I learn new big foundational truths every year. Yet for some reason, three trends in particular that I learned this year meaningfully shifted how I understood my country, in particular the work I do in reporting and organizing around economic development.
They’re so important and telling that I admit I’m a little embarrassed I only really understood them this year.
Continue reading 3 trends I learned this year that totally shook my understanding of the American economy
Policymakers and economic development strategists are startup crazy — in pursuit of a silly goal. I know. I’ve spent most of the last decade reporting on young tech companies, exactly the slice of firm creation that has led much of the attention in this post-recession fixation.
Though I’ve taken various approaches at understanding what, if anything, is really different about this era’s of business creation, I recently found myself pulling together some data that I wanted to share.
Hype around startups — newly created businesses, particularly ones that are approaching new business models — has merit. But the concept isn’t as new and their impact isn’t yet as bold as you might hope — Millennials are on pace to be one of the least entrepreneurial generations on record.
Continue reading Here’s the data to put our country’s startup frenzy into context
Peer-to-peer, short-term housing platform Airbnb is probably my favorite consumer web company. A traveling member since 2011, my wife SACM and I have been hosting travelers too for most of the last year. I’m a proud and happy user.
Yet I know that some of the loudest news about Airbnb in its last couple years of mainstream expansion has been controversial: first, about the company navigating municipal hotel taxes and, most recently, its central role in a conversation about racial bias in the sharing economy.
You know, #AirbnbWhileBlack.
So now that my wife and I have been hosting for nearly a year and have received more than 100 requests, I wanted review for our own selection bias.
Continue reading I am a white Airbnb host. I reviewed 102 guest requests to assess my own racial bias
Coming off a Leadership class and with a growing interest tracking the impact of journalism, in January 2013 I started tagging each email connection I made between relevant people who I believed would get value in meeting each other.
You won’t be surprised to know that I charted the thing and want to share what I think I learned.
Continue reading I made 143 email connections in the last three years
I’ve taken a lot of pride in not owning a car, as I have intentionally built a lifestyle around transit and walkability over the last several years. It was something that made me happy, something I liked talking about. I sold an inherited 2000 Toyota Camry a year and a half ago and even before then was living without any real reliance on a car.
Then this summer I married SACM, who was using her struggling 2000 Kia Sportage to visit her large and local family. She was ready to replace it, and so we were made our first large purchase as a married couple — since the house we bought together slightly predated our getting married.
We recently bought a pre-owned 2012 Kia Soul with 32,000 miles from a suburban Kia dealership, from which we got extended roadside assistance and warranty coverage to 100,000 miles (from the original 60,000 miles).
She led the research effort and did so thoroughly. I led the on-site negotiation and made some mistakes. Here’s what we learned buying a car from a dealership for the first time in our lives.
Continue reading I bought a car. Here’s what I did wrong.
I got engaged. Then I got married.
Between those two dates, I built one of the most involved spreadsheets of my life (yup, that’s something I think about). SACM and I used that spreadsheet to choose our wedding venue, predict attendance, invite guests, track purchases and monitor gifts. We’ve also been using it to give advice to friends.
Some of what we collected is private but lots of it is worth sharing for your own planning and budgeting purposes. That’s what I do below.
Continue reading I got married. Here’s a bunch of data on the experience.
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
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
Earlier this month, I proposed to my longtime girlfriend, saying that we would both be happier and healthier if we lived together for the rest of our lives. She agreed.
That was on a Wednesday. Within an hour, we had the conversation that will confront other web-minded engaged couples today: how should we tell the Internet? It’s the logical maturation of the old idea that online, everyone is both publisher and brand. This news would be acknowledged or shared on the social web with or without our permission, so we ought to at least have it happen to our own liking.
I keep most of my love, romance and emotion private. Here, it’s all about process and lessons. This is what I learned from sharing a big personal update online.
Continue reading Thoughts and data on proposing to get married and then sharing online
I have now fully paid the $100,000 that my college experience from Temple University cost. Here I share the breakdown of some more specifics on what those costs include and how I paid them.
This month, six years after graduating from Temple, I will put $1,800 to close out the last of my student loans. As many of my peers, who attended ‘out-of-state’ universities and are from, relatively speaking, privileged, middle class families will tell you, I accelerated this process considerably. I don’t like debt, so each year since 2010 when I was able to do so, I paid more than I was required to in order to speed the process of getting debt free.
Continue reading Here’s the final math on my middle class $100k college education