Letting Go to Grow: Why Delegating “Ownership” Matters

I accepted my first and only full-time engineering job at Schick with a few months left in my last semester of college. I had done a nine-month internship at the company. But the main reason that I decided to go back without even interviewing anywhere else had nothing to do with my previous experience there. It was my new boss. The department that he ran didn’t exist when I had interned there. He was young, energetic, and extraordinarily intelligent. We hit it off when I… Continue reading


Opportunity Cost

One of the concepts that we apply to our decision making almost daily is the idea of opportunity cost. Opportunity cost is defined as: the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. Often times a decision to tackle a new project doesn’t cost us anything monetarily, or the cost is negligible. Examples would be programming a new feature, trying out a new type of promotion, or even picking up a single new product for a product line we already carry…. Continue reading


Why Starting a Business In College Still Makes So Much Sense

Every once in a while I’ll go back through some of my old posts. Some hold up to the test of time better than others. One of my first posts from November of 2005 that I still love is Why It’s Best to Start a Business Before Your 25th Birthday. Since that time I’ve spent a lot of time in the classroom working with college students, and that’s only reinforced my beliefs. That entire post is still worth a read, but here’s a summary of… Continue reading


How a Single Meeting Can Derail an Entire Day

If I’m not careful I can find myself spending my entire day performing tasks associated with running the business: checking email, taking phone calls, scheduling meetings, communicating with our employees, documenting processes, and the like. As we’ve grown it’s been harder and harder to carve out uninterrupted time to program and work on other important projects that will help grow the business. I’ve had to work harder and harder to guard my schedule. In doing so I often think back to an essay from 2009… Continue reading


The Benefits of Distance

Jason Fried recently wrote a really good post entitled Don’t be too inspired about how watchmaker Roger W. Smith benefits from being one of the few watchmakers in the UK. The physical distance allows him to focus on his work without too much outside influence. As Jason notes, distance – both physically and virtually – can have a huge benefit: I love that notion  —  it’s one I’ve tried to hold dear myself. Don’t be influenced too much. Be aware of what’s great, but don’t… Continue reading


The Business Press Problem

In a recent Tim Ferriss podcast with WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, Matt was asked about failure (this quote is at 35:17): Especially in business press, we just see when people hit the home runs, we don’t see all their at bats. And, very rarely do we even know about all of the at bats they’ve had. So, just remember that. No matter how bad a day you think you’re having, there’s probably someone you admire who’s probably also having a bad day right this second,… Continue reading


Brexit, AI, Abundance, and the Future of Work and Government – Monthly Link Roundup

One of the topics I’ve been thinking about lately is how the future of technology will shape our careers, our lifestyles, and our government. I’ve recently read Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff. With Brexit dominating the news last week, Ben Thompson wrote what I think is the best piece of writing on the topic yet: The Brexit Possibility. A long-running theme on… Continue reading


Head Count != Success

In the pre-internet world the number of employees that you had was seen as a measure of success. If a restaurant/store/office had more employees, it was considered to be doing well. The ability to automate or outsource was almost nonexistent. You dealt with increased volume by throwing more bodies at it. Hence, people = success. These days? Not so much, yet the prevailing wisdom has seemed to linger. Smart businesses automate, outsource, hire contractors and part-time employees, and then only hire full-time when it’s absolutely… Continue reading


10+ Years of Blogging, 10+ Years Since Leaving My Job, & New Posting Schedule

A couple of noteworthy personal milestones came and went over the past few months. In November, it was 10 years since my first post back in 2005. In January, I officially made it 10 years since leaving my job in January of 2006. I summed my feelings in my 2011 post at the five year mark: This business, as it stands, wasn’t exactly what I envisioned when I left – in a lot of ways I didn’t know what to expect – but it’s been… Continue reading


“It’s Too Bad You’re Not Using Your Degree”

Last week’s post about college reminded me of something that used to happen to me quite frequently in the few years after I left my job. After explaining our business, people would comment “it’s too bad you’re not using your degree.” This always got under my skin. I understand where they’re coming from (e-commerce != engineering), but I always felt like they were hinting at some failure on my part, or that I had wasted my time and money going to college. I always though… Continue reading