed hasn’t been that great. It’s advertised at 60mb and normally I’d see 30-25 over ethernet, and ~10-15 over wifi. Sometimes that lagged even lower. Since we don’t have cable and all of our TVs and devices use the wifi it got pretty sluggish when everyone was home and one of the kids fired up Netflix while Jami and I were using Spotify in the kitchen. At any point in time Jami might have been syncing a huge load of new high res photos to the servers in the house or somewhere externally. I ended up running ethernet through parts of the house to try and combat it with mediocre results given the time invested.

As usage peaked with CenturyLink the modem would just stop working. This was a pretty tough thing for the kids (and me) if Elliott was in the middle of his big bridge scene and because I downloaded a file from box the internet ceased to work. Our network configuration didn’t gracefully handle internal traffic either so those big uploads for Jami’s art projects would fail even if the transfer was in the house.

Since moving from San Francisco I’ve long missed the connection I had there. It was advertised at 100mb and I got 100mb. Des Moines just hasn’t had that type of option for residential users that was available until Mediacom released the 1G plan.

Our office has incredibly fast internet because we sit on a fiber loop. I do not sit on a fiber loop at home and that has been painfully obvious!


Over the years I’ve done quite a few interviews and not many questions stump me anymore but this one did.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

It’s not very often someone asks a question about you in a interview.

I came home and talked about it and realized that I’m an introvert whose job has requirements to be an extrovert on occasion. I think, truly, that I can be an extrovert when I need to be.

My closest anythings know that if given the opportunity I’d close the door, shut the lights off, and probably work on something in the dark for weeks on end. Darkness tends to reduce distractions. In the weekends I got to spend alone in my SF apartment, I’d typically draw the shades and turn my phone off from Friday night until Sunday night. I’d spend the time reading and writing what those same anythings know as shitty code.

Most of that code has either been long replaced or never shared, like a terrifically strange journal entry that I don’t even know where I left.

With all the time in the world and a lack of responsibility I tend to use the time I can to invent and try to make something new. There’s a deep irony that in order to share whatever idea comes from that time, I need to share it if I want it to go anywhere.

Over the years writing has been a very passive way for me to engage in sharing while being able to control the frequency at which I’m required to do so.

Lately, I’ve started blocking off time to intentionally be alone. There are places that I’ve come to understand that I can go and just be. I really value those places.

I realized that I’m an introvert through the question and time talking/thinking after. The times when I need to be an extrovert, on stage or otherwise, I decide to be. It took a lot of practice and it still takes a lot of energy.

When I’m truly left to do whatever I want I tend to close off and use the time to recover and create. Recovering and creating feel like the same thing to me.

I may not fully understand the project but it’s hard not to like it. A group called The Pablo Collective released this on Bandcamp quite some time ago. I’ve been meaning to post about it since.

It’s a little strange but definitely worth a listen just to consume what they did here. There are 4 individual tracks you can listen to below.


I shared this with a friend a few years ago. It’s humbling to work on a project long enough to see most of your best work replaced by something new. A lot of the work I contributed to in the early days at Dwolla, we’ve shut down or replaced. Even my early business models have been replaced a few times.

It’s been a somewhat therapeutic exercise to talk about some of this with friends/founders lately. There’s no shame in discontinuing a product. No more than when a better engineer replaces something you did years prior or a better designer replaces something you created around the same time.

Companies, brands, and technology are meant to evolve. Sometimes that evolution is just an end to a product.  (more…)

I was having a conversation with Jami this afternoon at brunch about different books that friends or acquaintances have written and how that ends up changing our relationship with them, normally for the better, because of how much more we know about them and the depth of what we’re able to discuss when we are all together.

It makes the time we have together that much more meaningful and our relations stronger because they wrote the book. We didn’t do the work, they did.

This was also spawned from another conversation the night prior when we attended Around The Table, a small private dinner that I can only really describe as an artistic experiment. We ate and talked with a bunch of people we didn’t really know and before I got so tired I had coffee at 9pm, this was a point of conversation.

I started thinking and have throughout the day about what topics, anecdotes, or ideas I’d want to convey in a book if I were to write one. The one that keeps coming up is that if I didn’t show up to either one of these meals, dinner or brunch, neither one of these discussions would have happened and I absolutely benefited.

An amazing amount of progress in life is a function of what you show up for. This is one of many reasons I spent the morning prior at the Women’s March in Des Moines.

Show up. Be present.

It’s amazing what you can miss by not showing up. The more intentional you are about where you show up everyday and how, the more good things happen.

I have been surprised a few times at the dramatic impact someone’s lack of presence can have on them and those around them. Especially, if they are a leader.

On the flip side, it’s even more amazing what showing up and being a positive contributor can do for your career, family, and company.

Whatever your IQ, political affiliation, gender, or disposition, it really doesn’t matter. Show up and positively contribute. Do that and you’ll change your life and the lives of those around you.

No excuses. Show up and do the work.

This was something that popped into my head as something that felt obvious that I’d want to convey if I did write a book. Then I realized I don’t need to write a book, I can just put it on the internet.

No one ever really knows what will work and what won’t but in order to find what does work, we must show up and give it a shot together.