My First Good Developer

I lost him after a tragedy. Before any of that though, when I first met him, he came to his interview well prepared with a binder full all of his portfolio items. He was one of the first people I skills tested, by actually having him code a site while I sat next to him and watched (turns out there are more efficient ways to skills test…). Hiren’s designs looked great and his development code was spot on. He was hired.

Hiren was of Indian descent, with a short and compact body. He was a solid basketball player and a generally decent person.

Over the course of a couple of years, he proved to be very reliable. He rarely missed work and would put in extra time when needed to make sure deadlines were met.

One day he asked me to step outside with him. We were working in our office on right next to Ocean Avenue in Venice with a view of the beach and the ocean. We went outside into the warm, sunny day and he told me his brother was suffering from a debilitating disease. I have three brothers myself, so I immediately was overwhelmed with sympathy.

A few months later, there was a 5k walk  fundraiser for the disease his brother suffered from. The Laker girls came and Coalition attended and donated a substantial amount of money.

Hiren missed work for the first couple of times as his brother’s health declined. The day his brother passed, he let Tara (my girlfriend at the time who also worked for me at the time) and I know. He invited us to the funeral in Bakersfield and offered to let us stay free at his parents motel. We accepted and went to the service and learned more about his brother and his life. There was a big Indian dinner then a bit of an Irish wake the evening after the service. The next day Tara and I drove back to LA.

Hiren resigned a short time later. I had never lost an important team member before and tried to keep him on board without success. One thing I have learned in business is that once someone has decided to resign, almost nothing will keep them – not money, title, career, work changes. If you want to keep someone, you need to make sure they never get to the point where they want to resign. Keeping team members motivated is an area I struggle with to this day.




The apartment was quiet and spotlessly clean. Lots of delicious food was on the counter, along with a bottle of good champagne. I stood by the front door, shifting from foot to foot and sweating, dressed in a nice dark green button down shirt and a good pair of dark jeans. After an interminable wait, there was finally the rattling of the key in the lock. I opened the door, surprising Laurel. She came in and I gave her a hug and kiss. Then I dropped to one knee, and said “Will you marry me?”. With tears in her eyes, she said yes and we celebrated with a glass of the best champagne we’d ever had.

Using the Same Variable in Recursive Function in PHP

I am still trying to figure out how to have a recursive function work on the same variable in PHP. What I am going to try next is to create an object outside of the recursive function and have that be operated on in the function.

Google Recaptcha

I use Google Recaptcha for several web applications, but it appears that they did a change that broke backwards compatibility today. Mike is debugging it now to get it fixed.

New Article on Intuit and HR Block Lobbying against easier taxes

Be Careful Buying From Amazon – Lots of Counterfeits


Vistage First Meeting

I am about to go to my first meeting with my new Vistage group today. Vistage is a CEO peer & advising group that is supposed to help CEO’s grow in their abilities to lead their companies.

I will apparently be doing an introduction of myself and then will be able to bring questions / issues to the group for assistance. I intend to ask them what they think of my new site and if as a customer, would they hire Coalition based on what they see. I will also ask about what they look for in SEO / web dev agencies.

Bit Manipulation

My programming skills have greatly improved over the last few years, but one area I never have really used much is Bit Manipulation. One of my goals over the coming week or two is to learn more about this to help round out my basic programming abilities.

Video Games / Real Work

Jeremy sent an article this morning on video games that I found to be interesting. I feel like video games can be a blessing and a curse. They are a blessing when you can control the amount you play them, and they help to develop your brain in positive ways. Video games are a curse when you become addicted to the extent that you neglect your real life.

I’ve always intensely loved video games. As a six year old, one of my most vivid memories was going to a friends house who had the first NES system and being absolutely amazed by it.

My parents did not buy me my first platform until I did extraordinarily well on a child version of the SAT (I scored several college levels as a third grader). It was the Sega Genesis, and my parents at first restricted the time I was allowed to play to a half hour or so a day. After a year or two, they let me move it to my bedroom and I was able to play a lot more. I have many great memories of Jordan and I playing Combat Cars, Sonic games, Road Rash and others.

At the end of the 7th grade, my parents let me get the first MMORPG – Ultima Online. My friends and I were all instantly hooked and it is all we talked about at school. Playing in a big open world without rules or protections, where you could earn your own money (or have it stolen), and build up powerful characters, was an entrancing experience. It was also highly addicting since the in game experiences were far better than my real life at the time. It was my connection to the outside world during a period where we lived in an isolated community and my parents were getting divorced and my mom was going insane and doing meth. When my parents got back together and my mom moved back in, she tried to ban me from playing Ultima any longer. I reacted with enormous anger and fought my parents until they kicked me out of the house.

I then moved in with my grandparents and did not get any new computer games or video games while I lived with them. My grandparents helped me deal with my anger and focus on channeling my energy into more positive areas. I started a landscaping business at 17, then worked a series of jobs through college at the University of Washington, then got a full time job at an SEO agency. Finally, 7.5 years ago, I started my own agency – I found the experience of founding and running my agency to be a lot like playing World of Warcraft or Ultima – except it was real life! I have loved it.

About six months or a year ago, I bought a Xbox One and have played a few games on it. I still love video games… I went through Rocket League, Silent, and now am playing Overwatch & Witcher 3. I have been playing too much though, so I have stopped playing the last few days.

Video games are awesome as entertainment to replace a movie or television watching, but dangerous if they replace productive areas of your life.