Launching in private alpha

We threw caution to the wind, and built a quick site to test our ideas. is available only for a limited group of about 80 users, friends of ours, including many writers.

We built it quickly, in a couple of weeks, using Drupal7, a powerful CMS. We’re going to see if we can motivate anyone to write for us. That will be step one.

The Beanstalk Foundation is Live!

Beanstalk Foundation Logo

After four months of learning all about Drupal, and getting re-acquainted with Apache and PHP, I’m proud to reveal the new Beanstalk Foundation website.

I was helped in crucial ways by Beanstalk’s creative director Johnny Vanderweit, wordsmith Nate Ragolia, and my old friend Mark Harris. Still, I’ve had more of a hand in every element of this website and crowdfunding platform than in anything else in years. And it was so much fun! I’ve got engine grease up to my elbows.
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How to fake 3D and more with CSS3 box-shadow

Box-shadow is a powerful property in CSS3. It’s more than just for drop-shadows. Think of it as a multi-purpose 3D styling tool. That’s because you can stack multiple drop shadows.

Today I’m going to show you how to make, out of a simple DIV, this:

CSS 3D button effect

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3 questions you need to ask at any job interview

My friend Lauren contacted me this morning, very excited. She’s got a promising interview this afternoon, so I offered her my time-tested magic interview questions. And then I thought I might as well share this with everyone.

Anytime I interview, I always bring along a list of questions to ask the interviewer. These are mostly based on my research of the job, the company, and the industry, but there are three that are always there, no matter what. They are the questions that get you hired.

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Fun with CSS text-shadow

I’ve been playing with the text-shadow property in CSS3, and having a lot of fun with it. Did you know that modern browsers allow you to stack multiple drop shadows? Used creatively, this allows for all sorts of pure-css fun.

Here’s what we’re going to build today:

3D  shaded  

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How was your weekend?

I hope you had a nice weekend, but I bet you mine was better.

I took part in Startup Weekend Denver, as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week. The gist: Dozens of people pitch their startup ideas on Friday night, a half-dozen are upvoted, and participants form teams. Each team builds a business before Sunday night, when they present it to a panel of judges.

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Ah, but the view!

Interesting tidbit about Steve Jobs’ conversation with his friend Larry Elison about not buying Apple, and about the price of integrity:

In 95, Ellison wanted to buy Apple, so he could walk Steve back in as the new owner, and they could both make lots of money. Steve convinced him otherwise. Here’s the money quote from the Business Insider article:

Ellison thought it was stupid that some “fund manager at Fidelity” would make more money on Apple’s success than he or Jobs.
Jobs responded by saying, “I think if I went back to Apple and didn’t own any of Apple, and you didn’t own any of Apple, I’d have the moral high ground.”
Ellison’s response: “Steve, that’s really expensive real estate, this moral high ground.”

Most people overestimate the value of money. The wise know to give up a little money, or even a lot, for the infinite returns of not having to compromise.

It’s a luxury, it has a price, but it’s worth it. I’ve once walked away from a years’ salary with my integrity intact… And that has earned me goodwill and trust from some long-term business partners.

Have you ever paid the price of the moral high ground? Was it expensive? And how’s the view from up there?

Putting our phones together

I propose a little gesture as a sign of friendship.

When having a meal or coffee with a friend or family, put your phones on vibrate, and put them together. Lay them atop one another on the table, to the side.

Our phones are wonderful devices that allow us to reach farther. But they can make it harder to reach closeness.

While I’m engaging with you, my friend, there is a line reaching from my pocket to the outside world. I’m not fully present with you, and you’re not fully present with me, because at any moment either one of us can be pulled back into our personal space, into a different conversation.

Putting our phones together marks that the moment is for togetherness. It makes it so that if either of us gets a call, or a text, it will interrupt both of us. We won’t know which phone it is.
The communication line from the outside world becomes a shared line. If somebody calls, they’ll call “our phones,” not mine or yours.

The next time we meet, I’d like us to do this. Because I want to be present with you, and I want you to be present with me.

If you like the idea, let me know!

The end of science-fiction

Breaking through

I’m currently engaged in writing a science-fiction novel with my father. It’s a fun thing to do together when you live eight time zones apart.

As part of the process, I’m educating my father on the latest happenings in science, and futurism… It’s an interesting time for certain.

Science-fiction is reaching an end. Why? Because the future is becoming more and more unpredictable. That is due to Moore’s Law: Density of electonic circuits doubles, at the same price, every 18 months. An exponential acceleration, not a linear one. This “Law” doesn’t apply only to computers, but also to sciences that have “virtualized”: Biochemistry, genetics, nanotechnology, physics. And of course, it also applies to all our informational exchanges, which are an ever-increasing part of our economies and our lives.