Why Is Delivery Still Broken?

Yesterday I got home for the second night in a row with a missed delivery note by my door.

Even though my wife was home ~85% of both days, each time the courier stopped by our house, she had stepped away. The notes they leave remind me of my last speeding ticket, mixed with some fear that if it happens again, I'll never get it delivered. How is this a 'wow moment' for customers who have a choice on who should deliver them their packages? More so, why is this still a broken and disconnected process?

This is an Uber for X world. Where technology assists in every aspect of life and anything you can think of is deliverable to you on a whim, I'm baffled. Is there a reason why billion dollar carriers are still leaving scribbled paper notes on doorsteps?

I have an easy fix: Trust your customers with technology

Instead of losing productivity and velocity let your logistics mainframe help. Trigger a notification with an ETA between the driver's current location to mine and give me the option to accept or punt the delivery until later. Imagine a world where your driver may not have to speed across town only to get frustrated that we took our kids to school again during our 12hour delivery window.

*Indirect thanks to Parse.com for letting me take a screen-snap of their Push Notification authoring tool.

Stop Chasing the Bus

It's 7am, you're almost out the door, and all your transit options seem to end up leaving before you do again. Sound as familiar as it does for me?

For a while now I've been chasing busses.

Pushing so hard to get the magic route that appears through the fog the very minute I stroll to the stop with no delay. It wasn't until the other day I caught myself running across Market St., sprinting through lights, jumping in front of others and dodging the transit workers all to catch a bus and stand for the ride home. Then I thought, why?

I love getting home, now more than ever. My two toddlers (two & three and a half) are usually happy to see me, they run to me screaming "Dadddy" and "come here"! It's something worth looking forward to. But another 10 or so minutes won't change it.

I also realized, at least in San Francisco, the same bus isn't promised twice. So the 4:37p NX3 may one day be a new converted charter bus with air conditioning, where tomorrow it could be standing room only on an older, gutted cattle car. And while I'm all for getting to the bottom of systems to work in my favor, it won't make a difference.

Then I realized a powerful thing, I really enjoy this town. The energy, the skyscrapers, the people watching, it's all part of the beauty.

So aside from the occasional sprint to catch a Transbay bus before it takes off over the bridge, I've stopped chasing busses, and started enjoying my evening another 15 minutes a day.

Cause Hacking

Today starts a new adventure, and I'm pumped.

In short, for a while now I've been finding myself caught between the never-ending battle of coding shiny things and trying to change the world. Every opportunity I got to fulfill that need came between 50+ hr. work weeks, loving my time with the kids, my personal ventures, and other freelance to fill up our savings account. When I did have time, it was nowhere near easy staying motivated. That was until about a month ago when I found an amazing fit with an even more passionate team than I thought was possible.

Today I'm joining Giving Assistant to try something new, and it's all about making a difference in the lives of others. More on this soon, but on to the obvious question.

{% blockquote %} What is Cause Hacking you may ask? {% endblockquote %}

Great question. The answer is yet to be determined, primarily because I made it up. Growth Hacking is all the rage right now, and I love the concept. I figured if developers can hack for growth, why can't we hack for change? This is my answer to a problem. There's no lack of supply in skilled people who care about our world. Additionally most know that in order to make a big difference, it takes a lot of unknown. If I can help bridge that unknown by connecting passionate people to causes who need them, I'll be one step closer to knowing I'm on the right track.

Let me be honest for a minute. I don't need to be the inventor of the next big language or founder of the latest billion dollar valued startup. What I do need is fulfillment in life, and that's where I decided to make the biggest change yet. With growing kids and living in this town [San Francisco] life does not idly stand by. Good things come to those who get off their ass and work for them. I want to make a difference, therefore, I'm starting to do it. When Olive and Hazel are old enough to ask me what I do when I work, I want to tell them I'm building a better future for them. Today starts that promise for a better future for my family.

I registered the domain causehack.org (and a variety of similar ones). I hope to turn it into something that's both sustainable and community driven to highlight how I'm applying my new found focus to a greater good. But it all begins with starting somewhere. If you think this sounds interesting in any way, please Like & Follow for updates. No promises yet, but a guarantee something will be coming down the pipeline.

Here's to a new adventure.

Four Years Later

This morning I got up early, heading to SFO for a trip to the east coast and woke up with a few things on my mind. Not only is this the first time I'm traveling more than a few hundred miles away from my girls, it's also been four years since I lost my father.

Every year does get better, and I can say that with a lot of pride. I still wear his ring on the weekends, typically think about him at least once a day, and always smile every time I see the Malibu [we rebuilt together] in my garage. Today I'm heading to New York, then on to Boston and home in a few days. Meeting with agencies, pitching the platform that I'm responsible for with my company and the reason my last few months have been incredibly challenging. Butterflies, or whatever you may call it, I have 'em, but it's not holding me back at all.

To let my guard down for a minute, I'm proud of how far our little (and growing) family has come. Professionally as well, things have gotten really great for us and it's more wonderful than I could have ever asked for watching my girls grow.

Sure I woke up today with a tear today, but it quickly turned into a happy one. Today, four years later, I can say I was able to wake up with more confidence and drive than ever before, and I can't wait to see what next year will bring.

Love You Dad.

Time To Think About Tablets, First

Like most geeks and techies, yesterday I watched the Apple Keynote for this year's 2013 WWDC event from the comfort of my desk. And while the chatter of new machines and sans-glossy design are making all the headlines, there was a graph that Tim Cook presented which I feel deserves much more attention than it got.

Look at that again, last year, Black Friday (the biggest shopping day of the year in the U.S.) had more iPad shopping traffic than all android devices and all iPhone's in the track-able market.

That. Is. Huge. I.M.H.O, what this tells me is a few things:

iPad Owners are Comfortable
It's not about the sell, as much as the environment you sell in. Walk into a Dollar Tree, Bed Bath & Beyond, Supermarket, or any shop which feels crammed or gives you too many distractions. How do you feel? Ready to buy something & feel really confident about that purchase? I doubt it. If you're like me you would feel more comfortable holding your wallet safely in your pocket and walking out. Then think of walking into a designer shop, artist gallery, coffee shop, Nordstrom, cough Apple Store.. and how does that feeling change? It takes a good deal of comfort and focus to shop, yet-alone online, and there is visible proof that iPad owners are in their prime when it comes to making those decisions.

Tablets Offer Less Possibility of Distraction
The more comfortable and distraction free you can make the experience while focusing on the product being sold, the better odds you have of closing that sale. Sure with all iOS devices you have push notifications or email that could chime, however since most use tablets as way of disconnecting just a little more than their mobile device, the odds of an uninterrupted shopping experience is higher. Personally I use my iPad for utility, like working on servers, pulling the news, reading an article on Medium or The Magazine. It's much easier to focus on what's important when you cut out the things that suck time and still let you feel comfortable. The iPad offers that in my work-flow, and at least personally, my phone does not.

As we move towards a more connected world mobile will be the driving force for quite a bit longer, but the ability to stay just as connected yet offset the urgency with a more focused mindset is really a key player for entrepreneurs & an action-driven economy. Pretty safe to say that I just changed my mentality from Mobile First to Tablet First, with an overwhelming certainty.