June 18, 2014

Democracy in Action

I went to our local high school gym last night to vote for a smallish ($12mm) school bond issue as well as another proposition I didn’t quite understand about paying for fire alarms in the schools. As is always the case in New York, I was somewhere between amused and appalled that the voting machines are pre-war vintage (possibly Civil, definitely WWI). But this election was a new experience for me. When I finished voting, I ran into a friend of ours who is on the school board, and he suggested I stick around because the polls were closing, and I’d get to hear the results. This picture is how the results were tabulated. A woman with a whiteboard yelled across the gym to each of three other volunteers, who yelled back the numbers from each of the three machines. Hand tabulation in 2014. I’m glad the vote wasn’t close! Why exactly are we not all voting on the internet by now?


April 5, 2012

A Great American Experience

A Great American Experience President Obama signed into law today a bill called the JOBS Act.  I haven’t read the full text of the law, but based on abstracts, my opinion of the JOBS Act is that it’s great for the startup community, but even greater for growth companies. I am less familiar with the Crowdsourcing components of the bill, but certainly that will make it easier for pure startups to attract micro capital. The Sarbanes-Oxley reforms that make it easier and less costly to go through an IPO and be a public company will really enable growth companies like […]


January 5, 2012

Book Short: Fixing America

Book Short:  Fixing America I usually only blog about business books, but since I occasionally comment on politics, I thought I would also post on That Used to be Us:  How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back, by Tom Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum (book, Kindle), which I just finished. There is much that is good about America.  And yet, there is much that is broken and in need of serious repair.  I wrote about some thought on fixing our political system last year in The Beginnings of a Roadmap to Fix America’s […]


January 3, 2012

Taking Stock

Taking Stock Every year around this time, I take a few minutes to reflect on how the business is doing, on my goals and development plans, and on what I want to accomplish in the coming year.  Although most of that work is focused on how to move the business forward, I also make sure to take stock of my own career trajectory.  I always ask myself three questions when I do this: Am I having fun at work? Am I learning and growing as a professional? Is my work financially rewarding enough, either in the short term or in […]


December 20, 2011

Transparency Rules

Transparency Rules I think each and every one of our 13 core values at Return Path is important to our culture and to our success.  And I generally don’t rank them.  But if I did, People First is a leading contender to be at the top of the list. The other leading contender would be this last one in the series: We believe in being transparent and direct The big Inc. Magazine story about us last year talked a lot about our commitment to transparency and some of the challenges that come with being transparent and direct with people. I’d like […]


September 9, 2011

9/11’s 10th

9/11’s 10th I wasn’t yet writing this blog on 9/11 (no one was writing blogs yet), and if I had had one, I’m not sure what I would have written.  The neighborhood immediately surrounding the World Trade Center had been my home for more than seven years before the twin towers fell, and it continued to be my home for more than seven years after they fell.  That same neighborhood was Return Path‘s home for its first 18 months or so, across two different offices.  Like all Americans, the attack felt personal.  Like all New Yorkers, it was in our […]


May 2, 2011

Juxtaposition

Juxtaposition Once I stripped out the spam and the person:person emails from my inbox this morning, here were the five subject lines I was left with: Wall Street Journal:  Osama Bin Laden is Dead [eCommerce company]:  Final Hours to Shop Our Private Sale! Wall Street Journal:  Bin Laden Was Killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan Official Says [Travel site]:  Last minute deals from NYC and more! Wall Street Journal:  Osama Bin Laden Buried at Sea Return Path (yes, my own company):  Why Whitelisting is Important to Your Email Marketing Mix The cynic in me says “wow, nice timing on the email marketing.”  […]


April 14, 2011

BookShort: Vive La Difference

Book Short:  Vive La Difference Brain Sex, by Anne Moir and David Jessell, was a fascinating read that I finished recently.  I will caveat this post up front that the book was published in 1989, so one thing I’m not sure of is whether there’s been more recent research that contradicts any of the book’s conclusions.  I will also caveat that this is a complex topic with many different schools of thought based on varying research, and this book short should serve as a starting point for a dialog, not an end point. That said, the book was a very […]


March 10, 2011

The Beginnings of a Roadmap to Fix America’s Badly Broken Political System?

The Beginnings of a Roadmap to Fix America’s Badly Broken Political System? UPDATE:  This week’s Economist (March 17) has a great special report on the future of the state that you can download here, entitled”Taming Leviathan:  The state almost everywhere is big, inefficient and broke. It needn’t be,” which has many rich examples, from California to China, and espouses a bunch of these ideas. I usually try to keep politics away from this blog, but sometimes I can’t help myself.  I’m so disgusted with the dysfunction in Washington (and Albany…and Sacramento…and…) these days, that I’ve spent more spare cycles than […]


January 3, 2011

Macroeconomics for Startups

Macroeconomics for Startups I’m not an economist.  I don’t play one on TV.  In fact, I only took one Econ class at Princeton (taught by Ben Bernanke, no less), and I barely passed it.  In any case, while I’m not an economist, I do read The Economist, religiously at that, and I’ve been reading so much about macroeconomic policies and news the past 18 months that I feel like I finally have a decent rudimentary grip on the subject.  But still, the subject doesn’t always translate as well to the average entrepreneur as microeconomics does – most business people have […]


July 31, 2010

I Don’t Want to Be Your Friend (Today), part III

I Don’t Want to Be Your Friend (Today), part III My first thought when my colleague Jen Goldman forwarded me a SlideShare presentation that was 224 pages long was, “really?”  But a short 10 minutes and 224 clicks later, I am glad I spent the time on it. Paul Adams, a Senior User Experience Researcher at Google, put the presentation up called The Real Life Social Network.  Paul describes the problem I discuss in Part I and Part II of this series much more eloquently than I have, with great real world examples and thoughts for web designers at the […]