It Tastes Better as a VP

This is a surprisingly important question, and I have gotten the answer wrong more than once. My first mistake was saying titles are stupid. Then I flip-flopped and said they matter a ton and should be handled with extreme care. Then I flip-flopped again.

There is a right way to do this and this article is the story of how I learned that the hard way.

When I took my first job in tech, I claimed the COO title on day two. In hindsight, it was probably overly assumptive and maybe even arrogant. Oh well, I was hired by the…


“Fancy title” by Arriba

“I just gave him a raise and an opportunity in the role he’s been after forever. Then I went and sang his praises in front of the entire company. Now, he wants a new title too? Sheesh.”

“What title does he want?” asked Reid.

“He didn’t even say! He wants me to come up with it.” I replied.

“What did you come up with?” asked Reid.

“I told him titles are stupid and he should pick whatever he wanted. I don’t care about titles. They don’t matter at our stage.” I said dismissively.

“Easy to say for the guy who…


So, you think you are an entrepreneur? You need to wrestle with this question first.

“eating of the floor” by Eelke Dekker

My friend Phil is a first-generation Korean American, former Naval submariner, Oxford grad, and all-around impressive guy. We had lunch recently and he told me a story I want to share.

I kicked off lunch by telling Phil I had recently decided to go all-in as co-founder of a technology company. The look on his face told me he thought I was crazy, but he managed to keep it to himself. Instead, he says “That’s cool man, really cool. You seem like a man at…


I have discovered a wonderful hack for making hard decisions.

I live in Dallas, TX. It’s awesome, except in July and August when the average temperature is like 112 degrees. Mix in the mosquitoes and let’s just say it can be slightly less than pleasant. I feel bad for the bankers in their fancy suits. I get sympathy sweat running down my back just watching them walk to lunch in the summer.

A couple of years ago, staring another sticky, mosquito-infested summer in the face, I was struggling with the decision of whether or not to skip town and take…


“I am doing great! Thank you for asking.”

I am the co-founder of a technology company.

There are a million things to do. Everything is a priority. Nothing is sequential. You are simultaneously stuck waiting and hopelessly behind. It’s a battle to take ground every day. Welcome to startup life!

I knew how much work a startup would be, but hard work doesn’t scare me. I knew, and I still signed up. I enjoy working hard and my kids need to see their dad work hard. It’s good for them to see me grinding. Good for them to see me navigate failure and uncertainty. So far, so good…


Credit: Wait But Why, From 1 to 1,000,000

The picture above has 100,000 dots. You would have to stack 2,500 of them to show 250 million dots. I bet you underestimated what 250m dots looks like, didn’t you?

Launching a startup feels like there is someone screaming “We’re all counting on you! No pressure!” in your face at all times.

Startups are hard. Just yesterday I got discouraged about the amount of work I have to do and the amount of knowledge I have to acquire in order to do said work. There is simply no way I will be able to get it all done as quickly…


I admit it. Most of my best ideas are taken from someone else.

King Solomon and the Iron Worker by Christian Schussele

Plagiarism: the process of taking another person’s work, ideas, or words, and using them as if they were your own. Someone who does this is called a plagiarist.

I frequently read about the habits and ideas of others and then adopt them as my own.

I guess that makes me a plagiarist.

Let me give you an example.

I am a long-suffering Texas Longhorns fan. Back when we had a good football team we had a quarterback named Colt McCoy (who is still in the NFL by…


Walrus-class submarine emerges by Ministerie van Defensie

Slow is fast.

I used to be a Nuclear Submarine Officer. I spent just over eight years on active duty boiling water and poking holes in the ocean. While I have forgotten a lot more about nuclear power than I have retained, I did walk away with countless leadership lessons that have helped me grow a tech company. There is one that stands above the rest.

My first Captain was one of the best leaders I have ever been blessed to work under. Many of those leadership lessons come from him, including this one. …


Courage takes a lot of forms.

There is a playbook. Do you have the courage to follow it?

Every book about building a great business highlights a very specific (and unique) leadership trait. Transformative companies and the leaders that build them understand the need to relentlessly recruit and find the very best talent available. All of them. Every single one.

Stop me if you have heard this: “Every new hire should raise the bar. Once you have great talent, you should do everything possible to retain it”.

Everyone knows this. It is not a secret to anyone. It is not unique for a leader to demand…


It’s All About Habits and Triggers

My day in a nutshell.

I am a mediocre writer (at best). That sucks because I enjoy writing. I believe it’s a tremendously valuable skill, and I want to move from mediocre writing to above average. My stretch goal is to learn to write things that people I do not know want to read.

A lot has been written on how to improve your writing. Stephen King even wrote a book literally called On Writing.” I read it. It’s excellent. The internet is flush with successful writers sharing their secrets and offering courses to teach you those secrets. Their articles have awesome names like “You…

Patrick Elverum

Tone founder and father of five. I grew a SaaS company to $5m MRR. Now I am trying to do it again and bring a little encouragement to the world in the process.

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