This year was unlike any other. I have it basically as easy as anyone — I’m not in an at-risk group, I have two young kids that keep me on my toes and I’m grateful that I have a good job that I can do from home. But even then, it’s still a mental game to not go crazy stuck inside my house. Some days are much better than others and I’ve found there’s a handful of habits that have really helped. Sharing here in case they’re helpful to others:

  1. Wake up earlier: Morning routines are always important but having…

Summer 2020 — the West Coast was on fire. You could drive for dozens of hours and see fires and smoke non-stop. People that had the means and the flexibility escaped elsewhere — and by “escaping” I mean, going from staying at home in one house to another in the midst of a global pandemic. One day of this period culminated in the entire Bay Area sky lighting up an eery, apocalyptic, Mars orange — an unsubtle omen for the years to come.

In a somewhat frenzied attempt to get my head around the situation I wanted to learn more…

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The Silent Meeting Manifesto v1: Making meeting suck a little less

Meetings suck. It’s a universally accepted truth.

I’m here to tell you that they don’t have to. I’m writing with the fervor of a missionary to stop terrible meetings. After discovering Silent Meetings I am converted.

This article is meant to be put to use. It’s part workbook and part guide. It’s the 6800+ word expansion of my tweet on this topic but with tons more detail. It’s made to be re-read as you practice Silent Meetings yourself.

(Only have 1 minute: read this shorter version first)

Here’s the outline: after a broad introduction we’ll jump into the problems that…


UPDATE: I expanded this post into a much more detailed guide called “Silent Meeting Manifesto v1”. Go there if you want to learn more.


“There’s nothing I enjoy more than spending time silently typing with you all.”

Preface: I learned how to use silent meetings at Twitter about a year ago and it’s been very useful for most meetings (especially large ones). We’re now expanding it to other parts of the company and I’m sharing what I use in case it’s helpful to others. If you have other suggestions -> reply to this Tweet.

What are Silent Meetings?

“Silent Meetings” are meetings…

Notes from 2012. Starting in April of that year I look towards Brazil. The country was growing rapidly. I speak Portuguese and the jobs were plentiful. My wife is half-Brazilian and always wanted to move there. McKinsey always had available projects looking for staffing and I had no kids. Why not?

Fast-forward a few months later, my wife and I rent an apartment in São Paulo in the Fall of 2012. It was booming — all the restaurants were full, startups springing up like mushrooms, educated Europeans streaming into the country in droves to escape their economic malaise. People were…

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This is a story of how to finish a box of donuts, or, how to stop procrastinating by breaking things up into little pieces.

Picture this: one morning a colleague decides to bring a big box of donuts into the office. Everyone sees them, thanks her for the gift but declines the offer since they are still following their New Year’s Resolutions to eat less sweets. For a hours the donuts go untouched.

Then someone grabs a knife and cuts up all the donuts into fourths.

The next time someone passes by the box of donuts they see the smaller…

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Japan is the nation of power users. Yes, power users exist globally but in no country other than Japan do they represent the mainstream.

I had this realization while sitting on the toilet in Tokyo. I stared down at the advanced features of the toilet’s control panel and pondered, “Why don’t we have these at home?” My theory: They are power user toilets. They are far too complicated for most people outside of Japan (hell, they even have their own wikipedia page). Most of the world likes their toilets simple — one button or lever; one action: on. There isn’t…

I am a new father as of a couple of weeks ago. It has been incredible and I can’t believe how much I’ve learned in such a short time. Since I’m new to this and I still remember what I didn’t know, here are some quick suggestions for expecting fathers based on things I wish I’d known when I had my baby a few weeks ago.

Plenty of articles exist that talk about the emotional aspects of fatherhood: be a good partner, spend as much time as possible with your baby, and in general be a good husband (Google: Tips…

Why you should disconnect one day a week

It was the end of the weekend and I didn’t feel rested. It wasn’t a lack of entertainment or relaxation. Psychologically, it just didn’t feel like I’d had a break. When asked how my weekend was, I’d find myself answering that I wished it was longer.

Where had my weekend gone? Was this the way weekends should be? What was I missing?

Upon reflection, I realized that the reason I wasn’t feeling rested was that I was not truly disconnecting. I was using my phone multiple times an hour from the moment I left work on Friday until I was…

A drone story

I want to thank you all for inviting me here today. It’s always a pleasure to speak at my alma mater, particularly on commencement.

Unfortunately, today’s speech cannot be a typical one. As I look out onto the sea of black gowns turned away from me, I feel compelled to correct your idealist stance. To those of you with white doves drawn on the back of your robes, I say you are naive.

While you choose to criticize me, the Ravens fly above us and protect us, no more conspicuous or demanding than clouds. …

David Gasca

San Francisco | @gasca on Twitter

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