Stacks and stacks of yellow pads

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I’m a software developer and I’m addicted to ruled yellow pads.

There, I said it.

I think these magical pads are the secret source of my mojo, so I have no intention of kicking this paper habit which has sustained me for decades.

Sometimes I’ll have two or three pads going on at the same time as I sit in my big comfy chair or sofa at home and meticulously plot out code modules or business strategies.

Having multiple pads is like using multiple monitors on your computer. Once you’ve tried it, there’s no going back. …

This strategy has worked for me time and again

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Be good to Google, and Google will be good to you.

Seriously, that’s my secret!

Of course, this needs interpretation — which is what I’ll cover in this post.

I saw that statement in a Google slide presentation about 10 years ago. And strangely, it wasn’t even a presentation on search engine optimization.

Instead, it was about energy efficiency in their data centers and how tiny improvements, multiplied by billions per day, add up to extraordinary savings over time.

The presentation continued, mentioning things like how much harder it is for Google to process web pages with invalid HTML vs. pages with correctly-formed syntax; and how the good pages are fast-tracked…

Too much to learn, too little time

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Damn, I’m almost 60 and I just found out that I’m a generalist, after spending most of my career trying to be a specialist.

A specialist, in my world, is like a sharp shooter. A sniper, trained to attack problems within their specialty with skills that far exceed those of most of their peers.

In contrast, a generalist has a broader view of problems, and consequently juggles more pieces of the puzzle at a time than do specialists.

It’s not that one is specifically better than the other — they’re just different. …

Boosting online sales and engagement

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I had previously cofounded a company named Inside Stores, and one of our niche websites,, is a top seller of drapery and upholstery fabric.

This article details how we were able to leverage machine learning to boost visitor engagement and sales by greatly improving product discovery for nearly 500K drop-ship fabric patterns.

No Code Here

This is not a programming article and you do not need to be a developer or know anything about machine learning to understand the information presented in this post. …

Fighting a tax on logos in software

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Patent trolls are unusually-cunning souls for the greedy bastards that they are. No conscience. No morality. No apologies.

Have you ever been befriended by a troll — the mark?

It always starts out the same way. You get a nice letter complimenting you on your success. The one I got began like this:

Dear Mr. Avritch:

I commend you on the success of your company and in particular your screen saver program which displays the Energizer bunny. Your efforts to exploit the potentially huge market of computers and advertising are noteworthy.

Little did I know, this seemingly-innocent letter was just…

It’s in our DNA

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When do we keep going?

When do we give up?

Some of the products I developed took off like rockets after a little trial and error. Others did just okay. And of course, I’ve had a dud or two along the way as well.

Founders are rarely lucky enough to nail product-market fit right from launch. For me, that really only happened once; and that was with the Energizer Bunny screen saver. Seriously!

Most of my other products that did exceptionally well, in the end, had slow or modest beginnings. …

How did we get here?

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I’m angry that I need to write this. I shouldn’t have to. For most of my professional life, I’ve never known the politics of my employees or coworkers because it simply didn’t matter. Yet now, I feeling it totally matters.

I so badly want to be proven wrong.

Please, prove me wrong.

For the last decade or more I’ve worked for or owned small companies with only a handful of employees. We didn’t need written corporate guidelines for “core values” and we certainly didn’t do “culture fit” reviews during the interview process for the rare times we actually needed to…

The inception of Hello Gloss

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Time and again, the best personal relationships and product ideas always seem to pop up out of nowhere; when you’re least expecting them.

This is the story behind Hello Gloss, our new startup for beauty.

Although many of the details are still a work in progress as we strive to get launched, I wanted to share this heartwarming tale of inspiration that spontaneously evolved over dinner with my brilliant co-founder and a few of her closest friends who all shared a common problem.

Lessons of Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving, and while patiently waiting for dinner to be served, I suddenly found myself involved in…

Peter Avritch

Serial founder and software architect. CTO at Hello Gloss. Love to build and code — started with Lego.

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