It has a negative perception. But I find that there are a lot of benefits to saying no. Liz Danzico wrote a great post this past week about the fringe benefits of saying no. You can read it here. My favorite excerpt is below. 

What you choose not to do, who you choose not to spend time with, and who and what you decide to say no to — what you do choose — is how you mark time.

Saying no is as powerful as saying yes. In fact saying no can help us say yes to the things we really want to say yes to. 

A few weeks ago I came across Clef on Product Hunt. The description read “Replace usernames and passwords with your smartphone”. I was intrigued and I signed up for it. After I signed up it wasn’t immediately obvious how I would use it and I was crunched for time so I put it out of my mind. 

Last night I received an email - most likely (but maybe not) automated - from Jesse Pollack checking in to see if I needed help using Clef since I hadn’t used it yet. 

If you use Chrome as your browser, the easiest place for you to use Clef is on Waltz. Once you install Waltz in your browser, you’ll be able to use Clef to log in to popular sites like Facebook and Gmail.

So I downloaded Waltz. Once I got to a site that required a username and password the the log in form was covered with a Waltz call to action to use Waltz and Clef together. I clicked it and was asked to launch Clef on my phone and then point it at my screen. 

Within a second of pointing my the Clef iPhone app onto my screen the digital signatures synched and I was logged in. It was incredibly easy. I was in awe. I spent the next 10 minutes thinking of what other websites I would want to use Clef with and repeating the same steps again. 

Upon registering for Clef you’re assigned a digital key that never leaves your phone. That is used every time to generate a new digital signature than you then sync with whatever service is asking for your credentials to identify yourself. That’s it. 

I’m sure it’s not perfect yet and it will be inconvenient at times but with web security being such an issue recently I find Clef to be a convenient and very secure solution to manage web security. 

If you’ve been thinking about how to improve your web security I recommend you download Clef and then install the Waltz plug in for Chrome. I’ve been loving it so far. 

Every now and again I do an activity that I haven’t done in a while. The day after I’m sore in places that I forgot or didn’t even know existed. But if I keep repeating that same activity then it becomes more familiar and comfortable.

The same goes for our mental muscles.

Making hard decisions is always hard, but if you keep forcing yourself to make hard decisions they become less stressful. You become more comfortable with them.  

Having difficult conversations is never easy or fun, but if you keep having them they get easier and you start to feel more comfortable having them. 

Even your own skills as a designer, developer, or product manager need training. If you haven’t programmed, made wireframes, or wrote product specifications lately the first couple ones are going to hurt. But after a few, you feel better. 

We all have untrained mental muscles. They’re the situations, interactions, or tasks that make you feel uncomfortable. The only way to make them stronger is to train them. So embrace the discomfort, nervousness, awkwardness, and difficulty. Soon you’ll be a lot more comfortable with it. 

The past several months Gillian and I have been really focusing on our personal finances. We’ve created several spreadsheets that have helped us focus on optimizing our short-term and long-term financial future. 

While I was working on one these spreadsheets I felt like I was at work, creating a financial model that determined the success of a product. We were treating our personal finances like it was a business and we were creating the tools necessary to measure success. And at the end of the day that is what personal finances is, a business. 

I’ve tried to use tools such as Mint that help you think about your personal finances but I’ve found them to be lacking. They help you see what you’re doing right now but they don’t help you change the way you think about your finances - or not in a way that I’ve found to be helpful. 

Automated tools also aren’t enough. You need experts such as financial advisors to help guide your decisions. But financial advisors can seem cost prohibitive and there isn’t a lightweight service that can provide answers at a trusted level. The closest I’ve found to this type of service online Stack Exchange Money

Most of us are allergic to thinking about our personal finances. It’s stressful, complicated, and often times gets too real. But it’s necessary and we can all benefit from it. Technology is starting to change the way we think about currency and payments, but it hasn’t really helped us change the way we think about our own personal finances. 

It’s been a busy summer and I think it’s finally caught up to me. I came home today and felt blank. All I wanted to do was disconnect. So that’s what I’m doing tonight. I’m not answering emails, or looking at any of my feeds, I’m just laying around - and it feels good. 

I recommend that you find some time to disconnect. It’s easy to forget what it feels like to do absolutely nothing. 

One of the ways I love to measure success of your role at a company isn’t by counting the number of projects launched, or evaluating the number of targets reached. It’s by counting the number of people who want to work with you again. 

Whether or not you were the most proficient developer in software architecture, or improved conversion funnels of a product by 90% doesn’t matter if you’re impossible to work with. And those attributes end up being contributing factors to whether or not you would want to work with someone again. 

I keep a short list of people I would want to work with again. They’re my go to. If I’m ever looking for someone for a specific role that’s where I look first. But it’s hard to leverage my network to find more people that my network also wants to work with again.  

Most professional networks try to establish trust and validation in individual through skills and expertise, but this doesn’t get down to the simple question of whether or not you would work with someone again. 

I would love to see professional networks take a more focused and simple approach in trying to do this. 

I woke early like I always do today. Biked to a Crossfit class, worked out, and then rode back home. Usually I rush to get ready and hurry off to work. But today I took my time. 

Gillian had made coffee and I drank it while I made lunch for the week. I played some music while I was cooking, talked to Gillian, and basically had a great time. Mainly because I love cooking. The process took me a little over 30 minutes. 

After I was done and got ready for work I looked at the time and saw that it was only 20 minutes later than if I were to rush, but I was in a way better mood. Not rushing, enjoying my time in the morning set me up to be happy and enjoy the morning rather than starting the day wrong. 

From my days in Spain I remember watching people on their way to work taking a long walk, sipping a cortado at the cafe, and talking with my friends. They were never in a rush and I couldn’t help but think that they were lazy. 

But the truth is rushing usually doesn’t help, in fact it usually makes things worse. You start to get worried, anxious, skip steps, and before you know it you’re no where near what you initially wanted to achieve.

Looking back on the people on the way to work in Spain - I get it now. They were making sure they enjoyed the very first moments of their day, and that isn’t lazy. It’s smart. 

I’ve declared that this Winter will be the “Winter of Ramen”. Which basically means that I’ll be cooking ramen a lot this upcoming winter (and part of Fall) in an effort to get good at it. In preparation for it I picked up Ivan Ramen’s Cookbook

I’m not going to ask you to pick up Ivan’s cookbook for this week’s Weekend Read. Although you should. It’s not just recipes. It’s Ivan’s story and it’s great. 

Today’s weekend read is very short. It’s an excerpt of the foreword in Ivan Ramen’s Cookbook written by David Chang. Here it is: 

You’re feeding people, you’re going to bring people a lot of joy. It’s a heavy-duty thing when you get past all of the bullshit. But do not underestimate the bullshit. 

As soon as I read this it struck a chord. It doesn’t just apply to cooking, or opening a restaurant. It applies to anything you try to do. 

I’ve started to use my calendar (personal and work) more and more. It’s the only way I can manage to keep both my personal and work events in order. 

Yesterday I wanted to improve how my calendars work together. I wanted to do more than just to share visibility of calendars, I wanted both calendars to be aware of each other. 

A part of me started thinking about creating software that would make exactly what I want available. The other part of me figured that there must be a way to do what I want with existing software, I just might have to get creative. 

This reminded me of home improvement projects. I could pay someone to rewire an outlet or I could learn how to do it myself by hiring an electrician. I don’t think there will ever be a calendar specialist that you can hire, but I do think that there could be a market for people who want to figure out how to make existing software work for them, or even create custom solutions. 

Then again, there’s also services like IFTTT (If This Then That) that can help people create their own custom solutions.  

My Twitter feed was full of people pre-ordering the iPhone 6 today. I didn’t pre-order one myself but I will get one eventually and this made me think what should I do with my iPhone 5? 

A few days ago I also was checking out Dropcam and thought it could be handy to have one at home. As I thought this I looked at my phone and realized that it had a camera and can connect to WiFi. Why can’t my iPhone be a Dropcam? 

After a DuckDuckGo search I found Manything, an app that can turn any iOS or Android device into a monitoring camera. 

I installed it and it’s pretty simple to use. You point it where you want to record and then set record and that’s it. There are options to change motion sensitivity levels and receive push notifications when there’s motion. You can also of course view the recorded session. While the app isn’t quite perfect it’s not too far off. I might just set up my iPhone 5 to be a camera monitoring system. 

I usually switch devices every two to three years and I imagine that there are people who switch sooner. With all these old devices laying around we have smart mobile personal connected computers that are powerful enough to run some pretty great software such as Manything. 

I think there are more services that can be provided through our old devices. It would be great to see more people explore this area.