1. Do you remember a time when you were happiest as a child? Where were you, who were you with and what were you doing?
2. Did you have a favourite teacher at school? Who was that person and what did they teach you?
Mr Campbell in 10th grade (which seems a little late in one’s academic career to find a great teacher, I know). He got to me just as I was about to start thinking I was an idiot because I didn’t understand algebra (at all). I assumed I was smart (see: reading all the time), but I was being thrown by high school. Nothing seemed to work like it was supposed to. I was suddenly thrown in with other smart kids and they were walking through their material and I couldn’t grasp anything. Then I hit 10th grade geometry, the class everyone assured me was the hardest math class, and I was terrified. But it all made so much sense. The concepts were insanely easy to grasp. I could navigate fairly complex ideas quickly. Two months in, I was correcting the teacher. A few times he would let me re-teach an idea to give other students “another way of seeing it.” It renewed my faith in myself.
Mr Campbell……he got to me just as I was about to start thinking I was an idiot
3. If you could write a brief note to your 13 year old self, what advice would you impart in it?
It’s going to suck. For a very very long time. But then it won’t. Also, anyone around you who acts like they know what they are doing know much much less than you do. Oh, and Liza Long has a crush on you, you idiot.
5. At what age did you become an adult? What happened, and how did you know?
It was the first time I felt like I could make decisions for myself, that I could make choices about what I wanted, that I had any kind of agency. Before then, I was drifting from job to job and relationship to relationship. Then I got drunk on new years, realized I was throwing my whole life away, got a tattoo the next morning (my first), and decided I would take control of my own destiny.
6. What habit or behaviour or belief have you recently acquired? Why is it now in your life?
Eating better and not thinking exercise is the worst thing in the world.
7. What do you think is true that most people think is false? What do you think is false, that most people think is true?
Most people want to be told, they don’t want to learn.
8. When was the last time you changed your mind about something really important? What was it and what lead you to change your view?
That the internet would solve things. That the best brains would bubble to the top, that more information and perspective would support empathy and change. Man, was I way off…
9. What are the three books that you would unhesitatingly recommend to others? Why?
Moneyball (it’s not a book about metrics, its a book about winning a rigged game) The War of Art (once you decide you’re an artist, you need to be an artist) The Art of the Possible (reminders that you really can do and be anything)
Moneyball by Michael Lewis
It’s not a book about metrics, it’s a book about winning a rigged game
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Once you decide you’re an artist, you need to be an artist
Art of the Possible by Curtis S. Milam
Reminders that you really can do and be anything
10. Name a well-known person you admire and explain why you hold them high esteem?
Tom Peters (he’s on my own personal Mount Rushmore with Richard Saul Wurman, Seth Godin and Cindy Gallop). He made a living wading out into conference rooms filled with highly-paid “important” executives and yelled at them for an hour about what morons they all were.
11. If you wrote a ‘user manual’ for how people should interact with you, what would be the top three things that would be useful for them to know?
Pretend I’m autistic. Be clear and unsubtle. I’m not autistic, but my brain is always running 110% and I’m always distracted, so I always miss subtitles…
12. If we were to go and speak to people who don't think very highly of you, what do you think they would say?
I mean, you’re probably right, but what was the instigating issue?
13. What’s one misconception people generally have about you?
That I’m an extroverted narcissist. They assume because I talk all day and love to stand in front of crowds I must get off on it. They don’t know how insanely exhausting it is, but the reason I do it, is its the only time I can put 100% of my brain into the “now.” It’s like a kind of meditation. And since most people are terrified of being in front of crowds, they don’t get it.
14. What personality trait has got you in the most trouble? What kind of trouble does it get you in?
Thinking being “right” was enough. Trying to prove an idea instead of listening and empathizing.
15. What is your untrainable superpower?
Pattern Recognition. I’m a drummer, so I see patterns in everything. I can’t stop it.
17. Have you always had the same political beliefs? If so, why do you think you have held them so long? If not, what event caused you to change your view?
My belief in letting people choose for themselves has always been there, but now it is somewhat tempered. There are too many people who reject facts (something I couldn’t conceive of 20 years ago), who simply can’t see that other people are, in fact, “people.”
18. In the last few days, what news has given you most cause for alarm? In the last few days, what news has given you most cause for celebration?
Jesus. Pick one. Minneapolis? Trump clearing trying to stage a slow coup? Covid? They all work.
19. When was the last time you felt like an outsider in a group? What did you learn from the experience?
Almost always. I almost never feel like an insider. Ever.
20. What do you think is acceptable today but will become taboo tomorrow?
Walking around without a mask of some kind. It will be part of all the clothes we buy soon.
21. What app or tech product have you most recently fallen in love with?
Good headphones are amazing. I spend way too much on them, but I love them.
22. What’s your desktop/mobile screensaver? Take a screenshot and attach it to your answer!
Koi pond. Koi are one of my favorite. In China, they are symbols of determination: if a Koi lives to be 1000 years old, it becomes a dragon
23. What is the best purchase you’ve made recently? Why?
Two things: A massive roll of whiteboard paper (if I write things on teh white board, I don’t have to keep them in my brain) and a strangely expensive coffee mug. I don’t know I like this mug so much, but I really enjoy having it.
25. Cheese or Chocolate? What kind?
Chocolate. I’m a sweets guy. Dark, milk, white, don’t care.
26. If you were to own a bar, and you could design it how you wanted, what would it look like?
It would feel like a big living room, the music would be great, but it would never be loud enough that you had to shout to be heard. Also, all cocktails.
28. If you were to survive the zombie apocalypse, what role would you play in the new society that would follow?
Strategist. Otherwise, I’m probably pretty delicious.
29. Which fictional villain do you find yourself sympathising with most? Why?
We are our own best villains.
30. If you could invite any 3 people - living or dead - to your final dinner party before the end of the world, who would they be and why?
Richard Saul Wurman, Michael Lewis, Jasmine Bina
Richard Saul Wurman
31. What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?
32. Can you give a work example of a lesson you had to learn the hard way?
I’ve been fired quite a few times, and only once was it not deserved. Mostly I get fired for not reading the politics of the room as they shift: I end up getting stuck on an idea and continue to push it even though it is starting to annoy people. I don’t know how to “go with the flow”very well.
Mostly, I get fired for not reading the politics in the room