Going to World Domination Summit in Portland? Here’s the scoop on who I am and potential points of connection if you want to connect beforehand or meet me there. Scroll down, or use the links below to jump to a section.
Who Am I?
20 years ago I wrote a travelogue about hitchhiking around the U.S. which is yet to be published.
I also wrote 4 chapters of Dynamic HTML Unleashed, an early book on what became Web 2.0.
I won my first dance contest in 3rd grade—and haven’t competed since.
I’m strongest at Lindy Hop & but also do Charleston, Balboa & Blues.
I love dancing to hip-hop, Balkan, industrial, 80s, house and more.
And I still enjoy a good contra dance now and then.
SlamBook! was a home page add-on for teenagers that I sold in 1999.
New Orleans Web Design was a short-lived web design firm in 1999.
True Peers was a social network for professionals (ala LinkedIn) that I co-founded in 1999 & closed in 2001.
Agile Muse Development was a short-lived web development firm.
Lab Escape I co-founded in 2003, which I still run today.
My current projects include:
Open Dashboard, a dashboard for community organizations
Startup Weekend Asheville, a 54-hour startup event this fall
Ignite Asheville, a lightning talk event we hold each February
In the past, I co-founded:
Meet the Geeks, a networking event for IT folk in Western North Carolina
The A.R.K., a multidisciplinary community arts space in New Orleans
I co-founded & run Lab Escape.
We sell heat map data visualization software to large and mid-sized companies to help managers gain quicker and deeper insights into their data.
Lab Escape turned 10 years old in June.
I’ve performed with several circuses, acting as master of ceremonies, fire spinner and accountant.
I co-organized the 3rd Nomadic Festival, a circus tour that went from San Francisco to Boston.
I don’t spin fire anymore, but I used to do fire poi, fire jump rope, fire swords & fire eating.
My first home page was back in 1992.
In 1995, I landed in San Francisco & got hired by Maximum Information, a startup that developed WebC, an early web application frameworks.
I spent 3 years hitchhiking across the U.S. in the early ’90s after dropping out of college.
I’ve gone to Europe often—my father grew up outside Cologne, Germany.
My favorite international cities include Barcelona, Prague & Amsterdam.
Und, Ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsch.
I love learning new ways to improve myself & my business.
I (mostly) eat a Slow Carb Diet, a diet similar to paleo.
I’ve used a standing desk for 3 years.
Since 2010, I’ve been researching how we make decisions, to identify decision patterns that can help us make decisions faster & with better outcomes.
Last June, I launched Lean Decisions and published 50 articles on how to make better decisions.
Currently on hiatus, I still love learning & talking about decision-making.
Never a runner, I started barefoot-style running 2 years ago.
I’m slowly getting better. I now run continuously for 20-30 minutes at a time, 3-4 times a week.
I love learning new tips & insights, and plan to join in a run at WDS.
I love games of all stripes: cards, board games & sports.
I play Carcassonne & Scrabble on my iPad, plus dozens of quick games on my phone.
I plan to live to be 100.
I never liked exercise, and don’t really now. But I force myself to do it.
I (try to) lift weights 2x a week, run 3x a week, dance 2x a week, and hike, bike & do yoga whenever I can.
I often fail.
The Science of Happiness
I love learning about positive psychology and the science of happiness.
I’ve been learning how to express appreciation better & how to create space for forgiveness.
I was learning to meditate using Headspace, but it dropped on the priority list.
I occasionally write a gratitude entry in my FitBit journal.
And Much More…
I love…Tom Baker best as Doctor Who (though David Tennant comes in a close second), TED talks (who doesn’t?), inspiring others & helping them think through problems, any TV show written by Steven Moffat or Joss Whedon, books by Anaïs Nin & Robert Heinlein, startups & economic development, coming up with new ways to meet people, Shiraz or Malbec, quality intellectual conversation and new adventures.
Interesting Facts About Me
I Dropped Out of College
I went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as a dual Physics/Biology major. I quickly switched to Math so I could take art & music electives.
When I ran out of art & music courses, I dropped out and spent 3 years living as an artist on the streets and hitchhiking across the country.
It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
My Age is 33…in Base 12
To be young, you have to think young. And I think I’m young.
To encourage the spirit of youthfulness, I often state my age in different mathematical bases.
In base 13, I’m 30; in base 15, I’m 29; and in base 19, I’m 21.
Find me at WDS & I’ll give you a younger age.
I Helped Test GPS
After high school, I got a job writing test software for ship & submarine navigation systems for the U.S. Navy.
The software I wrote graphed the data they were collecting while testing GPS—the same GPS used in our phones today.
It was my first data visualization job.
My Vision Is 2-D
I only see in two dimensions. My eyes have been crossed all my life. They don’t merge into a single image.
But there’s a bonus: one eye is near-sighted and the other is far-sighted. Since I only use one at a time, I don’t need glasses.
In fact, it means I won’t need reading glasses until I’m much older.
I Didn’t Drink Until Age 25
Until eighth grade, my father was a practicing alcoholic. As such, I avoided alcohol through my teens & into my 20s.
To avoid the social pressure, I used to tell people I was allergic to alcohol.
My first drink: absinthe in Prague.
I’m a 1st Generation German
My father was born at the end of World War II in a small village outside Cologne, Germany.
My mother’s mother came from Durbach, outside the Black Forest.
Through my father, I have dual citizenship by birth.
Other Events I Attend
Note: Events are not in chronological order.
Lindy Focus (Dec 26 – Jan 1)
Each year I’ve attended Lindy Focus I’ve grown tremendously as a swing dancer.
This year will be my 3rd year. Besides the Lindy track, I’m taking Specialty Charleston & Lindy Hop Cross Training.
Transformus (Jul 19 – 22)
The former Southwest Regional for Burning Man continues in its 10th year in the lush forests of Asheville.
Find me at the Local Fauna theme camp at Transformus.
Business of Software (Oct 28-30)
Business of Software has both amazing speakers and amazing attendees, similar to WDS.
It’s the conference to attend if you work on the business side of software. This will be my 4th year.
Startup Weekend Asheville (Fall 2013)
Create a new business in 54 hours? You bet.
We’re organizing our second Startup Weekend in Asheville.
Coming from out of town? We might have travel packages.
MassTLC Innovation unConference (Nov 1)
One of the best unconferences I’ve ever been to. Over 800 people talking about innovation & entrepreneurship.
I missed last year, but will be there for my 3rd year this year.
Check out the web site for details.
Last year I had ambitious goals, some of which I met, others of which I didn’t. This year I’m chasing a big goal outside of WDS, so I’m keeping it low-key for the conference itself.
Make 5 Great Connections
Last year I met amazing people and had great conversations. I stayed in touch with some, lost touch with others. Those I stayed in touch with I’ve been able to watch grow as I myself have grown over the past year.
This year’s goal remains the same: to meet 5 new friends that I’ll still be in touch 6 months from now.
If you see me, come up & say hi. Maybe you’ll be one of the 5.
Reconnect with People
One thing I failed to do over the past year is stay in touch with everyone I wanted to. This year I aim to reconnect with those people, whether or not they’re attending WDS again.
Did we meet last year? What’s changed in your life since then? If you see me, grab me and let’s catch up. I’ll aim to do the same.
Help 5 People
Last year I was focused on learning, meeting people and promoting my (then new) Lean Decisions blog. With my blog on hiatus and a backlog of prior learning I need to process & integrate, this year I’m focusing outward.
I plan to help 5 people and make their conference experience better. My life is too crazy right now to commit to anything post-conference, but whatever I can do during the conference to help, I want to be open to.
What can I do to help you?
How To Recognize Me
For World Domination Summit, I’ll be dressing more casually than I would at a business conference. I should look like the photo on the left. The photo on the right is my Gravatar/Facebook photo, so that’s how to recognize me online.
What I’ll Look Like at WDS
My Gravatar & Online Photo
How To Connect With Me
Before:I am taking some time each day to read the World Domination Summit Facebook group and scan the #WDS and #WDS2013 Twitter streams.
During: Twitter and e-mail will be the best ways to reach me. Or if you want to meet in the lobby sometime, I’ll be staying at the Hilton.
After: Send me an e-mail, follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn.
Policy: I’m starting to follow most people back on Twitter and accept most Facebook friend requests. For LinkedIn, I still wait until I meet someone before adding them as a contact.
Ideas: If you’re interested how I manage LinkedIn contacts, read Managing LinkedIn Connections Using Tags. I’m starting to do the same for Facebook using lists.
My Asheville Crew
[Note: There's also Hunter Goosman, Desiree Adaway, Marilyn Ball and Christy Corna. If I get a chance to get their photos and Twitter handles, I'll update this section.]
Other Useful Resources
- Resources for WDS 2012 by @nathanagin
- World Domination Summit : 3 tips for having a great time by @katecourageous
- An Introvert’s Guide To Getting The Most From A Conference by @dharmesh
- How to Prep Your Store for a Conference by @brigittelyons