"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Oh Man

Of all the things I've done in my life, I think starting a bike company and inspiring consumer lust makes me feel the most strange.

Read More


Another glorious time-compressed post from under the Embarcaderro.

It now looks like I'll be in SF through early next week. Got some important meetings to handle. I'm more or less dust-free now (though the back of my pickup is a hazard zone) and I'm enjoying being out and about on my Mission Bike here in the watered-down SanFranSwelter of summer part two. We slung out 41 bikes in August, and got ourselves on Current TV. Pretty neat!

It's back to the grinder though out here, and looks to be that way for some time. We're sort of at a critical make-or-break point with the biz: can we get our process solid enough and score enough high-quality Drupal work to last through the winter, or will we be the proverbial Grasshoppers of the internets, starving and shivering our way through the cold and dark.

Time will tell. Hard work until then. Here's comes the train again.

Read More


The Chapter Three gang is assembling in our Eureka office for a few days of long-awaited retreat, teambuilding, and planning for the future. It's not quite Drupal in Paradise, but it should be pretty fun and productive. As long as I'm geeking out about work, my new favorite thing is the awesome graphic Monica whipped up for us:

Tree of Life

We actually have a tree in our SF office now, so that's pretty exciting to be all in-sync.

Read More

New Office Blog Post

Check out photos of the new office, if you're so inclined.

Read More

Empire Building

More people.

I need to seriously get my rear in gear on some copyediting, but this is pretty exciting stuff.

Read More

Don't Give Your Heart To Any Old Ramblin' Man

I decided to take a peek at my google analytics the other day, and I discovered that by far and away the most popular post on my site over the year to date is one I'm actually rather proud of: Me And Maslow's Pyramid of Human Needs Down By The Schoolyard. Almost 1000 people have seen that so far this year. Even assuming half of them were robots (and hey, robots need philosophy too), that's still immensely gratifying.

Its no secret I've been burning the candle at both ends lately. When I come down to SF it tends to get worse, feeding my workaholism. Even though this is ostensibly a thriving cosmopolitan metro area, I really have no life here, and with an office it's easy to stay at work to the point where coming home is just a trip you make to sleep before getting up to do it again. It reminds me of the MFA days in a way, or college. Any of those times when I was doing stuff for 16+ hours a day and having no sex.

Not that I'm complaining. Coming home late and hungry and unable to find a can-opener to make myself some tuna salad notwithstanding, I'm a ways away from the point where this pattern really generates any kind of meaningful irritation or negative response. Indeed, for as long as things can be kept in the power curve -- never forever, but what is? -- this isn't a bad way to exist. It makes me productive and relatively happy w/feelings of accomplishment, etc, and possibly even provides good grist for later milling when time is less tight.

And still, I can't help but feel like something is slipping past me here. I mean, the impending birthday is probably driving these feelings, sure, but I can't shake the sensation that I'm whistling into oblivion. I can't help but note the toll my current pace of activity (and past times of uber-business) put on my existing relationships, the massive impediment it poses to forming new connections.

Read More

That's One For You Nineteen for Me....

The taxman cometh. I just forked over about 52% of my total take-home income from the past year to the federal government and state of California. This is where having a business that works out becomes painful, though I can't help but think that a more devious accountant (yes, more devious than a ninja) could have done at least a little bit better.

In many ways the deck is stacked against us entrepreneurial types. We're taking advantage of the simplest and most flexible business structure, the LLC. We still pay self-employment tax, and our desire to build up the business and hire people means we're leaving money in the bank that we could be taking for ourselves, yet the IRS considers that as profit from a business and personal income whether we draw it or not.

So in an effort to expand we knock ourselves up a couple tax brackets without increasing our take-home pay a cent. I've been saving for it since last fall, but it still feels mightily deflating. No refund for me.

Oh well. First-world problems. If you're on the other side of the great class divide and wondering what to do with your Bush Money, here are some neat ideas.

Read More

Well There's Only So Many Ways You Can Give Your Loving To Me...

...But I'd give up my soul for just one of them now...

It's been a packed week down in the Bay. Wheeling and dealing, painting and sanding, whooping and shouting; the whole nine yards.

Went and saw The Avett Brothers on Friday night. They're pretty great showmen as expected, and I got me a t-shirt -- a much more effective way of supporting working musicians than paying for their music, btw -- but I felt the concert could have been more. Slims is not my favorite place to see a show, and the crowd vibe was a little off. That and I had great expectations, which is generally unfair and I try not to do for the sake of giving artists a chance, but c'est la vie. That's what you get for being real good.

They were touring on 2007's Emotionalism, which is a great album, the first one I heard -- coming via Pickathon and Chelsea late last summer -- and probably the most natural cultural fit for SF. But having been exposed to their entire catalog, I celebrate the mo' twangy stuff a bit more fully than that which leans indie. The crowd was on the other side of that leaning, didn't seem to know a lot of the other/older stuff, and just wasn't as lively as I'd hoped.

I suppose I was looking for something really wild and free, like when we saw The Devil Makes Three at the Starry Plough last month. That was hot and packed and foot-stomping scream-along-singing until you got light in the head and then another song would start up that was even better and more worth jumping around to; lather-rinse-repeat. By contrast, the crowd's energy at this gig made it tough to even break a sweat. I also felt the encore was a bit too scripted, and there wasn't sufficient demand in the room to draw out a spontaneous second round.

Read More

My New Hat

This is my new hat, courtesy Molly Dove, which I debuted at the Cornell Club housewarming a few weeks ago. I've come to really like it. It's hip but not too hip. Nerdy but not too nerdy. It keeps my head surprisingly warm, the sun off my face, and I can choose whether to sport it at a jaunty rakish angle or straight-ahead squaresville. I think it's quite fetching.

It's also a good one for the figurative "hat" I wear at my job. For the first year and a half of our bootstrappy startup we operated under an implied "everyone does everything" organizational strategy. This works when it's just the three of you, and it's good for keeping managerial overhead down and equality high, but ultimately people have talents, and these are distributed unequally. Specialization is necessary at some point if we're to grow.

For the first year of our work I had an informal (and largely unwanted) authority position as the oldest and most business-experienced member of the team. It was not the greatest fit as I have no particular desire to be the boss, and I haven't been living in the same town as my partners. It was what it was and I'm glad things worked out as well as they did, but nevertheless I'm happy that things are changing.

To wit, the defined roles are going to emerge. I'll be working more and more on the technical side of things; not necessarily writing more code directly, but taking designated responsibility for the code that our (eep!) employees will be crafting. Matt has already taken over the general operational management of the business, as his personal drive and passion for todo lists makes him a natural fit there. Zack is returning to his strong suit of evangelism and high-level Drupal architecture; he'll be out in front of our clients and working in pair with more (eep!) employees in the office to guide them through implementations and up the learning curve.

Read More