The 3 things that mattered to me in 2017

I can encapsulate my 2017 in three quick topics.


This year began with a very high high and a very low low.

The high was Norah, born just a month before the new year. I was excited to be a new dad again and go into it seasoned this time. I wanted to soak it in, really enjoy it, not be as nervous as I was the first time around.

The low was my papillary thyroid cancer diagnosis, thyroidectomy, and the announcement I had to make at Scripted within a few days of my surgery that we were going to lay off all but six employees.

Fortunately it’s been nothing but up since January and the side benefit to all of these changes was being at home with my family. A lot. I was probably in an office for less than two weeks this entire year. I spent a lot of time with Norah every day and witnessed every little development. I loved it.

When I look back on 2017 I’ll remember the many hikes, smoothies, jogs to the park, and visits to the library that I did alone with Norah. Most dads never get this chance so I took full advantage of it.

Tom Petty

I lost Tom Petty this year. His death hurt hurt more than Michael Jackson, more than Prince, more than Scott Weiland, Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, or any other musician I’ve admired.

The reason is Tom Petty always felt timeless and ageless to me. He was always on tour, always sounded the same, always steady as a rock. Unlike most Super Bowl-tier musicians, he kept an even keel. He didn’t care about fame or fortune. He was never in the tabloids. He loved to make simple, beautiful music and I loved him for that.

A Tom Petty song is pure, elegant, unobstructed, authentic. He didn’t have a stage persona. His performances were, for the most part, true to the albums and more importantly, true to himself. That’s how much he liked his own songs. He didn’t get tired of them, so I didn’t get tired of them either.

I don’t know when I first discovered Tom Petty. In high school I was into 90’s rock: Nirvana, Weezer, STP, Metallica, Soundgarden. Typical white suburban rollerblader kid music. That’s what I hear in my head when I think back to high school.

After that the soundtrack changes. When I took a road trip in 2006 and just headed out in my dark blue Cabrio east from Los Angeles I had two CDs on rotation, both were greatest hits albums. One was Bruce Springsteen and the other was Tom Petty.

And that’s what Tom Petty’s death did to me. It reminded me that I’m no longer that care-free 23-year-old guy driving down two-lane highways before Google Maps existed, the top down on my little convertible, singing “I Won’t Back Down” as the sun warmed my shoulders.

I can’t disappear on long road trips anymore, but I still have Tom’s music.


I left Scripted back in April and set three goals for the following 12 months. I’m now 75% of the way there and two of the three goals are done.

  1. Done: Be able to live on Toofr and get a second revenue stream going too (that’s Inlistio).
  2. Done: Write a book on parallel entrepreneurship. Well, it’s almost done. I have a website up and I wrote about my final push to break 30,000 words.
  3. In progress: Find my path into local politics.

The political one has proven to be the most difficult because there’s no guide. There’s no data to measure against. It’s just a feeling of progress I have with every new connection I make, every insight I have on the local election scene in Contra Costa County, and every article I read about upcoming 2018 elections.

To be clear, I’m looking way out, probably 2022 because I’m starting from nothing. I have my fancy Harvard government degree but I don’t have a resume for local politics outside of my years on the UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources Alumni Association. I want to get plugged in and work my way up. I’ll also volunteer for one of my local 2018 state assembly campaigns so I can be certain I’m up to the task of running myself.

I did register a campaign website though and will throw some links out once it’s ready. My online entrepreneurial instincts have kicked in: it’s never too early to start building SEO!

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