Here’s a shot of our bedroom before the new door — there’s an old aluminum door there in this picture…
And here’s a shot after the new door — really helps the “finished” look of the room a lot — also note the new fence.
I almost forgot one of the most interesting pieces of blogging (although one that I don’t really use): as a means for starting a discussion. Some of the celebrities in the blogosphere will post something like: “I’ll be on a plane for most of today. Go check out this interesting link. Discuss, but be nice.” I’m not kidding — Dan Gillmour (former SJ Merc writer) has done this, John Battelle (former Industry Standard chief and current writer of a book about Google) has done it, and my friend Mitch Kapor (founder of Lotus, EFF, and OSAF) does it as well. And the amazing thing is that because all of these guys have communities that actively read & participate in their blogs, people do have discussions in the comments of the posts. Very interesting. Sort of like that SNL skit Coffee Talk. I’ll give you a topic: the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman. discuss. Mike Myers always cracked me up when he did that.
A week or two ago I posted something about how my blogging is “bursty” — that is, I tend to do my blogging in clumps of 4 or 5 messages every few weeks. Unlike the real powerhouse blogs on the web that do multiple messages each day. One of my good friends (Nikhyl) wondered if it’s because my posts tend to be sort of long and deep — that I spend a fair amount of time thinking about things before I really write them down. (As an aside, I’m beginning to think this is a character trait of me, which is strange to get used to, because a lot of times I say the first dumb thing that pops into my head.) Nikhyl further noticed that the trend in blogs is actually away from this type of post, and more towards the 3 line or 1 photo snapshot of what the person is doing/what the latest gadget is/whatever.
Here’s what Nikhyl’s comment reminded me of: back in 1990/91 at Stanford, when I started to exchange e-mail with my dad. It was sort of a funny set of exchanges: he’d send me pretty long e-mails that were essentially letters that you’d mail in a previous time. I’d send back incredibly emotional 2 line responses that were basically along the lines of: “hey — got your note — life is going great here.” Not exactly tear-jerkers. Funnily enough, when I was at my dad’s house last summer, we found some of his old letters home from school — and while they weren’t e-mail, they were much more in line with my notes from Stanford than my dad’s notes to me.
I guess I had in my head that over the first few years of e-mailing my dad, that our styles converged, and that we ended up exchanging medium-sized messages with each other. But I now think that’s wrong. What really happened is that it became okay to send a one-line message. And also okay to send a longer, letter-type message. And which form it took was meaningful as well.
The very first thing that I thought to myself when Nikhyl brought up his point is this: “I wonder if I’m using blogs like they’re e-mail, and I’m missing the essential “blogginess” — just like beginner e-mailers use e-mail like it’s pen & paper & postage.” It made me feel a little outdated, honestly.
After thinking about it for a while, though, I think there are just lots of different reasons why people write, e-mail, blog, whatever. Sometimes you really do want to communicate a blow-by-blow of the events that are happening in your life. Sometimes you want to just capture a fleeting idea/feeling/image. Sometimes you want to communicate an idea to the people in the world that are closest to you. I think some people do it to feel more connected with friends and family. And sometimes you just need to have a formal way to articulate things that are swirling around in your head. I do a lot of that last bit — I’m not sure why drafting ideas in the form of a post or an e-mail helps, but it does. It means that I’ve got to try to communicate with the hope of being understood — maybe it makes me work harder to get my point out. But I suppose there are lots of reasons above & beyond what I just mentioned.
Anyway, I don’t really know. I think it’s an interesting thing. My big insight here I think is just this: everyone is different. It’s nice that blogs can support a small portion of that diversity.
[I’ve been meaning to write this post for a few weeks now, but kept pushing it off. Trapped here at home as I am right now, with painters painting our new windows, now seems like as good a time as any.]
As everyone who reads this knows, I left Reactivity, the company I founded with BJR & BJR, in December, after 7 years there, in just about every role and job you can imagine. Reactivity is doing well — really well, in fact — continuing to close new customers, getting good reviews in the press, and really serving customers well. And to be honest with you, while there were some parts of my job that I didn’t like all that much (150,000 miles flown in a year is a lot), on most days I liked what I did. But I still decided to walk away.
Lots of reasons — ones that I feel good about — but that’s not what I wanted to talk about in this posting. What I wanted to talk about is how I feel having left. I guess I thought that it would be an extremely emotional thing to do, and I’d be feeling it now, weeks later. But it’s been remarkably emotion-free for me. Don’t misunderstand: I care about & miss some of the folks there that I built the business with and worked shoulder-to-shoulder with. But it isn’t an emotional thing. I don’t have separation anxiety from Reactivity or anything like that — every once in a while in a meeting I’ll feel a little funny not having business cards, or having to explain who I am — but it’s not really a big deal.
I’m not sure why I’m feeling in this emotion-light way — although I have a few theories. (Incidentally, I had lunch the other day with a friend who founded and walked away from his own company (Vividence) — he’s had this same reaction.)
One theory is that after 7 years at Reactivity, with a restart, multiple tricky financings and a lot of ups & downs, there just wasn’t much emotion left. But I don’t think that’s it.
Another theory that I have that I think is probably correct is that Reactivity has given me a confidence that I’ll always (or often, at least) be able to create and find environments that I’ m really happy in . Which means that while I’m proud of what we built there, and enjoyed many of the pieces, I have a feeling that I’ll be able to find or create good places to be going forward. They won’t be the same, of course — and I think there’s probably no experience like starting your very first company — but I have a confidence that things will work out just fine.
Anyway, I’m not 100% sure that this will make sense to anyone but me, but wanted to capture what I’m feeling.