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Showing posts from May, 2012

45

I dreaded this day for a lot of the month. It seems, well, old. And it's not of course, but it just seems old. I was once (apparently) 30 years old. That's like 15 years younger. Actually it's exactly that. I'm 50% older than that.

And, of course, it's a mistake to think like that, because frankly, yer lookin in the wrong direction. I hate to sound like an Obama ad, but I'm looking forward.

By the beginning of this week, I felt differently about turning 45. And by last night, I felt great about it. It represents a clean slate, a new start on the next 45 years. A full third of my life has passed. :)

And the more I thought about it, the more I decided that that's exactly what this is: closing the door on a really amazing life--full of accomplishments, failures, joy, pain, love, mistakes, learning, growth, great people, a few lousy ones, opportunities I never dreamed of when I was 20, crazy debt, crazy money, and then normalcy--a rich life, and opening the doo…

Advice

I've been helping HonestlyNow.com, a Q&A platform for experts to give advice. As part of the work we've developed a set of widgets for our paying members to take questions directly on their sites.

I've just installed a new one at the top of this blog. You can ask a question and give up to three options. Other visitors will be able to vote on those options, and I'll get notified of your question. If you ask, keep the tone positive please.

My answer will come in the comments; if you choose Startups as your category, my advice will appear on top, and perhaps a bit over-dramatically highlighted :) (that was my design).

Other experts will be able to weigh in; all of them have businesses of their own and will be able to give you unique perspectives.

This is still in beta mode, and we have a major UI change coming to the site itself. But I imagine that at some point the site will be more of a directory of experts and less a place to go vote and comment on people's que…

What Building Eden Taught Me About Leading

Back in February I got the crazy radical idea of starting community gardens here in the hometown, the center of the best farming soil in the anywhere ever.

People have talked about it for years, and two people tried to get one at a nearby park, but the city nixed it at the last minute.

I wasn't having a great winter (lousy rotten winter, but the weather was great!), and suddenly I decided that I should start it.

And that's always a dangerous thing; my VP of Engineering at ChiliSoft, Russ, once said to me "The thing with you, Charlie, is you never finish anything."

Well, shit, Russ, you bastard. 

But it turns out that's sometimes true. I start things that I don't finish. I do finish some things. But I probably start more than I complete. I'm ok with that. It's part of my charm :) and definitely part of my value--I experiment.

I'm a starter. I like to catalyze things. I'd prefer that once I start things, other people pick up the torch and advanc…

On Hiring, Briefly

Fred over at http://avc.com will be talking about HR over the next few weeks on Mondays.

In 2003 I did an interview with Business Week about the subject, which you can read here.

Since then, my hiring has been hit or miss. At Mission Research I tolerated mediocre performance by really nice people I liked much longer than I should have.

Nine years after the article, I'm looking forward to my next hires because I'm adapting a better hiring process and employment principles (work in progress).

People will likely be your biggest expense, and greatest asset. The best thing you can do as a startup leader is to become a curator of talent, and ongoing cultivator.

Have a great day :)

Your Highest Self

The beach brings back a lot of memories for me. Over the weekend I learned that my friend and neighbor from there was in his last weeks of a cancer battle that he lost after 6 years.

I lived there for 3 years in the early 2000s, and despite our completely opposite political views, we developed a friendship that continued beyond that. It cracked him up when I showed up one day during my Senate campaign with a huge Crystle for Senate stuck to the minivan, my big stubbly face taking up a third of the side. "Don't you liberals know how to shave?"

I planned to drive down Tuesday to say goodbye, but that morning his wife and son texted me that he had passed away in the morning.

I drove down anyway. There are a few times when showing up isn't negotiable, and this is one of those times. I've been through the loss of Dad and am still grieving in some ways 16 years later, and wanted to support his wife and son, who's a bit like a little brother,  but smarter and quite …