Shrimp & Grit

Yeah, one single grit.

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Is NCSSM a high school?

I think of NCSSM as a tech company masquerading as high school. The categorization of “tech” is independent of whatever the external product might be, it’s more of an assessment of the internal operations.

Casper is more of a tech company, masquerading as just another mattress provider. How fast are they evolving? What are they measuring? How are they measuring it? Those are the tells.

The product that NCSSM delivers is people. People that are ready for industry, well-versed in frameworks that help us make sense of nature. Math and science help humans bring order to chaos, a natural inclination.

When you walk into the building at 30, it feels like a research lab meets the White House. It’s just as inspiring as it was at 16. These kids take time to bake, but when they do, don’t get in their way. Compound interest is a hell of a force.

What should one do with an undervalued tech...

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Unicorn Diaries Part 2: The C Word

Many moons before Migos, shout out Migos, I used the following Gianni Versace quote as my senior quote:

“In the past, people were born royal. Nowadays, royalty comes from what you do.”

In the decade since, my fundamentals have not changed. I’m still default light-hearted and believe in capitalism and meritocracy. I often wonder how much of my personality has been framed by the struggle in my childhood. I’m grateful for it actually, but I wish it didn’t have to hit so close to home so many times.

While I attended NCSSM, my mom went full cycle through Breast Cancer. It broke me. I watched the symbol of health and resilience in my life go through chemotherapy and unravel. I’ve never felt as powerless as I did then.

I am a pretty chipper, positive guy, but given this uninvited guest in the concoction of usual teenage woes, I hit peak overwhelmed and went through a turbulent academic...

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Unicorn Diaries Part 1: Stanford or Morehead?

Let’s rewind ⏪ to 2007 at NCSSM. My friend Mike Mian 07’ strolls into a room full of my hallmates and calmly lobs a grenade of a question: “Should I go to Stanford or take the Morehead scholarship?”.

The gut response from teenage boys is obviously …well Mike, you should go fuck yourself. It was the academic equivalent of, “Hey guys, which Victoria’s Secret model should I date?

While it was a lot of fun to go for the jugular, it was also the basic thing to do. Internally, I teased out a few perspectives before doubling down on judgement for the long term, like God would. The correct answer was C, per usual:

The guy is swimming in opportunity as a result of compounding years of hard work and earnestly wants to make the best decision for his life. He wants feedback from people he trusts.

Getting to know Mike better over the years has solidified this perspective. Like a lot of my...

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The bar is too damn high, my quest for future bae

I’m fortunate in that I’ve been in several multi-year relationships from age 16 to 28. In series vs. parallel mostly. Kidding. I’m super loyal once I’ve executed the contract. I commit serial monogamy for those of you that need to label and put humans into buckets.

I just got out of my greatest one yet at the tail end of last year. The rule of thumb is it generally takes about half the length of the relationship to recover. i.e. ~3.5 year relationship, 1.75 years to fully recover. I don’t know how scientific that heuristic actually is, but it seems to be directionally correct as I’m about yay recovered, almost a year in.

I say greatest in terms of personal growth for both parties, milestones and compatibility achieved. Not to add to the list of things to be insecure about, but I’m a “voice guy”, and she had a great voice. To continue offering a frame of reference to the severity of...

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My favorite Bill Gates quote

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”

related: Do Things That Don’t Scale - Paul Graham

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Productivity hacking in the information age

As Paul Graham states in The Acceleration of Addictiveness, “…the world will get more addictive in the next 40 years than it did in the last 40.” Essentially, the incentive to produce Ad-tech heroin and content will always outpace the regulation to control it, so you have to take a personal stand to get shit done these days.

If you’re on a mac, Self Control is a domain blacklisting app that’s helped me fight this uphill battle over the last couple of years. They’re offering horse blinders and chainmail armor for the modern knowledge worker. Every morning I turn off the noise designed to trip my reptile brain wires for the next 30 minutes-24 hours.

Once you get past the withdrawal symptoms, there’s a more satisfying and lasting high that comes from long-term focus and being truly present in the task at hand. I’m pleased to say that my latest addiction is turning it back on as soon as...

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How I made the most of my first 100 SaaS demos

adapted for the Abacus blog

I still vividly remember the very first sales demo I performed in August 2012. I’d just been promoted from SDR to full-time AE at the newly formed file-sharing division of Citrix Systems. Citrix had just acquired ShareFile a few months prior and was beginning to scale their outbound sales team. I was giddy to take on the additional responsibility of closing and eager to carve out my place on the leaderboard.

The night before that first GoToMeeting, I was so worried about forgetting to mention a potential feature or skipping a step in the sales process that I quickly drafted a “demo worksheet" to print off and use as a pre, during, and post demo cheatsheet/assessment form for my own sanity.

As a result of measuring and iterating on my process from day 1, I made it to the top 10 within my first month and every month thereafter. I would go on to break...

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