Blogging insecurities

(In a future post I'll discuss this list and where it fits into my own experience of writing and blogging. For now, I give you a partial list of blogging insecurities as collected from many conversations over the years about what keeps us from hitting "Publish" - please comment to add others you've encountered.)

What if my words doesn't make sense?

What if someone else has already written a better post about this topic?

What if my post is too long?

What if my post is too short?

What if the moment has passed?

Should I update or replace my WordPress theme before writing this?

My TTFB seems high, maybe I should fix that before publishing?

Maybe I need a new keyboard that will help me write better?

What if there's some more important use of my time?

What if I'm not meant to be a writer?

What if I offend someone with my views?

What if I don't challenge or provoke any useful conversation with my views?

What if this post is too personal?

Continue reading Blogging insecurities

Startup

startup-podcast-coverI've just finished raising $1.5 million in investor dollars, building an office and growing a staff to start a new media company focused on narrative podcasts.

Okay, not really.

But I HAVE just finished listening to the first season of Alex Blumberg's podcast Startup, which documents his process of envisioning and then creating exactly that new company, Gimlet Media, from the very beginning. The show is so well done that I felt in on some of the best and worst moments in starting the business, and I learned a lot along the way.

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Who else?

The U.S. has finally decided to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states. We celebrate. We acknowledge that it has taken too long. We continue to fight the fear, bigotry and close-mindedness around sexual orientation that no court can overrule.

But we must also ask, "Who else?"

Who else is fighting to have their voice heard?

Who else is struggling against the cultural, moral and legal constraints of our society?

Who else is discriminated against now in ways that may one day be seen as embarrassing and unthinkable?

Is it because of how they look? Is it because of where they were born? Who they love? How poor they are? What they believe in or don't believe in? The identity they have embraced?

Continue reading Who else?

Fatherhood

Kelly and I are in the midst of becoming parents. I am in the midst of becoming a father.

Don't worry, this site will not become a parenting blog. There are enough of those. But it's a big enough life change that it seems deserving of some reflection.

My own father was only in my life a short time, dying of cancer when I was 10. Here we are together while visiting my grandparents some time in the 1980s:

Me and my dad

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Asheville Living

Kelly and I are fortunate to have enough flexibility in our schedules and employment that we've continued the trend of trying to live in another place (e.g. Portland, OR, Washington, D.C.) for 3-4 weeks per year. It's just long enough to transition away from full-on tourist mode and get to know a place a little bit more from a local point of view. Immersing ourselves in a new landscape is also a great way to get perspective on the world and the rest of our lives - what we value, what we miss, what we want more or less of and how we might make that happen.

This year we spent that time in Asheville, North Carolina.

It's a place that I've spent a fair amount of time already - visiting my dad's parents there when I was younger, attending Camp Rockmont for several summers in a row, going on various whitewater rafting/canoeing trips nearby and visiting college friends there more recently - but it was great to experience the city in this new way as it lives into its emerging culinary/artistic/outdoorsy identity. The mountain air, lush woods and trails, flourishing food scene, accessible size, eclectic neighborhoods and friendly people made for a really memorable time.

We stayed at a beautiful Airbnb house near the downtown area, which meant we could walk into town and experience a restaurant, bar, market, sidewalk performance or drum circle whenever we felt like it:

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The End of College?

I found this interview with author Kevin Carey about "The End of College" to be very much worthwhile. He talks about shifting understandings of the value of higher education, the ways in which college replicates privilege, why college is so expensive, and what college might look like in a few decades.

Carey's main prediction is that a handful of very expensive and elite schools will survive in the traditional model while the rest of higher education shifts to online tools and offline experiences that aren't concentrated in a specific location.

Some sort of major shift seems inevitable. As I watch my own alma mater Earlham College wrestle with increasing costs against the backdrop of a highly competitive admissions landscape, I have to wonder if I would spend the money to send my own children to a place like it.

Continue reading The End of College?