A eulogy for Mary

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What a woman.

In the second half of my life, that’s how I saw her: as a Woman. And not just any woman. A strong one.

At first, that strength frightened me a bit. As a young child, I was afraid to cross her. Being the only grandchild didn’t mean I escaped table manners. It didn’t mean I got away with moping around indoors all day. And forget about whining.

When my grandpa, Karol, snuck the two of us to the Frosty for cheeseburgers and milkshakes, Grandma would stay behind and balance the family checkbook or wipe down an already…


“We were learning through paper cut.”

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Three years into the company, their VCs came knocking. Enough of this heads-down coding, they said. It’s time to get serious and build a business. In other words, grow up.

Armon Dadgar was 24 years old. His co-founder Mitchell Hashimoto was 26. That’s when they realized they needed help.

The series of decisions they made next were humbling but made their company what it is today. HashiCorp helps major enterprise clients like Barclays and Adobe run their applications in public cloud or mixed environments. Its portfolio of products covers four key constituents in IT: operations, security, networking, and development.

At…


California loved her.

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Today is International Women’s Day, so let’s celebrate the life and accomplishments of a remarkable California woman.

March Fong Eu started her career as a dental hygienists after achieving 3 advanced degrees from Berkeley, Stanford, and Mills College. Then she began a career in politics serving on the Alameda County School Board, before getting elected to the CA State Assembly in 1966.

There she became known for her campaign to eliminate public pay-toilets, arguing that urinals were free and therefore represented discrimination against women. She’s pictured above smashing a toilet wrapped in chains on the state Capitol steps.

One of…


Honoring the courage and legacy of Fred Korematsu

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In 1942, then 23-year-old Fred Korematsu (bottom center) refused to obey the federal government’s order to imprison Japanese-Americans. He was promptly arrested and convicted of defying the government. The ACLU appealed Korematsu’s case all the way to the Supreme Court where judges ruled for his conviction one final time in 1944. By then Korematsu and his family had been interred at the Central Utah War Relocation Center, where his community both praised and criticized him. Many Japanese-Americans complied with the government’s order in hopes it would prove loyalty to their country. Korematsu’s…


Why linking your work to your interests can do more harm than good

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Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

You hear it everywhere. It’s on graduation cards, in motivational speeches, and practically wallpapers the halls of Silicon Valley: “Find your passion.” As if each of us was born with one ideal pursuit that will fulfill us until our final day on Earth. All we need to do is locate it, and everything else will fall into place.

The problem isn’t just that this is totally unrealistic; according to psychologist Paul O’Keefe, a professor at Yale-NUS College in Singapore, it’s also selling us short in our careers, our studies, and how we interact with the world. …


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She launched an interior design service, but she hadn’t accounted for treadmills. Or dog beds. Another customer wanted their design to incorporate a cat jungle gym. “People are very, very unique,” says Shanna Tellerman, CEO of Modsy, a design service that renders a photorealistic digital model of your home and stocks it with shoppable furniture and goods to your taste. Despite the company’s success, Tellerman says worry is constant for a founder. Are people going to buy this? Am I going to be able to pay the people I’ve hired to continue to build this? “That fear never ever goes…


Love/Hate

How to navigate a workplace environment that doesn’t click with your personality — and how to know when to leave

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Credit: FangXiaNuo/iStock/Getty Images Plus

The problem with company culture is that one employee’s ideal situation can be another’s personal hell. Maybe you thrive in efficient, no-nonsense environments and prefer to keep your work and personal lives separate, but your colleagues turn every meeting into a chatty catch-up and always invite the office staff to their birthday parties. Maybe you crave camaraderie and fun in an office that’s mostly silent, sterile, and stiff.

You’re not in a toxic environment, necessarily — it’s more that it’s just not a fit. And culture aside, your work is solid. You’re good at what you do. You enjoy doing…


Not sugar coating it helps. How Justin Zhen’s attitude propels Thinknum forward.

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Justin Zhen makes being a founder sound like a lonely sort of business. He insists that only a few people are “wired” for the entrepreneur life. And when they finally manage to build something from scratch, founders have to fight like hell to keep it alive. Often, that means “sugar-coating” the progress of their company, even through the hardest of times. Even Zhen is cautious to reveal anything other than success for his own venture, a data-tracking company called Thinknum he co-founded in 2014. And for the most part, he needn’t. Thinknum is doing well. Zhen has grown the New…


From a quiet start to rapid international expansion, Lucidchart’s CEO continues to lead with humility and a relentless focus on team.

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Self-deprecating. Humble. These aren’t typical adjectives to describe CEOs. But in the case of Karl Sun, they’re apt. As co-founder and CEO of Lucidchart, a collaborative web app for creating elegant diagrams, Sun helped build a team of nearly 400 people, after opening Google’s first patent department and completing a law degree at Harvard. If anyone deserves some braggadocio, Sun makes the cut.

But instead the exec credits all of his success to the team around him. Most of his days are spent in meetings, gathering new ideas from his fellow “Lucidites” in their South Jordan, Utah, headquarters. In fact…


Radical betrayal of the media algorithms that bind and divide us

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This morning I awoke to news alerts that the Clintons and Obamas had been targeted by terrorist bomb threats. Not an hour later, my phone informed me that the Time Warner Center in New York City, which employs dozens of CNN journalists, had intercepted a suspicious package in its mail room. Many of my friends were evacuated. Another who lives in an apartment across the street was instructed to shelter in place with her infant daughter.

I quickly logged on Twitter and retweeted a statement from the Secret Service and a video clip showing the moment that CNN anchors Poppy…

Stephanie Buck

Writer, culture/history junkie ➕ founder of Soulbelly, multimedia keepsakes for preserving community history. soulbellystories.com

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