Like money, death is something most people know is there and unavoidable but would prefer to spend as little time thinking about as possible. I get it. And I get that, like money, it can be painful when you first start reckoning with death in any real way. And mostly it stays painful. But it’s good pain, useful pain, maybe even pain in service of something greater, even if you won’t be around to see it.
Sarah Wambold was more than willing to be my inaugural subject for this column—which, having now talked to Sarah Wambold, isn’t surprising at all. She is not a squeamish person. She was just a [...]
In his memoir, the late Christopher Hitchens offered the following pithy summation of class in the United States:
An old joke has an Oxford professor meeting an American former graduate student and asking him what he's working on these days. 'My thesis is on the survival of the class system in the United States.' 'Oh really, that's interesting: one didn't think there was a class system in the United States.' 'Nobody does. That's how it survives.
This should come as no surprise in the country where everyone, rich or poor, sees herself as middle class. But a recent experience reminded me that class is real, we can [...]
In January, This American Life aired a segment in which reporter Ben Calhoun went to a few stores and tried asking for a "good guy discount" at the register. Here's how Calhoun explained it: A friend of his named Sonari Glinton was interviewing a negotiations expert from Columbia University Business School who described a technique where you ask at the register, "Can I get a good guy discount on that? You're a good guy, I'm a good guy—come on, just, you know, a good guy discount."
Essentially, what you're doing is simply asking if the salesperson can give you a discount—just for being a person who is supposedly [...]
Last summer my Gmail was hacked. Every single person on my contacts list received a note from me announcing I’d become a ReMax real estate agent — a convincing facsimile, complete with the red, white and blue ReMax parachute logo. "Click here to view listings!" it lied, luring clickers instead to a link that ensured they’d contract the email virus themselves.
Cue the succession of annoying replies: numerous contacts admonishing me to change my password; otherwise intelligent people duped by the scheme, believing it was really me.
"Don’t you think you should at least ask me how I’ve been before you start sending me real estate listings?" wrote an [...]
A lot of people start bands. I started my first band in junior high, with my little sister and my best friend (we wrote one song, which pretty much lifted the hook from "Penny Lane," before we fell apart over creative differences). As an adult I actually spent some time as a performing musician, where I faced the question that nearly every musician faces at some point: Is this something I’m doing for fun? Is this a job? Is this a business?
It’s one of the hardest things to figure out, because indie musicianry is one of the hardest ways to build a career. It has all of the [...]
Just over a month before I entered the graduate writing program at The New School I was struck by a car as I stepped into a crosswalk on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Along with minor abrasions, my left ear was mangled beyond repair, and as I faced a handful of surgeries in the months and years ahead, I worried how these might affect my expensive education. I would plan each surgery around a break from school so that I could miss the least number of classes possible. At the time this was how I connected grad school to my accident, along with the knowledge that I would [...]
Like many early stage employees at a startup, prior to my current role at Kickstarter where I lead the community team, I had zero management experience. As a grad student, I’d run my own classroom for seven years, but teaching a group of students one semester at a time is radically different from growing a community team and a company for long-term success.
There are so many things I wish I’d known before plunging blindly down the management road. Here are some of the things I've learned on the job, challenges I've faced and how to approach them, and other random thoughts on managing a team that might hopefully [...]