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Thirty four things I’ve learned in thirty four years.*

  1. Talk 20% of the time; listen 80% of the time. Most people aren’t good at this, whether they admit it or not.
  2. “I think we’re overthinking this” is usually safe to say in a meeting.
  3. Learning to say “not yet” is just as important as learning to say “no”.
  4. There is a difference between taking offense and standing up for what you believe.
  5. Trends are for suckers.
  6. Retry things you don’t like every once in awhile.
  7. If a cow ever got the chance, it would eat you and everyone you care about.
  8. When we say we “don’t know what to do,” the majority of time we actually do know what to do, we just don’t like the answer.
  9. Atheist or evangelical, the more you talk about how others should live, the less anyone will listen to you.
  10. Debates over terminology and semantics are for academics and lawyers. If you’re interested in making a difference, focus on building things rather than talking about them.
  11. To seek real answers to life’s big questions, you have to explore space. Saying “I don’t care, I’m not going to look out beyond the horizon” is... not good.
  12. Everybody loves science until it debunks their personal bullshit belief.
  13. You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.
  14. But the problem with “I’m entitled to my opinion” is that it’s used to shelter beliefs that should have been abandoned.
  15. When creating a website, don’t use 1and1.com for anything. At all. Ever.
  16. Find someone who will tell you what sucks about your work. Make friends with them.
  17. No one gives a shit about the size of your to-do list.
  18. If you don’t love your job, your entire life will reflect it. Never be afraid to change careers.
  19. Quality customer service wins every time.
  20. If you touch someone’s computer monitor with your fingers, you should go live with the animals.
  21. It’s healthy to have a hobby that’s very different from your job. If you love your job, this can be hard.
  22. Facebook will ruin more relationships than it creates.
  23. Don’t wait til you’re already ordering to ask your girlfriend/spouse what she wants to drink.
  24. Not all New York Giant fans are obnoxious, but damn a lot of them are.
  25. Professional sports are male soap operas. I’m ok with that.
  26. Periodically go back and read everything you’ve posted this year on Facebook, Twitter, etc. This is essentially documentation, and it’s how some people see you. It’s ok to delete things.
  27. There are few things better than a quiet moment with your wife.
  28. Always consider the possibility that everyone you love could die tomorrow. Tell your family how much you love them.
  29. If you were to drop off the face of the earth tomorrow, the people who call looking for you are your real friends.
  30. When I got married and had a kid, my own death stopped mattering as long they’re ok.
  31. Don’t complain. Somebody always has it worse. A lot worse.
  32. Fear is a compass pointing true north. Follow the compass.
  33. When writing, always stop when you have one more thing to say.
  34. See #33.

* Mostly things said by people smarter than me.