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Life update 2023 edition

Starting with the news: I’ve parted ways (amicably) with my last company and I’m back on the job market.

It’s weird saying that in the current market. Millions of people’s jobs were ripped right from them due to ambiguous market concerns” and/or dark incentives at play.

Anyway, I am grateful for the experience and looking forward to whatever’s next.

LinkedIn mostly knows me as a product guy. I’ve had the great fortune of working in many different, usually quite complex, spaces in my 11+ years doing it: talent booking in the music industry, two-sided marketplaces, collaboration in the enterprise, furniture delivery, messy platform scaling. I believe that diversity of experience, combined with tenure in both early-stage and FAANG-scale organizations, gives me a unique perspective as a PM. I’ve also worked with and led some amazing product thinkers and operators around the world, and that’s been awesome.

But I also make music, write, tinker, and mentor/coach fellow product people a bit. In fact, I believe the best product people have backgrounds in highly creative places. I want to start doing more of these things and talking more about them to bring visibility to this idea.

People tend to be impressed and surprised by the fact that I’m a classically-trained pianist. I won awards for it as a kid. I think my mom still has a few of them up on the piano of my childhood home. (I should take some photos for social proof 😬)

During the angstiest of my teen years, I swore off piano and taught myself bass, then guitar, and now I dabble in those and a few other instruments. I went to school for music and composed some odd pieces, like one for solo 5-string bass and live looped electronics. I’ve performed with and produced for several bands and musicians. I played bass in an instrumental prog-rock band in high school, the other members of which went on to form Earthside (link in comments — check them out, especially if you’re into epic rock/metal stuff, they’re great).

I married an artist and photographer, who went to school for design and quickly became disenchanted with it. She is now an amazing photographer of women and young families, and creates art prints of things in nature that were recently described as like old Renaissance paintings, but photos” (link to her work in comments).

In my late 20s, deep in my product career, I rediscovered writing prose and songs, both for fun and as a means to get ideas out in to the world. I also revitalized my love for the piano; now most of the songs I write start on a piano, and you can hear that across the 4 albums I’ve released (link to listen in comments - note some songs contain profanity and are noted as such). But I quickly ran out of time to do this stuff, especially after my daughter was born.

When you’re a PM, you are incentivized to be all in” on your product or problem space — it becomes extremely difficult to find the time and/or mental fortitude to keep other interests moving forward. Now that I’m in between full-time gigs, my wife and I plan to spend much more of our days helping each other in our creative pursuits, working on some of them together, and bringing our 2-year-old daughter in the mix as she likes.

So, what’s next?

Oh god, I have both no idea and too many ideas.

First, I’m taking a beat, to be — really be — with my family.

Ideally, I’d find a senior/staff/principal IC product role at a company with a strong product culture, or perhaps a product leadership role at an early-stage joint, doing interesting things in the arts, content, productivity, automation, wellness or climate tech spaces. I’m also very open to consulting or fractional engagements.

But I’ve also got a bunch of other ideas in my brain and some time to explore them.

You’ll probably see me writing more about the intersection of things I care about: product craft, operations, music/art, remote work, parenting, and the like. Tone deaf color blind is an acknowledgment of my imperfections as a human and the impostor syndrome that inevitably comes with success” in light of those imperfections, so most of my writing will be through that lens. I am committing myself one long-form piece of writing each week (this one counts for this week).

I also plan to use this opportunity to finish multiple half-finished music projects and perhaps reestablish myself a bit as a music person. I’ve written 4 (!) albums of music! And I have a fifth one pretty close to being done! I should put it out into the world. I’ve got another release almost ready to go, that is a doozy of a left-turn that parents should particularly enjoy.

Posted on March 21, 2023   #life update  






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