Failure Means Growth

Posted on Apr 29, 2014 in Life, Work | No Comments

Failure is a funny thing. At the very least, most of us hate failure. Our gut response is generally some sort of shame or search for a scapegoat. Many of us also have this strange idea that progress means less failure. I think the opposite is true.


There’s Nothing New: “Empowered Consumers”

Posted on Apr 24, 2014 in Quick Takes, Work | No Comments

I’ve always loved this bit about empowered consumers. Reads like it was written yesterday:

The dimensions of the latest trends in consumer behavior were outlined in an overview in the Harvard Business Review. This new zeitgeist, the august publication explained, is being fueled by “the efforts of consumers themselves,” who have lately “become articulate.” One of the defining features of this fresh paradigm is the new consumer’s “demand for information.” They are banding together, becoming “better educated and better organized,” with a “growing familiarity with the mechanics of advertising” and the endless range of gimmicky sales tactics. They have “suffered from deceptive and stupid advertising” long enough, and it is only inevitable that power should shift to them in an economy that has moved from scarcity to abundance. “These changes,” the article summarized, “have tended to make consumers more critical and to enhance their importance.” Such was the state of things . . . in 1939.

—Dr. John Kotter, Buy In

If You Want to Work in a Startup, Get Used to Everything Breaking All of the Time

Posted on Apr 22, 2014 in Work | 2 Comments

Startups attract people for different reasons. Freedom, control, decentralized authority, loving your job, making a difference, the allure of potential wealth, the sheer energy of the whole thing—take your pick. This world is a wild and wonderful roller coaster that ruins some and makes kings of others. If you have the constitution for it, entrepreneurship can be addicting.

Startups can also be the most frustrating thing in the world, either because they won’t take off or because when they do, scale is incredibly good at breaking things.


The Best Plan is the One That’s Happening

Posted on Apr 22, 2014 in Work | No Comments

I have a fair amount of experience in the world of agency and client work. One thing that always struck me as interesting about both worlds is the need for a perfect plan.

A majority of the system is built around carefully crafted and detailed plans and, equally as, if not more important, the sale of those plans to the client. To some extent, this is understandable: Why would you give someone money if you didn’t know exactly what they were going to do with it?

Midnight Oil (and Owning a Company)

Posted on Mar 31, 2014 in Pressgram Posts, Work | No Comments


Lots of people have asked me what it’s like to own a company. Here’s what I generally say:

Making your own schedule is great. Leading people is a wonderful adventure. But at the end of the day, when something absolutely has to be done, you and the partners are ultimately responsible, no one else.

Tonight that means writing code and content until the wee hours of the morning.

It’s Alive (Charleston Edition)

Posted on Mar 29, 2014 in Pressgram Posts, Work | No Comments

Tonight John and I joined the team in Charleston to celebrate the grand opening of our space.

We were humbled to be share conversation with several of the significant tech companies in the region, from Boomtown to PeopleMatter and Github.

Exciting times in the Holy City.

Letters to the Company: Sales, Storytelling and The Iron Yard

Posted on Mar 26, 2014 in Work | 2 Comments

When I have the opportunity, I write letters to our company. They are generally attempts to either encapsulate our collective philosophy on a certain subject or remind our team why we do what we do (and why we are who we are).

Recently everyone on the team sprinted (successfully) through an intense marketing push as we approached launch in two cities simultaneously. On some level, everyone felt like they were part of a gigantic sales force, which was both fun and challenging.

When the dust settled, I wrote a letter to our team about sales as storytelling.


Making it Count: Values, Beliefs and Precious Hours

Posted on Mar 21, 2014 in Life, Work | 12 Comments

This is the second post in a series called Making it Count about getting things done and using our precious hours wisely1 .

I have the opportunity to talk with people starting new careers every day. They are at different points in their journey: some are looking to attending our code school as a way to pivot their life on to a different path, while others have graduated from the program and need input on where to move, which job to take and which challenge to take on next.

In those conversations the initial question has almost always led to deeper questions. Answering “which of these is a better job offer?” can be really straight-forward, but more often than not my response is, “what do you want out of your career,” or “within this field, what things are you passionate about,” or “what about your job will make you excited when you get out of bed in the morning a few years down the road?”


1. You can read more about the series and view links to additional posts here.

Making it Count: Introduction

Posted on Jan 20, 2014 in Life, Work | One Comment

This is the first post in a series called Making it Count about getting things done and using our precious hours wisely2 .

In the last few weeks I’ve had the privilege of rubbing shoulders with a handful of new people on a daily basis. They are students and instructors we’ve brought into the fold of the intensive code school I run at work.

My interactions with them have produced the same question enough times for me to think there might be value in answering it comprehensively on this blog. Here’s the inquiry:

How do you get everything done?

Being asked about productivity and work gave me pause for a few reasons. First, we do get a whole lot done at The Iron Yard—more than average, I’d say—but I don’t generally feel like we’re some super-productive anomaly. I feel like we’re people who put 110% into work that we love.

Secondly, and more importantly, the question made me think about the non-work aspects of our lives that most people don’t see, like family.


1. You can read more about the series and view links to additional posts here.

A Kid, a Jeep and The Meaning of Greatness

Posted on Dec 27, 2013 in Life, Work | No Comments

When I was a kid my dream car was a vintage Jeep CJ-7. I had Matchbox car replicas and books on classic off-road vehicles. It wasn’t an obsession, but it was a passion.

In our family, though, my parents didn’t buy us nice cars. We drove old road warriors whose odometers had seen six figures more than once. Even having a car that I didn’t have to pay for was an incredible privilege, so I didn’t let my dreams of a Jeep get too far past “maybe one day.”

I’ll never forget that one day when my dream actually came true. My dad drove home in a beat-up, bright-orange CJ-7. I was a freshman in high school.


Load More