Seeing Things In Black and White

The sunrises have been pretty in Austin lately - especially as they rise over the lake or river or whatever it is that the path I run goes around. But while I’ve long been fond of posting “good morning” pics (see: Why My Mornings are “Good”), I’ve been less apt to post these ones to them social medias and whatnot.

They’re just...too colorful.

I’ve preferred to look at things in black and white (and gray) lately. Color can be distracting. It’s sometimes even a crutch, creatively speaking.

Sunsets are beautiful, yes. But they’re beautiful anyway, even without the perfect Instagram filter (Nashville, of course). Add mountains or the ocean and it’s an instant hit on social media

Good Evening.

Good Evening.

There’s nothing wrong with all of that, but it’s all too easy to let the pretty colors of nature distract from whether or not it’s even a good picture being taken.

It is a greater challenge to find the beauty in things when color is taken away. It’s a challenge I appreciate these days, both in photography, and in life in general.

Take the color away and you have to focus more on the core elements of the image - center of interest, subject placement, angle, balance, shapes, lines, pattern, volume, lighting, texture, tone, contrast, framing, foreground, background, perspective, and so on.

Pretty Girl Black and White Stairs

It becomes an experiment in delicately balancing those elements, being hyper aware of how they all play together. You end up relying less on things like technology, and more on intangibles - like feeling and “an eye” for things.

Black and White Garnish Island Ireland

When looking at things in black and white (and grey) I feel more in touch with those various core elements.

Jill Poncho Colorado

I look more closely at the subject matter - the contents of the frame. It’s an exercise in noticing details I might not notice if I was had beautiful blues or greens or reds to play with.

As I Focus on Impact, I look at my life and projects this way too - that is, finding beauty or ways to be creative, without distractions or comforts.

Making the final picture turn out the way I want isn’t always as easy as “point, shoot, add filter, post” (literally and metaphorically speaking), so I’m not letting myself rely on that.

Texas Windmills
Ireland Church
On the road in Texas
Evergreen Lake House

Be Better at "Grabbing a Cup of Coffee"

"Hey Andrew! Want to grab a cup of coffee next week?"

So often I've seen this message pop up in my inbox, knowing it was code. So often I have personally used a version of this message - quite often replacing coffee with beer - as code. This has become the go-to phrase to disguise "I have something for you" (a job perhaps) or "I want something from you" (an introduction to a potential business contact perhaps).

Now, I'm not sure there's anything wrong with this - so long as there's mutual benefit for both parties. "Networking" became an icky word because so many people are bad at it. I've been approached so many times when "can I pick your brain?" translates to "can you do a bunch of work for me for free?" or "I want to sell you something you don't want or need" or "can you get me special access to ____?" or "can you get me a job at Facebook?"

Somewhere in our rush to sell things, market things, and build or grow businesses we forgot that human interaction can and should be more than purely transactional.

Meetups - even the business kind - shouldn't be all about "scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" and they certainly shouldn't be all about "scratch my back, the end".

Sometimes the best interactions begin with simply grabbing a drink and having conversation, with no ulterior motives. It's possible to see people without the blinders of objective or purpose clouding our vision of them.

So, when do we grab a drink?

Focus On Impact

I'm out on a 7-mile run. 2.5 miles in it hits me - this is not going well. My hamstring and knee are on fire. My strides have no oomph. I feel drained. My mind is all over the place. I have to pee a little bit. Yeah. I'm struggling.

I gut out another mile to reach the halfway point. I'm starting to slip way off my typical pace, and I don't see how I'm going to be able to keep it up. I have a decision to make.

Am I going to finish what I started? If so, how?

It's at this point where the phrase "Focus on Impact" finds its way into my head. It's one of the core values of Facebook, and a saying I see on a poster on a wall each and every day. In this moment that meaning is clear. There are many things you can do right now. What is going to have the greatest influence toward the result you want, Coate?

I want to finish 7 miles.

That's the result I want. Of all the things I could do I decide in this particular situation the best thing to focus on is simply putting one foot in front of the other until I'm done, pace be damned. The phrase that takes over is one I used a lot during my competitive swim days: Put your head down and grind. 

So I do, and I finish.

I once again see a parallel between my running exploits and my greater life. Right now I'm in a place where I have a lot to achieve ahead of me. My next six months are BIG, they're stretching. It's easy for me to ask that same question a few times a day. Am I going to finish what I started? If so, how?

It's in these moments where I immediately answer "yes" and "I have no idea, but I'm going to."
And really, I don't have any idea. Some of the things I want to do, and some of the things I'm signed up to do are crazy difficult.

But I am learning how to live this phrase - Focus on Impact. I'm becoming ruthless with the time and energy I'm spending on certain activities because while they're valuable, they're not as valuable as others I could spend more time and energy working on.

At work, that looks like reducing the time I spend researching before beginning something. Now, it's important to be well informed and have prior examples to learn from. But I've trended in the recent past toward having a lot of evidence to back up a line of thought I have, which can stall progress toward following that line of thought.

At home, I'm reducing the amount of beer I drink (gasp) and meat I eat (less of a gasp). I love burgers and I LOVE drinking, but I feel better and act better (in runs, at work, in my relationships) in times when these things make up less of what's inside of me.

These are not the only things I'm doing and they're certainly not the only things I can do, but they are examples of knowing that making these changes can have a noticeable impact, so I'm focusing on them.

How about you? What does it mean to Focus on Impact? What adjustments might you be able to make and what would that do for you? I'd love to hear about it. - Coate

Maybe I'll Sleep When September Ends

Bleak Fall

Earlier this month I woke up at 3 am unable to breathe. It felt like someone had placed some type of screen over my throat and clogged up my nose. I was desperately trying to suck in air, and it just wouldn't go in. 

Imagine a scene of a fish flopping when it is dropped on a dock out of water. Like that, just replace the dock with the hardwood floor of my empty apartment.

An immediate care visit would later explain that I had experienced a laryngospasm, described in a medical dictionary thusly:

"....a rare but frightening experience. When it happens, the vocal cords suddenly seize up or close when taking in a breath, blocking the flow of air into the lungs. People with this condition may be awakened from a sound sleep and find themselves momentarily unable to speak or breathe. Though it can be scary while it's happening, laryngospasm typically goes away within a couple of minutes."

So yeah. It did go away in a couple minutes... a couple minutes spent wondering what was happening to me. Wondering if I was going to die alone on the cold floor of this empty apartment. Wondering how many days until they'd find me. Wondering if Jill or my family could ever recover from the news. It sounds overly dramatic now, but this is the state I was in. I could not breathe, could not call out for help.

The best guess at a cause by my doctor was acid reflux had decided to get stuck in my esophagus. This was the best guess because I had explained that I have issues with acid reflux every year in September.

Late August/early September has been a traumatic month for my family and friends and I just haven't figured out the right way to deal with it, as much as I've written about finding the right way to deal with it.

Which I've done.

A lot.

Like, a lot.

So my body instead says "Hey. Jackass. Deal with me. Now."

I haven't recovered from that experience. I'm not actively avoiding going to sleep, but there's obviously some subconscious terror that's not allowing my mind or body to settle down - regardless of the various anti-insomnia routines I've tried. It shook me up pretty good.

It doesn't help that I'm alone in that apartment until Jill joins me in Texas in December. While I'm a decently fit and generally healthy person, I can't help but feel frail and helpless like one of those really old ladies from those LifeCall commercials of the early 90s

The GIFs from the actual commercial are too depressing, so here's a puppy version instead:

It probably also doesn't help that I'm still adjusting to the newness to a new city and new job too. Though I have nothing but excitement about those, I'm sure there's some anxiety buried deep within the Walls of Coate.

I'm not sure what it is about this month in particular, though, that makes it seem to just pile on every year - death, loss, floods, you name it. In my life, September is a month that takes - from me, and from those I care about. Just this week I learned that September has taken the life of a friend's mother - a person who was nothing but bubbly and fun to the world around her.

Fortunately, at the time of this writing October is mere days away. October has historically been my favorite month because it's the exact opposite. It's been a month of gifts, excitement, and general refreshment.

I get to see Jill beginning Friday, October 2. And then we will spend 3 of the next 4 weekends together, one of them being at the marriage of one of my closest friends, which is also our 1 year anniversary as husband and wife.

I don't know why life has these strange patterns or cycles, or why it seems like I get a year's worth of emotional strife and damage to wade through 1 year each month, but I do know I and the others I've referenced who have similarly had to deal with this crap, have found a way to keep moving.

So, that.

September. GFY. Seriously.
October. See you soon, buddy.  

What Jazz, Podcasts and Beer Have in Common

Some time ago I was interviewed for an article on CMX Hub entitled "How Creative Outlets Make You a Better Community Builder". In it, I described how studying music growing up - specifically jazz and improv - prepped me to operate in the business world of social media, community management, and digital marketing.

I learned not only how to rapidly translate the information from the sheet music into creative output, but also fill in gaps that existed (the improv part) while staying within certain boundaries or constraints. The experience sharpened my mental reflexes and I now utilize these skills often as I process massive amounts of new information, make connections and return a creative output every day.

"Wait, what's the squiggly one mean again?"

"Wait, what's the squiggly one mean again?"

While I no longer play jazz, I do listen to it frequently. It's simultaneously relaxing and stimulating for me. I do my best thinking with it my ears, and it seems to be the perfect trigger for me when I'm stuck while working on a complex issue, or diving deep into analysis or something.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what gets me...well, thinking. About where my ideas come from.

In a previous post called What a Strange Love or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Run I talked about my love of running for personal wellness and creative inspiration. Long runs certainly help me sort through the daily jumble of thoughts in my head. Listening to jazz also contributes toward those things. More recently, however, I've discovered a few different sources for inspiration.

While running and listening to jazz seem to serve more of a purpose of helping me gain resolution, these two things simply get me amped up. As you may have guessed from the title of this post, I'm talking about podcasts and beer.

Now, I know what you were probably thinking when you read "podcasts":

That might be fair. Podcasts on the surface can seem a bit silly. Ben Roy brilliantly rips them in  The Nix Brothers-directed Funny or Die parody called "The Eradiscater" when he says, "It's the new thing to do. Everybody's got a podcast now. It's like shock radio for hipsters..."

Now, that's a line from a comedy sketch but it has some heart to it. There are SO many podcasts out there and it really does feel like everybody has one. I mean... I do.

But hidden in between all the nerds out there complaining about the costume choices in the leaked footage from the upcoming X-Men movie (yeah, that's a real thing happening)...

...there are some that harken back to the days when storytelling and spoken word were more widely recognized as works of art. 

My favorites at the moment are "Put Your Hands Together" with Cameron Esposito,  "The Pivot: Marketing Backstories" with Todd Wheatland, and "99 Percent Invisible" with Roman Mars.

I just spent sixteen hours driving across the country listening to the last one on that list. What I like so much about these three podcasts in particular is how well they bring new ideas to light. In fact, all three of them are living breathing examples of new ideas. They're each doing something no one has done before.

PYHT is the first comedy podcast to feature live standup, 99 Percent Invisible is the first to prove the viability of independent public radio (even forming a sort of indie record label of podcasts, Radiotopia), and Todd Wheatland has gathered a group of well known digital marketers and gotten them away from talking solely about digital marketing for once.

When I listen to each of these podcasts (and related ones they recommend) I'm at once engaged and inspired by the creativity and artistry of everyone involved - the hosts and the interviewees or subject matter of the episodes. I am more aware of the world around me and more excited to be a part of it, to create something of my own to share with it.

We weren't meant to be islands - to limit ourselves to one set of thoughts our whole lives, and this is my current method of discovering more about my surroundings, and new people, places and things to be excited about.

Of course that excitement is best amplified in a slightly altered state. I'm not talking about being drunk or high per se. I do however find that the wonderful buzz that a strong craft beer can bring is typically accompanied by worthwhile conversation and company. It's over a good beer that I best share all of the fun things I'm learning or wanting to create, and a it's over a good beer than I learn so much about those around me.

I'm so interested in the environments of craft breweries or ale houses - as they are so conducive to genuine interaction and camaraderie (regardless of what Budweiser will try to tell you). I'm inspired with a brew in my hand and a new person to talk to.

Okay, it's time to end this post, but I'm really terrible at intros/outros. So how about wI just call it and go for a run, listen to jazz or one of those podcasts above, then drink a beer, yeah? Yeah.

Where Do My Ideas Come From?

It's 2:30 AM on a Saturday night. I'm sitting in a hotel room in Lubbock, Texas combing through Content Ideas: The First (Ever) Research to Look at B2B Marketers' Opinions on Ideas and Ideation for probably the 3rd or 4th time. Because I'm a nerd and this is what I do late at night.

It's an eBook by two talented former coworkers Jean Spencer and Matt Gainan. Jean painstakingly gathered and interpreted the data while Matt made page after page of numbers and quotes look beautiful and share-worthy. It's an impressive body of work, even for two people who regularly crank out impressive bodies of work.

Marketing Content Ideas
Marketing Content Ideas

But this post isn't about B2B marketers or eBooks.

It's about ideas.

As I read through all this content, I can't help but feel inspired and also overwhelmed. There's not only a bunch of information to absorb, but there's suddenly a bunch of extra sparks of activity in my weary mind. The piece has me thinking about not only how I generate ideas as a marketer, but how I generate ideas in general.

I took a look at my "idea" notebook which looks like this:

It's seen better days.
It's seen better days.

It's full of random and diverse scribblings - drawings, short film scripts, poems, to-do lists, things I definitely didn't write sober, and so on. 

I've had this exact notebook since 2002 so it's quite the time capsule. It's pretty amazing to have this object that, probably better than anything else, could describe who I am and who I've been over more than a decade.

Over the years I've gone back to it here and there, mostly to add something weird from my brain and then move on. This time I'm actually looking for something within it - I'm looking for trends.

And I've found some. But I'm exhausted, and I have another day of travel ahead of me, so I'll share this later in a post called "What Podcasts, Jazz and Beer Have in Common".

The Best Gift

My wife Jill made this for me. It's the best gift I've ever received.

While on the surface this is an obviously adorable and thoughtful gift, Jill has no idea the layers of meaning I've attached to it.

The three places represented in the heart are not simply places we've both lived and shared part of our lives together, but they are three places that housed very distinct phases of my life. 

I look at this and see me as a whole, but also see the very clear divides between who I've been and the life I've lived in each of these places. I see that who am I is not who I always was.

Another reason this is so significant has to do with the nature of having a relationship with me. I generally make friends quick, but I'm not easy to get to know on a deeper level. I have a very wide group of people I consider friends - people I'd gladly get a drink with, etc. But my inner circle is very small (short joke, Corey). I've gotten better at this over the years, but it's safe to say I don't really form a whole lot of "deep" relationships. This picture serves as a reminder of the deepest one I'll ever have, and that it will not be held down by any boundaries.

This applies to people but it also applies to places. I've spent most of my life feeling like I should be somewhere else, only to get there and feel it again. It could be angst. It could be wanderlust. It could just be how I am.

That started to shift in the past few years. Colorado became a place I called home. I beamed with pride, love and gratefulness for the place I woke up everyday. That only strengthened when I had a person I loved to wake up with every day. My current team in Austin, Texas knows how big of a struggle it actually was for me to leave Colorado, and that it's still a struggle I deal with daily.

Yet, this picture she gave me suddenly made it okay for me to be somewhere else. And to continue to go. Because I get to go with her. 

Ship Love

Before announcing I was leaving Colorado for Austin, Texas to work for Facebook, I expressed to my wife Jill some concern over how people would react. 

It was a tough time to leave my company, as I was working on so many things and our team was already stretched thin. I had been one of the most vocal advocates for Kapost since my hire, and especially so during a series of recent departures. I feared I would be seen a hypocrite for making my own, or that my motivation & inspiration would be lost.

Plus, over 2 and a half years later I still have a chip on my shoulder about the way a prior company poorly handled a different move onward and upward. I simply couldn't stomach the idea of leaving this place and these people on a sour note. It would break my heart.

I wondered what others in my life would think. It's no shock to anyone meeting me or following me on them internets that I ooze passion for Colorado - Boulder especially.

It's my favorite place. It's first place that truly gave me a shot at a career; the place that helped me get my head straight, the place I fell in love. I beam about it daily. Why would I leave it behind?

Nature or something.

Jill can attest that this really weighed on me. It took a toll.

And then the time came to tell people. And this happened:

And this:

Feeling Loved 2

And this:

My news was met with...excitement? Joy? Support? Celebration?  I was floored.

40 people - all about to be former workers - showed up to my going away happy hour, usually much more reserved affairs for smaller teams. Many expressed detailed gratitude for specific things I had done. Many stayed with me all night. How could this be?

There's a song by John Mayer called Wheel. The final verse features these lyrics: "I believe that my life's gonna see the love I give return to me." It's a somber song and I used to listen to it in more somber times - times where I struggled to understand why I should continue to give out even a small part of myself only to feel continually abused and broken. At the core though I believed those words.

And here I am, feeling the full force of care from others. I really struggled to wrap my head around it for a few days. That could have been because I was hungover for a few days, but still.


And then I started at Facebook. And we talked about core values. And unlike many onboardings I've had in the past, we didn't just get a list of stuff to read, some confusing insurance benefits documentation, and maybe a branded coozy or something.

We talked about impact. We talked about mission. We talked about making dreams reality. We talked about Shipping Love.

Ship Love

And it hit me. That's why I'm here. I have impacted and loved. And now I have the opportunity - no, the obligation - to make that a core part, if not the core part of my work. I'll have revenue goals and blah blah blah to meet, but if I'm just focused on the to-do list and I forget that mission professionally and personally then I'm wasting my time going forward.

So Colorado, thank you for all that you gave me.

And Austin/Menlo Park/world you better get ready for some love. Cause I'll be shipping it.

                                                                                  Yeah, sorry.

                                                                                  Yeah, sorry.

Oh, and tee shirts. I'm totally shipping some of you tee shirts.

Now, THIS is Ireland

From June 27, 2015 through July 10, 2015 my wife Jill and I honeymooned all across Ireland. I took a "digital sabbatical", deleting social and work apps from my phone and preferring to use my real eyes over a screen to view things. I also wrote. A lot. Like, pages upon pages. A few of the things I wrote will appear here. Here's the first in that series.

Somewhere outside Ballycullane, Wexford County, Ireland

This is what I came to Ireland looking for. I'm somewhere where I don't know where I am, stopped on a small side road, off some other unnamed road staring across a deep, rolling, green valley with endless skies.

Cows graze off in the distance, while an old man rides a tractor. It sputters along, stopping here and there so the man can get out, tinker with something, kick it once or twice, then climb back on.

I pause for a good 20 minutes, feeling the breeze, smelling, absorbing. By now, the old man has made his way up to me. He hops down and asks in a wonderful, deep native accent if I'm looking for something. I tell him no, I had just stopped to admire and write about it.

"You're joking," he says. 

I show him some of what I've written so far and a sketch I've drawn of his land. His eyes, already smiling when we met, beam brighter still. He knows his land is beautiful, but knowing I appreciate it so much gives him even more to admire in it.

He tells me his names is Symes. He points out some landmarks in the distance. He tells me about a haunted house somewhere nearby, where to get the best pint, and then decides to move on. I stay.

About 15 minutes later he returns in a small truck, with a dog sitting on the back.

"I've got to move me cows!" he belts out to me. 

Not sure precisely what he meant, I decide to stay put, waiting to see if my gut reaction is correct. Symes closes the gate I came in through, reassuring me that I'm fine standing where I am, then buzzes off down the road a bit out of sight.

About 5 minutes later and I'm treated to a road full of cows heading my way.


"I'm not sure what I thought was going to happen," I say out loud.

The cows amble past. A few stop to stare at me. Surely I'm a disruption to their daily routine, as they are mine. Across the road they go, with the farmer pulling up the rear.

Suddenly the "animal crossing" sign I saw on my way is put to incredible use. As he pulls to a stop to open the gate for me, he smiles again and shouts, "Now you've seen everything!"

Maybe not, but getting closer for sure. I love this.

Austin, Texas

I'm sitting in a cozy little pub in the middle of nowhere Ireland, sipping a pint of Murphy's, reading an Irish newspaper. I look up. "Jill."

I grab my wife's attention.

"Look. There are thousands of colleges in America. In the world, who knows? Of all the hats that could be hanging above the bar there - that's the one?"

Jill makes the "hook 'em horns" sign with her hands. Then the "rock on" sign. Then hook 'em again. She'll get it. The hat is a bright orange University of Texas Longhorns hat.

"Austin is stalking me."

And indeed that's how it feels. It's not just the hat. Earlier in the week we stopped in for a final drink in the crowded bar of our hotel in Cork. It's packed and loud, with diverse accents from all over the world shouting over one another.

We wiggle up to the bar to order, and strike up a conversation with a guy who looks like he's been camped out for a while. He's American. Here on business from...Austin, Texas.

A few days before that, Jill and I found ourselves in a restaurant in Dublin. Our next table over neighbors start to chat with us. They're Americans. From Austin, Texas.

Even John, our Fourth of July benefactor (he gets a future post of his own) met in yet another part of Ireland spent a bunch of time there and told of us the similarities of our current beloved hometown of Boulder, Colorado.

Let's step back a few more days. I've just cleared security at Denver International Airport and am walking toward my gate with Jon Clifford. I'm on my last business trip for Kapost before heading to Ireland for my two week honeymoon.

As we walk, a single announcement interrupts the serene Native American flute music playing through speakers.

"This is a final boarding call for Flight 432..." To Austin.

Okay, it's time.

"Jon, I was going to wait to tell you this, but now seems like the right moment instead."

"What's up?"

"Remember how we met? We were walking through an airport together about two [work] weeks before I started at Kapost?"

"Oh yeah! I remember."

"Well, maybe it's fitting then that you're the person I'm walking through an airport with, two [work] weeks before I leave Kapost. Facebook recruited me. The job's in Austin. I'm going."

You can stop stalking me now, Austin. You got me. I'm coming.

Colorado to Austin
Colorado to Austin

On July 25th, 2015, a new adventure begins. I'll be moving to Austin, Texas to work for Facebook. This blog post title becomes even better now, huh? I'll have more on this in the coming days. I wrote a lot in Ireland, and if you care to follow along you'll get a glimpse into what's been bobbling around in my head for the past month.

What Happens Next?

I woke up in the third city in three days. That's not a complaint. It's actually invigorating. It's been a few years since I last wandered parts of America with Model Stranger.

In fact, three years ago today I was in Sioux Falls, South Dakota en route to...well, somewhere else.

I've missed the constant upheaval that life on the road brings. I'm most comfortable when I'm uncomfortable. I like words like "different" and "up" over "same" or "grounded". I'm at my best when I'm constantly bombarded by new challenges, when decisions need to be made, when all of my possible attention is demanded from many directions. I'm kind of a masochist in that way.

What I like the most is the idea of "new". Now, believe me when I say I have a deep respect for history. I'm well aware and interested in all the past event and experiences that lead up to "now". But I'm also acutely aware that time doesn't stop moving forward. So I'm in no position to hang too dearly on to what was. I can't impact what happened  but I can impact what happens.

And with that, it's time to go make something happen.


L.A. You’re OK

…well, parts of you are. Ok look. I’ve badmouthed L.A. quite a bit. It’s something you grow up doing in Chicago. Some of it’s pure pride in the best city on the planet. Some of it might be a blue collar thing. “L.A. is full of fake people who care about how their faces look, now how hard they work like us” or something like that. Cameron Esposito recently framed it like this:

"I grew up hating L.A. too. It’s such a dismissive city. So segmented and cutthroat. There’s no sense of community and no culture and the people are vain and vapid and made of cars and Botox. Unless you’re a movie star or a Kardashian, find a different place to live. Because in L.A., if you’re a normal person, you ain’t shit.”
She’s from a different part of Chicago than I am - a part my side of the city also has strong opinions about - but it’s a perfect summary of the overall sentiment of the city. I’d add how I thought it's muggy, smoggy, and the traffic sucks. Oh, man. THE TRAFFIC.

When I first visited L.A. back in 2005 I had a preconceived hatred. And honestly, my experience actually validated my distaste. It was muggy, smoggy, the traffic sucked. Oh, man. THE TRAFFIC.

Even my opinion that everyone lived in some fantasy world was validated, when the band I was there with took me up into the hills to a friend of theirs house. I mean, mansion. It was a mansion.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I got to swim in a ridiculous resort-like pool and eat amazing food, all while absorbing various tour stories from Grammy-winning band and their Grammy-winning friends. I held actual Grammy statues. It was awesome.

But it wasn’t reality. This is not how people live. This was not like any backyard barbecue I’ve every attended and likely not like one I’ll ever attend again. These people live in some fantasy. I would stop through L.A. 2-3 more times over the next few years. Some people showed me around. I did some touristy stuff. I ate some pretty solid fish tacos. I sat in traffic. Oh man. THE TRAFFIC.

I left, happy to do so.

So when I decided to go back to L.A. yet again to visit an old friend of mine, I told myself “Well, you’re going to hang out with Jeff. So, just focus on that.” Then I watched an episode of The Layover with Anthony Bourdain. He opens the episode with similar laments to those above. He’s a proud New Yorker. Of course he hates L.A.

But over the course of the episode, as often happens on his various shows, Bourdain starts to be reminded that there’s actually quite a bit that he likes there. He visits some cool places, with some cool people and in the end ponders if he actually could manage some semblance of a life there. I believe the final sentiment was still “yeah, probably not”, but watching him try to enjoy himself and thoroughly succeed in ways I like to enjoy myself with the kind of people I enjoy in the kind of places I enjoy, I decided “well okay. Let’s go in a bit more open minded this time. Plus, Jeff’s cool, so he probably does cool things with cool people in cool places.

And guess what. Jeff does cool things with cool people in cool places. I ate great hole-in-the wall Mexican food. I saw a place where TV is made. We hiked. There was drinking. All in all the way people live their lives in his neighborhood isn’t a whole lot different from where I live. Replace talk of who's working on what show now with who's at what tech startup now; and celebrity sightings with mountain lion sightings; organic food with organic food and it’s really damn close actually.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time. Now, that had a lot to do with my company. Jeff and I go way back and share some great memories of making films together in high school. Even if he lived in a ‘hood I couldn’t stand, odds are I would have loved catching up with him anyway.

But he, like the folks Bourdain spent time with on that episode, succeeded in reminding me that anywhere you go, you can find something to appreciate - and that people make a place. If you’re open to that idea, you can be pleasantly surprised and have some pretty great times.

All that to say - L.A., you’re ok. But you are muggy. And you are smoggy. And your traffic sucks.



Where were you when you first time you heard the earth shattering news? You know, the thing that would change everything. Where were you when you first heard Patrick Sharp can't keep it in his pants? Patrick Sharp is horny?

Wait, what?

This text came from a buddy of mine who typically goes back and forth with me about the state of Chicago Blackhawks hockey. It was apparently referencing a random tweet from some sportwriter guy about Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp sleeping with teammates' wives or something.

That tweet was followed by an article on a site that has the word "Mockery" in the title that's 1,000 words which basically says "that sportwriter guy tweeted that thing and then some people said some stuff to us. We can't prove anything, but like, it's totally true guys, cause like, that sportswriter guy tweeted it and Jimmy and Sally said so. Also there was joke about a Blackhawks player sleeping with people on the television show Modern Family, so that pretty much makes this all fact."

That last part is seriously one of the arguments in the article for the rumors being true.

The article is terrible. Weak arguments, sketchy sources, non-existent facts. Whether or not the stuff might be true, this isn't investigative journalism at its finest.

Regardless, this spread like wildfire on my Facebook feed...

This is not journalism.

Because, well, that's what happens now. We read an article and our instinct is to click "share". Or, more likely, we read a headline and our instinct is to click share. NPR demonstrated that with a brilliant prank last year, but research backs that up too.

This all got me thinking about how we often craft our memories and experiences, and about the role of truth in what's said publicly these days. We're outraged when a journalist makes up details of a story, yet we have no issue adding to the spread of falsehoods or potential falsehoods.

Those things are related. We hear things. We believe them. We share them.

There are so many urban legends, and false statements over history. In fact, a bunch of what we learned growing up - even in school - is simply, well, wrong.

Look at this amazing infographic from Information is Beautiful. I guarantee you'll find something you previously thought was true on it:

Common MythConceptions

Some of this misinformation is non-vital. Am I worse off as a person that I thought mama birds abandoned their babies if they could smell humans? Probably not. But some misinformation can be quite destructive (SEE: JonBenet Ramsey's parents).

Sadly, in our currently impatient digital society, it's often what's read and shared first that holds the most weight.

I don't know if Patrick Sharp did the stuff that was being said about him. But I do know the statements he made to actually credible news outlets today, were not blowing up all over my Facebook feed. The other side of the story and perhaps the right side, even, isn't being widely told.

Even if this all blows over and it's actually proven that all the stuff written lately about him is false, there will still be people sharing what they first read or "heard".

What does this mean for us? When do we decide to slow down, and start "digging" again? Do we event care to?

I found a great about about it here. I think. Maybe. I dunno, I didn't read it.

The Tonic of Wilderness

"We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”― Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

Some mornings you wake up with heavy eyelids and a heavy heart to coincide. This morning was one such morning for me, and on mornings such as these I draw back from public interaction. Now I'm a digital marketer and more specifically a community manager, so there is no such thing as a true retreat. My coworkers may not have seen my face until the afternoon, but they've seen my IMs and my emails since the wee hours.

The world always beckons.

I fall asleep late at night to an empty queue, having responded, interacted, engaged all I can for the day. I awake to dozens of notifications and conversations I've missed while asleep - even for the short few hours I get each night. I wake up behind on the day, each and every day.

But I do not mind this. I am custom built for this. I will see it all, I will engage with it all. I will be everywhere I can, as often as I can be there. I will be "always on". I will stretch myself thin. It's something I'm good at, it's something upon which I thrive.

But sometimes I need wilderness.

I need sanctuary. I need something untouched by the infinite connectivity of the digital world. Now, fortunately I live in a beautiful place in Boulder, Colorado - a place that has actual wilderness a stone's throw away. I took a brisk walk this morning and found myself staring at what is still unfathomable beauty of the Flatirons - just out my back door.

But it's not simply a hike or a day backcountry skiing that I'm in search of. It's not a physical wilderness. It's something inside me, something unsurveyed and unfathomed to this point.

I don't know what my wilderness is yet, but I'm setting out to explore.

A View From the Dark Side of Stubbornness...Maybe.

I''m not a complainer, and aside from occasional thoughts shared on this very blog, I'm not big into talking about things that may be bothering me - and even when I do share, "it's always vague and cryptic", as a close friend recently described it.

I don't often air my grievances and I'm not regularly found venting. I'm a devout believer in the "grin and bear it" attitude toward hardship and pain. There are probably noble things to say about that attitude - to call it brave, strong-willed, or to call me "a trooper" as my mom would say.

But really I'm just stubborn. 

In my defense, I'm a male Capricorn of German-Irish-Polish descent from the southwest side of Chicago named Andrew. Did I really have a choice?

Jokes aside, I am very stubborn. I don't whine because that's letting a situation get the best of me. I persevere because there is no other choice. It's me versus whatever that thing against me is, and I'm going to overcome it. I'm going to. Simple as that.

This unwillingness to give in to life's attempts to break me, I consider a defining trait, which has mostly been a positive thing for me. But as with anything, there's a dark side to such a temperament, particularly when faced with a darker kind of stubbornness.

That kind of stubbornness is the kind that consumes a person. It's the kind of stubbornness that knows absolutely no boundaries and does not differentiate between friend and foe because it simply can't. It's a primitive stubbornness, a belief that anything and everything is an obstacle and that all must be dominated or overcome regardless of circumstance.

People who possess this type of stubbornness tend to be pretty successful in life - like Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos - but they are often difficult creatures to like as well.

I have a person in my life who I believe possesses this stubbornness, and an interesting battle between our strong wills played out yesterday. For some reason, and maybe it's the overall circumstances I'm currently in and the wider exhaustion I'm battling too, I let it boil over into public (well, sort of - I never named the person and kept all potential details that might help identify this person private and I will continue to guard that privacy).

As a social media professional I don't condone the public airing of grievances at all, yet here I was posting on Facebook, asking friends for advice on how to handle a particular situation.

Don't do this.

A close up of that text message exchange looks like this, my comments in blue (click on it to enlarge):

The exchange

Now, there's an antagonistic history here, and to say this nameless person and I don't see eye to eye on...well...almost anything...would be a massive understatement. These are not the first shots fired between us. And I mean between us, because I've had a finger on the trigger in the past as well. As you can see above by my "If you're telling me, I'm telling you to fuck off" comment, I'm not immune to angry words. I own that phrase and apologize for saying it.

The easy thing may have been for me to have taken the post in question down and move on. Yet, I almost feel obligated not to. This person seems to feel they can order me to remove a picture that does not violate any rules, does not include them, reference them, nor involve them in any way, from a public setting, for no reason other than it bothers them personally. From the very start - the very first communication - there's sarcastic insults and a mandate ("I'm not asking you I'm telling you").

I don't know folks. That doesn't sit well with me, and I'm not comfortable rewarding this kind of communication and behavior by caving to demands. I don't think lying on the ground kicking and screaming should get a child what they want and I don't think it should get an adult what they want, either.

But maybe I'm being too stubborn myself.

The court of public opinion that has weighed in heavily thus far has without question agreed this style of communication is unwarranted. Even one of the kindest, sweetest, most thoughtful, gracious people I know, who weighed in with one of the kindest, sweetest, most thoughtful, gracious comments of all of them, began it with, "I think this person is acting like an inconceivable douchebag...however..." yet I take no satisfaction in that. I knew before I even showed it to people that this was ridiculous. It's pretty obvious.

But I wonder if I've dragged this issue out because it's a true matter of principle or just because I want this person to be abundantly clear they're in the wrong.

I'd like to believe the former. It aligns with my principles, both personal and professional. Personally I don't believe people should be allowed to demand or bully other people into getting what they want. Asking nicely goes a long way. Professionally, I don't believe a social media post (or blog post, or newspaper article or YouTube video or major motion picture) that violates no rules, and is in the spirit of the forum it's posted on should be removed because a single individual simply doesn't like it.

I wonder if in posting that Facebook post and posting these thoughts here on my blog I've stooped to the latter.

Is my idea of being principled, of defending the fact that I've done nothing wrong originally, and of not being willing to cater to aggressive demands in reality just a cover for seeing this person as an obstacle that must be overcome, regardless of cost?

I don't know yet.

I'll guess I'll be listening to Clarity while I sort this out.

UPDATE: Nah, I'm good.

What Were You Expecting, Chicago?

NOTE: For those following along at home, this one's about football, with me. There's a larger thing I'm working towards here. So, it turns out the Chicago Bears aren't really a great team this year. That's surprised a lot of people whose job it is to care about that stuff, but even more surprising than the team's play on the field has been the great levels of dysfunction off the field that have crept into the public eye.

I'll let you Google what I'm referring to, but the peak of the franchise's ongoing meltdown happened this past week when it was announced the team was benching quarterback Jay Cutler, a player they signed to a 7-year $126 million deal before the season.

The popular opinion is that Cutler has certainly not lived up to the expectations of that deal (fair, as I'll go into later), however this is still a strange decision. Well, unless you're a friend of mine whose name rhymes with Blacho.

Nacho Hates Cutler

Blacho's not the only Cutler-hater around. They are numerous and they are loud. "Sucks" is a common word found after the quarterback's name. Well, at least on Facebook and Twitter - which we all know are the places people go to discuss things in a civil, well-reasoned manner (yeah, or not that).

Now, I'm pretty indifferent when it comes to Cutler and the Bears, really. I have been known to debate his critics in bar conversations on occasion, but that's been less about defending the man, and more about defending rational thinking. That's what I'm trying to do here. And, here we go.

Everybody Hates Jay-mond?

A lot of the negativity directed toward Cutler has to do with his personality. He's criticized for being aloof, a poor leader, generally unlikeable and disinterested.

Disinterested Cutler

Sure. I don't have anything to say about that, because those are subjective arguments, and well, a lot of players across sports have been unlikeable over the years. Chicago, remember Dennis Rodman? Though it absolutely helps if we like athletes, we don't need them to be likable. We need them to play well. We pay money for tickets to games to watch sports-ball players play well and win sports-ball games.

But, Data!

So that brings me to the other argument the Jay-ters often make: Jay Cutler isn't a good/winning quarterback. Sorry, Blacho et al. You're wrong. Factually, statistically wrong.

Never argue with an idiot.

Here's a look at Cutler's stats as a Chicago Bear. These stats come from, and I'm not manipulating them to make a statement or anything. Just showing raw statistics.

Year G Comp Att Pct Yds TD Int QB Rating League Average Worst
2014 14 347 525 66.1 3,640 28 18 89.5 89.19 69.1
2013 11 224 355 63.1 2,621 19 12 89.2 85.75 66.6
2012 15 255 434 58.8 3,033 19 14 81.3 85.47 63.1
2011 10 182 314 58 2,319 13 7 85.7 83.58 62.2
2010 15 261 432 60.4 3,274 23 16 86.3 83.86 57
2009 16 336 555 60.5 3,666 27 26 76.8 82.31 55.8
TOTAL/AVG 81 1605 2615 61.15 18553 129 93 84.8 85.02 62.30

The third to last column there shows QB Rating, an imperfect, but commonly cited metric when grading quarterbacks as it takes into account a variety of statistics in its formula. As you can see, during his career as a Chicago Bear, Cutler comes just under the league average for QB rating, and that's really dragged down by one year (2009).

Out of 6 years as a starter, Cutler finished at or above the league average in QBR 4 of those years. What's more, this year, the year of his benching, he's actually having his best season looking at those stats.

Jay's criticized for being a "turnover machine" but he's never actually thrown more interceptions than touchdowns. "But what about fumbles, Coate? Cutler currently leads the NFL in turnovers!"

Okay, so that looks like this, adding fumbles lost, but also rushing TDs since that also wasn't originally included:

Year Pass TD Rush TD Int Fum Lost TDs Turnovers
2014 28 2 18 6 30 24
2013 19 0 12 3 19 15
2012 19 0 14 4 19 18
2011 13 1 7 3 14 10
2010 23 1 16 6 24 22
2009 27 1 26 1 28 27
TOTALS 129 5 93 23 134 116

Yes. Cutler does turn the ball over a lot. Factually. Never more than he scores, however.

Also, many of Cutler's failures may have something to do with the poor support systems he's had around him. Bears receivers have combined to have the 4th most drops since 2009, accounting for over 15% of Cutler's incompletions in that timeframe. SOURCE: SportingCharts.

Also the game situations have had something to do with his interception rate. Pete Prisco, a Senior NFL Columnist, dug through some data and figured out that in 2014 alone, Cutler threw 332 passes when his team has been behind, "a clear indicator that he's usually in scramble mode, which can make it tough to play quarterback in the NFL." That's fair. If you're under duress, you tend to panic. Professional athlete or not, that's a normal human emotional reaction to stress.

Why Does This Matter, Coate?

Let's pause for a moment.

None of the data above, and none of the mountains of data about Cutler's Bears career does anything to justify his pay grade.

When you combine all the various stats Cutler has compiled in his Bears career compared to the rest of the league in those various seasons, Cutler ranks exactly 15. There are 32 NFL teams, which places Cutler at exactly barely above average.

So, statistically, Jay Cutler has not been as poor as generalized ("average" does not equal "sucks"), however there's a larger problem, here. The Chicago Bears organization and its fans expected Cutler to be a Top 10 and maybe even Top 5 quarterback. They expected him to be elite. After all, he's paid like it. His contract makes him the 7th-highest paid QB in the NFL.

It's then fair to say, Jay Cutler has greatly underperformed compared to expectations.

The Truth Hurts.

But, here's my question, and the heart of this whole thing. What were you expecting, Chicago?

Cutler arrived via trade to the Chicago in 2009 to much fanfare. In the 24 seasons in between the 1985 Bears Super Bowl victory and Cutler's acquisition, Chicago had trotted out 27 different starting quarterbacks - most of them other team's castoffs or career backups.

Craig Krenzel Who

With Cutler, Chicago fans would finally have a "real" quarterback - a guy with tremendous natural talent and a huge arm. This was the guy that would return the Bears to their former glory.

I now ask, what gave them any indication that would be the case?

Look back at the very first chart I posted above, and now look at this one:

Year G Comp Att Pct Yds TD Int QB Rating League Average
2008 16 384 616 62.3 4,526 25 18 86 82.24
2007 16 297 467 63.6 3,497 20 14 88.1 82.10
TOTAL/AVG 32 681 1083 62.95 8,023 45 32 87 82

These stats are from his two years as a starter with the Denver Broncos prior to going to Chicago. Cutler's 62.95 completion % is barely above his 61.15% with the Bears. His touchdown-to-interception ration with the Bears isn't much different than with the Broncos. His QB rating with the Broncos was higher than the league average, but not significantly. He averaged a QBR of 87 in those two years with the Broncos.

Let's say he kept that as an average with the Bears. He'd still finish barely above the NFL average QBR.

Are you sensing a theme?

Cutler has always been barely above average. The Bears traded for a barely above average QB and have gotten exactly that same QB...they just haven't gotten what they paid for.

Why Blame Jay?

How is that Jay Cutler's fault? HINT: It's not.

We live in a capitalist society. Cutler apparently has a really, really good agent. Just because he was paid as a top QB, doesn't mean he should have been a top QB. There wasn't anything in his prior career (other than "potential") that showed he would become a Top 5 option.

Especially when you consider he was traded to a traditionally defense-and-run-grame-focused organization, and to be Top 5 he'd have to best QBs like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and even Ben Roethlisberger, Donovan McNabb, Phillip Rivers and Eli Manning. Most of those QBs have led high scoring offenses in the past decade and a few of them are sure-fire Hall-of-Famers.

The guy (potential for more aside) gave a consistent effort all these years. This, while playing under 4 different offensive coordinators in 6 years with the Bears.

Football is a team sport, and like any team sport it takes more than one player to be great. It seems fair to me that Cutler, the man who holds 14 franchise records as a quarterback - is really just a scapegoat (link goes to another post with even further evidence that Cutler hasn't been the largest problem in Chicago).

Blame These People Instead.

McCaskey's suck

Those people in that picture are the owners of the Chicago Bears. They brought Cutler to Chicago, and well, not much else. These are the people that have been absolutely OK with average.

Need proof?

Since the Chicago Bears won their last Super Bowl in 1985, the team has gone 239-222. That's a .520 winning percentage. With Jay Cutler as a starter, the Chicago Bears went 45-36. That's a .556 winning percentage - which, is higher.

They’ve gone to the playoffs just 10 seasons out of the past 29.  5 of those 10 came between 1986-1991 when they still had some guy named Mike Singletary (Hall of Fame) at Middle Linebacker and Mike Ditka (DITKA) coaching.

Since Ditka left in 1992, the Bears have played in just 9 playoffs games, winning 4 (Jay Cutler played in two of them, winning one).

Blacho and others - it's time to come to a sad realization - the Chicago Bears organization is mediocre and has been for a long, long time. Jay Cutler was just another mediocre player among many brought in. Actually, as proved above, he was slightly above mediocre. The Bears were better because of him. Not much, but still.

Jay Cutler's tenure with the Bears is likely over. The Bears' tenure as a mediocre team won't end with him. Not until the ownership and management figure out how to put a good TEAM on the field.



Music is transcendent. There's not a mood nor emotion that doesn't have the perfect soundtrack, nor are there adequate words to describe the feeling of hearing the right music at the right time. There's no way to draw comparison to the experience of being completely and absolutely overwhelmed by an album or by a live performance. We've all had that feeling - that song, that album, that show that just...consumed us.

I've had a few, particularly around this time of year. Growing up in the harsh winters of Chicago makes you moody to say the least. Winter is a time of escapism there. You do anything you can to distract you from miserable gray skies, matching gray slush along the streets, and biting subzero temperatures.

The lucky or wealthy escape to warmer climates, many (most?) escape to alcohol, I escaped to music. High school was a time of musical discovery. My ear perked up at more than The Smashing Pumpkins' Melanie Collie and the Infinite Sadness (Billy, I can't stand you, but god I loved your music once) which had, alongside Siamese Dream and Adore, dominated my junior high listening.

In high school I listened to anything and everything my new classmates recommended and among those recommendations came Clarity by Jimmy Eat World shared with me by a friend name John Farrell. While Jimmy Eat World's genre and wider catalogue are not among my preferred, this album and the title track gripped me in a way few albums or songs had before.

They struck me so passionately and impacted me so deeply that during a time where all I wanted was to be introduced to more and more, I found myself listening to Clarity on repeat.

Clarity was inexplicably inescapable. Iconic. Defining.

It remains that way. The past week as the weather has chilled in Boulder, Colorado I find myself walking to work with Clarity in my ears. It's the perfect soundtrack for now, as it has been this time of year, almost relentlessly.

It's music I come back to. I hope you have an album like this in your life and I'd love to hear what it is below.

What I've Learned After One Year at a Startup

NOTE: The views of this post are my own and are not meant to reflect those of my employer. I made it folks.

One year ago, I joined a Boulder, Colorado marketing technology company called Kapost. At the time, it seemed like a potentially risky move. I was recently engaged, leaving a company at which I felt secure, working with great people and for a great person. A year later, it's the best decision I've ever made.


Throughout this year I've been documenting my evolution as a new employee, sharing what I had learned after one month and four months, and my awe of the people I've worked with and for. This is another in that series, documenting lessons from this past year at a Kapost.

You Can't Fear Change

For those following along at home, this is a recurring lesson. In fact, it's probably the number one theme. In the past year we've altered the way we do business (3-4 times by my count), adjusting appropriately as we learn what works/doesn't. We've grown from a company in the teens (I was employee 19 a year ago) to somewhere around 60 employees. I think. I honestly can't keep up. In my first post on this topic I bemoaned the construction of a cubicle wall that divided the room, however noting:

"...aside from whining about it in this post, I’m not throwing much of a fit, because I know this too will change.

If we continue to grow as rapidly as we have been – and as rapidly as the company is planning to – we literally will not be able to fit everyone in the office space we’re in now. There will be another move, and maybe we’ll return to an open, lively, & energetic workspace. The point is, change happens at breakneck speed at a startup and if venting in a blog post like I just did isn’t enough to help you keep moving, you’ll struggle to catch up."

It did change. We kept growing. We kept playing with the layout of our space. Now we're moving to a bigger space in a month or so and an even bigger space a few months after that. This constant adjusting of ideas - and in our case physical space - can't rattle you if you want to last in a startup.

On a smaller scale, our marketing team has been under constant change this year. We're now at the largest we've ever been staff-wise, but we've had to get to that point by overcoming the departure of 6 marketers in the process. Sometimes we filled positions, sometimes we created new ones. If there's one thing our team knows, it's that the way things work now, sure as hell won't be the way they always work.

Fortunately, we're the kind of team that just keeps rolling.


You Can't Stop the "Up"

So, remember that part above where I said the marketing team lost some folks this year? Well, among them were our web designer, front end developer, marketing automation & Salesforce admin, and our director of marketing. Ridiculously talented people in critical positions. I can't stress that enough. In fact, the latter two were the ones who built Kapost's original marketing structure from the ground up. You don't just replace that overnight.

But despite these key setbacks, our marketing goals remained in place. We still had to produce and still had to produce more each month. So we did (for the most part). We found a way to keep momentum, because, well, we had to. In order for this company to grow, we as a company need to continue to produce, to innovate to stretch ourselves to be the best version of Kapost we can be.


I'm proud to work at a company where that is not only a mandate but a common understanding and something we all push for. We all know, that as tough as things get, we'll keep going and keep this company booming. So far so good, and we're not stopping any time soon.

Don't Hire Jerks

Now you might be thinking "no shit, Coate", but the reason Kapost has been able to handle change, turnover, high demands from prospects, customers, board members, investors and so on is deeply rooted in an old SlideShare presentation by CEO Toby Murdock. On slide 5 Toby lists Kapost's cultural values.

[slideshare id=24580088&doc=kapost-20culture-207-130724094223-phpapp02]

Numbers 3-6 make up the part I have most commonly cited when people ask what I enjoy most about Kapost. It started with good people, it's grown with good people, and it will continue to grow with good people. As we've grown I've never questioned a hire. With very few exceptions, the people who have walked in the door have belonged, have been all-stars at what they do, and fit in as those they've always been a part of this.

I've also watched as wave after wave of new hires has been welcomed by those before them. There is no sense of "us vs. them", "originals vs. newbies". There's no overt favoritism solely toward longevity. Appreciation, sure, but I mean to say a person is able to walk in to Kapost and do a great job from day one, because they already have the trust of existing teammates.

The great part too, is that the awesome people that have left this company this year have been awesome to the company on the way out. Our marketing team survived a potentially treacherous transition period because none of those key departures left on a bitter note (awesome people are in high demand and they were demanded elsewhere is all), and were willing to do everything they could to make sure we could keep going in the interim, often going above and beyond what's typically expected.

So yeah. Don't hire jerks.

Style Doesn't Matter...

Referencing that SlideShare deck again, #7 reads "We evaluate by results." One of the joys of working for a startup is how freeform a lot of work tends to be. Goals are in place, along with general process guidelines (sometimes), and then it's "okay guys, go get 'em."

This is where innovation comes from - finding different ways to get somewhere. Experimentation has its place, so does unconventional thinking. There's no format, really. It's purely about getting things done, however that looks.

While I referred above to a unity among Kaposters, you wouldn't notice it directly by looking around the office. I see a diversity of workspace and clothing choices, of work styles and work schedules. We aren't a group of look-a-like do-a-likes but we're getting it done. There's something to be said for that.

...Though Apparently Neither Does Cleanliness

Kaposters. Dirty dishes in the bucket. Seriously.

Dirty dishes
Dirty dishes

Also, what's going on here?


Or here?


Clean up after yourselves, adult humans.


What I Learned After One Month at a Startup

What I Learned After Four Months at a Startup

Kapost is a rapidly growing venture-backed company with customers like IBM, Dell, & Lenovo.

So that's year one for me. Hope you enjoyed reading my experiences this crazy year as much as I enjoyed having them.

What Loyalty Looks Like

This morning was a normal Saturday morning for me. Wake up, shower, throw on my button up shirt and sports jacket, grab a breakfast burrito and coffee, head to Folsom Field to pick up my press pass for the CU Buffs Football game. Wander up to the press box, grab a delicious blueberry muffin, followed by a brief stop down to the field where I stand in the end zone, watching warmups, looking for anything notable to use later on. Well, that used to be a normal Saturday morning for me, anyway…a decade ago.

At the time I was a student at the University of Colorado, working for KVCU, the student radio station. I had originally volunteered at the station in hopes of becoming a DJ and hosting my own specialty show, but found that volunteering with the sports radio show to be a quicker route to getting behind a soundboard and eventually on air. As an added perk, I got to be a producer for weekly broadcasts of the football games.

Andrew J. Coate Corey White

Admittedly, football has never been my number one sport of passion, but college football games are an experience like none other. There is a buzz, an excitement in the air, a frantic energy that you simply don’t get in professional sports. I witnessed this secondhand, a tacit part of it from a press box high above the stadium. I looked down on the often packed student section, clad in black and gold, enjoying the ebb and flow of their energy as they game progressed.

Go Buffs

Andrew Detch

Meanwhile, a pair of fellow CU students named Andrew Detch and Brian Hickey spent their Saturday mornings in a similar environment, yet in quite a different manner.

Brian Hickey

Their mornings involved all that buzz, excitement and frantic energy I referenced. They were not mere observers like me, they were participants. They were creators of it. Drew never left his house without Buffs colors and his cowboy hat glued to his head. Hickey often painted up. They analyzed the game in greater depth that many of the press writers I shared my Saturdays with. They weren’t just CU Buffs fans, they obsessed over CU football. They bled black and gold. They always showed up and showed up loud.

I left the University of Colorado before graduating, and I missed some of the football program’s darkest days. But as tough as those years were to watch, Drew and Hickey still watched. They still cheered. They still obsessed. They still showed up.

The wider world sometimes looks at this unflinching focus on a football team as silly. It’s just a game right? There are more important things to put your energy towards, right? Maybe, but the narrative here isn’t about a pair of sports nuts, it’s about loyalty.

I’ve been fortunate to witness this loyalty firsthand and to realize that it’s not situational. These are loyal men. They have been loyal to me as friends. They seen me up and down, lifted me up and brought me back down when necessary. They’ve stood by me. Last Saturday they literally stood by me as my groomsmen along with two other loyal men - Corey Gage and Eric Thompson. The type of loyalty these two display is rarely seen. It’s even more rarely appreciated or rewarded.

Best Men.

This morning, I had the opportunity to reward them - to give them the opportunity to literally stand by those they had long stood by figuratively. This morning they joined me at Folsom Field. They walked the press box, they stood on the field. The University of Colorado should be honored to have such men on their side, and I know they are, considering their willingness to help me create this experience (thanks Dave Plati and the Sports Information Office for your generosity).

Hickey and Drew on the Field

I’m thankful and humbled by the chance to revisit steps of my past, but I’m more thankful and humbled to have done so with these two men by my side. Again, tacitly watching their excitement, their buzz and their frantic energy, only this time from a tad bit closer proximity.

Thanks for your loyalty Drew and Hickey. Jerks.

Oh, and Go Buffs.