Category Archives: Interviews

I’ve been lucky enough to work with some really great people over the years, here’s my attempt at introducing them.

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Hiding in the light, our deepest darkness and the abstract future

image1 (2)Today I had a moment of clarity, as they say in Pulp Fiction. You know the scene where Jules tells Vince about his moment? It’s important because at the end of the movie, Vince is dead. He’s a douche of an order that ultimately deserves his fate. Jules, on the other hand, is pretty amazing. After walking in the darkness, he sees the light.

When reading about humanity and evolution, the idea of abstract thinking starts to resonate.

I couldn’t put a pulse on it until a few events happened recently. Driving on the freeway, I saw that some cars chose not to turn their headlights on. For some, it makes total sense. “Why should I put my headlights on when it doesn’t change my own personal ability to see the road?”

Simple. Because the greater good dictates we all turn them on. Even if you can see, it might be, I’m driving seventy miles an hour in an all wheel drive vehicle in two inches of rain. It could be, I’m in the fast lane.

Meanwhile, you’re in a honda accord. You sprung for the expensive EX model, or maybe you drive a Lexus sedan. Or a Mercedes, and spent a hundred grand on an AMG model. Iphone in hand, you’re breaking the law, driving with the phone next to your head, in the rain, with mist so dense nobody can see your gray car.

Disappeared inside the darkness, wrapped in light, your Mercedes is invisible to my Subaru.

At the point of impact, my car slams home, at seventy miles an hour, with your bumper. Despite the rain, you were driving sixty miles an hour, hardly slow. Because I had no time to react to the speed delta, the cars were too close, I hit your bumper. Spinning out of control, your car does a three hundred and sixty degree turn. Spins completely out of control.

Heart pounding, you have a brief, panicked moment when the phone slips from your grasp. At home, your pregnant wife was just telling you about the most important moment of your entire life. At thirty six, you’re going to be a father. Her water broke, and she wanted to meet you at the hospital. Driving fast in the rain to get there to see your newborn, you made a small mistake.

Forgetting to turn your lights on. After all, it’s bright enough *for you* in front of your car.

Invisible to me, coming up fast. The three sixty causes your Mercedes to spin so fast, the Iphone hits the windshield so quickly, all you can think is that your last words to your wife were, “I’ll see you soon.”

The lie burns in your eyes, causing them to water the moment the Semi strikes.

Flipping end over end, your head snaps, killing you. The very last moment before the lights turned out, the energy faded, all you had time to broadcast was a simple, small signal.

Crap. I made a mistake.

The only thing that happens before the lights fade, the curtains close, your unborn child loses their father is that you know, deep down inside your bones, inside your heart, inside every single cell of your whole body.

You alone, driving sixty miles an hour in the rain, with no lights on in a gray car, knowlingly breaking the law and holding a device in your hand, with one hand on the steering wheel, with zero cars to your right, when you could have easily driven in any one of the three free lanes.

You alone were responsible.

You killed yourself, because of, ironically, the smallest decision you made that day. For good intent, to encourage your wife, alone at home while you were on the way to a business meeting. Late, driving fast, heart racing, your baby was on the way a few days early.

Nothing in Google Now could have prepared you. The smallest decision of the day, the tiniest, most infinitesimally small thing you could have chosen in your life, ended it all.

With victory inside of your grasp, your genetic, evolutionary goal within reach, life slips from your fingers. The future belongs to the past, the lights go out, and all the fun you could have imagined before that day escapes your grasp.

I’ve lost family. There were many accidents today on the road. I drive safely, quickly and within the bounds of the laws that govern our society. Please, don’t be greedy, ignorant, stupid or willful. It might be your life, it might be somebody else’s, that’s lost.

All because you made a deliberate, singular decision to hold your iPhone and drive.

This story is entirely fictional. I’m a professional writer, marketer, story teller. I’m here, quite frankly, to prevent this scene from happening. It’s good when we can drive safely. It’s bad when we don’t, when we can’t trust our fathers, our mothers, our sons and our daughters on the roadways. I love my family.

I know you love yours just as much.

Please, share this message. My company, hookupJS, is looking for investors. Together, we can prevent this tragedy before it happens. If you have the power to help me prevent this tragedy, I can’t help but feel sad for the future you created – if you chose to ignore this message.

Me? I’m one of the good guys.

Partial to Wolverine from the X-men, but so far, my band of three is a smaller squad. Together, we’re going to do amazing things. I’m small, powerful and nearly indestructible. I’ve been through a lot in thirty-seven years, and unfortunately, I took the advice given every young person who says they want, at some point, to be a writer.

“Live,” they say.”Live life and experience the world, the universe, then come back and tell us the stories of hope, of joy, of possibility and opportunity that you’ve seen out there in the wide, wide world.”

I’ve helped change the course of elections, met billionaires and powerful leaders across the world. I grew up in a small town, like some fantasy book or the Wheel of Time. I believe, through the power of abstract thinking, we can imagine a better world for all of us.

Like the latest X-men movie, I’m from the future, here to warn the present, to see the Mercedes strike the Semi, and share a small, singular truth. It’s preventable. It’s within our power, yours, mine, our team’s, our vision. It’s possible. We can change the world, together.

We’re going to be heroes.

The good news for the investors? They’re going to be rich.

Fingerprints, digital forensics and the impact we have which lasts far beyond our tenure

More than a decade ago, I posted on an internet forum under the pseudonym, “Han_solo,” my favorite character from Star Wars. Later, when I realized it would help my reputation, I asked Brett Tabke, the founder of WebmasterWorld, to update my handle to become, “jeremy_goodrich,” to ensure that people who looked up my reputation could find it easily. This was before LinkedIn, before social profiles were huge, before…a lot of things. When searching just now for one of the first academic algorithms that detailed issues with search results quality, IP addresses, Class C blocks and host affiliation…you can’t find my post on Webmasterworld. Try a search for, “Hilltop Algorithm,” it doesn’t show up in the top three on Google. However, when I look for, “Hilltop Algorithm Webmasterworld,” I find my post from 2001. This was before I had built a search engine in Perl and MySQL; before I had co-founded a social network that would be listed in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch and others.

When real world fingerprints fade, digital fingerprints last as long as the website stays alive

Having hired dozens of people for my own company, larger companies and during my consulting days, helping startups review talent…I fully appreciate people who put an effort into building out their digital footprint. I love learning and it’s sometimes hard to find people who are always in the mood to update their skills. This became one of my screening criteria which I used heavily in recent years because my goal, as a mentor, is that whoever I work with gets 10x better than I am in that particular task, area or skill.

Getting stuff done is very, very gratifying for me which is why I’m looking at early stage companies right now. A landing page win, where I wrote the control and the test copy, which I instrumented via Optimizely, Google Experiments or similar? YES! A short conversation, then a few days later, a dozen pages of copy with an information architecture practically guaranteed to help long term search (paid and natural) results? Count me in, twice. In a physical sense, I’m not nearly as hands on as my family. But digitally speaking, nothing makes me happier than to pull the trigger, see results, optimize and iterate. Every time I approach a new vertical, I generate hypotheses quickly and then chomp at the bit to start testing, iterating and discarding.

Not all the work I have done in my career is still visible on the open web; some can only be viewed by archive.org. Websites created, sold, modified, re-purposed and more. If somebody has the digital savvy to do a full on forensic look up on a given individual, if you have been working online, it’s impossible to hide any aspect of your experience. Thank goodness for that; I’d prefer my work product to last a near infinite time frame.

Politics and family: I’ll say this once

There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my family. Politically, professionally or otherwise. I’ve seen the tweets, never in my life did I consider that being, “Famous,” would entail this sort of scrutiny. While I could share countless stories…that’s not who I am, and never will be. If you are reading this for political reasons, go ahead, browse the gamut. The only thing you’ll find is that I disappointed my kids last month; due to circumstances beyond my control, I couldn’t visit them in Hong Kong.

Do you want to know how many tears I shed? How much my heart broke when I had to tell my children it would be July when I hopefully visit? There is nothing in life to contend with the heartache of disappointing your children. Politics are what they are; I miss my kids. We skype, but it’s not the same. Sure, it’s better than when I grew up with a serious call latency with Indonesia and the US.

Point blank, how would you feel if you disappointed your children?

This is what drives me, what motivates, what makes me question, “How can I do better?” I get that every parent believes their children are the best, are perfect, etc. My jokers are not perfect, but they are a perfect blend of their heritage. These two I have as inspiration, as if I needed more. These boys are the future, for they will outlast my time in this life.

I wish that the politics would leave all of us out of it; however, your grandfather is a unique man. So, too, is your mother a unique woman. Eventually, I’ll also be a, “Unique father,” for a variety of reasons.

Have fun, stay safe and I’ll talk to you both tomorrow.

Plotting to take over the world: this time, it’s different

About seven years ago, I took my first corporate job at a large company. Having worked at startups the first few years out of college and even in school, having only worked for small to medium sized businesses, I was a bit overwhelmed by the experience. I recall the first week, in a staff meeting, listening to Brian Acton (great guy, incredible engineer and pretty good sense of humor). At one point, I must have looked confused and being the new guy, made a fairly easy target. “Then we have the TLA’s,” he said, smirking across the table at Rob, my boss.

Apparently, the look on my face was priceless because at that moment, I felt like I should tear my hair out and could not fathom at all what TLA meant. I was going to look it up and had written it down, alongside a dozen other things in my notebook. “He means three letter acronyms,” somebody else was nice enough to point out. As soul crushing as it was to be the victim of the joke, I realized something: work is better when you have good people, who can share a laugh and when people take the time to explain things. (Side bar: digg.com had a story about how if you like your co-workers, you’ll live longer. It makes sense). Continue reading