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Embracing unproductivity.

Something I’m learning to embrace about the way I work is that my productivity comes (and goes) in waves.

When I’m in the zone, grinding on a clearly defined and worthwhile project, I feel unstoppable.

Time flies by. I’m excited to get to my desk in the morning, and I’m reluctant to unplug in the evening.

In these times, I can be insanely productive for the duration of the project, and it feels amazing.

“Fun” wouldn’t necessarily be the right word, but “work” wouldn’t be either. It’s a great feeling.

But then, as waves tend to do, the energy comes, peaks, and the eases down into a slump. Continue reading…

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Midwestern charm

I landed in Detroit at 11am today, on a weekend visit to see my sister before heading to Seattle and California to visit family, and ultimately head back to Vietnam in about 2 weeks.

One of the first things that immediately struck me is the similarities to Columbus, Ohio, where I was born and lived until I was 13.

There’s an air about the midwest. The city feels familiar. Continue reading…

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Choosing our heroes

“One way to remember who you are is to remember who your heroes are.” – Steve Jobs

Have you read that Steve Jobs book yet? The big one… that tomb by Walter Isaacson?

I love that book. I’ve read it twice now. Once shortly after it came out, and the second time pretty much on accident. I opened it up to reference a passage and ended up getting sucked back into it. What a story.

Anyways – one of the parts of the book that really jumped out at me when I first read it was the quote above, about remembering who our heroes are.

Continue reading…

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A beginners guide to Above & Beyond

It’s easier to appreciate anything when you have a little bit of context or background. When you know the story behind it. One case in point: I don’t really watch sports all that much. But whenever I get to watch NFL football with my buddy Josh who can tell me every single player, coach, and referee’s life story, it adds some depth, context, and story to the event that I can latch on to, and makes the whole thing more interesting. Same thing with travel. I’m not the best at doing pre-research when traveling to historic cities, sights, or destinations. But I do like to shore up on a bit of history. Anthony Bourdain put it well:

“On the plane, I like to read fiction set in the location I’m going to. Fiction is in many ways more useful than a guidebook, because it gives you those little details, a sense of the way a place smells, an emotional sense of the place. So, I’ll bring Graham Greene’s The Quiet American if I’m going to Vietnam. It’s good to feel romantic about a destination before you arrive.” – Anthony Bourdain

So now, maybe you’ve seen Above & Beyond listed as a headliner for one of the festivals you’re about to go see. Or maybe they just announced a gig in your town (I’m looking at you, Vietnam). Or maybe you’ve seen them pop up on your Spotify Discover Playlist (Epic, epic algorithm btw. Good work, Spotify.) and now you’re curious about what this is all about. Whatever the case, fear not, young musical adventurer. Let’s give you that touch of romance before you arrive. Here’s a quick beginners guide to Above & Beyond. Continue reading…

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Tips on applying to Start-Up Chile

Got this question from a reader (sup Andrew!) about advice for getting into Start-Up Chile:

So basically I was just wondering if you have any tips for us to improve our chances of getting in. My co-founder and I just decided we were going to do this about a month ago, so we’re scrambling now to build an MVP and get some form of validation.

My question is – do most companies that get in already have some form of users/customers? With the next 6 weeks or so that we have, should my co-founder and I focus more on building the MVP or getting some type of validation? We’re both software engineers and we’re building a software product.

First, some background. Continue reading…

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An exploration of B2B and it’s various charms.

So far, all the products I’ve built have been “B2B”.

The apps that a lot of other independent, bootstrapped software companies or entrepreneurs have built have been B2B.

Why is that? What does that mean? Why are we here? Who am I?

Sorry, got a little sidetracked.

There’s a reason for the popularity or B2B, which this post will set to explain, and because the question, “What is B2B?” itself is pretty simple and doesn’t itself demand its own essay, with this post I’m going to attempt to investigate the why of B2B, as opposed to just the what.

So, once again (Should I make this my catchphrase? It’s probably too early for catch phrases…), let’s do this. Continue reading…