December 6, 2023

One thing took from GTD

The “GTD” craze, which stood for Getting Things Done, seemed half helpful and half silly. The helpful part was helping people feel more productive, a noble pursuit. The silly part was everything else. One thing I learned from GTD was the benefit of a “brain dump” to get started with tasks. A todo list shouldn’t start with the thing you want to do first. It should be a clearing of the decks.

One thing I took from Medium’s office

I visited the Medium offices once. I had written things online, someone at Medium liked them, and he invited me to his office. At the time, “holocracy” was a big topic of discussion as an alternate way to run teams, so I asked my host what he thought of it. He said if he started a company from scratch, he wouldn’t take much from holocracy, but he would take its approach to running meetings.

One thing I took from a meeting today

We’re working on a product, and that product has different features. I’m building an onboarding experience for new users. A coworker is building the core of the product itself. Today we ran a meeting about launching the overall product, and at one point I realised there was no plan at that level. Only for different features within the larger product, not a larger roadmap. I volunteered to write up that plan.

The “culture stack”

In 2019, I was planning on starting a company with my friend. We spent some time talking about the best way to start a thing from scratch, and I started using the phrase “culture stack” to refer to the blend of tools, processes, expectations, and overall culture that drives a business. It was fun to think about, and I realised after writing some memos what strong ideas I have on the subject.

The design leader who I impressed and also didn’t impress

I love talking about ops. I presented a talk once called Design Ops Inspiration Gallery, where I showed off 10 cultural features I benefited from in previous companies. The talk went great. A few years later, a recruiter was helping me find a job. She ran my name by a design leader, who looked at my bare bones website and said, paraphrased, “there is no way the impressive man I saw on stage owns this horrible website.” I improved my website.


I got a concussion one week ago today, and this was the first day I didn’t go the entire day with a lingering headache. I am slowly recovering, but I am mourning some lost freedom. I think I need to play a less competitive level of futsol, for the sake of my brain. This isn’t my first concussion this year.

Busy and blocked

I’m good at creating a bunch of content. I don’t often let writer’s block get the best of me. I know, perhaps more than anyone in my life, how to drive forward creatively even when you don’t feel like it. And yet! I have a thesis to write and the sheer size of it is making it hard for me to enjoy other tasks. The only way through is to keep chipping at it, but I like to give myself small wins on the side. Writing this is a small win on the side.