Techno Romantic

by Lexi Lewtan

in beta

Read this first

for the love of addiction

Yesterday I read For the Love of Money, and was really uninterested because he acted like being addicted to salary increases was new and interesting and original.

Hasn’t he ever read David Foster Wallace? We’re all addicted worshippers! For every twenty something New York City Banker addicted to bonuses there are too many fashion interns addicted to being asked if they’re models, startup dudes addicted to the sound of their elevator pitch, and twenty somethings addicted to their own reflection and delusions of grandeur. And that’s just New York! I mean LOOK AT SELFIES.

There’s nothing wrong with certain types of addiction – especially the healthy, dedicated kind. But glamorizing addictions, the way he does, is just lame. Its like he never met anyone else crazy or passionate in his whole life.

Dude, stop complaining and get addicted to something more interesting.

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Cardless in a mobile world

A couple days ago my credit cards got shut down because of the Target security breach. Bank of America sent my cards to my parents’ house in Massachusetts, so I’ve been cardless for a few days.

Its at this juncture in my life that mobile payments really matter. See, physical stores won’t take my hand written string of numbers, but mobile payment apps and online services will. So until my cards come, i’ll be mobile only.

In the past, I’ve found the idea of mobile payments better, yet hypothetical. Yes, they would make my life easier, but a card has always been easy enough to avoid a behavioral switch. But because this window without physical payment options is uncomfortable, i’m forced to try a new method.

I wonder if this – cards shutting down => mobile payment signups increasing – will be a trend. As we integrate with more and more systems, it seems a lot easier to authenticate

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thoughts on soylent

When I heard about Soylent, I was intrigued, and (hopefully) not in a pompous, productivity-hacker way.

I’m not some nutty radical; I know that real, human life is not something you can automate. But I was able to secure a bag from a friend, enough for around 4 meals. And if I could I use it to automate my health maintenance and become a healthier, more balanced, happier person, why wouldn’t I?

It’s not that I don’t love food, eating, and even cooking – i just find it time-consuming, expensive, and distracting. It gives me energy lulls, stomach aches, and sugar spikes if i’m not meticulous about regular healthy upkeep. As a result I’m not new to eating one food almost exclusively; before Soylent I ate Cliff bars, peanut butter, oatmeal & cereal as almost daily staples, and auto-order healthy meals on seamless like clockwork.

Is Soylent the cure to my frustration? No. It’s a watery

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2013 is ending, and so I wanted to just reflect a little.

Compared to 2012 (the worst of my life), this year flowed with opportunity, possibility and self acceptance. I somehow saw all of my flaws and my limitations happening in front of me in real time and still came out ok - better than ok. Really good, actually.

I learned a lot of lessons in 2012 (heartbreak, starting life over, Computer Science), but I didn’t enjoy them. The lessons I learned in 2013, however, were incredibly fun. I learned how to hire someone, to manage a team, and to ship a product. I learned how to ask for things, and to sometimes get them. I learned to hack systems to my advantage. I learned to deal when things didn’t go my way, and to sprint when they did.

I also started living by doing. I planned things, and then they happened. I moved into a studio, and paid all of the rent myself. I bought a desk, and

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willing it

a lot of potential interns tell me they want to learn how products go from “idea to execution.” as my career progresses, this question gets funnier and funnier.

i’ve been writing ideas since i was in high school – and unsurprisingly, the best lessons i learned about how to turn ideas into execution were the ones i didn’t do. really. its not like every product i’ve ever worked on went nowhere; its just that the ones that took me the farthest weren’t led by me. most of my friends and half of my coworkers can vouch for the terrible mockups i’ve shown them, the half baked pitches that i thought were baked, the gaping holes that eventually made me quit and try something else. note: those holes were usually not lacking skills; rather, they were lack of the absolute obsession with something important.

so in december 2013 i guess my answer is to try things constantly, and to disappoint

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i’m not a naturally organized person. if i did nothing my life would slowly crumble to pieces.

but i’m finding as i get older that well designed systems are my xanax. a daily routine of 10 pushups makes me feel alive when my mornings are tough. a food routine, good productivity app, a good notebook and pen – without these i’m basically wasting my life away.

I feel the need to put this in writing, because a lot of people who i know peripherally seem to think I have natural drive, ambition, dedication whatever. To those people, you’re simply being unfair. If I had all the ambition in the world i’d be a million miles farther than I am now. But I don’t. Instead i’m doing everything in my power to keep sane, to learn exponentially and to actually move the dial a little.

Lately i’ve been deeply interested in Zen Habits, an old school blog by Leo Babauto that touches on buddhism

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you better catch it.

My favorite album of the year was probably Disclosure’s Settle.

The album kicks off with this awesome intro:

How do you stay motivated in the midst of everything that’s going on? How do you build your personal momentum and how do you get in the zone? Right? And I’m glad you asked. (Okay)

Beat drop.

Three things, you better catch it. My mother used to say, people love watching fire burn! Alright? Okay, that’s one thing I know about life, one thing I know about life is a guarantee, right? Change is inevitable! And listen to me, as much as you like to be in your comfort zone, as much as you like to be stable, as much as you like to control your environment, the reality is: everything changes.

Alright here’s my last one, my last one is make, Carl you gotta give me that term again, it’s spontaneous combustion I think is what they call it and what happens is…**

Then it transitions into

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When people ask me what I do at betaworks, I have no choice but to say “everything”. This was never my intention; I’d much rather be really good at something specific.

My solution so far at betaworks has been to just do everything myself – especially the things no one else wants to do. In the past I’ve done this until there’s a working system in place, and then I move onto something else.

I think this is the real meaning of a generalist; not someone who does a little bit of everything, but someone who makes sure something is done right before passing it on.

Pros of being a generalist:

  • I’m good at assigning myself the messiest thing that no one wants to do
  • I’m good at noticing the holes
  • I’m now humble when something has to get done, and efficient when someone else can do it better

Cons of being a generalist:

  • I don’t have the autonomy of a leadership position
  • I don’t get the

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Around this time of year I get incredibly tired and want to take tons of naps. Luckily, I’m productive in my dreams.

Laugh all you want, but I get a lot done my sleep. Sometimes I even lay out all the pieces in hopes that they’ll feel more cohesive in the morning. And they do; a little more connected, a little more and inspired, and without the stress of trying to figure them out in the day.

When I was growing up, I never understood what people meant when they said “sit with things”. But the adage is totally on point. I’m pretty sure letting these things marinate is more important than sheer effort or midnight oil.

Anyway, I have to tell myself that when I’m this tired there must be a reason. Who knows, maybe I’ll think up something important that couldn’t exist in the day time.

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working solo

In many aspects I work with everyone at betaworks, but at the end of the day I am a solo-preneur. I am responsible for my own benchmarks, my own strategies and my own motivation. It’s freeing in the traditional sense, but I’m hard on myself so the slack is pulled tight.

A lot of the people I work with are, or have designed, marketed and grown businesses on their own. I’ve started to realize that it’s so efficient – not as efficient as a well oiled team, but more than a newly formed one. There’s this Venture Hacks blog post about only hiring one-man startups, and I really believe that’s true.

Its hard, and sometimes you get so deep into your head that you can’t see out of it. For that reason I make a bunch of deadlines and partnerships, so that I have things to celebrate. Otherwise, I would never come up for air.

I think its a good thing, making sure that you’re the commander in your

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