Getting Rid of Scars

We all have things in our past that we frequently remember, good and bad.  Some bad memories in my past are events where I’m really embarrassed about my behavior:  women I treated poorly, friends I didn’t respect as much as a should, and situations that I let get out of hand to a place where I was uncomfortable.  I would do all of them differently now but it’s obviously too late to fix.  These events pop up all the time in my head. I relive them, briefly, but regularly.

Imagine a river flowing.  This river is my energy as a person. Now imagine a rock in that river.  The water moves to go around the rock. It still flows and isn’t blocked much but the flow is somewhat disrupted.  Each one of these memories is one of those rocks. These are memories that get me charged up and that charge takes away from me doing other positive things and having positive thoughts.

This past weekend, I undertook an exercise to get rid of those rocks. Continue reading “Getting Rid of Scars”

Two Years In

I’ve been working at Enjoy the Work now for two years and I wanted to take a minute to reflect what I’ve learned. For those who don’t know Enjoy the Work, we’re a firm that works closely with startup founders to help them become great CEOs. We’re a group of 12 former operators and investors. We’ve worked with more than 140 startups since 2015.

The team at Enjo

Some reflections on the past 2 years:

It’s so different than operating
When working inside a company, you have to hustle every minute of every day. You roll up your sleeves and make shit happen. When I started, I brought that same energy to my calls with founders and it wasn’t right. This job is not about doing, it’s about listening and asking questions. I still do a lot of work but it’s different, it’s about working to serve the CEO not on the business. Which brings me to my next point…

It’s all about listening
Not just listening but listening deeply. What is the real problem, and the problem behind the problem? Finding the right issue to talk about is often the most important thing. And it’s not just listening to the business problem but the tone and non-audio clues as well. This job is all about understanding and focusing on the right issue.

Being an advisor is not only about giving advice
As an advisor you need to have opinions and thoughts on how to help, but there’s more to it than that. When I first started, I had answers and was eager to give advice.  But that wasn’t the most effective. I was giving someone fish instead of teaching them how to fish.  I was being a consultant vs. being a teacher. It took a bit to change that behavior.

I’ve learned so much. Functional areas. Coaching.
I had learned a lot from time at Kapost, Airbnb and Onward so I have a good background to draw on.  What’s been fun about this role is getting the chance to read all the books that I never had the time to fully absorb.  I’ve made my way through most of the top business books now. I also have 11 other incredible partners who have amazing experiences that they’ve taught me about. What has surprised me is how fun it is to learn.

The drama triangle is everywhere
There’s a concept called The Drama Triangle where there are three roles that people assume when things aren’t going well. They are a villain, victim or a hero (or rescuer).  When people are stuck in one (or all) of these modes, often getting out of it is all they need.  And once you know the drama triangle, you can help but see it everywhere.

Earning the first call is how you measure success
I’ve always said that I thought advisors were kind of bullshit as you spend maybe once a month talking and half of the conversation getting them up to speed. Once reason I really like our engagements at ETW is that we engage deeply. We talked at a minimum weekly and sometimes daily. At ETW, we measure success when we have earned the first phone call from a CEO when something goes great or when something falls apart.

Coaching is a Cheat Code
I have loved my soccer coaches and think of them all the time. I don’t know why I have never thought of having a coach or personal advisor for work but the people who do are able to go faster and smarter. It’s a huge advantage and it amazes me that it’s not more common.  Having an hour a week dedicated to exploring your issues, problems and goals and working through how to be better and go faster is such a gift, I wish it for everyone.

Puppies for Everyone

We have some new additions to the Lewhouse (and Teubner) families.  Here’s what happened…

My brother-in-law, The Boss (aka Mike Teubner), has been researching dog kennels and breeders.  He and Liz previously had a German Shepard and loved him. They loved the intelligence of Moose but didn’t like the killer instinct and protectiveness. Sometimes it was too much. There was a period where Moose wouldn’t let anyone, even Liz’s best friend, into the apartment.  So, Boss wanted to find a German Shepard type but a bit sweeter, a bit more like a Golden Retriever but still with high intellect. It turns out that he found a place that has dogs just like that. It’s on the border of Colorado and Kansas, a 2.5 hour drive from their home in Denver.

Over Christmas break I was talking with The Boss and he mentioned that he was headed out there just after New Years. I said it sounded interesting and decided to book a ticket to tag along with him.  Maybe we’d see a dog we like too as we’re in the market for a new dog. Worst case scenario is that I learn more about dogs and spend some good time with my family.

When we got to the location, we saw all sorts of dogs. Some are a bit older (1 and 2 years) and well trained. Mike was looking at those dogs and getting to know them. While that happened, I was introduced to a 6-month female puppy who I immediately fell in love with. She and I connected immediately (at the time I used the word “imprinted”) and it was game over. I had to take her home with me.  We’re calling her Leia.

At the same time, my niece had a dog who came up and adopted her. For the remainder of the trip, these two were inseparable.  It was clear to Liz and Boss that if they wanted to get a dog that they liked, it would be in addition to this dog as Reagan was never going to let this cute little puppy go (she also got the name Waffles).

We thought we were done and heading home.  But before we go we saw a cute little 4-month old puppy that was super friendly and well behaved. We asked about him and it turns out that it is Leia’s half-brother (same dad, different mom) who has a tail that was messed up at birth and had to be docked (cut off) as it was rat-like.  The kennel-owner said that nobody really wants him due to the tail issues.  All his siblings have been adopted and now with Leia, he’s out of siblings. Well that was enough for us to hear. Diane and I talked briefly and both immediately agreed, we’ll be taking him too!

We left with 3 adorable puppies.

The next challenge was figuring out how I get my two puppies home.

Continue reading “Puppies for Everyone”

136: Long Term Effects

I have a friend who is still suffering from the effects of COVID, months after he’s recovered, and that is seeming like it’s the norm. All the people that have lingering symptoms are people who are younger, who never went to the ICU and have seemingly recovered. But they never really do.

One recent study evaluated patients’ symptoms several weeks after they’d been discharged from the hospital and it found that only 12.6% of them were free of any coronavirus-related symptoms. This is just bonkers and mind-blowing.

It seems like there’s a good group of folks who have fatigue, difficulty breathing, joint and chest pain, cough and headaches. A WSJ article also digs in and says that many of these patients are “younger and had previously been healthy, with Covid cases initially considered mild to moderate. But months later they are still sick, and some are getting worse.”

One physician thinks most patients with long-term symptoms are developing dysautonomia, a neurological condition that occurs when the autonomic nervous system is out of balance. It’s not clear whether the condition is a result of an overactive immune system or the virus itself.

This damn coronavirus is only 6 months old and we basically still know very little about it. There are so many unique things to it. Here’s a good Atlantic article about this if you want to read more. Continue reading “136: Long Term Effects”

135: Vaccine Trials

Pandemic life is starting to get old, and I’d love to go back to normal as fast as possible. There’s good news on that front. Yesterday morning, one volunteer in Georgia got an injection that kicked off the first large-scale vaccine trial in the US. The study will test 30,000 healthy people at about 89 sites around the US to determine whether the vaccine (developed by Moderna) works.

Also, yesterday afternoon, Pfizer also announced that it will also begin a late-stage study of a vaccine, with the first shots to be given today (Tues). The trial will also include 30,000 people, from 39 states.

If all goes well and the vaccine is effective, Moderna said it should be able to deliver 500 million doses this year (2020), and up to a billion per year starting in 2021. I love the optimism. I had all but given up hope of anything happening in 2020.

An update about my Side-Effect statements: I talked with a pharma rep this weekend who stated that Stage 3 side effects in a drug trial is more akin to a bad headache than paralysis. Stage 4 means hospitalization, so it does encompass everything before before hospitalization but it usually means being under the weather. All that said, if there was a vaccine that knocked me out for a day – I’d be fine with that. I bet we all would. Continue reading “135: Vaccine Trials”

Tesla madness

134: Tesla Madness

Can we talk about Tesla for a moment? The reason they are relevant today is that their stock is ridiculous. Not that it’s high (which it is) or that the company is loved or hated (which it is) but that its volatility is off the charts. Tons of trades happening every day. For instance one day last week (Monday), Tesla opened $114 higher than its previous close, then gained another $136 within 15 minutes, then dropped by $324 before the market closed. Each dollar of share price corresponds to a market capitalization of $185 million, which means that Tesla lost more than $60 billion of value during the day. That’s more than the market cap of Ford and Fiat Chrysler combined. And this happens every day. Walls Street analysts have no idea what to think. Their price targets range from $87 (GLJ Research) to $2,322 (Piper Sandler). Continue reading “134: Tesla Madness”

131: Vaccine Side Effects

I recently read this article in Wired about the side effects of the new vaccines (thx to Sidey)

It talks about how most of the clinical trials have PR teams feeding us all the positive information and hiding the negative. The spin is covering up that there are “mild side effects” that are anything but mild.

In the Moderna trial, 1 in 5 people in the trial ended up unable to complete their activities of daily living by having a “grade 3 systemic” reaction. If you search for grade 3 systemic in FDA’s guidelines here (page 4 and 5) it means: Prevents daily activity and requires medical intervention.

As Sidey wrote said,

In case it’s not clear, “prevents daily activity” means disabled. It’s a pretty high bar of messed up. 1 out of 5 people being unable to work/go-to-school would be a real problem. Also these were previously entirely healthy people with no pre-existing conditions of any sort.

A friend who is on permanent disability and is deeply knowledgeable of the FDA technical definitions described it this way “Grade 3 systemic is more like suddenly you have multiple sclerosis (all over body issues, multiple organs, “unexplained” and they don’t really know why or what to do to fix them other than to wait)

I can’t wait for the vaccine. I think about it every day.

I’m being led to believe the vaccine is just around the corner but it seems like these companies have some serious roadblocks ahead of them. I hope they find a way through them. Continue reading “131: Vaccine Side Effects”

130: Home Schooling Pods

We want our kids to have social lives but also for them safe, and we can’t imagine an in-person school experience really being that. That means we’re probably keeping our kids at our house for the next year. Ideally, we have them at a house with a few other kids so they can socialize. A few kids is a lot different than the hundreds they’d interact with at the elementary school.

How we’re doing it:

  • We found a former teacher who doesn‘t want to go back to work at an in-person school. We’ll pay her monthly.
  • We have a family we’re close with who has similar social-distancing values as we do who wants to join. They’ll bring their kids over to our house every day.
  • We set up a dedicated space as a schoolhouse – our garage – and we will have the kids and teacher use it to teach the Zoom classes or whatever the curriculum is.

This “pod” system seems to be catching on. If you go to NextDoor you can see teachers looking for pods and parents looking for teachers. Others:

  • Myra Margolin, who created a Facebook page to help connect families in the D.C. region interested in “microschooling,” found more than 1,000 people join the group.
  • Andrea MacRae is trying to organize “bubbles” for children and families in the East Bay area. She has interested families fill out detailed surveys about their values and risk comfort, and then matches those families with other like-minded families — including those who won’t be able to pay and those that include essential workers.

If we get this working it seems like a great way to get everyone through this pandemic safely. While this is working for us, I could see how it could be tough for kids of essential workers, those who can’t find teachers, or families who afford it. I feel very fortunate we can do it. Continue reading “130: Home Schooling Pods”

85: 8 Can’t Wait

The protests about racial violence by police departments is all around us. I saw some incredible protests in the UK and Hong Kong yesterday. I have been wondering, what does police reform look like? What should police departments do? What are protesters asking for?

It seems like the best answer is we want, at a minimum, a massive reduction in police violence. After all in 2019 and 2020 in the US, a third of all people killed by strangers were killed by police officers. That’s crazy.

So, there’s a good answer for how we could reduce the violence and killings. In fact, there are 8 specific policies that could be implemented at each police department. There’s even a website called which highlights these policies.

If a department implements all 8 of these policies, there’s lots of data that shows police violence will go down 72%. Seventy-two percent. That’s a pretty good start. Continue reading “85: 8 Can’t Wait”

84: Drones for Seniors

How cool is this: UPS and CVS are starting to deliver their prescriptions to seniors in via drone.

UPS, CVS deliver first-ever prescription medication drops via ...As you know, X5 of COIVD deaths are people over 65. So, it’s super important we keep this demo safe. So, this drone delivery is just what we need. We want to keep those centers safe and free from new contacts, including those who have the necessary prescriptions for seniors.

Each drone can carry up to 5 lbs. each and travel up to 12 miles. They fly autonomously from a CVS location to nearby assisted living and nursing homes, then drop off the packages from a hover height of around 20 feet above these locations.

These are scary times, and it’s fascinating to see how some great minds and companies are being creative and coming up with technical solutions so we can be in contact with our loved ones, without getting too close.

An example I saw yesterday:

Continue reading “84: Drones for Seniors”