On Making Decisions

How do you make decisions? Do you have a process by which you systematically determine the best course of action, or do you live from the gut? Does decision-making come easily to you, or do you live in fear of regret? And once you make your decision, are you stubborn?

Recently, I have had a number of decisions to make regarding the manner by which I wish Sealed to be developed. While I am thrilled to have arrived at this position of choosing, I do feel the stakes rubbing up against my enthusiasm. To choose the wrong cofounder could be disastrous. To employ the wrong developers could lead to future setbacks. To entangle with the wrong source of money could be messy. To delay decision-making is equally a choice, as these opportunities will fade unless seized. So then, to seize or not to seize?

To dive into Myers Briggs for a quick minute, I feel a constant struggle between my dominant N (intuition) and my intellectually upheld tendency towards S (sensing). In plain English, that means that when confronted with multiple possibilities, I often have an early gut instinct towards the solution. However, I also believe in caution and methodological deduction as the route to a better decision. In real life, this often manifests as indecision.

In this battle between my instincts and my better senses, it can be easy to get carried away entertaining “rationality”. I have made some very, very thorough pro&con lists. I have “slept on” decisions for many nights, delaying response to emails and sometimes leaving people hanging. I am not so clueless that I employ overly rigid strategies at every turn, but I would be lying if I were to say that I have never procrastinated in face of uncertainty.

Where is the proper balance? How much should I trust my gut, and how much has my dedication to methodology actually improved my positioning?

While the canonical CEO may be guided solely by visionary instinct, and while I do often feel that initial inclination, I don’t believe, generally speaking, that I am wise nor experienced enough to operate in such a bubble.

So I talk to people. Peers and mentors, family and friends… you know who you are, because I’m often in your inbox.

In the next few days, decisions will be made. In the next few months, Sealed will be built. To all of you who have lent your expertise or ear in the last few days or months, thank you for being there, and expect future phone calls…

If I Were to Walk My Own Talk

  If I were to walk my own talk
I would become a vegetarian
Eating animals is cruel
And it's the single way that I contribute most to global warming
Why don't I become a vegetarian?

  If I were to walk my own talk
I wouldn't love buying things
Because I love buying things
At least I'm supposed to
  So I do, and I do.
I know well that I feed the machine
That denies food to so many
  Aspiring consumers.
That thought sickens me.
With that in mind
How can I justify
So much

  If I were to walk my own talk
I would have more gay friends
And African-American friends
And friends that aren't all white
Because all of my friends are white
  Not that it matters
  But it does, kind of.
Look, I'm a progressive,
Genuinely appalled by inequality
Why do I exhibit the same
Homophilic tendencies
That I speak out against?

  If I were to walk my own talk
I would be an activist
An active activist.
As in, I would act
Not just talk
  I already talk a lot
The power of activism has been proven
And I'm sure as hell that I want things to change
So why am I not
An activist?

  If I were to walk my own talk
I wouldn't ever swear
  It's the language of marginalization
I wouldn't complain about schoolwork
  6.7% of the world has a college degree
I wouldn't wear leather
  It's fueling a sadistic industry
I wouldn't drive a car
  It's fueling a sadistic industry
I wouldn't be complacent
I wouldn't sit idly
I wouldn't take it for granted
I wouldn't get discouraged
I wouldn't get hung up by the immensity of it all
I wouldn't feel very, very small
  So small that I don't even matter
  A seven-billionth of the population
     What good can I do?
     What harm can I do?
     What can I do?

Maybe I'll become a vegetarian. 

To Be, or [What] To Be?


This is a terrifying phrase. It’s the one we laugh about as youngsters. We say fireman or doctor or pilot and dance around and forget about it until we’re almost 20 and need to… decide. What do be? What to do with my life? Where to start?!

I’m lucky. I am a rather (but not very) affluent, middle-class white male with an excellent high school education and an opportunity to study at an elite university. I am good at many things, but mostly because opportunities have been provided for me. Piano lessons, running shoes, endless familial encouragement- these things have come together to give me enormous privilege. I know it. The question is then, what should I do with this privelidge?

My goal in life, which I’ve known since I was very young, is to do the greatest good for the greatest number. This is a goal that is completed differently for each individual because we all have different strengths that allow us to contribute in vastly different (and important ways). For example, I do not know how to fly a plane, but someone who has been trained to be a pilot can contribute hugely to the world by transporting thousands of people across continents safely. I do not know nearly enough to become a doctor, but doctors contribute hugely to the world by helping thousands of individual people to retain their health and live a healthy life. How can I, personally, best contribute to the world in which I live?

For a long time, I wanted to be a doctor. Simply, (arguably, of course) it is the most direct way to help a lot of people. I have read books, books, books, about being a doctor, shadowed physicians, taken (intro) Biology, Chemistry, and Physics (3/5 of the Pre-med course load at Wesleyan) and dedicated an enormous effort to determining whether this track is correct for me.

It’s not. My skills wax creative; I am not good enough at the brunt learning that doctors must undergo. Or maybe I am capable of it (for I truly love learning), but I am harassed by too much other motivation. I am good at a certain “skills.” I am good at persuasion, inspiring people, leading, thinking creatively, digital art, music/audio manipulation, teaching/instructing, and others. I am a bit of an intense person. To circumvent a host of self-exploration and gut-spilling on the internet, I will just reveal my “plot” so-to-speak: I wish to become an entrepreneur.