My Year of Meditation School Begins

I want you to stand, walk around the room, and take each person’s hands in yours. Look in their eyes and greet them with the phrase ‘I see you.’

Oh, jeez.

Thus, I began a year-long program to “deepen my practice” through the study of the Satipattana Sutta– the main Buddhist sutra, scripture, on mindfulness (more on that later). The program involves weekly meetings, readings of several texts, and monthly one-on-one with the course instructor, Robert. Continue reading


Hi, I’m Rian, and I’m a Clutterholic

A decade or so ago, I was running a business with a dozen employees, big name clients, and revenues in the millions of dollars. I spoke at conferences about entrepreneurship and cross-cultural communication, had an awesome social life, and was starting a new family. The future was so bright… well… you know.

But what only a few people close to me knew was that my life was literally a mess. Continue reading

The Las Vegas Downtown Project: What Happened?

In my last role with Zappos Labs, I spent every week commuting from Portland to San Francisco or Las Vegas. Labs is based in San Francisco, and Zappos, itself, is based in Las Vegas. A year or so ago, Zappos moved from Henderson, a Vegas suburb, to downtown Las Vegas, into the old city hall. I flew out for the opening of the new office. It was an exciting day with a huge celebration. Continue reading

What’s Writing About Being Right Worth?

snatchA lot, as it turns out.

My kids live the life of the modern broken home. 5-5-2-2… Mom has them five days, then dad, then mom 2, then dad… rinse, repeat. Luckily for my kids, their mom and I get along better this way than we did when we were together, and it’s all pretty chummy. So, since I’m closer to one school, and it starts later, #1 son usually gets dropped here in the morning even if it’s mom’s day.

It’s not Leave It to Beaver, but then… was anything, ever? Continue reading

What’s Being Right Worth?

I volunteered at the packet pick-up event for a very popular Portland fundraising running event this weekend. When I arrived for my shift at the hotel where it was happening, there was a line that formed at the ballroom and went down the hall, through the lobby, and out the front door into the parking lot. By the time I’d even gotten my volunteer t-shirt, the line had reached the end of the parking lot and had started to loop around.

My assigned job was to walk the line and ask people if they’d already registered on-line and, if not, to bring them inside to a table where they could register and receive their materials immediately. So, everyone who’d had the foresight to register on-line was stuck in a line that would take hours, and those who’d procrastinated were rewarded with no wait at all.

People were pissed. It was hot, and the line was barely moving. I would occasionally come out and lead away some slacker who’d emerge a few minutes later with their packet and walk off. Gobs of volunteers were standing around doing nothing. The fact was that the movement of the line was limited based on the few computer terminals they’d made available to look up registrations. There was nothing anyone at the ground volunteer level could do at this point.

Eventually, one of the other volunteers nearby came up to me, as the only male volunteer in sight, and quietly said “there’s a very angry man back there who wants to talk to someone about the line. I’m not sure what to tell him. He just keeps getting madder.” It was clear that she was actually frightened of this man and was asking for reinforcements. Continue reading

Workin’ 9 to 5 (and how brogrammer culture is affecting diversity)

I’m not sure I agree with all of his points, but this man may be on to something.

The EcoFeminist

(image source) (image source)

Hi everyone! This week I’m thrilled to have technology leader Rian Schmidtguest blogging. While I’ve known him for a few years in the software engineering community, most recently I’ve been absolutely diggin’ his articles on LinkedIn – also posted here on his blog. He has killer insights and the career street cred to back it up, so I asked if he’d share with me his perspective as a man in the tech world having experienced both the Silicon Valley and Silicon Forest. I see not only women turning away from tech careers, but also men who don’t fit in the stereotypical brogrammer“persona. Hiring managers are turning down amazing candidates and the trends have become clear: the concept of “fit” is all too often being used to avoid diversity and create cultures where it’s less about creating a truly great product and more similar to…

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