Monday, September 19, 2011

Mediocre Pumpkin

Since I started looking for my caffeine fix, I haven't tried the same thing twice. Today, I took the seasonal route.

Today's Effort: Pumpkin Spiced Latte
Verdict: Meh. Didn't taste like coffee, which is good. But it just wasn't that great. If I want pumpkin (pie) flavor in the future, I'll stick to the Chai Latte.
Old People: My neighborhood Starbucks was rocking out to the Beatles today, and everyone with gray hair was signing along. I'm holding out for AC/DC before I join in.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


It's a beautiful, crisp fall Sunday in NYC. After going caffeine free yesterday, I'm back at it today.

Today's Effort: White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks
Verdict: Delicious. I'm definitely getting this one again.
Continuous Improvement: Started fall swimming lessons for my daughters today. So fun to swim with them. They love it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hot Coffee & Preschool

Chilly morning today. After walking my daughter to her new preschool for the first time (her fourth day, our first walk together), I stopped off at Starbucks for a croissant and some warm caffeine.

Today's Effort: Cinnamon Dolce Latte.
Verdict: Good. Last couple sips were a little bitter, but I'd call it a success.
Morning Highlight: The walk to school was a joy. She skipped and ran the whole way before exploding into the classroom with her new friends, new teachers and Freddie the class turtle. I feel blessed.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hustle & Grind

If you're starting a new company, you've got a lot of hard work in front of you. But not all hard work is the same. You need to hustle and you need to grind.

Hustling is meeting people, getting in front of potential partners, customers, users, journalists, co-founders, teammates, investors, advisors, industry experts, etc. You've got to be persistent, and you have to be selling, always. Hustle is Tristan Walker badgering Foursquare until they hired him... and then quickly closing a bunch of BD deals. Hustle is Alexa von Tobel dropping out of HBS to raise money for Learnvest and hitting the PR circuit. Hustle is Alexandra Wilkis Wilson signing brand after brand after brand for Gilt back in the early days, when it was a new idea no one had ever heard of.

Grinding is putting your head down and powering through work: coding, building excel models, putting together presentations, answering customer emails, wireframing, thinking through edge cases, writing copy, trafficking ads, assembling data, writing job descriptions, reviewing resumes from (and replying to) job applicants, hammering through all kinds of repetitive tasks that have to be done. Grinding is Michael Shafrir and my kickass community team at TheLadders finding and approving jobs for what felt like 100 hours a week back in '04. Grinding is Marc Cenedella reading all 160,000 customer service emails in our first three years at TheLadders. Grinding is much harder to see, and it's much less sexy. You don't hear about it as much, but that doesn't make it any less important.

You can only succeed when you have both. Hustle without grind means empty promises, and grind without hustle means a ghost town with a fresh coat of paint. The difficult thing is that I've only met a few people who are truly great at both aspects of hard work.

As you're starting your company and building a founding team, this is something you should think about. Who's going to hustle? And who's going to grind? Do you have enough of both?

Me? I'm a decent hustler, but I find it exhausting. On the other hand, getting into a good groove at the keyboard with my headphones on is energizing. When I get rolling, I'll forget to feed myself, and I'll find myself feverishly tapping away at 3am. I'm a grinder.

What are you?

Plain ol' Coffee

Back to coffee after yesterday's tea.

Today's Effort: Regular hot coffee today with cream (or was it milk?) and sugar at L'Express this afternoon.
Verdict: Not bad. I finished my cup, and I didn't even resort to a second (or third) packet of sugar.
Neighborhood Note: Grabbed lunch at Terakawa Ramen before my coffee stop. It's a hole in the wall with shockingly bad service for a Japanese joint, but the ramen hits the spot.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Caffeine Search Continues

Took a day off from coffee and tried tea this morning.

Today's Effort: Iced Chai from The Bean near Union Square.
Verdict: Tastes like pumpkin pie with whipped cream. I thought it was delicious at first, but I didn't end up finishing it.
Extra Crunch: The baby cockroach creeping up the wall as I sipped my tea concoction certainly didn't help anything.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Finding Coffee

I've never been a coffee drinker. I used to only drink coffee in Europe and Asia, but I thought I could use a little more caffeine in my life. Coke wasn't doing it, and everyone seems to enjoy coffee. I thought I'd give it a shot.

Turns out I don't like the taste of coffee. I've been trying various coffee-ish drinks from Starbucks for the last couple weeks, trying to find something I enjoy.

Today's effort: Grande Iced Caffe Mocha
Verdict: Blech. I haven't been able to drink more than a third of it.
Silver Lining: Starbucks' glazed old fashioned donut isn't half bad, and it brings back memories of Colonial Donuts on Lakeshore Ave back home.

If you have a suggestion for a delicious high-caffeine drink I might enjoy, please leave me a comment.