Even in high school, I had it in my head that buying new clothes was vain.
Picture my mother pleading with me to let her buy me pants that fit me. At some point I realized that she had started sneaking in new pairs of socks and throwing out my old ones with holes. One of the first places I went after I got my driver’s license was to a thrift store, afterward proudly showing my parents a $5 suit I bought (and wore way later into life than I should have, like at our closing party at Philly Tech Week 2012).
While my teenage friends cared about clothes, I was defiantly disinterested in any of it. I was proud I saved what money I earned and perhaps prouder of how little I ever asked my parents to contribute. (For their part, they were more often embarrassed of my taking hand-me-downs from bosses and friends. They were worried it might look like they weren’t taking care of me, even though they most certainly were. I had one of the most loving households I could imagine, which might be why I didn’t want to ask them for anything else — look at how they helped me pay for college.)
But then I got older and entered the workforce, where the first impressions you make aren’t cast aside by the whims of youthfulness.
It took quite a few experiences as a professional for me realize that there’s a balance between spending too much money and time on clothes and too little, and I hadn’t found it. That’s when I had to make a change.
Continue reading Why I’ve (slowly and modestly) paid more attention to fashion for professional gain
The hard part of entrepreneurship may not be succeeding, as much as it is about deciding what success if for you. That might be the cause of so much argument about this moment of entrepreneurship — should it be wealth, mission, personal satisfaction, longevity, legacy or something else? More likely, it’s a mixture of them all, with your own happiness the leader, and deciding on that balance is part of the process.
But the point here is you can’t ever succeed in anything (including building your business) unless you know what you want to happen. That way you can optimize for whatever you most want.
Continue reading You can only succeed in building a business if you know what’s success: ‘Like a Boss’
Paypal cofounder, public intellectual and global tech entrepreneurship leader Peter Thiel is thoughtful in his perspective on economic growth. An interview with him was on our last Technical.ly podcast and an even longer conversation he had on a different podcast was even more enlightening.
Continue reading Every entrepreneur should be building a monopoly: Peter Thiel
Following the July 2014 final rules implementation of the Affordable Care Act, my company Technical.ly was impacted more severely than we expected. This is not a political article — I am not opposed to Obamacare — this is a small business owner’s experience.
With just eight full-time team members (excluding, of course, our part-time independent contractors), I am solely responsible for managing our healthcare coverage plan, and while I tried to prepare for what the change might be, I wasn’t ready for our costs to more than double, and, for some plans, almost triple. Here’s what I learned and what we did.
Continue reading Obamacare more than doubled my company’s healthcare costs: here’s what we did
Organizing a regular event for peers and friends as a volunteer has become far more widespread with the power of the web, social media and services like Meetup.com for connecting like-minded professionals. It can be rewarding and relevant for both your personal and professional interests. This is what I’ve learned by doing just that.
Continue reading What I’ve learned about running a regular professional meetup as a hobby
This month I sold my inherited 2000 Toyota Camry LE with 140,900 miles for $1,800 to a stranger I met via craigslist. It wasn’t the best price, but I’m happy with the outcome, and I have little experience with selling high-ticket items online and less knowledge about cars. Here is what I learned in the process.
Continue reading I sold my 2000 Toyota Camry LE for $1,800, here’s what I did right and wrong
Stop taking credit for ideas you didn’t execute on. We’ve all had those moments. When you find out about a new project or initiative and can recall with great clarity having had that very idea before.
It’s natural to want to allow ourselves that moment of validation. It’s as if a thought of yours has sprung fully formed, so it’s rewarding to take some ownership over it. But’ it’s hardly fair and certainly not accurate.
Continue reading Ideas are easy, execution is hard
The hyperlocal news site NEastPhilly.com that served Northeast Philadelphia for five years stopped publishing in December and was closed by founder Shannon McDonald. During that time, I helped her with strategy, reporting and web work. Since its closing, I’ve wanted to share a few lessons from that time.
Find out why Shannon decided to stop publishing NEast in her own post here. Below, I share what I learned (find other writing here I did about NEast here).
Continue reading NEast Philly: everything I learned by working on this now-closed hyperlocal news site
Approach pitching a reporter like any business act, with purpose. I gave an updated version of a presentation I’ve given before on how to get your business media attention, with my continuing to evolve thoughts about the process, as an editor and reporter, to a Small Bytes entrepreneurship conference at MIT in February. But the keynote was rapper turned actor Ice T and proved interesting to be sure.
He was funny, smart and, truly, actually fairly insightful. He knew who he was and was playful about that but he had a long life of experience. It made me think about how valuable time-developed wisdom is. Pop culture or not, he had some wonderful stories with practical thoughts.
Maybe the personally most amusing part was that because I spoke right before Ice T, he watched my talk and referenced it a few times, referring to me as “the reporter.” I will smile for years in the future whenever I think of Ice T saying, after I addressed the crowd and told them that the media doesn’t owe anyone any favors: “Like the reporter said, no one gives a fuck about you.”
Though I was expecting to mostly just be amused, instead, I found myself jotting down a few notes worth remembering. Find them below.
Continue reading 15 things Ice T said during an insightful speech at an MIT event I also spoke at
Here is the simplest method I know to receive submissions and fairly execute a randomized lottery for a contest.
Twice now, I have operated a lottery for those who wanted to play a video game on a skyscraper in Philadelphia. In 2013, 1,200 people requested to play pong and this April, more than 1,500 people asked to play Tetris. Fewer than 200 people got to play each year.
Continue reading How to do a simple lottery: randomizing entries for a contest