How to set up a TP-LINK router on Apple/Mac

How to set up a TP-LINK router on Apple/Mac

TP-LINK routers are best sellers on Amazon, and I like my new one a LOT. I had a 5-year old Vizio router that did yeoman’s service, but had started to drop connections and in general behave like an amnesiac hash addict.

I liked the reviews, which said that TP-LINK routers were dead easy to set up.

It was not.

I have a Mac Mini that operates as a home server, and I had some nonstandard configuration issues to deal with. Turns out that there were 3 issues. First, I couldn’t get to the router configuration page on a browser. I had to clone the previous MAC address, and finally, I had static internal IPs set on most of my devices in the house including the machine I was installing the router on. So, here are the easy steps to fix it if you have plugged in a TP-LINK router on a Mac home network and you can’t get it set up.

  1. Go into Network Preferences. Open your ethernet connection and go to TCP/IP. Clear the manual setting from your DHCP, and permit the machine to be assigned an internal IP from the DHCP server in the router.
  2. Hit 192.168.1.1 in your browser. This should theoretically get you to the router config page. It worked for me. That’s the default IP for TP-LINK.
  3. admin/admin are the un/pw for TP-LINK.
  4. Keep a browser window open so you can see whether you’ve got a connection.
  5. If you do, good. You’re fine to set static IPs/MAC bindings.
  6. If not, try cloning the MAC. Go to the MAC settings in the router config, hit the “clone” button, save, and reboot the router.
  7. Does it work yet? If not, add a static IP for the box you’re working on while configuring the router.
  8. Hard cycle the router and modem.
  9. Set static IPs and MAC bindings.
  10. Profit!

I’ll keep updating these instructions. I’m assuming you know to set a different un/pw for your router if you’re actually able to follow these instructions. Per the usual, 18 months from now, I’ll reset the router and totally forget how I got it working, so this post is more for me than all y’all.

How to get a short link from a Google Maps location

How to get a short link from a Google Maps location

The Google Maps interface has changed, and it’s hard to tell how to share a location from a dropped pin or a business you want to find.Perhaps you’d like to make an easy short link to your house that you can share with people again and again. It just took me five minutes of Googling to figure it out, and even then it was too complex. I’m putting this post out there so that I can remember it myself!

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Search for the location you want to find.
  2. Now, look in the bottom right hand corner where you see this: Screenshot 2015-06-04 15.29.58
  3. Click on the little gear so that this window pops:Screenshot 2015-06-04 15.28.04
  4. Click “Share or embed map” at the top.
  5. You’ll see this little popup in the middle of the screen:Screenshot 2015-06-04 15.31.33
  6. Click the “Short URL” box to get a short URL that is reusable and shareable!
3 tips to prep for video job interviews

3 tips to prep for video job interviews

I do a lot of video interviews and meetings. I’m the CEO of Fizzmint, an employee task administration and compliance management tech startup here in Seattle, and many of our team are remote. I’ve conducted about 300 video interviews at this point, and I’d like to share my three best tips for preparing to do well. Hopefully, this will help you figure out how to give a great first impression over video for your future employers!

First off: the background matters. In a phone call, the only thing the interviewer can assess you with is the sound of your voice. In a video call, the only visual information you can convey is your face and whatever the interviewer sees behind you. This means that they’ll be looking hard for any clues about your personality and who you are from the choices you make about your backdrop. I did in fact just say “choices”. Whether you know it or not, you’ve chosen to present yourself a certain way, and if you don’t think about what your interviewer sees behind you, you might be in trouble.

I recently interviewed a programmer from a different city than Seattle. He clicked his video on, and like every other techie. I started asking him questions. About two minutes into the interview, I started looking behind him. He had several extremely explicit drawings, sculptures, and images of nude women in various poses on the office walls behind him. They were obviously artistic, but I question his judgment in having them as his professional backdrop. I can’t remember his name or his skillset now, but I remember with icy and perfect clarity the two labias that were framing his head.

If you don’t know what backdrop to have, just put you and your camera opposite a plain wall. A corollary to this is that you should make sure your sleepy roommate doesn’t parade around behind you wearing boxers and not much else. I’ve seen that one too…and my eyes are still burning.

Second, check your tech a full two days before the interview. I use Google Hangouts by preference since it allows me to share screens and add people easily to the hangout…crucial if I want to do a video round where I call in a few people at a time. This usually doesn’t present any problem, but you do have to install a browser plugin and have a Google or Gmail account. Most people are fine with it, and/or can get it set up in about 15 minutes. I don’t like Skype, since it costs extra to do video conferencing the way I like, and I’m unenthused about the fact that Microsoft is unashamedly parsing my voice data for ads and targeting.

About 1 out of every 4 interviews I do, someone hasn’t checked to make sure they can do Google Hangout video — and this is after I tell them specifically that we’ll be using it. So recently that it actually inspired this post, a developer didn’t show up in the pre-created video link at the specified time. He didn’t show up when I invited him specifically again. He didn’t show up when I cancelled that hangout and tried inviting him personally to a new one. He emailed to say that he was waiting on me. I told him to call me himself. He didn’t. He emailed again (15 minutes late, telling me he hadn’t even installed the browser plugin before our meeting) to tell me that he guessed the plugin didn’t work for him, and he’d try something else. 20 minutes after he was supposed to be impressing me, I told him I was moving on.

Sure, sometimes there are real technical difficulties. However, the difference between someone who was prepared and is having troubles, and someone who didn’t bother to check in advance that a technology they’d never used before would work for them is that 15-minute timespan. If someone’s having actual troubles, I get an email from them one minute after the meeting has started telling me that something is wrong. If someone didn’t know they’d have to install that browser plugin, meaning they did not prepare, they email me 15 minutes after the meeting starts. Check your tech and the equipment you’ll be using and do a live test with a friend.

Hell, I don’t know why I’m even telling you this. It’s actually a very good check to make sure that someone is the kind of person who prepares ahead before I spend time interviewing them.

Third, dress for the video interview (at least from the waist up) as you would for the actual interview. I’m wearing a perfectly proper button down shirt now (with yoga pants and Chewbacca house shoes that my cat likes to cuddle with), but everything showing on video is all buttoned-up, as it were.

This might seem like a no-brainer, but I’ve seen people show up in their pyjamas, tshirts, robes, and in one spectacular instance, what was clearly the top half of a bikini with a ratted hoodie tossed over it. How we dress conveys a world of information to people, and if you’re not dressed like you take this conversation with me seriously, it doesn’t matter how awesome you are as a marketer or programmer or administrator. In addition, there’s lots of research out there discussing how our clothing choices affect our posture and speech patterns. People wearing better clothing do better on tests objectively, and people who feel like they’re well-turned-out project a greater air of confidence and competence.

If you have Star Trek or Buffy action figures, I strongly suggest you hang them on the wall behind you. That is all; good day.

[cross-posted to Medium]

The care and feeding of successful crowdfunding backers

The care and feeding of successful crowdfunding backers

I have run several successful Kickstarters, and this list applies to all crowdfunding campaigns after they’ve succeeded and before you’ve fulfilled the rewards.

LadyCoders 2012
Volney’s Ruins 2014
Women In Tech: The Book

I have completely fulfilled the rewards for the LadyCoders Kickstarter, but the other two are still in process. It’s tough to think of what to send to people after the Kickstarter has succeeded. The Volney audiobook and the Women In Tech book tend to be “Yup, still working” kinds of updates, and I’m never sure what will be a good way to continue to communicate gratitude and inclusiveness.

I try to show people what it looks like to work on these projects. Recently, I did an update that showed me and one of my co-authors working on writing the Women In Tech book with a selfie of the two of us. On the Volney audiobook, I shared some tutorials and audiobook processing tips I’d learned, as well as the somewhat frustrating knowledge that some of the work I’d done needed to be re-done to fix some of the sound issues.

Here’s some ideas for what to share with your backers when all you can think to say is “Yup, still working.”

  1. 60-second selfie video talking about something that has frustrated you in the process, or something you just recently learned about the process.
  2. 3-5 minute video tutorial on something you just did that might be interesting to your backers. If you just learned something about the process, talk about it.
  3. If you have people working on the project with you, interview one of them on video for a minute to talk about what their portion of the process is like.
  4. A photo of you working on the project, and the funnier and more lifelike the better.
  5. Reposting some of the resources you have used to create something. I repost some links on audiobook production and talk about the best resources I found.
  6. A picture or quick video of you using, playing with, or trying out the incomplete product or prototype, along with a rapid update on how the process is working.
  7. A Buzzfeed-style list of the top ten things you didn’t know before doing this project.
  8. A guest backer update from a new person. I may ask for some of the people involved in the publishing process for my book to write a paragraph or two on what it’s like working on book publishing.
  9. I’ll keep adding ideas to this, because I’ll want them myself again! Please offer suggestions and new backer update ideas!

    Cross-posted to Medium.

Completely remove CrashPlan from your Mac

Completely remove CrashPlan from your Mac

Have you tried to delete CrashPlan from your Applications folder and gotten the message that the “CrashPlan app is locked” in a popup?

Here’s the solution:

  1. Shut down the CrashPlan app in the system tray.
  2. You may need to elevate permissions or use ‘sudo’ to perform some of these commands.
  3. Open a Terminal window. You can find Terminal under Utilities in the Applications folder.
  4. Enter this: cd ~/Library/Application\ Support/
  5. Enter this: rm -R CrashPlan
  6. Enter this: cd /Applications/CrashPlan.app
  7. Enter this: cd ..
  8. Enter this: ls -lhdO /Applications/CrashPlan.app
  9. Enter these two commands: chflags noschg CrashPlan.app and chflags nouchg CrashPlan.app
  10. You should now be able to go to the Applications folder and delete CrashPlan.app.

Some of this solution taken from the Mac Rumors Forum.

Tell your Women In Tech story in our Medium channel!

Tell your Women In Tech story in our Medium channel!

I had a stunning number of women volunteer to write chapters for Women In Techthe book we just kickstarted. I think somewhere around 150 women volunteered at last count, and I keep getting emails! I was honored and thrilled that so many women wanted me to help them tell their story, and I’m so proud to announce now that we’re launching a Medium channel to provide a platform for women to tell their stories in the same way that Brianna, Keren, Kristin, Angie, Kamilah, Miah, Katie, and I are. If you write a great story, you may get an email from me about future work ;-)

We’re also looking for a publication editor on an ongoing basis, so please let me know if you’re interested in helping women tell their stories!

HOW TO SUBMIT:

If you’re interested in telling your story, I have to make you a writer for the publication. Send me an email with your Medium username so I can add you, and then I’ll have you submit your essay to https://medium.com/stories-from-women-in-tech/submissions! I’m a little new at this Medium thing, so if you have any issues submitting your essay, just email or tweet me and I’ll get you fixed up.

If you follow this structure, more or less, you’ll get to the heart of your life and experiences. Vary or change this any way you see fit; this outline is just intended to give you a place to start.

  1. Growing up
    1. Where were you born?
    2. What was it like growing up as you?
    3. What is your family like?
    4. When did you start to have an interest in tech?
    5. Did you go to college? What did you major in?
  2. Early career
    1. Did you start out in technology? 
    2. How did your career start to grow more and more aligned with what you’re doing now—or did it?
    3. What early lessons did you learn as you started working in all your different jobs that helped teach you what you needed to know to get where you are?
  3. Now
    1. What are some of the times that you felt that you couldn’t keep going on?
    2. What made you push through?
    3. Are you happy doing what you do?
    4. Why?
    5. What will some of your next goals be?
    6. What do you do to help others succeed and what are your passions involving mentoring and volunteering?
  4. Reflections
    1. Is it possible for others to do what you did?
    2. If you could go back and change anything, would you—and why?
    3. What do you wish people knew about you that they don’t?
    4. What do you hope telling your story will accomplish?

Thoughts

  • Liberally sprinkle this whole essay with examples that focus in on how you felt at times when you were at decision crossroads and what made you make the choices you did.
  • Do not let your own modesty stop you from talking about yourself. Talk about yourself and your accomplishments instead of doing a general critique of the system.
  • Think of this autobiographical essay as an explanation of how you got where you are now. This is a moment to show what you did, not tell others how to replicate what you did. Huge numbers of women in tech (including me) did not have a computer science degree and came into tech through a side door faced with difficult decisions, self teaching, and life-altering moments. 
  • This is only about you, your story, and how other women can see possibilities for themselves through your story. Use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. I can’t wait to hear from you!
From Engineer To Executive

From Engineer To Executive

I recently did the keynote talk for the Puget Sound Python users group, and while it wasn’t filmed, I had a couple of requests that I post the material somewhere. Here you go!

Going from an engineer to someone who can manage people and execute on the company vision takes a commitment to changing yourself, changing your environment, and changing how you relate to others. There are three key areas that I had to work on and will be striving towards for the rest of my life. They are: (1) your people skills, (2) a will to change, and (3) your support network.

First, let’s take a look at people skills. You need to lose your contempt for interpersonal skills. You may be one badass engineer, but if you cannot communicate your purpose and assign tasks to your subordinates in such a way that they’re enthused about the tasks you set for them, you can’t be an executive. That’s it. Learn to rephrase your requests and statements about situations in a positive way. Many engineers are uncomfortable about dealing with people, and you’ll need to not only lose that discomfort, but actively enjoy employing your people skills. Note that I don’t say that you have to actively enjoy people. I’m a full-bore introvert, and dealing with people takes it out of me if I cannot escape and recharge. However, I can always enjoy that I have a skill, and that I’m getting better at using it every day.

If you don’t like social media, tough cookies. You need fans and connections. These are people that you can transmit ideas to, and from whom you get updates on how the world thinks and works. Make the connections on LinkedIn and open up your Twitter and Facebook profiles. You won’t be able to hide what you say anyway, and you may as well keep your lack of privacy in mind. You no longer get to bury your head in the sand when it comes to social issues. You’ll need to keep updated on meaningful news. There would be no excuse for a leader of people who made a tone deaf crack about protesters the day after the Ferguson grand jury decision because s/he didn’t know what was happening in the world. You can be yourself on social media, but you cannot treat your public pronouncements as if they reflect only on you now. I am communicative on social media, but I don’t complain about individual people anymore, no matter how bad the customer service was. I have the ability to point attention at issues, and as a representative of my company regardless of how many disclaimers I put in bios, I have to respect that I’d be punching down, not up. Remember the same.

The last thing on people skills, and the hardest lesson I’m still working on is this: don’t be the smartest person in the room. That’s a direct quote from a mentor of mine. It was an especially hard lesson for me to learn. As a female engineer, I’ve been screaming for 15 years that I’m right, that my code is good enough, that my solution works, and that I belong in this room with the rest of the engineers. I’ve had to shift my approach a lot. Now, what matters is that the people that I’m talking with feel like they’re heard, not that I’m smart. That is how they’ll build consensus on the right way to solve a problem. If you figure out how to do this, please tell me.

Second, let’s talk about your personal will to change your life and grow. This is a very difficult topic, because it has to do with social class, judgment, and your own goals. There’s a common phenomenon among professional athletes and musicians who succeed dramatically. Those among them who came from less privileged backgrounds often will struggle with negative influences from the people who loved and supported them while they were on the way up. I have friends and dear loved ones who have loved and supported me, but are still fighting to give up drugs, get out of prison, and get their lives together. I can love them and be there for them to the best of my ability without being pulled into problems I have no power to fix. Think very hard about the people you surround yourself with. The motivational speaker Jim Rohn very famously said that “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I choose to be around people that I like AND admire. I think of people who I respect for their kindness, entrepreneurial spirit, irrepressible joy, courtesy, intelligence, and strength, and then I figure out if we like the same comic books and TV shows (thee must like Arrow or I will not have to do with thee). Those are the people I try to spend my time with.

Develop your own sense of judgment about people to the point that you’ve learned to trust your instincts about someone’s character before you start making final hiring decisions. I screw up sometimes, and I make mistakes all the time. However, we have built a culture at Fizzmint that ultimately reflects my personal decisions about people’s characters, and I have to trust that I make good decisions while always being willing to revisit those choices if needed later. You are going to start learning to consciously harness the judgments you make about people, because if you don’t, you’ll judge unconsciously. That’s how poor hiring decisions get made, like hiring a team of nothing but straight white men and thinking it’s because they’re the only ones tough enough to stand up for their coding choices. Without examining how you judge others, you’ll do so without thought. Don’t not think.

If there’s any one thing I can tell you about being a different person and one that others will respect, it’s this: be on time. People who are habitually punctual have a whole lot of other life skills nailed down. They manage their time well. They’re honest with themselves about how long tasks will take. They have the logistics of their city and transport down. They respect you and your time. They have built time into their day for small tasks, often after they’ve arrived early to meetings. They likely sleep and eat on a healthier schedule. I and everyone else understand that sometimes you cannot help being late. There’s a difference, however, between someone whose definition of ‘on time’ is 5 minutes late, and who arrives more than 15 minutes late half the time, and a person who arrives early or on time 19 out of 20 times. The habitually late person is not honest with themselves about their commitments and how long their day will take to execute on–or they’re pushovers about letting others dictate their schedule. That’s not someone I want managing others. The more time I spend with the people who run companies, the more I realize that this is one of the unstated expectations on people who should be trusted with making decisions. When I set up coffee with a fellow CEO, s/he is nearly never late. That’s even in Seattle, which has a truly terrible transportation system, and which can unexpectedly jam up with hours of traffic and overpacked buses and trains.

Develop your personality and interests outside technology. I have lots and lots of interests, side projects, hobbies, and fun things I do. I have to, or I would be a deadly dull person with a stultifying lack of stories, points of commonality, and conversation openers. I like reading audiobooks, and I’m currently running a Kickstarter to bring Frankenstein’s Creature’s favorite book to audiobook for the first time ever. I helped found and currently am on the board of Hack The People, the world’s largest tech mentorship initiative. I help underrepresented hackers propose to speak through Defcon Unlocked and Infosec Unlocked. I take cat pictures and read and play WoW and do triathlons and cook. If you don’t have a cool hobby and some volunteer commitments, get some, or you’ll be boring. Also, you’ll miss out on personal growth and contributing to your community.

Finally, let’s talk about your support network. There is nothing, NOTHING more important than your mentors and mentees. Your colleagues can come and go, but you MUST develop tight relationships with people who want to teach you, and whom you can teach. You never really learn something until you teach it, and you need to pass on what you learn. This blog is part of how I pass on information to people, after I filter it through my own experience and understanding. I’ve been given truly terrible advice, and truly spectacular advice, but the common thread there is this: someone cared enough to try to help me.

Join your professional association or a group of people who do the job you’re currently doing and the job you want to be doing. Learn from them. Treat your network like a million dollars, because that’s literally what they are to you. Create weak and strong ties to people in your community and in your virtual network. Find a person you admire online that you’ve never met in real life, and tell them that you admire them. You might be surprised at the result. Most of what people face when they’re public-facing is criticism, anger, and second-guessing (unless you’re Taylor Swift, in which case bless your heart, honey). It’s always nice to hear that someone’s picking up what you’re putting down.

Add some comments about your best tricks and tips for how you transitioned from engineering to executive work, and post your questions. I’ll do my best and point you at the right people if I don’t know the answer!

Captain Picard, Enterprise CEO

Captain Picard, Enterprise CEO

I enjoyed analyzing Captain Janeway’s style of leadership as compared to a startup CEO in the first part of a three-part essay on Star Trek captains and leadership. In the second part, I get to tackle my favorite captain of them all: Jean-Luc Picard. I’ll be talking about how Picard’s style of management is ideal for a mature company. CEOs for mature companies are often selected from the outside rather than being promoted from within—but how did Picard get selected to become the captain of the Federation’s most prestigious ship? And how can you learn from his deliberate choices? I’ll first look at how Picard built his expertise and was trusted enough to take over the Enterprise, and then I’ll delve deeper into the relationships he creates and curates in his team.

As the captain of the USS Enterprise, the Federation’s flagship, Picard is one of the most prestigious, highly respected, and well-known leaders in Star Fleet. Many CEOs of mature companies have multiple accomplishments to their name, giving them well-roundedness, common ground with many people, and sources of inspiration, and Picard clearly has a well-rounded and investigative personality. He uses his musicianship, his interest in Vulcan philosophy, and his love of Shakespeare to relate to aliens and create understanding, as well as giving him a life outside of and an escape from the burdens of leadership. He’s smart to do so. Leaders need to maintain an active mental life, and I certainly find that if I start dropping my outside pursuits like writing, playing music, and creating art, that I lose perspective on the choices I make inside my company as well.

Many CEOs of mature tech companies are business and finance specialists with proven records as operations officers. Picard captained the Stargazer for 22 years to gain experience and demonstrate his capacity to lead. The USS Enterprise is not a gig for a child or a first-timer, no matter what some poorly researched reboot might claim. James Kirk captained an as-yet unnamed ship before taking command of the Enterprise. The next captain of a ship named Enterprise was Captain Rachel Garrett, CO of the USS Enterprise-C, the only time that a first-time captain has ever commanded the Enterprise—and a time when the Enterprise was not the flagship of the Federation or in open war. The point here is that demonstrated expertise as a skilled operator matters a great deal when taking over a prominent leadership role in a mature enterprise (yeah, I just did that pun).

Let’s get down to the specifics of how Picard manages his people. Although he has a skilled and competent XO, Commander William T Riker, Picard isn’t worried that Riker will attempt to either eclipse him or to substitute his own judgment for that of Picard’s. The fact that Picard is fearless about having competent, brilliant, ambitious subordinates makes him a spectacular manager and captain. Without concern for his own position or whether Riker would or could push him out, Picard constantly and perpetually supports Riker’s decision process regarding his career. This is much more important than most people realize, and for good reason: the fruits of Picard’s trust in Riker lead to Riker learning to trust in ambitious, competent subordinates. Who could forget the clash of wills between Lieutenant Commander Elizabeth Shelby, the excellent officer detailed to the Enterprise to assist with defensive strategy planning during the Borg invasion? Riker initially disliked Shelby’s tactless ambition and found reasons to criticize her. When Riker was promoted to captain during Picard’s abduction by the Borg, he immediately promoted Shelby to First Officer. He realized why Picard had trusted him in the face of his own ambition, and learned to trust his own decisions about who to promote and support. Picard sets an excellent example of how to treat people, and it’s reflected in the fact that his subordinates take that skill with them into new positions and new responsibilities.

Picard has deliberately curated his own reputation as a trustworthy and competent leader, and uses it to back up his decisions and create conditions of trust between himself and his team. Picard may be modest, but he never actually insisted that they name the Picard Maneuver something else. Picard understood that the creation of himself as a legend as well as a human was a vital part of building the emotional component of support for his leadership. I don’t know what the equivalent of social media will be in the 24th century, but Picard is clearly well known outside Star Fleet and throughout the Federation as a diplomat and negotiator. He doesn’t just accomplish the impossible, he clearly lets others talk about his achievements. This strategy only works because he has the skills to back up even the most outrageous expectations laid upon him.

This means he can use his power and prestige for the benefit of his crew. He never visibly uses it to bolster his comfort level beyond the minimum needed to maintain his image as the captain. On several occasions he’s deliberately chosen not to use his authority internally to benefit someone he cares about. When Lieutenant Commander Nella Darren took over Stellar Cartography aboard the Enterprise in 2369, Picard and she rapidly grew close. He could easily have used his power to advance Darren’s career or give her a cushy transfer. He chose instead to end his relationship with her due to the very valid fears of his crew that he would prefer one of his direct subordinates over others. He set an excellent, if personally painful, example for how to conduct your personal affairs as a leader, and his team respected him deeply for it.

Jean-Luc Picard exhibits sober judgment, trust in his team, support for their ambition, and he rarely interrupts his staff when they’re speaking. He’s a spectacular role model for the CEO of a mature company in the way he manages his personal life, his professional relationships, and the direction of his career. He’s an example I try to live up to every day.

Kathryn Janeway, Startup CEO

Kathryn Janeway, Startup CEO

Reposted from an edited version at WeWork Magazine.

A couple of weeks ago, WeWork Magazine interviewed me for a Spotlight article about me. One of my answers about which Star Trek captain I thought my management style most closely reflected betrayed how seriously I take Star Trek. So, they’ve asked me to expand on my thoughts about how Star Trek captains can be compared to tech CEOs. In this three-part essay, I’ll be looking at Kathryn Janeway, Jean-Luc Picard, and Benjamin Sisko as examples of CEOs at different stages of their careers: at a startup, in a mature company, and during transitional periods.

I was eight years old on the evening of September 26th, 1987. My dad whispered “Shh. Don’t tell your mom I’m starting you on science fiction,” and tiptoed with me down to the basement of our old farmhouse where the little 13” TV sat in his proto-mancave. He flipped the switch, put a little more aluminum foil on the antenna, and I saw the blue letters on the screen as the Alexander Courage & Jerry Goldsmith music played for the first time ever at the beginning of Encounter At Farpoint. Dad choked up a little, remembering when he was nine years old and watched The Man Trap with his father. We bond with these stories. We tell and retell them. We vary the details, but the core myth remains the same: a diverse crew explores the boundaries of space and other civilizations while learning more about what it means to be human.

The most important part about Star Trek captains isn’t which one you admire most, or which one you feel most closely reflects your management style. The most important Star Trek captain is the one who inspires you to be a better leader, and though I think I have the most in common personality-wise with Picard, the truth is that Kathryn Janeway is the closest ideal to what a startup CEO should be. She has no shame or pride, no false sense of ego, and a single, unwavering, certainly monomaniacal goal: to get her crew home. In the course of seven years on the way back from the Delta Quadrant, she uses everything she has and more to succeed.

Janeway is put in impossible situations with untenable choices, and yet she creates humor, freedom, and a shared sense of purpose. She’s by far the wittiest and funniest of the captains, and very free with a joke or a tension-relieving pun. I like her sense of humor a lot, but there’s one thing she does which I try very hard to emulate. She understands that her promise to her crew to get them home is the only thing she’ll ever be judged on, and she sacrifices her personal comfort, her friendships, and her privilege time and time again to make it happen. Barring morally despicable options, there’s nothing she won’t do to achieve her goals. Over seven years, she adopts the roles of a mechanic, a prostitute, a governess, a merchant, a general, a killer, a janitor, an exterminator, a referee, a teacher, a programmer, a scientist, a pool shark, and many, many more. When the time comes for her to play a low-status person to aid in her goal of getting her crew home, she doesn’t hesitate.

Janeway strikes a careful balance among the tight and dramatic relationships that form in the crew when there’s a limited amount of choice for who to socialize with. The greatest CEOs I know worry about their people, not their status. Janeway invests in her people and builds them up instead of tearing them down to maintain an artificial hierarchy, and in return, they achieve more than they could imagine in a crew that will support them.

I love that Janeway has two heroes that I can think of in Voyager; one is Amelia Earhart, and the other is her own ancestor, engineer and architect Shannon O’Donnell Janeway. Perhaps this is where I feel closest to Janeway; she too has mentors and heroes that inspire her that she’s imbued with personality and hope, that she uses to get her through tough decisions, and that she believes in. She’s never met them (well, she meets Amelia Earhart, but this is science-fiction, people), but she knows what they’ll say when she needs their advice. She uses their accomplishments to hold up a mirror to her motivations. There’s not much of a difference between the inspiration of an ancestor you’ve never met except through stories, and a fictional hero who dares us to achieve more. When we need heroes that are more than human, we create our own legends to give us strength, and Star Trek is a rich source of hope and mentorship to me.

Captain Janeway, you’re my hero.

Benedict Cumberbatch Lied To Me And Broke My Heart

Benedict Cumberbatch Lied To Me And Broke My Heart

Ever wondered how Frankenstein’s Creature learned to speak? He listened to an impoverished professor reading aloud and explaining one of the greatest books of the Enlightenment.

Those of you who recently saw the brilliant Frankenstein/Creature role swap done by Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller by the National Theater will remember that De Lacey used Paradise Lost to teach the Creature to read.

113915284_sherlock__342797c

Actually, in Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein, the Creature learned from a book called The Ruins, or Meditation on the Revolutions of Empires, by Constantin François de Chassebœuf, comte de Volney.

I love audiobooks, and I realized that no one has ever done an audiobook of The Ruins! This rich and magical book, a source for art we love and even our own political freedoms, is in danger of being forgotten.

So over the last several months, I have been recording the audiobook of Volney’s greatest work for the first time ever in human history!

I hope you want to learn about the rise and fall of empires the same way that Frankenstein’s Creature did. I need your support to finish the recording, redo some of the first chapters, and get a sound engineer and editor to turn this from digital recordings into an audiobook! Back my project and spread the word, and together we will bring a lost treasure of the Enlightenment to audiobook and to the world!

HELP ME TELL BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH THAT FRANKENSTEIN IS JUST FINE THE WAY IT IS. AND SO IS HE.

Share this project at http://bit.ly/volney!