Mutuality

7 years ago on Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, I wrote this post about the ideas in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Today I went back to the letter and re-read it, and a different section stood out at me, one that is really profound well beyond the context of civil rights: “Injustice anywhere… Continue reading

Automated Personal Finance

Today I’m finally switching off of Capital One because of their broken integration with Plaid. For those who don’t know, Plaid is a service that makes it easy for apps to connect to your bank account. So, if you want to do anything interesting that your bank doesn’t offer (spending analytics, smart transfers, etc) and… Continue reading

Building a culture of success

My son played in a baseball tournament this weekend. His team did well, and finished as the runner-up.  The team that beat them in the finals played really well, but more importantly, it was obvious that they had a strong culture of success. From the moment they walked on the field, they had a noticeable… Continue reading

The power of community

Community is a funny thing. It can sound like a fluffy word or concept, but it’s actually really powerful.  Maybe more powerful than many things. Community is about helping people feel connected and aligned.  When people are connected, they feel warm and good, and part of something bigger than themselves.  When people are aligned, each… Continue reading

Trust and fairness

I was at an event last night, where the moderator, Preeti Varathan from QZ observed that there seemed to be a lot of cynicism in the blockchain / crypto space — in other words, that the whole thing was essentially premised on a distrust of existing systems (fiat currencies, large internet companies, etc). It’s an… Continue reading

Speaking page

I’ve been doing more public speaking recently, and finally assembled videos into a single place: https://ngis.lndo.site/speaking/ As I look at that list, I realize that I’ve been doing a ton of speaking in Europe. Of course I know this, because I was there, but didn’t quite realize the pattern that the majority of my recently… Continue reading

Complicity

I had an interesting experience today.  As I was in the air on my way to San Francisco, I got a text from my Airbnb host saying that they had made a mistake and accidentally double-booked my room.  I ended up taking their offer to cancel and booked a hotel room (at a steep increase… Continue reading

Unintended Consequences

I’ve been struck recently by the power and surprise of unintended consequences. For example, a recent Slate article digs into flip side of the life-saving potential of automated vehicles: our reliance on car crash deaths for organ donors: “An estimated 94 percent of motor-vehicle accidents involve some kind of a driver error. As the number of… Continue reading

Big innovation and small innovation

Yesterday at one of our bi-monthly team deep dives at USV, we got into the conversation of essentially “Big Innovation” vs. “Small Innovation”.  Those who have followed USV for some time know that at the core of the investment thesis is a belief in “decentralized”, “bottom-up” innovation — the kind that really became possible with… Continue reading

Supporting workers in the gig economy

If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my years as a human, it’s that life is hard and people need help in order to make things work. That help can come in many forms: family, friends, co-workers, teachers, unions, healthcare providers, agents, assistants, coaches, therapists, strangers on the internet, you name it.  Point is, we… Continue reading

Pain x Resistance = Suffering (the case for throughput)

For the past nine months or so, I’ve been seeing a therapist specializing in mindfulness. Perhaps the best decision I’ve ever made. One of the things we spend a lot of time talking about is resistance – everyone has their own quirks and issues, and that’s one of mine.  The tendency to hit the brakes when… Continue reading

Support services for the Indie Economy

Over the course of the past year, I’ve been interviewed a bunch of times about the “peer economy” or the “sharing economy” (Fastco, Wired, NY Times, PBS Newshour), with most of the focus on the public policy considerations of all this, specifically public safety regulations and the impact on labor. A question that comes up every… Continue reading

The Professional Amateur

One way I have described myself is as a “professional amateur”.  I am both deeply proud and deeply ashamed of that.  Let me explain. For basically my whole career, I’ve been learning new fields and professions from the outside-in.  While I have an undergrad degree in Urban Studies, which ostensibly prepared me for interdisciplinary work regarding… Continue reading

Half, not half-assed

My favorite book on product development and startups is Getting Real, published in 2006 by the folks at 37signals (now Basecamp).  If you haven’t read it (it’s freely available online), it’s essentially a precursor to The Lean Startup (2011). Back when I was leading a team and running product and OpenPlans, it was like my bible.… Continue reading

Disgusting

I got this in the mail: It’s an ad for an extended warranty, disguised as an urgent extension of existing coverage. This makes we want to throw up.  A business blatantly based on tricking people. “Immediate response to this notice required…. Our records indicate that you have not contacted us to have your vehicle service… Continue reading

Joi’s 9 principles of open innovation

I spent the day Tuesday at the Civic Media conference, put on annually by the MIT Center for Civic Media and the Knight Foundation.  In addition to being a gathering of a fabulous community of civic hackers and builders, it’s also where Knight announces the winners of the NewsChallenge grant contest each year (here are… Continue reading

The FCC open internet vote

Yesterday, the FCC met to vote on its notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the Open Internet.  As was generally expected, the commission voted, along partisan lines, to move forward with their plan for Open Internet rules — a plan that, as currently designed, would allow for fast lanes and slow lanes on the Internet.  (You can see the summary fact… Continue reading

I don’t know how to shop anymore

The sole is starting to peel of from my snow boots, so I’m in the market for some shoe goo or Gorilla Glue.  I’d really like to get it today because the flapping sole is getting annoying. As I was thinking about this just now, I realized that I don’t know how to shop anymore.… Continue reading