The Lost Art of Finishing


One of my proudest moments in business was selling a company to Zynga.

Not because of the money or because it sounds cool.

It’s one of my proudest moments because it was a time when I was relentless about finishing a project of supreme importance to me and my company.

The truth is the whole process was NOT glamorous at all.

I was the COO of the company and so my job was to juggle interactions with Zynga’s corporate development team, the 30+ employees in my company, our board, and our legal team.

I had to make sure that meetings were scheduled, files were exchanged, people were interviewed, lawyers were briefed, and (for the most part) everyone remained happy.

Not that sexy. But if you want to get a deal done, it’s got to happen.

The process was draining to say the least.

The deal dragged on about three times longer than we had anticipated.

On the day the deal was scheduled to finally close, a snowstorm hit the east coast.

We got word that the the State House in Delaware (which had to approve the merger) was planning on closing early due to “inclement weather”.

Hell no. Not on my watch.

4 Steps to landing a job in a new industry (actual email included)

How do you land a job at a technology startup with a fine arts background?

How do you land a job in any industry where you don’t have the requisite background, for that matter?

Recently, I met with Jenni*, a fine arts major looking to break into the startup world but unsure as to where to start.

It’s now four weeks later and she’s just accepted an offer at a hot technology startup here in San Francisco.

So how did we make that happen? What’s the secret sauce?

The 1% Solution to Getting a Raise (Or Raising Your Rates)

As I sat down to lunch with my boss I was anything but hungry.

A legion of cracked-out butterflies were bouncing around my stomach. This was going to be an uncomfortable conversation.

He started:

So what’s up? What did you want to talk to me about?

I swallowed my nerves.

Well… um… I noticed that some of our key engineers have been getting raises for their great performance.

I know I’m not an engineer, but my performance has been excellent. I’m a rising talent in this organization, and I should be compensated accordingly.

I’d like a raise.

How to Make Major Life Decisions: A 3-Step Framework

How do you make a difficult decision?

Not a decision like: “Chipotle or Subway for lunch today?”

(That’s easy: Chipotle)

A decision like: “Do I quit my job and move to Barcelona?”

Here’s the truth:

The best way to make a major life decision is to go with your gut.

Nobody likes to hear that because it just seems so unscientific.

Correction, I actually think that plenty of people like to hear that. However, far fewer people like to say that.

A Gentler Approach to Greatness

Your gentleness has made me great. – Psalms

What makes someone great?

How do we become great?

How do we empower others to become great?

These are questions that run through my mind daily – if not hourly. I’m obsessed with this concept.

Maybe it’s because I have some deep-seated perfectionist complex or insecurity that I always need to be better.

Or maybe it’s because I’ve witnessed greatness in others and tasted it for myself a few times, and I know that it’s both fulfilling and possible.

It’s probably a little bit of both.