Don’t try to be Silicon Valley: a SXSW panel

I moderated a panel on the topic of cities branding their entrepreneurship ecosystems.

In case you haven’t heard my ranting before: I think it’s silly for cities to talk about being the Silicon Valley of anything. Find my rants here and here and here. Funny enough, I was leading that panel at SXSW, another important vibrant national tradition I don’t want cities to try to copy.

Below are some questions I asked and a wrap video from the Amplify Philly house, where I did the panel.

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9 examples of substance from nine years of Technically Media

My thoughtful coworkers brought in to the office a young Ben Franklin impersonator to discuss entrepreneurship and civic good in publishing last month. It was perhaps the most fun celebration of the ninth anniversary of starting what became Technically Media I could ask for.

(For some reason, someone shouted out that we should only have serious faces in the above photo. Believe me, we were having lots of fun.)

Afterward, I did a little Twitter rant I thought I’d save here for posterity.

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You’re going to get criticized. Learn when to listen.

One effective way to divide the kind of criticism you’ll get for your work is to split the feedback between that which comes from someone who has done the work you’re doing and that which comes from someone else.

It doesn’t necessarily mean one category will always be effective or helpful or productive or not. Those are further distinctions. But when I’m receiving critical feedback —  on something I’ve written or presented or shared — often the first check I make is that one.

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Don’t wait for things you think you deserve

version of this essay was published as part of my monthly newsletter several weeks ago. Find other archives and join here to get updates like this first.

When I think about mistakes I’ve made, one of the common causes of my blindness that led me there is entitlement. I thought something was going to happen because I deserved it.

Not because I had done the crucial work of understanding that outcome was good for all involved. Not because I worked to get a clear agreement or that I negotiated for it by offering something someone else wanted. No.

When I’ve really gotten something wrong, when I’ve been blindsided or made a miscalculation, a lot of times I just plain thought something was coming my way because I perceived I was owed it. Maybe I thought I had put my time in or I thought I was close to the person with power. Sometimes I admire the idea of how good for me it would be if this happened, or my friends tell me how great it would be.

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It’s hard to hate up close

A version of this essay was published as part of my monthly newsletter several weeks ago. Find other archives and join here to get updates like this first.

A mentor of mine said in a meeting recently: it’s hard to hate up close.

It’s really not in our nature, she said. Distance (including the anonymity of the web and the imprecision of written communication) is so often involved in conflict, both big and small. So the message is whenever you’re in conflict, you need to get as close to the source of that conflict as you can.

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There’s no such thing as a safe investment worth making: ‘Personal Finance Day’ notes

I’ve shared before what a strange nerd I am. I tackle learning in a full-force kind of way, and I love to pair seeing old friends with new experiences and ideas.

For the third year, two childhood friends and I came together Saturday for dinner and drinks and elaborate slide presentations sharing lessons we had learned about the difficult and tricky and complex world of business and retirement planning and, yes, wealth creation.

Indeed, it was the third annual Personal Finance Day.

I wanted to share a few things we talked about that might transfer well. And use this as a reminder: when something as stressful and arcane as personal finance intimidates you, find friends, make whiskey sours and dive in and discuss. You’ll be surprised how much fun you can have.

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My 2018 Resolutions

I’ve put a lot of time for many years in resolutions. They drive me forward, and I can continually retool what helps me most accomplish my goals.

After another important year for me, I’m looking to get to work in 2018. I’ll be looking to add good habits and drop bad ones. This year I took a focused look to make sure I was offering SMART resolutions. I also want to have fun. I’m mostly there.

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