"We are the music-makers,
and the dreamers of dreams"
- “Ode” by Arthur O’Shaughnessy (and Willy Wonka :-))
On taking risks and living a full life
Lesson for today (a poem by my grandfather, L. Fred Austin)
There once was a very cautious man
He never romped or played
He never smoked or chewed or drank
and never kissed a maid.
Then one day he passed away.
His insurance they denied.
They said that he never lived,
and therefore never died.
"Saying you don't care about online privacy b/c you have nothing to hide is like saying you don't care about freedom of speech b/c you don't have anything to say."
- Edward Snowden
On calling BS
"With only one flower you cannot say that it's Spring."
- Arshd Ahmad, Lyft driver from Afghanistan. We had a fun conversation about life on the way to the airport.
On mindfulness, self-control, and keeping a growth mindset
“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”
- Lao Tzu
"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."
- Viktor Frankl, from Man's Search for Meaning
"There is nothing Noble about being superior to your fellow man. True nobility is being superior to your former self."
- Earnest Hemmingway
"Delayed gratification is the single most important skill to master for achieving a successful life."
- Darren Austin :-)
At age 25, a shower at 6:30pm on a Friday portends a date at 7pm. At age 45, a shower at 6:30pm on a Friday portends pajamas at 7pm and a glass of whiskey at 7:05pm.
"This guy doesn't know whether to sh*t or go blind."
"Busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest."
"Higher than the balls on a giraffe."
"I gave him a price that was lower than whale sh*t."
"It can't get any worse. I mean, you can't fall out of the cellar, right?"
"Slow down. You're all over the place. You're like:
Roses are red,
violets are blue,
I like ice cream,
Can you skate?"
"How did I shoot today? Well, I couldn't hit a bull's ass with a bass fiddle today. I was terrible out there."
Just for fun
Growing up, I loved to watch and listen to comedy. HBO's One Night Stand was one of the best source for talented up and coming comedians. The comedy special by The Higgins Boys and Gruber was one of the funniest I remember and the skit of the beatnik reciting his poem "The Lovesong of J. Frederick Flintstone" was one of the best ones in that show. I can't seem to find the video of this skit, but I did find a transcript of the poem.
The Love Song of J. Frederick Flintstone (by The Higgins Boys and Gruber HBO One Night Stand comedy special circa March 1991)
Let us go then, Barney and I
As the Bedrock sun is spread out against the sky
Like a Brontoburger laid out upon a table
And in the cave the women come on through
Speaking of the Great Gazoo
I am not Joe Rockhead nor was I meant to be
A stone quarry worker willing to bowl a frame or two
I grow old, I grow old
Shall I wear my saber-toothed tiger suit rolled?
Shall I prepare bronto ribs to eat? Power a car with my feet?
I hear Pebbles and Bam-Bam singing each to each
And in the cave the women came on through saying
My list of "Most interesting man" commercials that I'd like to see... (queue the music)
My advice for new product managers
Darren's rules to live by
Optimize for speed of learning.
Think ahead. Solve tomorrow's problems today.
Be proud of what you produce.
Strive to be 1% better every day - benefit from the compounding interest of small improvements.
Play to win. Don't play to not lose.
Lead by example.
Listen at least 2X as much as you speak.
When faced with a difficult problem, always ask, "how do we make this easy?"