I took the week of June 29th "off" and July 6th was my first week of considering "what's next?" At the beginning of the week I decided my primary goal for July was distilling down what I've learned over the past five years, and what will come next.
I'm still in a wide exploratory phase! I'd love to talk to anyone about what's currently on my mind, or what's on yours. Email or call me anytime! (I got a new phone, so you might want to text me first and tell me who it is so I pick up).
Unexpectedly, I invested in another startup this week. I'm excited for this one: it's very different than my past investments. It's my second investment where I didn't previously know the founders, and it's the first with a real-world component. I'm excited to help, and also excited to learn from the women who started it.
I spent a large part of my week in conversation and exploring new sets of ideas. I'm deeply appreciative of how many people have reached out, and the chance to talk about what I'm thinking about. I talked to Abdullah about computer science education, and how you get from a messy student project to a large production system. I talked to Sheridan and Jackie about startup models that differ from VC, and employee board seats. I talked to Justin about Maitsu, and to David about the future of getting from a sketch to a working system. I talked to Tyler and Lita and Alex about the future of infrastructure startups and interesting spaces right now. Andrew and Steven chatted with me about taking time off. I've reflected a lot on what it means to be good at your job vs. what it means to be good at interviewing while talking to the Dark team and my friend Alyshia.
I'm starting to think about a few spaces and ideas.
Reading. Of course. There hasn't been much change in this space since I started tracking books (back in 2009) and I still don't have a great way to get recommendations. I've kicked ideas around In this space like the Page-A-Day Calendar and a community book recommender.
An Actually Cool All Digital Conference. While talking to Lee, I started musing over the idea of what it would be like to make something that people genuinely want to attend online, and the software that'd be required to make that happen. I think the conference itself would be a "launch" and then you'd sell the tools to other events. It'd require lot of advanced content and planning though. Mmhmm is the most interesting thing I've seen in this space.
Making Things. An underlying theme that's been key to my work (Office Mobile, Awesome Foundation, Kickstarter, Dark) is the importance of helping others create. The problem is this is really broad. For now I'm going to think of it as three subcategories.
Office Tools. I still don't think anyone has really nailed "better Excel." I like Notion, Coda, Quip, Dropbox paper, but all of that feels like it's narrowed into one experience that's focused around the written document, and it isn't that much dramatically better than what we have. I want the future of Presentations (going back to that conference idea/Mmhmm) and the future of Excel.
Tools for Thinking. This overlaps office tools (although perhaps more focused on the user vs. communicating outwards). Justin's work on Maitsu falls here too.
DevTools: No Code vs. Just Code vs. "Real Infra". I'm still fascinated by this space, and I think at some point I'd like to draw an ecosystem map or write up how I view it as a whole. Looking at Dark is interesting because the world has certainly changed in the three years since we started, and I'm curious to look at the space with the fresh eyes of not having invested years in a solution. Gatsby (powering this blog), Vercel (formerly Zeit), Netlify, Glitch, Replit, GraphQL, Pulumi, Storyscript, etc. are all still interesting to me.
Another thing about taking time off is people keep saying "what do you do other than work?" I'm currently living with my parents in Southeastern Michigan (my husband is here too). We've taken over most of the cooking for the house.
This week we made:
We also took a leftover Taco Bell crunchwrap supreme and added eggs for a breakfast crunchwrap supreme. Recipe recommendations welcome!
I completed five books this week. I'm also still slowly working through Principles (Ray Dalio) and The Wretched of the Earth (Franz Fanon). You can follow me on Goodreads though I usually only update on Sunday.
Left Your Life speak was recommended to me by my friend Ethan Bernstein. It talks about finding your authentic vocation and making sure to be in full alignment with it. This is something I've historically struggled with as an introvert who spends a lot of time in conversations with others. I'm feeling a lot of freedom around what to do next in a way that I haven't previously.
IanC had a long running joke that I was allowed to make book recs (unlike other founders) because I'm perpetually recommending weird fiction instead of the classic startup silicon valley stuff. This is yet another book about a woman who lives in a small town, runs a small specialty shop, unintentionally gets involved in solving a murder and may/may not end up dating someone in law enforcement. I mostly just enjoy the general absurdity of the genre. It would be cool to make an AI to generate them.
Email me! I'd love to hear from you.