Fun Friday: Big Changes This Year

Arnold's post on Citibike inspired this fun friday.

It got me thinking about what a profound change Citibike has been for me this year. I ride everywhere now. I used to Vespa around town but I haven't had my Vespa on the road for months. A Citibike can get me almost anywhere in lower manhattan in 15 minutes and it is my preferred form of transportation when I am traveling alone.

Is there something that has come along this year and changed things up for you in a major way? If so, what is it?

#Random Posts

Comments (Archived):

  1. Brandon Burns

    The Nexus 4 (which really came out at the end of last year). I’m now solidly an Android convert, and will never buy a carrier-locked phone ever again.

    1. fredwilson

      πŸ™‚

      1. pointsnfigures

        Saw a presentation yesterday at Stocktoberfest. They said Apple has become a luxury brand, and we will soon see a $35 android.

  2. Emily Merkle

    It is not a technological advance that has changed my life this year, but a transcendent personal one. I left my home – DUMBO, Brooklyn – with my husband earlier this year to move to South Florida. It’s been an adjustment, and we don’t love it here. But we made the move so that I could take care of my father. I have four siblings, all with families and children of their own, far-flung across the country. Allen and I do not have children, so the lot fell to us.And I couldn’t be more willing or grateful. If you’re lucky, you get this time to pay it back and help your parents through the unfathomable process of aging. And you can never get that time back.So, not a gadget, or a bike, or learning code .. Just the chance to help my Dad has changed things up for me in a major way.

    1. awaldstein

      Love this Emily.I moved back to NYC four years ago with one of the reasons to be near my mom, then 90.

      1. Emily Merkle

        It’s a gift. Both ways.

    2. William Mougayar

      These are the important things in life.

      1. Emily Merkle

        They are. And I’ll be honest; at first I kicked and screamed, did not want to effectively halt my career, did not not not want to leave home. But I got over myself.

        1. takingpitches

          Your dad is a very lucky dad

          1. Emily Merkle

            Thanks πŸ™‚ he is willfull and stubborn – just like me, his acorn – but we are getting it done and having a little fun, too.

          2. panterosa,

            Yes, don’t forget to get the humor in. I love what I call octegenarian humor. They have little pretense left.

          3. Emily Merkle

            I think it’s borne of a new, albeit uncertain, perspective.

        2. William Mougayar

          You’ll be surprised about how much work you could get done remotely.

          1. Emily Merkle

            William, you’re right – we’re lucky enough to work in a niche that allows one to toil anywhere – which is what my husband is doing while I am busy.

          2. LE

            The work is one thing. It can be done remotely. But it’s much harder to make connections and have serendipity when not well located. No question about that.As I like to say “out of sight out of mind” applies to so many things. Taking advantage of opportunity requires being in proximity to opportunity and being visible.

          3. William Mougayar

            I agree. You can’t be totally isolated. But if done temporarily, it doesn’t hurt.

        3. ShanaC

          you should try to find a way to still continue your career.

          1. Emily Merkle

            I’d love to. I’d work for equity, or nothing. No opportunities down here. Major hubs tend to prefer remote contributors from/around other major hubs. I am able, but kind of stumped as to how to make a workable connection.

          2. ShanaC

            i would say – figure it out – as if something bad happens to you and you need to adapt…

        4. Tereza

          That’s a totally natural and legitimate internal conflict. Over time this has moved me from lower emphasis on ‘perfect’ while elevating ‘the right thing’. My litmus test is, if I got hit by a bus tomorrow, would I feel OK about the decision.

    3. fredwilson

      god bless you Emily

      1. Emily Merkle

        Thanks, Fred. Your family will want be there for you as well.

      2. Emily Merkle

        …and bless my husband. He is a trooper.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Your story resonates, Emily – my wife’s parents are both disabled and we see the workload increase each year for us; it’s certainly a team effort – and a rewarding one in many ways.

          1. Emily Merkle

            It sure is. I cannot stress my husband’s awesomeness.He and my father have had their issues over the years, but he’s really risen to the occasion. Props.

        2. Tereza

          During marriage vows, they should include — in sickness of your spouse’s parents, in sickness of child…. These are the unanticipateds that happen to literally everybody and change our lives but until it happens you think it never will. Funny that way.

    4. WA

      Bravo!

    5. DwightD

      Lost my dad this summer. I was lucky to be able to spend good time with him in many recent years.Cherish the time.

      1. Tereza

        Really sorry to hear that. That’s a total game-changer, I know.

    6. ShanaC

      Oof – I’m happy you are happy, but this is going to be an interesting time for you.

      1. Emily Merkle

        You bet! So far, 2 knee replacements, a mysterious pass-out at the Indian casino, and the myriad issues arising from an inexperienced cook (me) trying to cater to a willfully picky Dad πŸ˜‰

    7. Salt Shaker

      Beautiful little anecdote, Emily. My dad passed away when I was 10. Whenever a friend or acquaintance complains about having to look after an aging parent I tell them how fortunate they are to even be in that position, although admittedly it’s often hard to see things that way. Sounds like your dad raised a nice little “acorn” and his son-in-law must be quite a mench too.

      1. Emily Merkle

        This acorn is no saint, but she tries. And somehow she lured a real gem into till death do we part πŸ™‚

        1. sigmaalgebra

          > till death do we part :)Each morning when you wake up can make you feelbetter than even money in the bank.Roughly, “The fundamental problem in life is gettingsecurity in the face of the anxiety we have from ourrealization that alone we are vulnerable to thehostile forces of nature and society.” The mosthighly recommended solution is “love of spouse”.Right, borrowed from E. Fromm.Look up ‘love’ on Wikipedia and see that ‘committedlove’ is one of the good kinds, and that means thatyou know you’ll still have it all next week, month,year, and century and each morning know that.Maybe one way to keep that love is to accumulate alarge collection of ‘things’, activities, memories,traditions, you and your husband very much like,don’t want to lose, can’t get anywhere else, and,thus, have you ‘locked in’ ’till death do you part.Congrats to you both.Us nerds have to discover this stuff the hard way:”Experience is the great teacher and some learn fromno other.”.

    8. JLM

      .Well played in your head. Well played in your heart.You are the product of a great man and it shows. Husband is a keeper. Buy the guy a beer on me tonight and you get champagne.Good luck. Godspeed.JLM.

      1. Emily Merkle

        You sure? He’s no Bud man, and I prefer Veuve….You are kind.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          When your father’s gone, you willstill have to live with yourself, andyou will be able to do that happily.

          1. Emily Merkle

            You got it.

    9. Tereza

      I took off time to take care of my dying parents. It caused massive upheaval in my life — was lifechanging, actually. While (I won’t lie), various blowback from it has been frustrating from time to time, I’ve never regretted it for a single second.

    10. Anne Libby

      Many blessings, Emily.

      1. Emily Merkle

        Thank you, Anne. We appreciate that.

    11. panterosa,

      Caring for people reminds us of love and time we have. And struggle. Perhaps this is the trifecta of life.If you have not been a parent the caring for someone is about the art of the possible. All the best with it. I’m glad we met so I can connect a person to this story.

      1. Emily Merkle

        Me too πŸ™‚

    12. matthughes

      I can relate.I took some time off during college to tend to my ailing mother. In the end, it was a losing battle. To make matters worse, I often felt like I was missing out as I watched friends having fun, accelerating their education and finally their careers.But I’m so grateful I was there for her and feel blessed to this day for having made a relatively small sacrifice.Hang tough and tell your dad that you love him every chance you get.

    13. Matt A. Myers

      Similar situation – a few people in AVC community know this – though my family found out less than two months ago that my father has untreatable cancer.This past weekend, Thanksgiving here in Canada, he started taking pills that may help slow progression – though we won’t know if they are having any positive effect for 1-3 months. He might have a year left, maybe more. All a waiting game.Fortunately my mother has been able to take 4 months off with pay, and then already had plans for a 6-month sabbatical – so she can be there for him – and decide what to do as we see how everything progresses.All of this has of course initiated a chain of events and decisions to make. I obviously want to be around my father as much as I can, unfortunately tolerating my mother has been a pressure with lots of friction – and their living environment has never been a functional or safe one for me – otherwise I would move back home in an instant.Plenty of stresses to manage through right now – I am doing okay.It’s making me grow in a lot of ways.

      1. Anne Libby

        I’m so sorry, Matt.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Thank you Anne

      2. Emily Merkle

        I totally feel you. My mom and dad are divorced, but now that I am back in town, she wants to hang out with us. She dislikes my husband and is overall a very unpleasant person to be around. We used to have her over for dinner weekly, and she was so annoying I would get super anxious and drink. I had to ban her for my own well-being.These things can be tricky.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          My mother’s a worrier, passed that onto me – though she never has had anyone good at talking her through things to help quell worry, or manage situations – to the point of letting her own stress of situations decrease. My father unfortunately wasn’t that person for her. So they’ve been stuck in a fairly unhealthy cycle my whole life. I actually feel I am more ready to manage her now, which will be helpful – and part of my growth. I have to understand too her husband might be dying soon.

      3. ShanaC

        make sure to record your father’s memories and family stories..my dad wish he did that with his parents

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Unfortunately they’re far and few between. I haven’t spent all that much time speaking with my father my whole life. We’ve never really had much close one-on-one times. And his family never was really spoken of. My family never really communicated in that way.

          1. ShanaC

            no time like the present to do so

      4. pointsnfigures

        good luck. take a little time every day to get your mental health together. my friend lost his wife to cancer and wrote a book, The Color of Rain.

    14. Greg Hill

      The best thing about dads is they all move to Florida πŸ™‚

    15. Tracey Jackson

      Good for you. I write this from a plane transporting me from California (where I have spent the week with my 85 year old mother) on my way to FL, for the second weekend in the last three, to meet my husband, who is flying in from NYC, as we need to care for his father who we has taken a turn down the steep slope of age and is in a facility, for hopefully only the time being.When they are far away it’s very hard. I’m moving my mother to NYC so I can care for her the rest of her life and she can have what little family she has around her. I don’t want to be ten hours door to door. We do what must be done. We are the happier for it.

      1. Emily Merkle

        Well-said, Tracey. It’s much easier when they are three doors down than three time zones…

      2. awaldstein

        Reading this makes me think of the generational change of care.Everyone I grew up with had a grand parent, sometimes two, in the house. Every single one.I moved back here to be close to my mom but honestly being close and getting a spot big enough for us all are different. I chose the former.No lack of concern or love, just change.

    16. george

      You have a beautiful caring soul!Love is patient, love is kind…

    17. Ruth BT

      Well done Emily – I can honestly say I know exactly what you mean. Two weeks ago my very fit father in law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and now bladder cancer. He lives in the outback of Australia on the opal fields – no care available so he has come to live with us. In our small house this has been a great learning. My 10 yr old is dealing with it beautifully, his parents perhaps not as well. It is an adjustment but I feel honoured to be part of the end journey with him. We have all decided that we will care for him as he cared (as a sole parent) for my husband. Reading the comments below I see so many of us dealing with the ageing and twilight of parents. What I have learnt so far is that this is the new normal – part of the circle of life and each day is to be embraced and filled with gallows humour to get us through!

  3. awaldstein

    Having a bike in my transportation grid has been a game changer.Getting around in cities, using the web to connect off line, wiring local is a big deal. And still the wild west.We’ve only had digital signs in the subway since 2011! http://awe.sm/p3hP5

  4. JamesHRH

    Nope – not that kind o year. Moving last year was profound though.Had a profound dinner last night though – sat @ a table w Commander Chris Hadfield. You can lean a lot from someone who has been to space 3 times, was NASA’s head of Ops in Russia & his other accomplishments that are too numerous to mention.He uttered a Paul Graham style answer to a question – ‘next big advance is a strong competitor to a 5 gallon can of gas.’

  5. Barry Nolan

    The peace of mind from watching Hailo safely dispatch our babysitter home. Previously, for security, the taxi was me, demanding sobriety. Being Irish, that never rested easy. Here’s to you, Hailo

    1. fredwilson

      yesssss

  6. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Nurturing my second startup this year has had a way more profound effect on me than I ever could have imagined (almost all really good). It’s changed everything, literally.

  7. William Mougayar

    Working a lot more from home in the past 3 months, and being very productive at it. Cutting my previous commute to downtown saves so many hours.

    1. awaldstein

      Best part of having my office at home is hanging with Sam, the wonder cat.Skype calls are catnip to him and many of my clients have gotten to know him.

      1. William Mougayar

        Same with our little dog who is the reason why I’m more home than usual.

      2. Drew Meyers

        haha, that’s awesome. I haven’t had a cat since we had to put our cat down while in college. But I do really miss a cat’s personality and company while vegging out/working at home.

        1. awaldstein

          Yup, they are very cool and of course, Sam, exceptionally so.I have a bunch of buddies in the wine world all over the place who blog and have cats. A community of sorts. Fun stuff.

          1. Drew Meyers

            Yup, the people that love cats…love cats. And I’m one of them. I just don’t have one currently πŸ™‚

          2. Emily Merkle

            I have three rescues and volunteer at the local animal shelter with the cats. I think that officially makes me a crazy cat lady…

          3. awaldstein

            Crazy cat lady meet crazy cat guy!

          4. Emily Merkle

            Hail fellow well-met πŸ™‚

          5. Emily Merkle

            Do you have children? If not, do you treat your cats as children? I completely anthropomorthize my cats. We should swap photos of our lovelies. Emily @ merkle dot com

          6. Emily Merkle

            I haven’t used my Tumblr much for cat pics; more for self-expression. But I just put up six or seven at the top for your viewing pleasure. http://adingintheuniverse.com.Your Sam reminds me of my Sheldon, in the looks department. Sasha is feral/was abused as a kitten; Sheldon is a bit feral but he is warming up slowly; Boom is a mamma’s boy.

          7. awaldstein

            Thanks for the share!

          8. Emily Merkle

            Back atcha, CCM!I don’t know if you remember this, but I tried to help with a wine event for you at the store in my (old) building in DUMBO – did that ever happen?

          9. awaldstein

            Yup…..Thanks!www.thelocalsip.com has gone through a lot of changes–still evolving.

    2. Kirsten Lambertsen

      When people ask me how I get any work done at home, I ask them how they get any work done in an office. The challenge is making yourself find a stopping point each day, don’t you think?

      1. panterosa,

        yes, the break is key. or not skipping the exercise.

      2. William Mougayar

        true. you need to compartmentalize and be more disciplined at home. filling the time with work isn’t always the best for productivity. giving yourself deadlines is key.

      3. pointsnfigures

        try a good co-working space. Nextspace.us is excellent, but not in NYC yet.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          I actually belong to a couple of co-working spaces that I absolutely love πŸ™‚ And often I work at the original co-working space: the library.

    3. panterosa,

      It’s interesting how many people think offices are more productive. I work at home and save on commute time among many things. And I eat better – real food!

      1. William Mougayar

        exactly.

    4. candice

      If I may counterpoint for a second here… it’s not for everyone.As a woman, I find that when I work at home the neighbors think I don’t have a job. Icky and uncomfortable. It can be soul-crushingly lonely. I need interaction with people who I’m not buying coffee from. I have a really great dog, but she doesn’t help me figure out what’s wrong with my math.My current commute is a lovely ten minutes to a university campus where I have an office with both a door and a window; peace and quiet when I need it, graduate students to commiserate with when I get stuck.How much of loving working from home is people having jobs with cubicles and not offices?

      1. William Mougayar

        10 mins is the perfect commute time!

  8. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Austerity: it really hitting home this year and forcing an even deeper appreciation of simple pleasures and a make-do-and-mend approach: sustainability.From blogging to bread-making; I’m saving for a pushbike: remote rural locations such as ours don’t really lends themselves to the Citibike/et al business model.

    1. awaldstein

      True–the most interesting use of the web in urban areas is to wire connections to others on the street and to get around.In rural areas, the opposite?

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        I don’t know, Arnold. Interesting – I may well make it my blog topic next week – thank you for that! Superb blog post, incidentally. Isn’t it wonderful how something as simple as the humble bicycle has been so disruptive/positive. Because of sheer scale of London I sense the impact has been different there.Anyway, for now my transport to tonight’s plongeur-shift is good old Shanks’ Pony! πŸ˜‰

        1. awaldstein

          On the bread side–back in 1973 (my hippy days) i had a sour dough starter that I gave to my brother.At his house a few weeks ago and he has been using it all this time. Kinda cool–and tasty as well.

          1. LE

            Picture please. (Reminds me of CSNY “tin soldiers and nixon coming”)

          2. awaldstein

            You mean you want a picture of me when I had shoulder length hair with a beard, working as a beekeeper, craft fair organizer, dulcimer/mandolin maker and writing novels and plays at night–not a chance πŸ˜‰

          3. LE

            And myself? As square as Mitt Romney.

          4. panterosa,

            Your sour starter is like the bonsai of your family.

          5. awaldstein

            My mom’s mandel brot more likely.

          6. Anne Libby

            That is really impressive. 40 years!

          7. awaldstein

            One powerful bit of natural yeast.

          8. Anne Libby

            And your brother’s commitment!

    2. fredwilson

      what kind of bread do you bake?

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Gosh, all kinds, Fred – with mixed results, often, when I deviate/experiment! If the dough turns out poor I just use it as a pizza base. More often than not is just generic white ‘bloomer’ but I have a penchant for apple and cinnamon mix. One of my very first blog posts was on this very topic. It’s – both are – very therapeutic.

        1. panterosa,

          Try Marcella Hazan focaccia w rosemary.

          1. Carl Rahn Griffith

            All recipes welcome – my email is on about.me – sorry can’t type much now – just ended pot-washing shift – plongeur! – so am shattered. Loved your austerity reply x.

      2. matthewmclean

        Have you tried “No Knead Bread” out of Hell’s Kitchen? Incredible. Here is Bittman’s article and recipehttp://www.nytimes.com/2006…And here is the video – about 5 minuteshttp://www.youtube.com/watc…

    3. Emily Merkle

      Carl, that’s an awesome approach to experiencing austerity, compared to bitching and moaning. We’ve had to pinch pennies too, being no longer in the Sun Center of the universe of our work – but it can be fun. I’m learning to cook. Fun for me; not always for my husband πŸ™‚

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        I’ve done my fair share of bitching and moaning, lol, but it’s pointless and destructive – negative energy – also, my wife being a Yorkshire Lass won’t tolerate it for a minute – quite rightly!

    4. Emily Merkle

      My Albanian brother-in-law has an amazing bread recipe – would you like it?

      1. Emily Merkle

        Old-world

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Sounds great – please – thank you, Emily! Email addresses on my about.me profile.PS: Loved your story.

          1. Emily Merkle

            I’ll get it to you. :)And thanks….

      2. ShanaC

        me too! Does he have a way of starting a sour?

        1. Emily Merkle

          Shana, I have no idea what that means yet :). But when he sends me the recipe I will forward. He raises his infant at home while my (doctor) sister and makes the bread on the side for a restaurant!

        2. Emily Merkle

          Let me know how to get it to you.

          1. ShanaC

            shana dot carp at gmail – a sour is a way of getting yeast

          2. Emily Merkle

            You got it. He’s told me as soon as he can put their infant down he’ll get it to me.

    5. panterosa,

      Austerity is a journey in today’s abundance and bad economy. I told my startup mom friend poor is the new rich. I was not trying to be clever either. We need so much less. Banana bread recipe yours if you want.

    6. Anne Libby

      While I haven’t done bread in a while, I love making yogurt! So much better than store-bought.

      1. panterosa,

        We had one of those growing up. I still have the white cups. Need to get another. I wonder can you make kefir too?

        1. Anne Libby

          Funny, I used to have one of those contraptions with the white cups, and I purged it during a vegan stage in life. Now I make it a quart at a time in a ball jar, crazy simple. (Whole milk!)I’ve never tried to make kefir, I’ll have to look for a tutorial on the internet.

          1. panterosa,

            Wait, no heating thingy? Please share method.

          2. Anne Libby

            . 1 quart milk. Heat to ~180F degrees on the stove. (Frothy, not boiling). Remove from heat, and let the temperature drop to ~115 F.. Whisk in ~2Tbsp yogurt.. Pour into a jar, close it, wrap the jar in a couple of kitchen towels (for warmth) and put it in the microwave overnight. (I guess you could use a cooler or something else sealed up so that it maintains a sufficient level of warmth). Unwrap, and put it in the fridge.. Voila!NB: if you use unhomogenized whole milk, you might want to cry when you unwrap it. There will be a weird liquid on top that looks, um, not good. That’s fat…and it will be just fine. You could make this with 2% or I guess skim milk. But why?(I did not divine this recipe, it came from a fun magazine called ReadyMade, sob, now gone. Note to the people who brought back Domino: bring back ReadyMade, please!)

          3. panterosa,

            Thanks! Can’t wait to try.

          4. Emily Merkle

            Even better for you than store-bought.

          5. Anne Libby

            And it tastes so much better, too!

          6. ShanaC

            how do you do this

  9. takingpitches

    Twin girls, move to Brooklyn, and full-time on start-up have changed everything (mostly the first) and things feel like they are falling into place finally!

    1. fredwilson

      when i was doing all of that in the mid 90s, i got shingles. i was so stressed out!

      1. takingpitches

        I now realize that spending my professional hours working in a mediocre environment and having too much time on my hands outside those hours was much more stressful!

        1. panterosa,

          mediocrity eats you from the inside out.

      2. LE

        My wife tells me I got shingles a few years ago. It was when I bought something expensive that I knew my dad would criticize me on. [1]The time leading up to the purchase was totally stressing for me. Not because of money though.Ironically the reason I spent the money was I kept hearing all these stories about people who had some health event (in the year prior). The thing I bought was something I always wanted.So each time I would hear a story I would say “another reason to buy X”.My wife was totally cool with me buying what I wanted (after all it wasn’t her money we had just gotten married [2]. The stress was the parental guilt thing drummed into me.[1] Which gives me an idea for another fun friday which would be “TMI” Friday. [3][2] Something that wasn’t stressful at all oddly enough. Or buying a house together or moving in or getting stepkids. Or moving the office. No big deal at all. Buying “x” was though. All because of the parents.[3] People in our parents era were much more guarded than we are. Interesting how things have changed. I’m sure your father would probably not divulge half the things that you do on this blog.

      3. JLM

        .There is a shingles vaccine that everyone should get. Shingles is a virus that everyone who has ever had chicken pox has already. Stress simply brings it out.JLM.

  10. llonyort

    TheSonos. My wife and I cut the cord oncable over five years ago and music has been a big part of our life every daysince. We were behind the times thoughstill using our big, bulky receivers, woofers and speakers with wireseverywhere and had to plug our phone/tablet/computer into the receiver. All that is gone replaced by a little,wireless, box that pumps out music controlled wirelessly from our phone, tabletor computer and we can move it wherever we want. Everything is synced, works very well and haschanged the way we consume music, andmy wife is much happier with all the equipment gone!

    1. fredwilson

      i love sonos

  11. Jamyn

    As I co-founded Dash this year, I’ve worked without a pay check for 16 months now (apart from a very low stipend for teaching at NYU), so I’ve pulled back on every expense I could. I basically bought 1 x pair of sneakers and 1 x Mac Book Air this year for myself, both for work. One thing I won’t concede on is expenses for my children – activities, experiences, school etc. They shouldn’t feel the pain of doing without for this risk I’m taking. And they keep me sane and I realize it’s easy to do without things; I don’t miss ‘consuming’ at all. In fact, I take some perverse pride in this puritanical ethic.On the tech/lifestyle front, I’ve LOVED CitiBike (you actually inspired me to sign up), as well as Zipcar, AirB&B, Skype and now Dropcam. I’m constantly amazed by what our phones and the net enable us to do. So much of this is what I dreamed about as a child. Also, when I coded basic games on my ZX81, Amstrad and BBC computers, I fantasized about fully immersive worlds in videogames, and now I’m blown away by the cinematic creations possible in gaming today. Life can be fun. πŸ™‚

    1. Emily Merkle

      The sacrifices you make when launching are definitely significant and felt…wish you well, liftoff, success.

    2. Sebastien Latapie

      I just started using dash and must say I’m very impressed! Great work.

    3. JLM

      .Love the sentiment about the money and the kids. You are what we used to call a Father in this country.Some day in the future when you have gone to the pay window, your kids will remember their Father and you will be paid in a vastly more precious currency than just money.I will be sending some damn good, powerful Karma your way, friend.Crush it!Well played.JLM.

    4. DwightD

      My mom just moved, so it was time to go through boxes. Found the old cassette tape for storing (actually recording on a tape recorder) programs on my ZX81.I also remember the anguish that came with pushing on the keyboard and having the connection to the memory module (64kb, I think. A big brick of a thing) flex just enough to dump all of my work. It was frustrating, but that was my introduction to programming.

    5. Drew Meyers

      Been without a real paycheck since December of 2011 (I’ve done 1 3 month consulting gig since)…I’m a minimalist, so don’t really miss the money much at all aside from it hampering my ability to travel (and I’m an addict).

  12. Tom Labus

    We did a vegetable garden this year in the spring and we are still getting the rewards. Next year we will do a bit more. This despite an active and hungry woodchuck

    1. JLM

      .If you can out grow a woodchuck, you have a damn big garden, my friend.I am known as the patron saint of woodchucks for all the free meals I have given woodchucks through the years.JLM.

      1. Tom Labus

        I would have been very happy to help him along toward sainthood himself.

  13. markslater

    well my life changed in a big way………..i was over tired, over weight and under stress. I started running,….and running and running……its an awesome thing. in 3 months i have dropped 19 lbs, i have a boat load more energy both for my work and for my children, i just completed the Boston half-marathon last sunday, am running the brooklyn half in december and the london marathon in april. i go to vegas tomorrow for work and the first thing i am doing when i land……is 8 miles on the treadmill! that would not be what i would have done 6 months ago!So running has changed my life.I am now convinced that If you are a founder / CEO of a startup – start running. Your chances of success will improve if you do.

    1. awaldstein

      Exercise and nutrition–i’m with you big time.Consider adding some greens to your nutrition. Huge for muscle strength, endurance and weight loss. Biggest vertical for Lianna’s green biz, is Soul Cycle.

      1. Emily Merkle

        I’ve recently discovered kefir. Check it out.

        1. awaldstein

          will do.

        2. panterosa,

          kefir rocks. cant live without 3 flavors at all times.

          1. Emily Merkle

            I do kefir smoothies with frozen /semi-thawed blueberries and either dark cherries or bananas.

        3. jason wright

          i like kefir. Demeter organic standard. tangy, and great with chopped banana.

          1. Emily Merkle

            I do banana too. I chop up a fresh bunch of bananas, put the in Pyrex in the freezer, then thaw slightly before blending.

    2. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Wow – from zero to all that in six months? Count me as impressed!

      1. markslater

        Once you hit 5 comfortably, it becomes addictive

    3. Emily Merkle

      Great advice!

    4. ShanaC

      I hate running. I did it for a while, and then my knees ached. I would say know your body first. I swim now, and feel so much better for it.

      1. markslater

        i spent 41 years of my life openly “hating” running. I now cant go 2 days without it.But i cant run ever without music. i cant do podcasts or TV it has to be music.

        1. bethweinstein

          “But i cant run ever without music”I need to talk to you abut that — let’s go for a run next time you’re in NYC. πŸ™‚

          1. markslater

            december 15th brooklyn half!

        2. ShanaC

          already had knee surgery once, don’t care to do it again

      2. panterosa,

        swimmers with bad knees unite!

      3. jason wright

        did you run on asphalt and other hard surfaces?

        1. ShanaC

          yes!

          1. jason wright

            ah. is there a sandy beach in NYC?

          2. ShanaC

            not near where i am

          3. jason wright

            a pity. Maria Island on the Danube at Budapest has a dedicated running pathway for joggers. it’s, i think, sand underneath a spongy astro turfy-type of material. so good for ligaments and tendons. i’ve yet to see another like it anywhere else.

          4. pointsnfigures

            even the parks in NYC are hard surfaces! Heh.

      4. Drew Meyers

        I hate running, I get bored out of my mind just running for the sake of running. But, playing basketball, now that’s a bit more fun…

    5. LE

      Hey Mark – You are overdoing it. Let me tell you why. The idea with this is to be consistent over time. The fact that you can do 8 miles on the treadmill doesn’t mean you should do 8 mile on the treadmill. [1] The fact that you can complete a half marathon doesn’t mean you should do so. I know all the “spurs me on and gives me motivation” etc. that people talk about. But let me give you another perspective (since it seems you have only been doing this for 3 months?) Don’t rush and feel you have to lose the weight all at one time. Take your time.I’ve been exercising pretty much every day since about 1997 (and before that not everyday). Heart rate is 48 to 52. At the office. I have maintained perfect body weight for all of those years. The secret to what I am doing is that I am consistent and most importantly I don’t overdo it. (And will power and genetics but the running is really key.)Why is that important?Because that way I don’t get injured. Read that again. If you get injured you can’t be consistent. As you get older if you pull a muscle you will be out of it for months and months.This is my perspective backed up by what I have seen others do wrong and what has worked for me. You can read as much as you want on this and get a zillion different opinions. This is my opinion.The exercise part is great. But just keep in mind that injury (even a small muscle pull) will mean you can’t continue to exercise until the muscle is healed.Running has changed my life as well. But the last time I pulled something was when I was on the boardwalk and chased a bicycle. Because I could. Which is why I never do races or anything like that. I strictly keep up what I do every single day taking the occasional day off (when there is some reason I can’t fit it in like a funeral).[1] In order to be consistent you have to pick an exercise routine that you can do all the time. A routine that lasts, say 1.5 hours is hard to keep up over time. A routine that lasts 50 minutes is easier.

      1. markslater

        thanks for the advise LE – and yes i have heard that from multiple credible sources. My challenge is a bit more complex.I am by nature somewhat of an addictive personality. I am also highly competitive. Traits that probably led me to be an entrepreneur.My goal ( a life goal) is to run a marathon. Based upon what i learned from crossing the line last sunday is that i have a LOOOOOONG way to go!i followed this training program – and it go me through – i am going to start following the full marathon guide.http://www.halhigdon.com/tr…Once i do something and like it – i take on a semi unhealthy obsession – it would not suprise me if i ended up at an ironman.

        1. Jigdel

          Good luck Mark and I understand where both you and LE come from. I started the Hal Higdon training this year and will be running my first marathon (Toronto Waterfront) this weekend. I recommend Higdon’s book (http://bit.ly/ZpVgFM) if you got time.

          1. markslater

            good luck! hal is the man!

        2. sigmaalgebra

          In running, it’s way too easy to push yourself waytoo hard.

      2. Farhan Abbasi

        awesome advice that I think should be taken positively and not as a critique.

      3. sigmaalgebra

        > injuries?From running, 20 miles a week, got calciumspurs under both Achilles tendons. Aftersurgery, the tendons were sore for years.Had to give up running.Your advice is right on.

        1. markslater

          achilles have been hurting

      4. Josh Gordon

        My friend was at a hotel gym that got suddenly got closed down by secret service. Sure enough, Obama climbs onto the treadmill next to him and they spend 30 minutes jogging and chatting together. If Obama has time to jog (and Bush, and others), so do the rest of us! I don’t know if LE’s point was about running marathons, but rather about just running. And I agree! Running (or any exercising) does something to the brain, releasing endorphins and god knows what else. Takes you up when business worries take you down. Let’s you take those crazy risks no normal people would. 2-3 miles is all I need, but to each his own.

    6. Jim Ritchie

      Awesome change! Run the NYM, I’ve done it 3 times and most recently two years ago. It is a blast. Keep going even when you hit the mid-century mark like me.

    7. Troy Sohn

      Is this true ??Running 30 minutes = walking 60 minutes

  14. Matt Breuer

    Coffee. Why did I wait so long to start drinking coffee?

    1. ShanaC

      now you just need coffee gear to go with it πŸ˜€

  15. Max Yoder

    After reading this article, I started doing 500 jumping jacks every day. It takes me seven or eight minutes, and it does wonders for my mood and productivity.I should have started jumping up and down in place ages ago.

  16. ShanaC

    I joined my first CSA this year. In the process, I discovered that I like and will eat a ton of vegetables that I didn’t know existed, such as Kohlrabi, Tatsoi, and chard. I also partially got over my disgust for beets, and learned that the tops of most root vegetables are edible as well (bet you didn’t know that).I’m also a bit bizarred out that it took me so long to eat these vegetables. I’m fine with the diet shift, I just want to figure out what to do considering next week is my last week (unless I join a winter share somewhere)I moved to queens. And decided I like it.I started a proper startup this year. And probably by the end of the year I will get my derivatives patented as well.

    1. Cam MacRae

      If you order a burger “with the lot” here it comes with a slice or two of beetroot. I love the stuff.

      1. ShanaC

        still not loving beets, but at least I eat them now. Previously not at all.

    2. andyidsinga

      ummmmmm .chard sautΓ©ed in olive oil in a cast iron skillet. don’t skimp on the cast iron, gotta have the cast iron πŸ™‚

    3. panterosa,

      eat the kale at angelica kitchen for ideas on the other greens

    4. Anne Libby

      I predict a future expertise in preparing potatoes…

      1. ShanaC

        CSA ends next week for the season unless I find somewhere for a winter share….

  17. andyidsinga

    twilio – using it at work for our project to send sms to all the things..started using it at home to write bots ..latest is a phone bot that im gonna name “thejerkybot” …which i’ll program to call into useless meetings on my behalf. #winning

  18. CJ

    Paleo. I’m not a strict adherent but it’s forced me to understand and think about what I eat and how it makes me feel. Now I’m down 30lbs, energy is up and I can’t fathom going back to a high-carb/high-processed diet. Hell, it’s the only way I can keep up with the kids. LOL

    1. awaldstein

      Never done it. Friends do and many Paleo weight trainers use greens as a counterbalance.Don’t understand the why of it completely but seeing it amongst our customers.

      1. CJ

        The why for me is that I can eat as much as I want, maintain a calorie deficit and increase my energy while also improving my health. It’s full of win on so many levels.

  19. bobmonsour

    Our son, and only child, departed for college this year. A big change indeed. Fortunately for us, he wanted to stay reasonably close to home, so he’s only about an hour away. We’ve seen him a couple of times already on the weekend, but we’ve definitely turned the page on a chapter of our lives. My wife and I will start evening cooking classes together in San Francisco next week. Now to that next chapter…

    1. ShanaC

      ooooo, cooking classes. On my to do list when I have time – baking classes/cake decorating and knife skills πŸ˜€

      1. andyidsinga

        hey ..you are good at the baking. liked those cookies.

        1. ShanaC

          I think I should buy maple sugar in case someone needs me to bring holiday cookiesBut seriously – there are plenty of things that are high skill that I don’t know how to make well – nonsweet american style piecrusts. Puff pastry dough, a sour start and numerous kinds of bread.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            Secret to such pie crust:It’s a quick and dirty version of puff pastry, thatis, has fat that is NOT well combined with theflour. The main goal is, in the final baked result,flakes from separations at the fat chunks.Secret 1. Mix in the fat as little as possible andthen QUIT. Take your hands out of the bowl andstep away from the counter! Definitely leave smallbut visible chunks of fat.Secret 2. To mix the fat in with the flour, use theright tools that will help you NOT mix too much.Two table knives, crossed in an X and then pulledapart, to cut some particular chunk of fat and coatit with flour, work well. A ‘pastry blender’ with alot of blades is overkill, that is, too easily overmixes the fat and flour, and, thus, is only forexperts who did 29 years of apprenticeship with justtwo table knives!Secret 3. To keep the fat in chunks, start withcold fat. Work quickly to keep things cold. Be ina cool or cold kitchen. Have the bowl cool or cold.When add water, add ICE WATER.Secret 4. Be careful when roll out the dough, thatis, do it exactly ONCE or risk getting the fat toothoroughly mixed in with the flour. Use your warmhands on the dough as little as possible. I use amaple pastry board, but a cool, marble slab mighthelp while learning. Yes, if some of the fat chunksare now too big, dust with some extra flour.For the advice to let the dough ‘rest’ in arefrigerator, actually don’t have to do that. Inever did. My father never did.My father? He learned from his mother who made onepie a day for 50+ years — apple, cherry, peach,etc. Right: She was darned good at it.My Dad taught my Mom, but he was always much morecomfortable with the technique than she was.Similarly for making biscuit dough. Then, grandsecret to a great family tradition, make a biscuitabout 10″ in diameter and about 1.5 inches thick,cut it in half horizontally, have both cut surfacesup, dot with butter (even when the biscuit is toocold for the butter to melt).Get started: On the first biscuit half, applysliced, fresh strawberries stood for about 2 hoursin the refrigerator with sugar and formed somethingof a syrup. Then as glue, or whatever, applywhipped cream (with some sugar and vanilla) — ifare in Upstate NY, then from Ronnybrook can get someover the top whipping cream. Then stack on theother biscuit piece, cut side up, and repeat. Placethe stack in the refrigerator during the dinner, andthen serve it, that is, Strawberry Shortcake, fordessert.It’s just simple ingredients, but somehow standing,assembled, in the refrigerator, even until the nextday, creates some over the top flavor. Have a shotat holding a family together with something thatgood!American pie crust is a nearly guaranteed source ofmaking a new bride cry: Due to her dedication as abride, she wants to be thorough so mixes and mixesthe fat and flour and then rolls out the dough overand over until it looks perfect, all of which, ofcourse, is just the wrong thing to do!Get good at it, and it’s a darned fast and easyprocess. This is no work to try hard at; Americanpie crust is ‘quick and dirty’ although theresulting pie can be just terrific.The main goal is as for puff pastry: Have the fatlayers cause the crust to split and create layers orflakes.If have excess dough, roll it out to something crudewith an irregular boundary and cracks, top it withdots of butter, give it a layer of table sugar, thendust liberally with cinnamon, bake at the usual pietemperature, and then keep away children who mightmisbehave to get pieces! One of the best good, oldtime flavors left to enjoy!Make such things family traditions that like, don’twant to lose, can’t get anywhere else, and, thus,lock in the family!

          2. ShanaC

            need to master this from a technique perspective

      2. bobmonsour

        Week 1 includes ‘knife skills.’ We’re doing Cooking Fundamentals 1…6 4hr weekly sessions. Check it out at the San Francisco Cooking School

    2. fredwilson

      we are there next year. i’ve got mixed feelings about it

  20. Max Yoder

    After reading this article, I started doing 500 jumping jacks every day. It takes me seven or eight minutes, and it does wonders for my mood and productivity.I should have started jumping up and down in place ages ago.

    1. William Mougayar

      I do a lot of jumping too…jumping to conclusions.As for push-ups, I push my luck all day long.

  21. panterosa,

    Finding my voice has changed this year for me, and will change my future.I credit AVC with a chance to express different opinions daily with people I’ve not met, and now many whom I have. And I credit Jerry Colonna for several years of coaching on this specifically, and tangentially. The connection is that I had to ease into my public voice in baby steps, which sounds rather silly for someone as outspoken as me. Years ago I had a very creepy stalking incident which truly changed the course of my life for decades. I never knew people could be so nasty. Being findable, and public scared the crap out of me, because it felt very dangerous.I have emerged with all the support the above and my work’s supporters and champions, from the back room of being a maker, to the front room of Founder/CEO, and even soapbox of an evangelist. For things I believe so deeply I quit my day job to live in financial insecurity to solve. I was surprised to find I am a thought leader in my area.I’ve had to make videos for the current Kickstarter, and present/pitch for my accelerator. This week I sounded as easy as the TED Fellow next to me at CCMP. That felt great. In fact, I applied to be a TED Fellow at her urging, among many others who work with the Fellows. I have been told my karma is to inspire people to see differently, showing how what they see connects to what they think. I love that idea. I love inspiring adults who engage back in discussion, or the conversation as Jerry calls it, though it is really children who I want to inspire, because seeing the nickel drop in a young mind is something that warms my heart and soothes my soul.So I thank you all for giving me back to myself. You have strong voices and have reminded me mine can be as strong, and can be heard among the many.

    1. JLM

      .Stronger than an acre of garlic.Well played.JLM.

    2. fredwilson

      it’s a game changer. i know because i found mine a while back

      1. panterosa,

        I feel like a new improved version of myself. I found my art and design “voices” long ago. I let my work speak for me for so long. This is different. I thank you again for leading such a civilized forum which brings people out.

    3. Richard

      I would love to learn more of the details.

  22. Ro Gupta

    quinoa, baby, quinoa.

  23. Farhan Abbasi

    Big year of change. Duolingo jumpstarted my 4-month Latin America back-packing trip. I lived with indigenous folks in Guatemala, bonded with a coffee co-op family in Colombia, ate sugarcane daily and canyoned down a waterfall in Ecuador.Found out my business partner and contractor colluded to steal all my business’ cash while I traveled, and left me with debt. Hit rock bottom. Turned it around in 3 months, business is better than ever. I protect myself more, and stay involved. I practically control nearly all of it now. I’m starting a new larger business and will need to learn how to relinquish control again while remaining protected. Lots of oversight / management controls.I think the prior year was even more nuts.

  24. tyronerubin

    @markslater:disqus with you on running. Want to do more yoga and start meditation.Learning, executing and momentum on a daily basis have helped.Reading great content has helped.Tech wise the two products I have really used a lot this year are quip and asana.Think the biggest change and challenge is dealing with growing older. Quite a psychological challenge.

  25. Tereza

    Richard and I have re-committed to date nights. When the kids were younger and we were paying for a FT nanny plus I had the startup, it was really extravagant to drop another $100 on a night out.Now both the girls are in school, we have an au pair (MUCH cheaper), and we make a point for more 1:1 time and date nights or even sneak-outs for lunch on days we work from home. It goes a really long way in staying connected.

    1. fredwilson

      i am a big fan of them

  26. CG

    My biggest has change has easily been starting to work in tech with some VCs. Was really interested in it before but never really knew much.Since then (three months) I’ve learnt an unbelievable amount, simply through osmosis, and don’t even feel like I’ve scratched the surface. What an incredible industry full of brilliant people.

  27. Semil Shah

    I had one of the biggest years of my life: Personally, I became a father for the first time to a baby girl; and professionally, I was lucky to join Swell and help launch the iOS apps for IFTTT and Refresh, and to finally begin investing in early-stage companies, something I’d wanted to do for a very long time: http://blog.semilshah.com/2

  28. pointsnfigures

    Without getting maudlin, I had a lot happen to me this year that really has changed my outlook. I don’t want sympathy or attaboys. Many people deal with a lot more. I sold all real estate. Interesting being a renter. I had a person who I thought I could trust bounce a six figure check to a startup on Jan 2. I had to clean up the mess-but it was a tremendous learning experience and may have created new opportunity. Had a friend get diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and I was able to help him and his daughter out. Had something happen that deeply affected me and I cannot talk about it publicly. But it hurt to my core. I’d love to blog about it, but it would make it worse.On the positive side, I met a lot of new people this year, many on this blog. That’s been totally cool. Entrepreneurship breeds an eternal sunrise. I appreciate that now more than ever.There is MTXE, and there is no app for that right now. Thank goodness I learned it young.

    1. Anne Libby

      Some of my worst experiences paved the way to amazing relationships and experiences.Onwards!

  29. jason wright

    “Is there something that has come along this year and changed things up for you in a major way? If so, what is it?”temporal lobe epilepsy. i’m booked in for another MRI brain scan next February. i’m hoping it will eventually diminish and then go away entirely.

    1. pointsnfigures

      uhg good luck.

      1. jason wright

        thanks.a bit of a game changer, but i’m hopeful it will stop pestering me in time.i’m certainly not buying my neurologist’s pessimism of a “lifetime of medication” regime. you would think he has an investment in the drug company – squirrel.

  30. matthughes

    Sacrifice.I’ve given up some amenities and hobbies (passions really), in terms of time and money, in order to focus on achieving my goals.I have a feeling this is just the beginning and there is more to come.

  31. jason wright

    is NYC friendly to cyclists?for example, is it possible to take a bike on the subway or a train?

  32. sigmaalgebra

    > Is there something that has come along this yearand changed things up for you in a major way?Well in a “way”, maybe in time “major”.From an accidental start, I finally got some goodprogress understanding my first love, in highschool, that was then and until now quite confused.E.g., it seemed that her view of our relationshipranged from telling me to jump in a lake to havingus make out lists of candidate names for children wemight have.I discovered that first love is not necessarily ajoke or to be regarded with contempt; instead, shewas burned into my brain so much that I have no moreability to forget about her than I can forget my ownname. Mother Nature could be proud of the devotionshe had arranged for that girl between my ears.Once we were both out of school, I should havemarried her, and I believe that with one gram moreunderstanding I could, would, and should have.In addition I connected some of the understandingwith some parts of art, e.g., Wagner’s opera’Lohengrin’ (first performed in 1850).For relationships, even of wide variety, I got somenew respect for the importance of clearcommunications.In particular I got somewhat more respect for theutility of parts of the ‘humanities’.Some of the understanding I got may have somegenerality from which maybe I’ll do something”major”, but not until i’ve gotten more work done onmy startup.What happened:A few weeks ago I wondered about what happened to agirl I knew in high school, did a Google search, ata Web site with scanned copies of high schoolannuals found a picture of her as a Homecoming Queencandidate (she was drop dead gorgeous), and, then,presto, much of my time with her, decades ago, cameback as if last week — thus I discovered that shewas burned into my brain; I’d had no idea all thatwas still there. Could make opera out of that, yes,with some loud, high notes.I did some more searching, mostly via Google andFacebook, and discovered the main events in herlife. Not all of those were good. It’s easy enoughto guess that, had I married her, her life wouldhave been better. In particular I likely would havestayed at FedEx and gotten the $500,000 in FedExfounder’s stock FedEx founder Fred promised me.When I first met her and started seeing her, e.g.,for Swiss Chocolate Almond ice cream at HowardJohnson’s, it was spring and she was in the seventhgrade and just 12, and I was in ninth grade and 14.We continued for 18 months, and I fell in love withher — no exaggeration.Then, too, I was a nerd and a bit undevelopedemotionally, psychologically, and socially: For allthe lessons young people get about the birds and thebees, mostly just on ‘plumbing’, I had next to zeroon her emotions, which, of course, are what isreally crucial for anything like a good version ofsuch a relationship.We had some persistent problems. Only during thelast few weeks did I understand: Not toosurprisingly her mother had been trying to throttleour relationship, was bright, and via subtle meanswas quite successful.But eventually, however, too late, it became clear,in spite of her mother’s efforts, both of us hadfallen in love.Otherwise our main problem was that we had fearsabout each other and our relationship; such thingsare likely quite common among people, even withoutromance involved. From the fears we were reluctantto communicate clearly. Then she accumulated a listof beliefs about me that were wildly false, and Idid the same about her. Actually, we had nothingmore than trivially wrong between us at all. But westarted acting on our false beliefs, and too soonour relationship was in trouble.In ‘Lohengrin’, Else, just married to Grail knightLohengrin (right, with Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus”music), had made a mistake, and Lohengrin believedthat he was forced to walk away from her.With some of her false beliefs, my girlfriend made amistake, and with some of my false beliefs Ibelieved that I was forced to walk away from her.In an effort to correct the situation, she had madesome strong communications back to me, but myparents intercepted those and told me next tonothing about them. I did get one of thecommunications she sent back to me, but I handledthe situation poorly — I didn’t take theopportunity to talk clearly to correct the falsebeliefs and, instead, just walked away. Bummer.Net, we were done. I ended up with a ‘broken heart’and a year or two later I discovered by accidentthat she had, also — then both our hearts werestill broken.Bummer.I could write down in maybe 100 pages or a dozen orso blog posts everything I would have needed to haveknown to have made our relationship a big success,with nothing for her mother to worry about, and thatled to a great marriage with kids, a big collectionof things we liked, didn’t want to lose, couldn’tget anywhere else, and that had us ‘locked in’,”’till death do we part”. Would’a, could’a,should’a.A guess at our fundamental, now nearly universal,problem:Apparently it’s possible to estimate the rate ofevolution of mitochondrial DNA and use that toestimate the human family tree. Supposedly the treehas its root in East Africa about 40,000 years agowhen some climate change caused a migration to theeast. Somewhere near India, one branch went northwest to Europe, and other branches went north eastto China, Russia, and the Americas, and anotherbranch went east to South-East Asia and Australia.Well, take two points A and B on the modern part ofthe tree and common ancestor C. Then work backwardsin time with DNA changes from A to C and thenforward in time with DNA changes from C to B. Theneasily enough A and C are closer together than A andB, and similarly for B and C. So, if A and B seemclose, then both are much like C. Given A and B thatare close, we can have a good idea about C. While Idreamed up this little triangle inequality, I assumethat the anthropologists and geneticists have alsonoticed it.Well, my guess is that, say, 10,000 years ago, alongrivers in Europe there were tribes and villages andthat we, in the US of Western European descent, arevery much like the people there that did well.There is a 1933 video documentary of life in anEskimo village. Sure: The women gathered togetherand worked on food, clothing, and caring for thechildren. At an appropriate age, the male childrenjoined the men in hunting, tool making, fighting,etc., and the girls stayed with the women. Couplesgot married relatively young by current standards(why not?). My guess is that such an Eskimo villageis a good, first approximation of what life was likein those European tribes 10,000 years ago.Okay, but society has changed since then. How?Sure, the talents men had for hunting, tool making,weapon making, and organizing groups for hunting,fighting, and other projects got us more in tools,wheels, organizational structures, (right, JaredDiamond) domestic cats, dogs, chickens, pigs, goats,sheep, cattle, horses, and, eventually, textiles,agriculture, writing, government, sailing, metals,armies, various machines, mathematics (right, JacobBronowski) first for accounting and land surveying,astronomy, first for calendar making, science,engineering, technology, medicine, an economy basedon specialization and trade, etc.So, all of this was work by men in ways convenientfor men. But what about the women gathered togetherin the village working on food, clothing, and caringfor the children?Well, then the women never felt alone and, instead,were for nearly every waking hour surrounded bychildren and women of all ages.Now, let’s see: Do girls in Asia like to use cellphones to gossip? What about the US? Yup. So, thegirls can be mobile and still gossip. So, right:From our little triangle inequality, the women10,000 years ago in the center of the villages wereengaged in non-stop ‘gossip’ (right, Deborah Tannen,with a little more than Tannen claimed).Broadly, woman and young women in the US today havelives wildly different emotionally than being in thecenter of a village 10,000 years ago. And whathappens to marriages? Sure: 50% end in divorce,with, maybe, 75% of the divorces initiated by thewomen. And of the other 50%? Sure, not all ofthose are happy. And what’s the average number ofchildren per woman? Well below 2.1; we’re goingextinct.Net, for men with genes of 10,000 years ago, modernlife is not so bad: We can hack code, dream ofmotorcycles and cars that can go from 0 to 60 MPH inless than 4 seconds and from a standing start coverthe quarter mile in less than 9 seconds, designrockets, get enthralled by the details of cellbiology, do high frequency trading, talk about firstexit times for Brownian motion, etc. For women withgenes of 10,000 years ago, modern life mostly justsucks, and we can see the results in some veryunhappy women and broken families.That situation is in part what hurt me with thatgirl when we broke up when she was 13 and I 15. Incontrast, the situation for us 10,000 years ago?While I was darned cautious, would do NOTHING wrongwith that girl I loved so much, and her mother neverhad anything to worry about, there were moments when10,000 years ago we would have gone to my hut, spentthe night, and in the morning had the tribe declareus as married (sadly without Wagner’s music), and myview is that our little hut would have made a verynice home with expected number of children way above2.1.Net, for family formation, modern life just sucks,and we will fix it or go extinct. More likely wewill go extinct until the people left find a fix.Ah, back to software! Last night made some goodprogress!

  33. Jessica Rudder

    It wasn’t new this year, but, new to me: airbnb.com.My husband and I both ended up in positions where we were working remotely at the same time. We decided to take our show on the road. Our apartment lease ended last September and we’ve been slow traveling since then.We use a parent’s address as our permanent address for tax purposes. But, other than that, our only ‘home’ is wherever we’re currently staying. Over the past year we’ve been able to live in Kailua-Kona and Hawaii Kai, HI; San Diego, CA; Cozumel, MX; Providence, RI; New York, NY; Rosendale, NY and Brattleboro, VT (for fall foliage). We’re leaving to Montreal in a few days and are working out our plan for the next few months of travel.Although a few of the stops have included extended stay hotels or visits with relatives, the main thing that has made it all possible was the existence of airbnb. We’ve been able to find places we can afford to stay for a month+ (most hotels are prohibitively expensive for longer stays) with kitchens that allow us to keep costs down (and health up) by preparing our own meals.It’s been a life changing adventure!The only downside has been our inability to find an affordable phone/internet solution that would enable us to leave North America and do some extended travel in Europe/Asia. Since our travels are dependent upon our jobs and our jobs require heavy internet usage, the current low gig solutions available (which would not be enough to do my work, much less to use skype as a phone alternative) have kept us ‘local’. Still, getting to slow travel the 3 beautiful countries that make up most of North America is not a bad deal at all!

    1. Drew Meyers

      There are places in Asia that you can work from. I worked over there for 5 months last year. I would highly highly recommend spending a few months in Chiang Mai…you won’t be sorry. Happy to help or answer questions about that area of the world if you wish.This is still an early early early work in progress, but as I can tell you love airbnb, wanted to share since the goal is to be a place for those who truly love AirBnB to find other passionate advocates nearby – http://www.ohheyworld.com/c

  34. LaMarEstaba

    The thing that’s changed my life the most this year was moving away from college, where I walked most places and almost never had free time, to work in Madison, WI, where I only log something like 42-45ish hours per week in our time tracker. During one huge week, I probably logged around 52. I feel like I have so much more free time with a full time job. I spent June reading tons of books (more than 70) and July working out 2-4 hours a day. August saw me join church choir and doing a lot of yoga (which displaced some of the time that I used to spend in the gym). A lot of people say, “oh, I’d do X more often if I had more time” and I had the opportunity to put my money where my mouth was when I suddenly only had to do things from 8-5 5 days a week.My roommate/best friend said that most people feel like they have less time when they get out of college and go into a real job, but that I had been doing the equivalent of 2.5 full time jobs in college and that’s why the speed at which I move right now seems so slow and easy. I really like being here (minus the way that it apparently can snow in October?) and I love my job, which most people consider a rarity.

  35. Guest

    I figured out why my dad gave me 5 names as a kid πŸ˜‰

    1. JLM

      .Multiple names are given in the South so you can tell when your Momma is “really” mad at you.”Ann, you come here, girl.””Ann Elizabeth Kendrick Carter, you are in big trouble now.”JLM.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        So, that’s why! A girl my age in theSouth wasEleanor Ann Harriet SchaeferI blew it and owe an apology: In theninth grade she had me to a partyin her back yard and wore somesheer, pastel, floral print dress alltied up with satin ribbons. Gorgeous.As the party died down, we talkedon her family sofa for about an hour.She told me about her father fromGermany, etc. Yes, she was tellingme about herself — one of the bestsigns (I later learned — need to writea blog/book ‘Girls 101 for Dummies –Boys’).In the 12th grade, I was taking trigonometry, and there was anexercise. I did it a conservative way;another guy did it another way;and we got different results. Theteacher, usually okay, was not clearon which was correct. The other guywas the best student in the grade,voted “Most Intellectual”, and wentto MIT. I beat him by only a few points on the Math SATs. But inclass we had a shoot out at the boardwhere we each showed our solutions.Apparently my conservative approach(avoid multiplying by an expression that might be 0) won.Then between classes, Ann walked upto me, stood maybe 10 inches away,looked up (I was 6′ 3″), smiled,and said, “I heard what you did intrigonometry class!”.I thought, heck, I justsolved an exercise. So what? Talkto the other guy; he needs sympathyfor his mistake. Besides, don’t messwith me in math class — that was theone subject the teachers could thinkof me as an offensive nerd yet stillbe forced to give me an A!I was shocked. First words I’d heardfrom her since the ninth grade. Clumsynerd me didn’t invite her for a Cherry Coke, local specialty, at the drug storeacross the street after school and towalk her home. Mistake.

  36. Paul Sanwald

    biggest fun discovery for me this year is really enjoying listening to metal, and going to metal shows. I listened to metal growing up, but since high school I’ve pretty much exclusively been into jazz and classical music, so it’s cool to go back and re-discover. my favorite newer bands are high on fire, holy grail, christian mistress, and mastodon.I also got a bass in 2013, and discovered I really love playing bass (am a guitarist by trade). I’ve been playing in a jazz quartet and that has been a lot of fun. it is very weird and cool to play bass in a setting that I have been the guitarist in for so long.I also went back to the startup world after working at a big investment bank, and that has been beyond awesome (even though I loved my job in finance).

  37. JLM

    .I left as CEO of a public company over a year ago and fell into CEO coaching after having been a CEO for over 33 years of public and private companies.I fell into it by virtue of my presence here on AVC.com and have now developed a very nice stable of clients.It has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life.When I was a 2nd Lt in the Army about 40 years ago I was admonished to simply “take care of your men” and everything would be OK.As a CEO coach, I have returned to those roots and I must say I love doing it.I am just enthralled with the quality of the folks with whom I work. I only work directly with CEOs and CFOs — never ever owing any duty to anyone other than them. They are all brilliant.As I tell them — never confide in anyone who can fire you.I am also amazed to see the number of things I have done or know that are of value to others. In 33 years of CEOing, I have learned a lot of things I now realize are of tremendous value to others and I am only too glad to share.JLM.

    1. LE

      “As I tell them — never confide in anyone who can fire you.”True and very old school.I remember my Dad telling me about employees who would tell him things (they were being honest) and he would say “that’s stupid they shouldn’t have told me that”. He never had a problem with people doing what was in their own interest and wouldn’t hold it against them.Then there was the time he had his heart attack. He didn’t want his suppliers in Israel to find out. “The minute they find out my credit will go down”. I’ve probably got dozens of other examples like that.

    2. panterosa,

      You have a great mix of Don’t bother me , son!/who gives a damn of military with the of course you can belief of a father. Don’t underestimate the fatherliness of being a coach. Believing in people is what spurs them to believe in themselves.

      1. JLM

        .One of the things I have recently learned about myself is that I have an instinctive sense of what success feels like and smells like.I cannot tell you the number of times I have been able to say to someone that in spite of what they are involved with just now that seems like it is killing them — this is what success looks and feels and smells like.I am also just bowled over by the number of people who are just on the verge of success who just need a little boost for them to get it to the finish line.I find myself coaxing success out of folks with the knowledge it was in there all the time. They just had to reach within themselves to grab it.It is very gratifying.JLM.

        1. panterosa,

          @JLM:disqus Your words were more prescient than you knew. I am writing an update in not giving up, quoting you.

          1. JLM

            .Great. Let me know if I can help.You can do it.JLM.

          2. panterosa,

            Thanks for the kind offer. I will write you directly.

  38. Tracey Jackson

    Emily wins the day. And while it may not be my biggest game changer this year, being a part of this site has added a lot to my days. I never would have thought it, but finally getting up the courage to take part and be accepted in a group that is successful and accomplished in an area that is so far from my particular skill set has given me a certain confidence. Geek confidence. It may be the bravest thing I have done this year.So, I am very grateful to AVC and the friends I have made in this bar. And I thank you all. Especially, Ted.. I mean Fred.

    1. panterosa,

      The distinction at AVC is you don’t need to sharpen your elbows to get in. Just be real, engaged, insightful and share …(oh wait being real does take confidence and balls). Anyways you’re here now.

  39. Emily Merkle

    I’m not sure I will have much to contribute for a while. But I once did, and I will again. Thank you community for your kind regards, and I’m glad we had the chance to perhaps reflect on some things that hit home.Emily

  40. secorp

    This may be a bit mundane after the other interesting changes in the comments, but something that has significantly changed the way I meet up with people in San Francisco/Oakland/Berkeley is the ubiquity of app-based parking payment combined with Lyft/Uber/similar services. I spend significantly less time on trip planning and can more consistently and quickly model the time+money needed.

  41. DCTech

    I know I am posting a bit late but the VersaTable Standing Desk has been a game changer for me.