A Comprehensive Guide to Using Airtable as a Personal CRM

People are annoying (I will add at this point that this is a recurring theme on this blog). They are constantly changing jobs (thanks Gen X!), changing locations (thanks millennials!), and changing messenger apps (thanks Gen Z!). Like many of my friends, I have struggled to just keep up-to-date with people while maintaining my sanity as a knowledge economy worker.

Over the last decade, I have tried many solutions to this problem, from paper and spreadsheets to software such as Rapportive, Contactually, Trello, among many, many others.

None of these solutions has worked out. The reasons often overlap, from being a jumbled mess to being just too hard to update (especially on mobile). But frankly, I have not made any progress in tracking people better

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Some Quick Thoughts on The Other Side of the Table

It’s been about three months since I left CRV to become an entrepreneur. There is lots to talk about, but I want to write up a quick hit list of some thoughts since switching back to the entrepreneurship side of the table:

  1. The market is far more saturated than it used to be. Really, I have some really long-tail ideas that I have been working on, and it never ceases to amaze me just the sheer number of founders working on projects. I feel like you could be building a startup around outer space meat processing and you would still be able to create a stereotypical 2x2 competitive landscape.
  2. That said, it’s always hard to judge execution. I think ideas are worth more
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The Economic Security of High Rents and Ridiculous Job Licensing

A confluence of two articles really got me thinking about exclusionary policy and economic security.

The first from the Wall Street Journal discussed the challenges of small town residents in moving to bigger cities. Migration is way down among this group (almost half of what it was several decades ago). The author cites an Obama White House report that puts heavy blame on the increasing use of occupational licensing:

Another obstacle to mobility is the growth of state-level job-licensing requirements, which now cover a range of professions from bartenders and florists to turtle farmers and scrap-metal recyclers. A 2015 White House report found that more than one-quarter of U.S. workers now require a license to do their jobs, with the share licensed at the

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Safety is the Watchword of Cost Disease

I tweeted this story out yesterday about stairs in Toronto:

Basically, a citizen built stairs in a garden really cheaply (at 0.3% of the cost!), and Toronto took them down.

The story is absurd, but all of it is unfortunately “rational.” You can imagine a bureaucrat at city hall realizing that the stairs don’t meet a number of requirements for safety, reliability, inspectability, and more, so the obvious answer is to tear down the whole thing. Bad stairs are only likely to invite lawsuits, and so the city would prefer stairs

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The Problem With Subscription Software/Media Is High Prices

I am a big believer in subscription models — both for software and for media. As such, I often bring up the topic with friends to get their take, since more publications are moving from ads to subscription, and more apps are doing so as well (for instance, through in-app purchases in the App Store for iPhone).

The consistent view I have gotten is that people absolutely hate subscriptions. That hate is particularly vituperative when it comes to content, but software is given no mercy either. And listening to some of my friends and their stories, it seems people will go to the ends of the universe to avoid paying some of these fees.

That said, nearly every person I talk to does pay for something,

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