Three Metrics-Driven Steps to Build a Successful Business

I remember cracking the bright blue, hardcover, first edition copy of The Lean Startup by Eric Reis in 2012. That was my gateway drug into so much: startup, entrepreneurship, building and selling a company, and ultimately a career in product management in San Francisco.

I’ve learned a lot in the past 8 years and while the fundamental insights and principles of that book (and many others!) are still relevant, I’ve found that as an educator when I’m trying to teach product management and startup the framing of “MVP” and “Validated Learning” inspire…

Medicare For All means more than you think and is a pragmatic answer to how to effectively transform public safety in this country

The call to “Defund the Police” is a righteous one, but one that commentators and spectators have 1) a hard time understanding and 2) a hard time envisioning how to do it exactly. In reality, the police are an inexpensive band-aid solution to a truly expensive problem: systemic poverty. Defunding a hundred million dollars from the police will not fill the tens-of-billion-dollar challenge of the social ills that underlie criminal activity.

In this brief article, I would…

A New and Practical Solution to Improving Education

It is my job to convince you, dear reader, of a simple but profoundly beneficial plan to improve education in the US and around the world. This new plan consists is just one thing: the ability for citizens to create new institutions and new methods for higher education —to create wholly new colleges and universities.

At present it is virtually impossible to create a new college or university. I know it is nearly impossible because I did start one, successfully, and against all odds. It was not nearly impossible because it was…

How to be kind and virtuous in complex times

We shut down most of society because of an outbreak of COVID-19. However, new data shows that COVID-19 is only 2–3x more dangerous than the seasonal flu and, in retrospect, blanket shelter-in-place orders were an overreaction. Reasonable public health standards should reopen society while protecting and supporting the elderly and immunocompromised.

  1. Misunderstanding the Data — The current reporting and decision-making around COVID-19 is based on confounding the case mortality rate and the infection mortality rate. (more below)
  2. The Cost of Poverty & Isolation — Poverty and isolation can kill just as…

A no-BS guide to what to buy when starting off oil painting ($150–$200)

I started to learn how to paint with oil paints over Christmas last year (2019). In retrospect I spent more money than I needed to and I wanted to pay it forward for you if you are considering starting oil painting.


First off, GO FOR IT! It is very fun, relaxing, and gratifying to paint with oils and after a little practice what you produce can look pretty good, definitely makes good gifts, and if you get really good maybe even make a little money.

The main…

Who will win the biggest technology race of the century? China, Germany, the UK, or the USA?

Sometimes predictions are right, like in the case of the current climate crisis, but often real change sneaks upon us. The biggest discoveries catch us all off guard, like in the case of the internet and automation.

There is another breakthrough discovery that no one in society is talking about or prepared for: clean, safe, and superabundant fusion energy.

There is another breakthrough discovery that no one in society is talking about or prepared for: clean, safe, and superabundant fusion energy.

Teams in…

A Vignette

Jonah sat on the roof of a condemned building in a neighborhood in Barcelona called la Barcelonetta. He wrangled with a pervasive feeling of impossibility. His cousin was dead. He gazed with ennui over the square multistory buildings at a sunset. Propped on his knee rested the body of his cousin’s orange guitar. The sunset turned the sea the color of a fig. He let little catches of music flow through his mind, fingers, and the guitar, like sexual energy cycling through lovers. Gently his fingers found the strings below and pressed down chords above.

The house was…

A How-To Guide for Inequity and Exploitation

Economics considers any product or service to be the summation of the Factors of Production. These factors are classically:

  1. Labor—the labor that went into producing a product or service, as well as the labor that went into developing the recipe for the product or service. Often measured as the salaries paid.
  2. Land—the land on which the product or service was produced. Often quantified as rent.
  3. Capital—any tool or machine used to produce the product or service. Capital is usually synonymous with interest paid on loans for the money to purchase these tools and…

I was sick of it, so I made a better one

TLDR: I redesigned the business model canvas so it is easier to use: download link here.

So the business model canvas, you’ve probably seen, or you should put some plastic down because your head is about to explode.

It’s an amazing tool that sums up an entire new startup idea in one sheet of paper.

But. It. Is. Also. Insane.

Here’s what it looks like:

Now any sane person would just start on the left, and work there way to the right, then do the bottom two “Cost Structure”…

Higher education fails in one major way: they don’t train students in 21st century job-ready hard skills. Here’s how to fix that.

There are 5 Hard Skills the mastery of which will set you up to get a job and succeed in almost any business context. In this post, I’ll outline those skills, and then share how to begin to gain mastery in each one.

  1. Project Management—setting goals, due dates, running meetings, driving consensus, and overall managing people, leading people, and helping teams of people be a success.
  2. Software Engineering—Almost everything has a tech component these days. …


Educator, Founder, Engineer. Interested in Evidence Based Education and Solving BIG Problems.

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