“I am Hopeful…

…Should I be Hopeful?” – The Decemberists

Right now, America is split into two factions.

The “For”. And the “Against”.

The Against has more of the people. This past election 73,648,823 [53.9%] voted that way.

Numbers aside though they also have more of the money, the education, the lawyers, the technologists, the athletes, the musicians, the cities, the marketers, the educators, the doctors, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, New York, Washington DC, the main stream media, the Obamas, the Clintons, the social media, the CEOs, the diversity, the worldliness, the worlds population, the food, the respect, the kindness, the women, the gays, the young people and the Elite.

The reason this did not turn into an election day route is not because these things no longer matter, but because Against’s energies were sprayed in all different directions.

Enter the Presidency of Trump.

Two encouraging ideas for Team Against.

First, this election proved you can be “extreme” in your positions and win [also think Bernie Sanders].

Instead of putting forth an Obamacare 2.0, Against is no longer constrained by the “working within reality” mentality. The next healthcare proposal must be single-payer.

And second and more importantly, it focused the energies of the sane.

As long as Against continues to frame the issues as “human rights”, future elections could prove quite fruitful.

Don is going to do his part each and every day to help organize.

Trump, the Uniter.

Who woulda thunk it?!?

More or Less: Donald Trump

It is always frustrating thinking about the future.


Whether in business, politics or just life, planning out a couple of years seems like a futile guessing game. But I would argue that we can foresee much more than we believe.


We definitively know the answers to a lot of seemingly simple questions about the future that when answered should guide the decisions we make today.


I call these thought experiments “more or less”.


With that…


In the next 2-3 years under a Trump administration…


Will America rely on diplomacy more or less?

Will America have more or less democratic allies?

Will America be more or less likely to respond forcefully to perceived slights?

Will the Pentagon have more or less sway over foreign policy?

Are wars now more or less likely?

Is a compulsory draft now more or less likely?

Is a nuclear confrontation now more or less likely?


Will the rich become more or less rich?

Will we have more or less income inequality?

Will regulators have more or less power?

Will corporations be more or less reckless?

Is an economic catastrophe now more or less likely? 


Will our environment get more or less attention?

Will renewable energy get more or less attention?

Will fossil fuels get more or less attention?

Are environmental disasters now more or less likely?


Will guns be more or less accessible?

Will guns be allowed into more or less places?

Will there be more or less gun violence?

With America now have more or less gun deaths?


Will more or less Americans have access to quality affordable healthcare?

Will mental health get more or less attention?

Will opioid abuse become more or less prevalent?

Will there be more or less suicides?


Will science be valued more or less?

Will technological advancement be valued more or less?


Will the 4th estate be more or less of a check on government overreach?


Will more or less Americans have access to an affordable college degree?


Will Americans in the minority be treated more or less fairly by our criminal justice system?

Will community policing be adopted by more or less Police departments?

Will there be more or less violent encounters?

Will there be more or less dead Police officers?

Will there be more or less dead suspects?


Will the NSA intrude more or less into our lives?

Will that information be used more or less responsibly?


Will women have more or less control over their bodies?

Will the government have more or less control over women’s bodies?


Will intellect be valued more or less?

Will honesty be value more or less?

Will truth be valued more or less?

Will respect be valued more or less?

My Amazing Body

I have been alive for 40 years, 14,693 days, 352,652 hours, 21,159,166 minutes and 1,269,549,964 seconds.

My heart has never taken a break. Not for a single second. It has worked perfectly on over 1.5 million ins…and outs. Every chamber, every pump. My lungs smoothly filtering each breathe.

Thump-thump, thump-thump…Thump-thump, thump-thump…

Without fail, my 10 billion, 25 miles of capillaries have delivered the fresh oxygen, the fresh nutrients needed by my organs to perform their functions, while at the same time play trash collector and haul away the used-up oxygen, and the nutrient waste. Without. Fail.

Even though sometimes I beg it to, my brain has not taken a siesta since it began firing in the womb. Continuously experiencing, Continuously sensing. Oy.

My digestive system has rarely stumbled. It has beautifully ingested, distributed and cleansed 45,000 meals, 7,500 gallons of water and too too many beers. And when it did “fail” it let me know unequivocally. Which is a feature, not a bug.

My muscles and my skeleton have enabled me to live the world in 3D. A very active 3D. Only when pushed past the breaking point have they ever given way.

My manly parts are more than adequate at doing what they were intended to do. They have actually created a family where one had not existed prior.

And to top all this off lies my most outer layer of cells, my epidermis. It protects me, keeps me warm, keeps me cool, and literally heals itself Terminator 2-style.

So whether these carefully orchestrated systems continue to work harmoniously for the next 40 years, 5 years or 5 minutes, I will forever be grateful, humbled and in awe of my amazing body.

Thump-thump, thump-thump…Thump-thump, thump-thump…


Today, In America

There were zero terrorist attacks.

There were zero mass school shootings.

Zero countries attacked us.

Zero people died of starvation.

.02% of the country was homeless.

Zero Teslas crashed on Autopilot.

Zero people died of Ebola.

Zero people contracted malaria or polio.

Zero people died of cannabis use.

Everyone had access to an education.

Everyone had access to healthcare.

Everyone had access to the judicial system.

Everyone had access to the national parks.

Women were equal.

Gays were equal.

Zero cops murdered an African-American.

Zero African-Americans murdered a cop.

Zero planes crashed.

Zero trains crashed.

Zero people were killed because of their religion.

Zero people were breathing toxic air.

Zero people lacked clean water.

Access to firearms was unfettered.

Zero people were denied access to a book.

Zero people were denied access to a song.

Zero people were arrested for their political views.

98% of the country had access to the Internet.

92% of adults had a cell phone.

Average life expectancy was approaching 80.

The violent crime rate was at a decades low.

The stock markets were at all time highs.

95% of the population had a job.

We had Silicon Valley.

We had Hollywood.

We had New York.

We had a black president.

We are about to have a women president.

This was an ordinary day.

It’s time we were grateful for the country we have inherited and all of the opportunities we have been afforded. It’s time we recognized the reality of reality.

There has never been a better time and place to be alive, in the history of the Earth, than right now, in the United States of America.

Vacation 2.0

One week vacations are not vacations. They are breaks. They are wonderful, but rarely do we actually “vacate”.

Two weeks is the way to go. To come back revived. To come back creative.

So if starting from scratch, is there a vacation policy that would enable, no force, all employees to take 2-week breaks (yes, plural) throughout the year and at the same time make the company more productive?

Maybe something like…

3 2-Week breaks: 1 in April (Spring Break), 1 in August (Summer) and 1 in December (Holidays)

Everyone in the company must take the identical time.


The thesis here is that vacations do not hurt a companies productivity, everyone taking vacations at different times hurt a companies productivity.

Say there are two identical projects, 4 members each, each contributing 25%.

Project A – Conducted under the 1-week-max American standard vacation

A team member takes vacation. You’d think that the project would be losing 25% movement per day. But in reality the other 3 team members are relying on her to make her decisions. If she does not, the other 3 members need to rebalance, thus lowering the entire team’s (and their projects) productivity. Losing one member slows you down 50%.

Project B – Conducted under Vacation 2.0

First off, everyone is there all the time (unless sick). That means simpler scheduling plus the entire company’s work is focused towards a single point in time, 3 times a year.

You would lose 100% productivity for 6 weeks per year but you would have a guaranteed 100% productivity 46 weeks of the year. Compare that with the constant stifle from Project A.

The breaks would be a rallying point. Something that people are excited about, look forward to and share experiences from.

And lastly, and the point of this whole thought experiment, every person would get the downtime that us humans require.

A rested staff. A healthy staff. A creative staff. A focused staff. A productive staff.

Yammer Stammer

4 years ago Microsoft bought Yammer.

For those unfamiliar, Yammer looks/feels/works identically to Facebook with the main exception that your friends are your co-workers instead of your “friends”. Similar to Facebook you are able to post whats on your mind, ask questions, create groups, chat and share a link to external content. Yammer users are also able to upload documents for group discussion.

When the $1.2 Billion sale was announced I proselytized that this was a genius move by what I hoped was a forward-thinking behemoth.

I am an advocate of  “over-communicating”. As the world speeds up the companies that can focus the most brain power towards a clearly defined, tiny set of goals will most certainly have a competitive advantage.

<yammer sales pitch>Being able to harness every individuals ideas, questions, resolutions while making the entire thing searchable…well, its hard to envision that not being powerful advantage.

If you need more, with Yammer people can collaborate regardless of time zone or even whether they work inside of the same company. Its accessible through web browsers, a desktop app and almost all mobile devices. Combine this with the familiarity of Microsoft Office and you have next generation Cloud OS. With Yammer as the spine!</yammer sales pitch>

Or so I thought.

Fast forward to today and from what I can tell (I check semi-often) Microsoft has done close to nothing with Yammer. The interface, collaboration, communication and most importantly the integration with other Microsoft products has not come to bare.

Three quick examples of “I can’t believe this hasn’t happened yet”:

Create a Web-based Document

Yammer Add DocSave it in the cloud, index it. Add some meta data for easy locating.

Real-time Collaboration


Anyone who has ever used Google Docs collaboration knows what I am talking about.

Skype Integration

My main communication tool is Outlook followed closely by Lync. I know Skype is now their thing but I still associate it with video chatting my in-laws. Regardless, using the native IM in Yammer is a whole other application and social graph. How cool would it be to create a doc, share it, and then have a video chat with your group all while viewing and editing the thing in real-time!?

These examples don’t even speak to just the general document storage, email or project management functionality that would harmonize naturally. They should just charge $XX.xx per month per seat, end of story.

Microsoft always has their Office handcuffs but they should be wary of their Enterprise Desktop OS market. There is still time but the likes of Slack, Asana, HipChat, Trello and others are currently winning.

Microsoft just purchased LinkedIn for $38.92 Trillion. It just makes sense that that will now be their main focus when its comes to “Enterprise Social”.

It’s disappointing because it does seems like such a missed opportunity. Yes, financially, but more importantly the opportunity to build some super-disruptive software.

Found Advice

The best business advice I have received came as an offhand comment from a superior while at lunch a few years back.

For the umpteenth time I was describing some sort of roadblock (aka. someone inside the organization not thrilled with my doings) I was running into. Clearly exasperated by my “complaining” he said: “Eric, just keep going until someone tells you to stop.”

And with this sentence it finally clicked. That was what I needed. A green light to be ridiculous. Go larger. Question others. Express myself. For those of you who have spent any time inside of the “corporate world”, you know that this is normally the path to rapid ruin. But now I’d received  my get-out-of-jail free card and I was going to use it.

As the world continues to quicken its march forward, it will be the people and the organizations that embrace this adaptive, open attitude that will ascend.

Thank You Balsamiq

You have enabled my business success.

For a couple of decades now I have been involved in Technology.

First in college, then at a large bank, then at a startup during the first Internet boom and then after the first Internet bust, a mid-size ad rep firm. But over those many years and weeks and days and hours in the computer lab, on the trading floor, sleeping in a cage and then floundering for a quite while in a cubicle, I was never that into computers, and this was reflected in my “upward mobility”.

<wasted characters>Coding is so laborious<\wasted characters>, Databases are ETL hell and Networking is just sooooo many wires.

I have never been the least bit enamored of the bits.

But, I sure do love Technology. Or shall I say, the touch point between a human and “Technology”. The infinite potential of it. The infinite power in it. That inflection point is where I belonged.

Enter Balsamiq…

I started messing with wireframes outside of work. I always had tons of ideas for applications so I began sketching them out. Screen by screen. It was an outlet. The same way a painter uses a canvass, or the way a musician tabs out a new diddy. I love being able to refine it and then refine it some more. Take it down to its barest elements. Where there is nothing left to take away.

The intersection between art and science was where I wanted to live.

I was able to take this newly acquired skill straight into the corporate world. If during a meeting someone raised an issue they were having, I would go and sketch out a software solution. Nothing would happen. After a number of these cycles though people began asking me to mock something up for this issue, or that problem. To show what was possible.

Then, eventually, one day…we began to put developers on building some of those sketches. And a few years later, here I am. On an upward trajectory. 🙂

I am most appreciative for the software and for the path it has revealed.

Thank you Balsamiq for providing me with my palette.

Half Way There

I turned 40 today.

Seems like a good point to step back and take some stock.

And taken as a whole I really feel like I am at a mid-way point in life. I do not for a second take a minute for granted but in terms of years, family, career, knowledge, experiences and just personal actualization I feel like I am half way there.

For quite a number of years I have been meaning to blog. I have an Evernote with dozens of topics that I think may be interesting to someone but of course I always seem to run into the dreaded “Yea, but where do I start?”

So I am going to begin here, half way.