Lately my coding style has been some sort of sociopathic, oscillation between fits of crippling self doubt and an extreme kanye-like god complex — where I’m either marching around my apt alone all day crying aloud or I’m calling my mother to let her know her 30 year old son is “f***ing the game up (in a good way)”. So naturally it seemed like a good time to take a break and write about it.
I’ve spent the last 20 years breathing and building the internet. So I have a good sense for the benefits of always-available instant access and all it entails. I also have a strong appreciation for the drain being constantly connected can cause on your health and sense of well-being.
There is a natural tendency to do more trade shows and publicity because you know they will somewhat work. This is a mistake. Search engine marketing was significantly better, and so you should spend all your efforts on your core channel because uncovering additional strategies and tactics within it will have a greater effect than using these secondary channels. They’re distracting.
There is video evidence of a man being executed and people think it’s time for “but’s” and “well actually’s”? A man died who 100% didn’t need to. Period. I’m just at a loss as to why there’s any discussion or hedging on that indisputable fact. People who knew Alton Sterling say he was a good man. They say he wasn’t a bad person. But here’s the thing: I don’t care if you’re Mother Teresa or a drug dealer, no one should be shot in the street like a dog. By the police. At point-blank range. When you’re already being subdued and pose zero threat to anyone. The argument may be made that sometimes things happen quickly and in the heat of the moment, mistakes are sometimes made. I would counter with the fact that James Holmes shot and killed 12 people in the Aurora Theatre shootings and he was taken into custody alive. Yet somehow it’s impossible to deal with a black man who was selling CD’s in front of a convenience store without killing him.
Here’s the thing: This is obviously a gross injustice. Anyone can see that. But for me and my fellow African Americans, this isn’t just some nebulous injustice. This is literally life and death. What am I supposed to do when the people that I’m most scared of are the police, the people who are supposed to protect me? If a regular civilian is a racist, that doesn’t really affect my life on a day-to-day basis. Sure, somebody might yell mean things at me or they might call me names. But when a cop is racist, he has the power to choose to end my life. I’m one traffic stop gone wrong from becoming a hashtag. #RIPZachFreshley. That’s terrifying. What if I run a stop sign and the wrong cop pulls me over? What if I’m walking alone at night and an officer accosts me and because I’m so scared, I look “suspicious”? Who knows what could happen? As a young black man in The South, I am eminently killable. I’m forced to live my life constantly looking over my shoulder because someone in a position of power might be biased against me because of the amount of melanin in my skin. Read that sentence again. I mean…I just don’t know what we’re supposed to do.
We also had that unquantifiable magic that sometimes happens between people. You know what I mean, the kind of thing that can’t be created or anticipated, or even described — it just palpably is, and is transformative. For 15 years I basically had the same guy sitting ten feet across from me. He was young, smart and focused. I liked him. He was good at (and interested in) things that I wasn’t — and in return, I was a similar complement to him. We were self-aware. We knew our strengths and played to them. We knew of shortcomings in the other and compensated for them in a caring way. It was the best kind of collaboration, because we trusted each other enough to challenge the occasional opinion or desire. It worked because we tried to do it a way that allowed both parties to understand and often appreciate the other’s point-of-view. We strived to do it in an informative way, avoiding combative or hurtful comments or nasty intonations. In other words, the person who was questioning a decision was open to the fact that the other might be right, but that they wanted to double check, just to be sure. It came from a place of deep respect, and not tinged with resentment for one person or the other “being right”. Not many “I told you so” dances happened at Teehan+Lax. I really miss having that close relationship that only business partners that were founders can understand. You both have keys to the black box and a lot of lives rest on you making the right decisions. A good partner helps you grow and make better decisions. I had a great partner.