"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

In Which I Ponder My Career Path a Bit

I'm at the beginning of a shift in my career. For the past two years I've been building a product, creating this thing we call Pantheon — which, if you're curious, you can hear me go on about; nerd alert! — and it's been great. I'm still actively working on that (deployed some code today; booyeah!) but I'm also starting to focus more on public communications. In addition to talking (hopefully at a more measured pace) to interviewers, I'm starting to blog more for work, and get back into doing some public speaking, which is exciting.

And hard! And scary! I was up until 5am with butterflies in my stomach before that keynote in Munich. It's been a while since I've felt like that.

It gets me thinking again about that age-old question, just what would you say you do here? The reality is that I need to let other people who write code full-time rise up. I'm a Founder and at some point I need to get out of the way of the two or four or six people who will do what has been, heretofore, "my job". They may not know all the details as well as I do, or be able to walk the full stack front to back in their sleep, but they'll learn. Plus there will be many of them, which means that they'll be a lot better at coping with the workload than singleton me.

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Run Koenig Run

I'm belatedly beginning some physical training. While I tend to do just enough gym time to stave off corpulence, I'm gradually getting less and less in shape year after year, which is an alarming trend if extrapolated to the logical conclusion. As my father remarked the last time I visited, "you're looking rather prosperous, aren't you?" And he's got a point. I ain't getting any taller, so there's only one direction left to grow.

As a sort or rally-point for change, I went in with my roommates to run the Tough Mudder, which my hombre Frank recommended to me last year. I think the macho-attitude is a little over-the-top, but the event itself seems pretty cool, and my other friend The Girth ran it last year and said it was a good challenge.

However, I've never been a runner. Ever since I had some achilles tendon issues playing basketball as a young teenager, I've eschewed it as a form of exercise. However, I have been in very good physical condition before (thanks, Experimental Theater Wing!) and have maintained some of my cardiovascular savoir faire with my enduring love of the bicycle. I know that this is possible. I just need to be good about training for the next three months.

My first real run reveals that I've got a long way to go. My legs are in need of conditioning, my form is all over the place, and I don't know how to pace myself. I'm using Runkeeper to do a little self-data analysis, and my first time out was not terrible. I think maybe I over-did it with trying to go up a big hill to start, and we'll see what I can do with a little experimentation in the route.

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Belated Meditation on Turning 33

A few weeks ago I finished reading Jennifer Egan's "A Visit from the Goon Squad" on the plane, coming back from a visit to New York. It was sort of the perfect book for the moment, an innovative interlevening of lives over time, a meditation on meaning and culture and music.

This is what it prompted me to write.

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Consider This

Consider the the times of our lives, this 21st Century.

Consider that it's never been the case in the history of our species for civilizations all around the world to be ascendent.

Consider that for the first time, we face a truly common set of challenges.

The story of our lives on this earth is about the integration of the people of the world in a way that was completely unimaginable to our grandparents. We are in the very early stages realizing our shared humanity in a meaningful rather than symbolic way. We are on the verge of recognizing the great common cause — the reality that we all share the same suddenly small sphere of organic chemistry hurtling through space at unbelievable speed around an enormous nuclear fireball — and embarking on an era of renewed purpose and discovery.

It is our nature to explore and discover. We look deeper and further into the material world and make great scientific and technological discoveries. We look within ourselves and discover greater virtues, and share ever wider the fruits of liberty, equality, community. This is what we are supposed to do.

Which isn't to say we don't have troubles. Clearly we do — but most of those troubles are within ourselves and one-another. They're solvable with time. The problems without are imminently manageable if we face them together.

There are more counterarguments to this than can be mentioned. It's true that sometimes it feels like we're squandering the moment on trivia and tripe, but some of that is just a feeling, and some of it is made real because the feelings exists in the first place. The beginning of something better always starts with believing that better is possible.

Consider that in our lives, there will be more literate, connected, free people than ever before. Consider what we might do together.

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On The Bubble

One of my beats is inequality. If you read this old blog or you get my tweets, you know I frequently highlight news or analysis about the disparity in wealth and income in the US and elsewhere.

Recently I had cause to look at it from a different perspective than I'd before, from someone worried about all they had slipping away; the "I'm going to leave less to my kids than I had" worry. Led to some halfway interesting thoughts.

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Burn The Town Down Blues

So I posted a reference on the Twitter machine to this song I love from a concert some friends of mine recorded years and years ago in Portland at Reed College. There ain't no online version, so I thought I'd share:

John Henry Crippen — Burn The Town Down Blues.

Hopefully John Henry don't mind me postin' oldie-but-goodie MP3's on this old blog. If you like this you can listen to snippets and buy the whole double-length CD of Tom, Dan and John's legendary performance from CD Baby: Blue Language. I'm clearly no objective source — these are my friends — but I think there are many true gems in these tracks.

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Moving...

I'm moving to Pantheon, which has been delayed because I didn't want to deal with the legacy hand-roll that was the first three years of this now decade-old (so old!) website.

Update: Moved! I even found a few bugs in documentation to fix. Hooray dogfood!

While I was at it I went ahead and ported the venerable (CivicSpace powered!) Vagabender dot com as well. Turns out updating CivicSpace/Drupal 4.6 to run on Pantheon was actually easier than dealing with ten years of random cruft and symlinks. Who knew!

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In Which I Badmouth the Scene for a Minute

There's a lot to like, even love, about being an entrepreneur. There's agency, opportunity, creativity, the singular challenge and potential rewards of doing something different and new. I wouldn't want any other kind of career.

That said, there are things I really don't love about the Startup Scene, and I've had a stressful week. At the risk of bemoaning what are undoubtedly "first world problems" (and then some), I want to write a bit about what I find irksome about the Valley. Writing helps me process, and maybe my scribbles will help some fellow traveller somewhere down the line.

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In Which I Contemplate Capital Gains, Aristocracy, and Romney

The other day I tweeted a paraphrase from one of my favorite bloggers Atrios regarding Mitt Romney's tax returns that went something like "the tax rate on any money the pile of cash earns is much lower than it is on the money earned by people who actually work." A couple people asked me to explain this a little more so I thought it would make a good bloggy topic.

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The Search for Political Economy

I haven't written much at all about electoral politics because frankly they're not very interesting. The GOP nomination process has had its moments of entertainment, but that's largely a matter of theater, not substance. The Occupy movement got me excited for a hot minute, but outdoor protest tends to ebb in the winter. In today's edition of "doing the pages" I'll write a little ditty about a contemporary political debate within the left that's interesting in it's own right, and explains some of my lassitude.

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