Dating and Education Part I

I got her number, but I never called.

I got this girl’s number, but I never called.

Dating. It’s hard. Some people are lucky and meet the love of their life in high school. Others in college. I even have a few friends who met their significant others the first year out of college. But for people like me, which seems like a majority of my LA friends, that leaves years of extremely frustrating dating. But no matter how frustrating it becomes, we persevere in hopes of finding “The One.”

Years of unsuccessful dating can be viewed in one of two ways.

1. Depressing

A string of bad dates will leave anyone depressed and hopeless. You start to doubt yourself and the qualities you bring to a relationship. You second guess your decision making process. You lament why you always pick the wrong type of person even when you know you shouldn’t be with someone like that. Yes, dating can be depressing and it will continue to be depressing if you think of your lack of success as that…unsuccessful. But a simple adjustment to your perspective can flip depression into optimism.

2. Experimental 

View all your previous dating experience as a scientific experiment. Just like a chemist’s lab, you are tinkering, just trying to find the right formula for romantic chemistry.  As Thomas Edison would say, “I have not failed, not once.  I’ve discovered ten thousand ways that don’t work.” Don’t view your dating “failures” as a bad thing, but rather as part of the process of filtering out the people wrong for you.

I got her number, but she gave me the, "my family is in town" excuse. Bitch.

I got her number, but she gave me the, “my family is in town” excuse. Bitch.

As someone who has been dating for over a decade, I typically fall into the experimental camp. While I might occasionally get depressed from dating (it’s only natural), for the most part, I truly believe that I’m developing a better sense of what type of person I want to spend the rest of my life with. Which brings me to the idea of dating and education. Does a date’s education level affect dating decisions and should it matter?

Should Education Matter?

Education is one of the most universal schemas that people use to form early opinions about someone (where you grew up and current profession are two others). While I currently am trying NOT to ask these questions right off the bat, it’s only natural that they will eventually come up on a date. Whether it’s right or wrong, my date’s educational background will affect my perception of them as a romantic partner.

So What Does It Mean, You Judgmental Prick?

I’ll admit, I make quick (and temporary) judgement based on someone’s higher education. Where you went to school can be as much of an indicator as if you went to college at all. BUT, that’s not why your education is important to me. To me, education is usually a good indicator for common interests and experiences. Yes, it’s a blanket opinion that doesn’t factor in outliers, but it’s what my dating experience has lead me to believe.

When I have dated women who have at least a four year degree, I find that we have more to talk about. Our life experiences are parallel and we can relate to each other’s experiences. I’ve found that it’s much easier to riff off each other this way, leading to deeper, more interesting conversations. Contrast that with women I’ve dated who don’t have college educations, and I find that our conversations are much more A to B. In my head, I’m brainstorming new topics to discuss, because I can tell the current topic isn’t going to naturally lead into another conversation thread. This is the driving force behind my education dating criteria.

This is my friend Natalie. We never dated, but this post needed an another awkward photo of me.

This is my friend Natalie. We never dated, but this post needed an another awkward photo of me.

“I Don’t Have a Degree, Do You Think I’m Stupid?” 

I think that the reason why people without degrees are really sensitive about this subject, is that they assume people cast them off into the stupid pile. This stereotype, sadly, isn’t entirely untrue. If you graduated from Harvard vs. Santa Monica Community College, it’s difficult not to jump to conclusions on intellect. I’ve already admitted that I will make a quick judgement. But just knowing if and where someone went to college isn’t enough to make a proper opinion about someone.

One question that I’ve begun to ask people as a follow up to the education conversation is, “Why did you choose X?” I’ve found that this question is probably more telling about a person than simply where they went to school.

Everyone Has a Story, Know the Context

Understanding why people chose to go to college (or not to go) and why they went to a particular school is really fascinating. I just had a conversation with a girl who got into every college she applied to, but the one she really wanted to go to (Harvard). So instead of shelling out a small fortune to attend Cornell and say she’s an Ivy Leaguer, she stayed close to home and went to Berkley. Then there was the girl who went to a small private college to appease her parents but totally regrets it. She would have much preferred to attend a larger public university, even if less prestigious, for a more well-rounded experience.

Learning the meaning behind someone’s college decision is an important data point to know. Knowing what other schools someone applied to or why they chose not to go to college are interesting facts (in my opinion) about someone. Dating is all about peeling back the layers of someone. If they went to school and where they went is just a starting point. But it’s still an easy way to filter out a majority of people who you know you won’t be compatible with.

I know this is a really unpopular stance and paints me as narrow-minded shit head. I have friends who never went to college and others who went to “shitty” schools. I really don’t think less of them and I know they’re good people who are smart.  That being said, I still find more common ground with people who went to college, which is why I use education as a dating criteria. Being someone’s friend  and being someone’s lifelong partner that you spend all your time with is a huge difference. I really do welcome open conversation on the subject in the comments.

In my next post, I’m going turn the table and take a look at my educational experiences. I’ll examine how these experiences have molded me into the person I am today and how they still affect my dating decisions years later.

Knights of Waukesha Scholarship Fund

If you’ve ever read my bio, I refer to myself as a “budding philanthropist.” When I first wrote that bio, I was just starting to distribute the Knights of Waukesha Scholarship my high school friends and I created. Now, four years later, the scholarship is maturing into something much more sustainable. It’s developing into a scholarship fund that will live for years, not just as long as my friends and I decide to write a check every year. This is something I’m incredibly proud of.

Screen shot 2014-03-15 at 2.07.39 AM

You can read the long story about how this scholarship was started on the scholarship blog, but here’s the short version. Five high school friends and I decided that we should give back to the city that provided us the foundation that has lead to our individual successes. So we started the Knights of Waukesha scholarship, a $500 scholarship we distributed to one deserving high school student each year.

The first three years of the scholarship were pretty similar. We accepted scholarship submissions online, sifted through all the applications, and chose the most deserving. Then each “Knight” would write an $85 check at the end of the year. Like any young organization, our public facing image was confident and smooth. The reality was, we scrambled to get applications, review them, and put together money (since $85 was a lot of money to some of us when we started). I can say this now because this is year four and it finally feels like we are hitting our stride and building a sustainable organization.

In the fall of 2013 the Knights of Waukesha Scholarship began our next phase of growth. Through our website, we received an inbound inquiry about getting involved from a Waukesha South graduate. After talking to this individual, he agreed to donate $1,000 to our scholarship. Ecstatic, we discussed what we would do with the donation. Our first notion was to give away a $1,500 scholarship this year. But we decided that the money would be best used to start an endowment, rather than just give it all away at once.


With that, I started to research larger endowment funds in Waukesha. This lead me to the Waukesha Education Foundation. After further research, I discovered they were a part of  a larger endowment, the Waukesha County Community Foundation. After a few really great discussions with the foundation’s CEO, Kathryn Leverenz, it was decided that we would start our fund with WCCF, using the $1,000 donation by Rodd Mann to start our fund.

Now that the paperwork is signed, the Knights of Waukesha Scholarship Fund is officially a part of the Waukesha County Community Fund. Technically this means that our money is professionally handled and all donors are given tax benefits according to the foundation’s 501c3 standing. But to me, looking at the larger picture, this partnership means that the Knights of Waukesha Scholarship is now a bona find scholarship fund that will generate money for high school seniors for years, perhaps long after the founding members are alive.

If you are interested in donating to the Knights of Waukesha Scholarship Fund, please visit our donation page. We are looking raise $50,000 for our fund this year. This will enable us to award two scholarships a year at $1,000 a piece. Every dollars helps and we appreciate your support. Feel free to email me if you have any questions about getting involved with the Knights of Waukesha Scholarship Fund, I’d love to hear from you.


Fuck Yeah Or No?


I will tell you right now, I did not come up with this life philosophy. But it’s probably the most amazing piece of advice I’ve ever come across and I now live my life by it. It’s given me the courage to say no, which is like a super power. It’s the law of “Fuck Yeah! Or No.”

The “Fuck Yeah or No” philosophy is a combination of blog posts by Derek Sivers and Mark Manson. Derek Sivers wrote his, “Hell Yeah or No” post about committing to anything while Manson wrote his “Fuck Yes or No” about dating. The premise is simple. Whenever you are forced to make a decision, you have to ask your gut how you feel about it. Is your answer “Fuck Yeah!” or is it “No.”? It’s a zero sum question.

Ever since I read these blog posts, I’ve used this question to answer all the tough questions I face in life. If I’m not so excited by something and I’m not answering, “Fuck Yeah!” then I’m not really that interested. Mild interest always turns out not to be real interest. I’ve wasted too much time on things I don’t really love.

When I ask myself the “Fuck Yeah or No” question, I try to answer it as fast as I can. I don’t allow myself to weigh the pros and cons. I let my gut decide. Fuck Yeah or No?

Some of you might not trust yourself to make such a quick decision, but I can assure you, you are qualified to make this decision. Ask yourself this question with any decision you have to make. It will make your life so much easier, less stressful, and ultimately happier.

“Do you want to work at this company?”

“Fuck yeah or no?”


“Do you see a future with this girl?”

“Fuck yeah or no?”


“Do I need to buy this jacket?”

“Fuck yeah or no?”

Once you start to ask yourself this question a few times, it will become routine. After a few occasions, you’ll start to trust yourself more and more. Soon, making really big, life altering choices won’t be difficult. It’s because you already know the answer and have the confidence to go with what you know is right.

Fuck Yeah or No?

Be Happier By Removing Logic

Logic. What a son of a bitch. Normally, logic is what guides us to make good decisions. It’s logical to cross the road when no cars are coming. It’s logical not to put your hand on the hot stove. Logic keeps us safe and it’s difficult to argue against it. But logic doesn’t always steer us in the right direction. Because logic steers us to the safe decision, it can mean that we don’t grow as much as we’re capable of. I have become much happier in my life by removing logic when making my big decisions.


If you don’t know me personally, I am a very pragmatic person. In some circles, people might even consider me safe. But I’ve taken enough risks in my life, both calculated and spontaneous, to know that my greatest periods of growth came after my most illogical decisions.

I have a handful of stories to back this claim up, but there are two instances in my life that really stand out. One was when I moved to Thailand after college, the other was when I quit my job to start my first company.

Moving to Thailand

To me, the logical step after college is to either get a job related to your field of study, or pursue a graduate program. I don’t have stats to back that up, but I’d say more than 80 percent of college graduates go that route. Up until my last semester of college, that’s what I was going to do. I was going to move to Chicago and find a job at a corporate company. Just like all my peers. Except I didn’t do that. I ended up on a plane to go live and work in Thailand for a year. Not only did I not speak the language (or studied it at all) but I hadn’t eaten Thai food before. I went into this situation completely blind. I didn’t just step out of my comfort zone, I flew nearly 9,000 miles outside of it.


So much doucheyness in this photo.

My year abroad completely transformed my life. I had never taken a marketing course in my life. Yet, I got a job in marketing, fumbled my way through it, and now I’ve built a career in marketing. I started my trip as a shy young man. But I was forced to come out of my shell quickly. I lived in a non-English speaking town (i.e. small town north of Bangkok), I didn’t know anyone, and I didn’t know what I was doing at work. When I traveled throughout Southeast Asia, I did it on my own. So I had to make friends at every hostel otherwise I was eating alone. I developed personal courage during this trip. The experience completely shifted the direction of my life, even though I didn’t know it at the time.

Starting My First Company

Fast forward two years, after I came back from Thailand, I was working in Los Angeles. (I could argue that my Thai experience is what lead me to move to LA, but that’s another story). I was working at an online marketing agency at the time. This was what I considered my first real job after college. I was being paid a real salary. I had benefits, a 401k, even stock options. I was living a good life. Logically, it made no sense to quit a job like this with no real savings to start my first company, which had no clients. Who does that? Turns out, I did.

This decision completely shocked my parents. It was beyond illogical. I was making more money at 25 than they had ever made. I had no debt, I was well on my way to building a very normal life. Then I fucked it all up by quitting my job on a whim. But that one move lead me to where I am today. I suffered a great many setbacks from then until now, but I’ve learned so much. Much more than I would have ever learned had I stayed at my safe job. I am a much happier person, without regret, today because I defied logic and quit my job. I haven’t accomplished all my goals yet, but I’m very much on the right path. One that started with an illogical decision.


Far too often we are bound by logic. When we weigh the pros and cons of a decision, people can get fixated on the most rational decision. Mostly (IMO) because we know people can’t argue against it. If your friend is trying to determine if she should quit her $120,000 a year job or start a company, most people will advise to stick with the job. Why? Because if you tell your friend to quit her job, two years later she might be broke and in shambles. Two years with the logical job could mean a pay raise and a growing savings account. But growth happens outside of your comfort zone. So when you are facing big life choices, trust me when I say, you will be happier by removing logic.

The Lottery Economy

don't quit

I live in Hollywood and work in tech. Everyday I see the struggles that individuals on the bottom rungs of these industries endure. We drag ourselves to hell and back, all for a shot at our dream. We tell ourselves it will be worth it one day, that no one ever succeeded without hard work. We are all slaves to the lottery economy.

The lottery economy describes the gamble so many in entertainment and tech take in order to achieve their dreams. We line up to buy our ticket in hopes of one day hitting it rich, just as any lucky Powerball winner would. The thought of this pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is what drives us, keeps us up late, and convinces us that all the sacrifice is worth it.

The reality is that most of us will fail. This isn’t pessimism, it’s fact. Look at the number of entrepreneurs:millionaires and actors:celebrities. I’d venture a guess that it’s a fairly close ratio. Even if with odds greatly stacked against us, why do we march forward?

Both industries have two primary story lines that keep us moving. It’s why actors wait tables and entrepreneurs eat ramen; all while enduring gut wrenching pain.

1. We Are Different

Everyone thinks they are different. We are the exception, not the rule.

Statistically, this is false for most everyone, but it’s what we need to tell ourselves to get out of bed and face the insane odds stacked against us everyday. Want to be successful? Lie to yourself.

Tell yourself whatever you need to in order to muster the courage to overcome the inauspicious probabilities that lie in front of you.

2. Rags to Riches

In addition to the belief we are different, we bite on the rags to riches stories littered among Hollywood and tech. We crave these stories, because it reinforces the dream.

People love the stories like WhatsApp’s $19 billion acquisition. When you’re down, facing a bounced rent check, and wondering if your credit card will be approved at the Dollar Store, you need a rags to riches story.

These stories give you a sliver of hope, reminding you that you may be down, but you’re not out. The pain is temporary and the glory of your success will far outweigh your current hell.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, actor, or aspiring producer, our paths to success are largely parallel. We trudge along, following the distant carrot the lottery economy promises us.

As someone who still has his lottery ticket firmly clasped in his palm, I offer just one piece of advice: enjoy the donut.

Eating a donut offers you a fleeting moment of joy. You can enjoy the present and appreciate the satisfaction a simple donut can offer.

So while you fight and struggle to redeem your lottery ticket, don’t forget to enjoy the donuts of life. They are what will make life just a little bit more exciting and restore the energy and focus needed to succeed.

The lottery economy is a fucking bitch. But like you, I’m different. And I’m not ready to throw away my ticket.

Are the Long-Term Unemployed Screwed?

photo (2)

Legos. They’re a wonderful toy that’s entertained children for years. But have you ever looked at a pile of legos? They’re all similar to certain extent. Bricks that connect to another brick. Sure, there are different sizes and colors, but individually they’re not too significant. However, together they can build something great. So when you’re looking for a job, you’re essentially a lego brick.

Getting lost in the sea of lego pieces is a terrible fate that affects many Americans. Being unemployed for months is a terrible feeling and the longer you are unemployed, the more difficult it is to eventually get a job. You become insecure and scared.

This fear is real and is experienced by many Americans every year. However, this topic has really become a especially sensitive pain point in the past 6 years, since we’ve experienced some of the highest unemployment rates the US has experienced in the past 30 years. It’s lead to many millenials to move back home and forced many experienced professionals to work jobs that they’re over-qualified for. The lack of jobs and growing pool of qualified candidates has caused many to become a part of the ever stressful group of long-term unemployed Americans.

Unless you were one of the lucky few who get recruited from their current positions, most lose their jobs and then are forced to find new jobs. Naturally there will be a gap in their employment history. But once that gap starts to extend beyond six months (my definition) you dip into the ranks of the long-term unemployed. Once you get hit with this toxic label, getting a new job becomes increasingly difficult.
There are three major things that cause gaining unemployment after six months to be increasingly difficult. Confidence. Perception. Desperation.

1. Confidence

Your confidence will really take a hit when you’re on the job hunt. It can even cause varying degrees of depression. I’ve seen it first hand. A friend loses his/her job. They apply and apply to every job they’re qualified for. They continually get shot down or ignored. This constant barrage of rejection will start to take its toll. Confidence in their skills dwindles.

Before you know it, your once vibrant friend has recoiled, removing them self from social circles, too down to even hang out. It’s hard to get a job when you don’t have confidence and the job hunt doesn’t offer many opportunities to increase your self-esteem.

2. Perception

Once you are unemployed for an extended period of time, potential employers start having a different perception of you. Why hasn’t anyone hired you? You begin to appear like old fish. Why pick the old, stinky fish, when there is newer, fresher fish?

It’s human nature. We want what everyone else wants. If no one wants it, whatever it is becomes less appealing. I’m not saying this is right, but it’s the reality. So no fault of your own, you become increasingly less attractive to a potential employer if you’ve been out of work for too long.

3. Desperation

When people become unemployed for a really long time, they start to become desperate. Their salary expectations once started at $75,000 a year. Soon they’re applying for positions at $60,000 and then they’re praying to be considered for a $40,000 a year job. Hiring managers can smell this desperation and it raises red flags.

Everyone knows it’s easier to get a job while you have a job. So for the long-term unemployed, when they can’t get a job that fits their expectations, they lower them. Getting a job of any sorts will help them rebound. Both with their confidence and financially. You may be thankful for a $40,000 a year job over the possibility of losing unemployment, but once your confidence goes up, you’re going to want that $75,000 salary. That’s when you’ll start to look for a new job, which will now be easier since you have a job.

No one wants to be the pit stop of someone’s professional journey. Hiring is a draining process for the employer and training someone takes time and money. If the hiring manager thinks someone is over-qualified for a job and will bolt in 8 months, you’re probably going to be skipped as they look at the candidates they think will stay long-term.

The cherry on top of this bleak news is age. Good luck getting a job if you’re over 50 and unemployed for longer than six months. Another harsh truth (which is an entirely new blog post). So how can someone avoid the frustration and fear long-term unemployment brings?


Warren Buffet once said that you should never depend on just one source of income. I believe this is a philosophy that everyone should adopt. Since I’ve followed this advice, it has greatly reduced my stress and provided me more options. So while most are not fit to be an entrepreneur, everyone should be entrepreneurial. I’m fortunate enough to have side work that pays my bills. But even if you don’t have enough side work to pay all your bills, some extra income always helps.

In addition to finding more work, there are three things people should consider when they’re unemployed. Admittedly, two are universal rules, while the third can be limiting if you have a family.

1. Network

You should always be networking. Especially if you have a job. You need time to build meaningful relationships. Plus it’s better to build them when you don’t need anything from them. Building a strong network of people who know you and can vouch on your behalf is the best way to get a job. The first thing I do when I look for a job is to email everyone I know. It’s a far more effective option for employment than applying cold to job boards. I would venture a guess that people who are unemployed for extended periods of time don’t have strong networks.

2. Add Value

Be proactive. If you want a job with a company, do something to get the job. People like seeing results. This will make you stand out. Bring the company a client, or make a valuable introduction. I always remember Kevin Rose telling the story how he got into Square’s venture round. Jack Dorsey first turned him down, but then offered him an opportunity to invest after Kevin made a video for Square that got people’s attention. Add value over the other Lego bricks.

3. Location

I’ve never felt worried about opportunity during my job hunts because I live in Los Angeles. Being in a major, metropolitan area means there are many more job opportunities than if I were to live in the middle of Iowa. I know family changes things and moving is not always feasible. But if you’re having difficulties finding a job, perhaps it’s time to consider a new location. You can’t build a life without a job.

I’ve never been unemployed for an extended period of time. But I have been unemployed and it’s hell, so I can’t imagine what six months of unemployment feels like. I’ve had friend who were unemployed for a year. After a few months, I stopped seeing them. They were too embarrassed to go out. Their self-worth was shot. I don’t wish unemployment upon anyone. If you find yourself looking for a job, I hope you don’t just work the job boards but take my advice and get yourself out there. I guarantee your hunt will be shorter.

2014: It’s Going To Be a Good Year

2014 Is Going To Be a Good Year

2014 Is Going To Be a Good Year


2013 was shit. It was a tough year. It just kicked me in the teeth and when I thought the beating was over, it kicked me again. But the silver lining to my fucked up year is that it set up 2014.

I feel very confident about 2014, more so than any other year. I’ve said “20XX is going to be a good year” before, but the words came more from desperate optimism than confidence. This year is different.

For the first time I feel like I have my shit together. Pieces of my life, pieces I’ve been working on for years, are finally aligning and ready to go. I’m really happy. I’m no longer trying to survive everyday battles. I feel good and my mind is free to focus on the things I actually want accomplish.

I am ready for 2014. It’s going to be a good year.

The Psychology Of Giving Money

Image Courtesy of Comedy Central? Don't Sue Me.

Image Courtesy of Comedy Central? Don’t Sue Me.

We’ve been approached by someone homeless, and been asked for money. Sometimes we give, sometimes we don’t. Why do we sometimes give and sometimes we don’t? Is it our mood that day? Or is it how needy we perceive the person? What is the psychology of giving money?

Recently, I’ve been approached by several people recently who didn’t look homeless. They looked poor, but not a like someone living in a box under the highway. Yet, they asked for money. And like most times I’m approached for money, I refused. Unlike most instances, I refused to give money not because I had no change, I refused because it seemed like the person didn’t need the money. In the split second I had to make my decision, I thought that according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, she was able to satisfy her lowest of needs, like proper clothing. Therefore, I shouldn’t give her money.

But in retrospect, was that really the case? How many times have you given away your old clothes to Salvation Army? If any of these garments end up on the shoulders of a homeless person, like we hope they do, that person won’t look as homeless will they? Are we indirectly hurting homeless people when we try to help with our garment donations?

Once I saw a homeless man with no shoes. He had cardboard taped to his feet. I went to my trunk and offered him some old running shoes. He flatly refused. He shooed me a way. I left feeling like shit and confused. Why? Probably because not having shoes made him look worse and made people more willing to give him money. Which leads me to ask, “Why do we give some homeless people money and not others?”

I have no social scientific proof as to why or why not we give to homeless people. I only have my anecdotal opinions, but I would wager that my experiences mirror more people’s thought process than not.

There are three major factors that push us to give one homeless person money and not another. One is the amount of money/change we have in our pockets. The second is the level of need we feel the person has.  The third being our current mood.

The first reason is pretty straight forward. If we don’t have any change or only have big bills, then we don’t give away money to the homeless. It’s not convenient to us. I get this. There is nothing wrong not giving away your hard earned money to someone homeless. Yes, $10 would do them more good than it might you, but if you were to give $10 to everyone who was homeless, your needs won’t be met.

The second reason is a lot more subjective. In my initial example, I said that I didn’t think the women who asked me for money needed it based on her clothing. Therefore, I wasn’t going to get the emotional benefit of giving her money. Yes, giving money to homeless isn’t an entirely altruistic act. People like to feel good about themselves. Giving to the needy makes people food good about themselves. If someone doesn’t seem like they truly need the money (as in they are forced to beg) than we don’t really want to give people money.

Lastly, our mood plays a factor as to whether or not we give money to the homeless. Again, this is clearly subjective. Some people might give money because they’re angry and they want to feel better. Others might give because they’re in a good mood and want to spread the love. Maybe you just won a scratch off lottery ticket and won $20, so giving away $2 to someone on the street isn’t a big deal? Whatever the reason may be, your mood when approached by a homeless person alters your generosity.

This is clearly not an academic paper. But I everyday I ride the subway to work (which is a rarity in LA). Since I started this practice, I’ve encountered more homeless people begging for money than I ever had. This coupled with the time I have on the train rides lead to me to start thinking about the psychology of giving. I would definitely love to hear the opinions of those smarter than me on this subject, but this is what I came up with.

Why I’m Bullish on Snapchat

My sister's snap of her daughter.

My sister’s snap of her daughter.

The web has been a buzz with the revelation that ephemeral messaging app Snapchat turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook. Snapchat has been a common focus of conversation among my groups of friends, both professionally and personally. If you read the comments on any Snapchat related article, you can tell that many people find the app to be superficial and worthless. They believe that it’s going to be irrelevent in a year and that they should take the money and run. I am in the minority and believe that Snapchat has value and is a good long-term bet.

I use Snapchat everyday. Over the past few months, I’ve seen my use of Snapchat increase from twice daily to about thirty snaps a day. To accomodate this new form of communication, I am texting less. I would say that my ratio of texts to snaps is nearing a 1:1 ratio. There are a handful of people that I exclusively communicate via Snapchat. The only time I need to text is if I need to send pertinent information that should be accessed at a later time (i.e. phone number, address). I can definitely see myself snapping more than texting within the next 60 days. But the most telling reason why I think Snapchat will have long-term value is that all the friends that I snap with are not in tech. Screen shot 2013-11-14 at 8.38.59 AM With mobile/social apps like Path and even Instagram, it was always my tech friends that were on it. Months later my non-tech friends would start to trickle in, if they ever did. This is only logical according to the Diffusion Innovations theory. Innovators/early adopters first, majority/laggards later. But in the case of Snapchat, its prevalent use among my non-tech friends, much sooner than many apps, made me realize that this isn’t just a tech fad. It really is a new way of communicating. I have never been able to enjoy a new, hip app with so many of my friends this early on (I guess now it’s not too early, but it was months ago). I still don’t have this density of adoption among my non-tech friends with Twitter.

Yes, $3 billion is a fuck ton of money. The founders could have cashed out and lived their lives on a yacht drinking Cristal everyday (or whatever the uber rich do). But the people who say the founders are dumb for not taking the money say this because they’ll never have a $3 billion opportunity stand before them (obviously not many of us will). When presented with the thought of mind-boggling wealth, it’s only natural to think of what you would do with the money. But if I’ve learned anything in life, it’s that money doesn’t buy happiness. Here are a few possible reasons why the Snapchat founders didn’t sell:

1. The founders each cashed out for $10 million in their last venture round. They’re no longer worried about their electric bill…for life.

2. Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility comes into play. Now that the founders have $10 million, will $500 million really make their day-to-day life better?

3. Ego. Never underestimate the male ego. Since money isn’t a worry, satisfying ego is a plausible next step.

4. Investors are whispering in the founders’ ears, saying, “Don’t sell, go for the home run.”

*If you look at Snapchat’s investor list, they’re predominately located in Silicon Valley. Valley VCs are less concerned about revenue (initially) and more about growth, unlike LA VCs who expect revenue sooner.  The giant funds Valley VCs manage need a few HUGE wins to make up for all the losses. (If you manage $1 billion, you need at least $5 billion in returns.) So of course investors want to let it ride with Snapchat. Multi-billion dollars companies are rare and when they come around, you have to milk it. Remember, people said similar things about Twitter’s lack of monetization as many do with Snapchat now.  Twitter just IPOed and is worth ~$25 billion.

5. It could be as simple as the founders love their jobs and are having a blast building Snapchat.


Snapchat is an extremely sticky app that provides both utility and entertainment. People who say it’s just for sexting have obviously never used the app (even if that miight have been the original intent). With scale and millions of engaged daily users, I have no doubt that Snapchat will one day monetize. If Snapchat offered tools (i.e. stickers, new colors) that made my snaps more fun, I would pay for that. In a heartbeat. If they could somehow offer screenshot protection, I’d pay for that. If they gave me more characters to type with, I’d consider paying for that. Why not? I pay for text messaging. Snapchat will make money at some point.

Ultimately, I don’t think Snapchat will IPO. I do believe its ephemeral method of messaging has a future, but its future liquidity is through an acquisition. I could see Google or Microsoft (yes, Microsoft) buying it for ~$10 billion. Or maybe even a global telecom. I’m confident there will be a larger payday down the road via an acquisition. Turning down $3 billion may seem crazy right now, but in a weird, distant way, I understand why.

The Unfortunate Consequence of My Attack

The other night I was assaulted. You can read the long story on the UrbanGroop blog (it’s a good story). But here’s the abbreviated version:

I was waiting at a stoplight on my bike. I hear someone say, “What are you looking at?” all of a sudden a guy started punching my face, knocking me off my bike, and rode off with it. The retrieval story is good, which is why you should read the long version. But that’s not what this blog is about.

This blog is about the aftermath of my attack. Physically, I am fine. No bruising to my face, just a little tenderness. But my mental state is more fragile than I’ve let on.

I was attacked by a black man, late thirties, of lower economic status, and seemingly mentally unstable. He looked like someone who is borderline homeless or living in subsidized housing. Basically he was a walking stereotype. And he fulfilled anyone’s worst nightmare when he attacked me without solicitation.

I think we have a problem in America today. We have an epidemic of poverty-level and homeless populations. They’re underserved and often treated like second class citizens. Instead of helping, there’s a tiny level of fear, and we avoid them at all costs. We want nothing to do with these people and assume the worst. But incidences like mine make people hesitant to help.

I was raised to be open to everyone and treat them with respect. But this incident has left me shaken. I thought I was fine. I rode my bike home that night and I’ve gone on several walks since the incident. But I have noticed that I don’t make eye contact with anyone walking on the street. If I see someone of color, I make sure to take an extra step away from them when I walk past them. So there’s no chance that we’ll bump into each other. I’m suffering from subconscious racism and class intolerance.

I’m really embarrassed admitting this. But it’s true. I’ve been spooked and think anyone black or poor might jump me on the streets. I really hope I get over this. I know I haven’t done enough to help the poor and homeless (partly because I’ve been too damn close for comfort myself), but I believe I’m a good person. And if good people like myself won’t do anything but support stereotypes, then what hope is there?

Despite my fears and current hesitation, I urge you not to be afraid. I choose to believe that my situation was an anomaly, not a norm. Do what you can to help those in need.