July 3, 2018

Response to the Journal

(This post is running concurrently on the Return Path blog.) It is now widely understood that the Internet runs on data. I first blogged about this in 2004—14 years ago!— here.  People have come to expect a robust—and free!—online experience. Whether it’s a shopping app or a social media platform like Instagram, these free experiences provide a valuable service. And like most businesses, the companies that provide these experiences need to make money somehow. Consumers are coming to understand and appreciate that the real cost of a “free” internet lies in advertising and data collection. Today, the Wall Street Journal ran an article exploring the data privacy practices of Google and some of the third party developers who utilize their G Suite ecosystem. Return Path was among the companies mentioned in this article. We worked closely with the journalist on this piece and shared a great deal of information about the inner workings of Return Path, because we feel it’s important to be completely transparent when it comes to matters of privacy.  Unfortunately, the reporter was extremely and somewhat carelessly selective in terms of what information he chose to use from us — as well as listing a number of vague sources who […]


August 31, 2017

Agile Everywhere, Part II

Over the years, I’ve written a lot about the Agile methodology on this blog. For those of you who are regular readers, you may remember a post I wrote about our Agile Everywhere initiative— where all Return Path teams were tasked with implementing agile practices. A little over a year later, I want to update you on our agile journey–where we are now and how we got there.  My colleague Cathy Hawley (our head of People) will write a more detailed series of guest posts  for those of you who want to get more details of our transformation process. Before […]


August 23, 2016

A Path Forward in California!

A Path Forward in California! Back in March I was proud to announce the launch of Path Forward, a nonprofit on a mission to get people back to work after they’ve taken time off to care for a loved one.  I’m even more thrilled today to announce the launch of a Path Forward program in California with six top tech companies — Go Daddy, Demandbase, CloudFlare, Coursera, Instacart and Zendesk. They are all accepting applications now for October start dates. Click on the links above to see all their opportunities. As a CEO I know how hard it is to […]


August 6, 2015

The Phoenix Project

The Phoenix Project:  a novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win, by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford  is a logical intellectual successor and regularly quotes Eli Goldratt’s seminal work The Goal and its good but less known sequel It’s Not Luck. The more business books I read, the more I appreciate the novel or fable format. Most business books are a bit boring and way too long to make a single point. The Phoenix Project is a novel, though unlike Goldratt’s books (and even Lencioni’s), it takes it easy on the cheesy and personal side stories. […]


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 […]


March 26, 2014

Book Short: Internet Fiction

Book Short:  Internet Fiction It’s been a long time since I read Tom Evslin’s Hackoff.com, which Tom called a “blook” since he released it serially as a blog, then when it was all done, as a bound book.  Mariquita and I read it together and loved every minute of it.  One post I wrote about it at the time was entitled Like Fingernails on a Chalkboard. The essence of that post was “I liked it, but the truth of the parts of the Internet bubble that I lived through were painful to read,” applies to two “new” works of Internet […]


October 3, 2013

Who Controls the Future of Technology?

Who Controls the Future of Technology? I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal today, then got to my inbox to find both it and its opposite forwarded to me by Brad. The Journal says that the consumerization of technology wins out in the end, and that: In the past, CIOs and their staff had a reputation for being snarky, geeky guys who were always looking for ways to tell employees what they couldn’t do. Now, at the most progressive companies, the tech department’s main job isn’t to say no. Instead, it’s to find a way to let […]


March 14, 2013

Luck Matters (and You Can Only Make Some of It)

Luck Matters ( and You Can Only Make Some of It) There was a great article recently in the Financial Times that’s worth reading here.  (Warning – you might have to complete a free registration in order to read this article.)  The premise is that most outliers, to use Malcolm Gladwell’s term, achieve their super status at least partly through luck.  And once that status is achieved, the good things just pile on from there.  This concept is as much Gladwell’s as that term is. I always say that “you can make your own luck.”  And to some extent, that’s […]


December 12, 2012

A New VC Ready to Go!

A New VC Ready to Go! One of the interesting things about being in business for 13 years (as of last week!) at Return Path is that we have been around longer than two of our Venture Capital funds.  Fortunately for us, Fred led an investment in the company with his new fund, Union Square Ventures, even though his initial investment was via his first fund, Flatiron Partners.  And even though Brad hasn’t invested out of his new fund, Foundry Group, he remains a really active member of our group as a Board Advisory through his Mobius Venture Capital investment. […]


December 6, 2012

Book Short: Culture is King

Book Short:  Culture is King Tony Hsieh’s story, Delivering Happiness (book, Kindle), is more than just the story of his life or the story of Zappos. It’s a great window into the soul of a very successful company and one that in many ways has become a model for great culture and a great customer service model.  It’s a relatively quick and breezy read, and it contains a handful of legendary anecdotes from Zappos’ history to demonstrate those two things — culture and customer service — in action. As Hsieh himself says in the book, you can’t copy this stuff […]


May 24, 2012

Book Short: Internet True Crime

Book Short:  Internet True Crime Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who Are Bringing Down the Internet, by Joseph Menn (book, kindle) was a bit of a disappointment.  I was really hoping for more of an explanation of how the “business” of Internet crime works — what the economics are like, what the landscape/scope/sectors are like, who the players are. What I got was a bit of a true crime novel, the story of Barrett Lyon and Andy Crocker, who are respectively a geek and a cop, and their very specific stories of tracking down a […]