Product & Startup Builder

Personal Feedback Results - 2019

Added on by Chris Saad.

A recently asked my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn networks to give me feedback by filling out a survey. I also said I might share the results. Here they are...

3 words that first come to mind when thinking about me

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My 3 best skills/personality traits/features

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My 3 worst skills/personality traits/features

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How likely are you to recommend me to others?

Net Promoter Score: 33 (Based on this method). Terrible!

My thoughts and interesting tidbits


The most interesting thing to me is the fact that some of my positive traits are at direct odds with my negative traits.

For example:

Some of the responses to my positive traits were as follows (note: The number in brackets represents how well they claim to know me.…

  • Approachable (10)

  • Confident (7)

  • Positive (9)

  • Smile/laugh (7)

On the other hand, some other people listed my negative traits as…

  • Unresponsive (5)

  • Low self-esteem (10)

  • Pessimistic (9)

  • Sullen (5)

Initially I thought this was maybe related to the fact that the negative responses came from people who didn’t know me well. I feel like this theory is debunked by the fact that at least 2 of the negative contradictions in this small sample above claim that they know me 9 and 10 (out of 10).

Another possibility is that I’m not as consistent as I hope and strive to be to all the people in my life.

The only other possibility I can think of is that people project onto others what they hate or see in themselves.

What do you think?


In my worst skills tag cloud, the word “Inauthentic” obviously looms large. The fact is that the word was only used once in the feedback, but I summarized another piece of feedback using that word because it seemed to be what they were suggesting (with many more words). Unfortunately due to the small sample size (22) even 2 occurrences make the words (good or bad) loom large over the others.

That being said, I’m going to take that feedback (and the others) seriously and check in with myself as to why I might be behaving in inauthentic ways, or in ways that might be miss-perceived as inauthentic.

Personal Feedback Results - 2018

Added on by Chris Saad.

A week ago I asked my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn networks to give me feedback by filling out a survey. I also said I might share the results. Here they are...

3 Words That Describe Me

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3 Best Features

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3 Worst Features

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Personal Feedback Results - Mid 2017

Added on by Chris Saad.

A week ago I asked my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn networks to give me feedback by filling out a survey. I also said I might share the results. Here they are...


How well do you know me?

3 words to generally describe me

My 3 best features

My 3 worst features

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How likely are you to recommend me to others?

Two kinds of people....

Added on by Chris Saad.

There are fundamentally two kinds of world views.

Risk vs. Opportunity
Scarcity vs. Abundance
Fear vs. Love
Open vs. Closed


Which do you have?


Added on by Chris Saad.

How the breaking apart of traditional, rigid structures is creating a personalized, on-demand future and changing the everyday interactions of people, politics, and profit.

About this post

This post is based on a theory and a book outline I’ve been chipping away at since 2010. Since I’m probably going to be too busy to ever finish the full thing, I figured I would massively truncate and post it here so that it’s finally out in the world in some form. In the six years I’ve been thinking about this subject, it’s only become clearer with the advent of the on-demand economy, 3D printing etc. Please excuse the length!


In Silicon Valley we’ve used the term “Unbundling” to describe the phenomena of mobile apps breaking apart into multiple separate apps, each essentially providing more focused, single purpose features. Think of the Facebook app being separated into Facebook + Messenger.

I believe this Unbundling phenomena is happening almost universally across all aspects of lifeIt’s a meta-trend that has been happening for decades (or more) and will continue for decades to come. It’s a common process affecting many of the things happening in the world today. In fact most of the major disruptions we see (loss of traditional jobs, failing record companies, terrorism, divorce rates, the rise of fringe/underdog political candidates etc) are all, in at least some way, connected to this fundamental transition.

See the full post on Medium

Being right vs. being effective

Added on by Chris Saad.

The problem with most of the advice your friends give you is that they put themselves in your shoes instead of the shoes of the person you're having some issues with. The advice often tends to be "yeah you're so right" instead of "well actually, from their POV you're making these 2 mistakes".

One must take responsibility for their part of the friction in a relationship or in their lives because being "right" doesn't help you, being *effective* at interpreting and interacting with the world does. 

The only constant across every interaction you have is you. The only variable in a given situation you can change is yourself. If you're facing the same patterns over and over again then you need to change yourself.

Added to my Actuality Doc


On Power and Wisdom

Added on by Chris Saad.

You can't fight fire with fire. You can't destroy ideologies of hate with hate. You can't be the moral and military leaders of the world without living up to your own ideals.

Strength isn't destroying things, but rather knowing you can destroy them and restraining yourself in the interests of humanity and conscience. Wisdom is understanding and taking concrete ownership of your own complicity in the events around you.

Some thoughts on Anxiety

Added on by Chris Saad.

I was recently asked if I thought depression and anxiety are common and increasing. My 'off the top of my head' answer was:

I think they are common. It certainly feels like they have become MORE common - but that just might be because more people talk about them and there's less Taboo.

They're a disease of the mind just like you can get diseases of the body. Chemical, intellectual or cultural imbalances. 

As we (society overall) work our way up Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs people have more time to contemplate their own existence, less chance to exercise our Flight or Fight response in appropriate settings (e.g. running away from predators in the wild) and have access to more debilitating choices than ever before. 

Also I think that a kind of 'survivors guilt' plays a part - where we know we are so blessed to have so much opportunity and yet others have so little and/or we haven't done enough with our gifts. At least I know I do.

Happy new year: Boundary Conditions

Added on by Chris Saad.

Humans have an obsession with Boundary Conditions.

Hours, Days, Years, Decades, Centuries. You, Me, Us, Them. Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Atheist. Gay, Straight, Bi, Pan. USA, Germany, Russia, Australia. Atoms, Particles, People, Planets, Stars, Galaxies. Mortals, Gods. Infinity.

Last year. New Year. Next Year.

It's all the same.

On one level, we need boundaries to mark time and differentiate/individuate/relate in the world. On the other hand, they create so much unnecessary confusion, conflict and pain.

Happy new year everyone. I hope it's an amazing 365 days (or 52 weeks - whichever boundary condition you'd like to use for measurement).


Added on by Chris Saad.

These are a brutalized people who've been oppressed, slaughtered and dehumanized by the other side. They are lashing out with whatever they have at their disposal. Their enemy wants them eradicated off the face of the earth - wouldn't you want to defend yourself under these circumstances?

Now the question: Which side am I talking about?

Imagine better schools

Added on by Chris Saad.

Education is the silver bullet.

Imagine if schools (particularly high-schools) were oriented around self-actualization rather than information-regurgitation. Around learning how to learn vs. memorization. Around ethics, psychology and pattern recognition instead of historical facts and figures. Around the scientific process and implications rather than equations. Around lateral thinking rather than liner thinking. Around computer literacy (particularly coding) as part of general literacy.


The upside of Hyper Expectations and Ambitions (HEA)

Added on by Chris Saad.

At the end of last year I wrote a post about the downside of Hyper Expectations and Ambitions (HEA). I guess living in silicon valley it’s easy to get jaded with the negative effects of our fast paced journey to change the world. It also didn't help that I hadn't had a holiday for 3 years. Since then, however, I’ve visited my hometown in Brisbane Australia for 3 weeks. The truth is they live a very different lifestyle there. The government and other institutions help provide a powerful safety net for those who are sick or unable to find work, the environment is beautiful, warm and welcoming and the people expect (or in some cases demand) less from each other. Those that stand out or show off can even be shunned (a phenomenon we call Tall Poppy Syndrome).

The result is that things there are more laid back, the lifestyle is more comfortable and people suffer the downsides of HEA far more infrequently.

This can be a very fulfilling way to live and many people there are (rightly) happy and healthy.

It was, however, a cold splash in the face having just written about the negative aspects of our Silicon Valley ambition to be confronted with the opposite. It reminded me in stark ways how different our lives are and what some of the advantages to living with HEA are.

So in counterbalance to my previous post, let me try to summarize some of the advantages of HEA.

Fulfilling your potential

If there's one thing that upsets me the most and keeps me up at night it's the concern that I or someone I know is not living up to their potential. One of my defining characteristics is a thirst (some may some lust) for the potential in things. I am far more interested in what could be than what is. A great example of this, in fact, is my very poor relationship with times, dates, orders of magnitude or 'rules'.

The great thing about HEA is that it vacuums out most of the reasons/excuses for someone to not live up to their potential. All of us here are insisting to ourselves and each other that we do the next great thing we know we can do; Or better yet, to do something that scares us.

Remove the roadblocks and put aside the excuses. We attempt to extract every last drop of potential and turn it into outcomes.

Extraordinary and Surreal Experiences

While there's great value in routine and tradition, we with HEA are far more interested in doing things that are extra ordinary. I split those two words on purpose. Things that are outside the realm of an ordinary life.

Backstage at a concern. VIP at a party. Hanging with a personal hero. Writing a line of code that affects millions of people. Writing that blog post that might influence the influencers. Living in beautiful places. Meeting with smart people. Disrupting that tired business model. Changing the way people live.

There is no patience for the mundane here. Instead there's a strong hunger and appreciation (and for me, real-time nostalgia) for doing things that are out of the ordinary.

These moments are priceless. And if you're lucky, they happen often in Silicon Valley.

Changing the World

People with HEA get to change the world. With a line of code, a great piece of UI, a new business model or a conversation with the right person.

Through our skills, ambitions, ideas and access we have the smallest possible gap between our intention and their manifestation into reality and this is not only the ultimate super power (think Neo/Matrix) it's also a precious gift. We use this super power to make a real dent in the universe (#namethatreference).

Redefining humanity

The heading here might be fairly grandiose but in many ways it's true. In San Francisco this town has thrown out most notions of 'right and wrong' and embraced philosophies that are radically different than most of the rest of the world. From Gay Rights to massive temporary communities in the desert based on the sharing economy, we are forcing open the definition of what it means to live, love and be human.

Almost every day here I have conversations that vacillate from short term tactical business concerns to wide sweeping philosophical quandaries - and back again. Relationships here are just as likely 'non traditional' (open, polly, casual, gay, bi, whatever) as they are traditional.

These are all related attempts to leave dogma in the past and explore what the future might look like.

For some of us with HEA we're not just trying to ship software or make millions of dollars, we are trying to better ourselves.

Leverage and scale.

Through all of the above, and much more, we get to live high leverage lives. In some ways our work is no harder or easier than the work of coal minors or brick layers (in other ways its obviously very different, but go with me here). We work long hours in back breaking postures and rarely see our families or have enough emotional capacity to invest in some of our relationships. We get to invest similar energy and sacrifices yet touch more lives than most and, for some, make a lasting impact. That's the gift of leverage and scale.


So there we have it. Like with all things there are both upsides and downsides. The trick is moderation in all things (my mother taught me that - hi mom!).

Up and to the right.

Thank you 2012

Added on by Chris Saad.

To say this year was a roller coaster is somewhat of an understatement. It's been the stage for some of my lowest lows and my highest highs.

It basically started with the ending of a relationship with someone I thought I'd spend a very long time with. Like most of these things they are both sudden and a long time coming. In either case, though, its heart breaking and emotionally wrenching to say the least.

What followed for the rest of the year, however, was a personal and professional journey of discovery and growth.

I continued working with my colleagues learning how to turn vision into reality at every level - software, corporate governance, culture, growing a team, raising money, selling software and solving customer problems. This is with a group of people and a suite of software that is the latest, best version of a personal dream I've had since I can remember.

This process was harder than I had hoped and expected, but more rewarding and will ultimately, I hope, redefine the way the web works. We have so much more to do, and I can't wait to see some of the seeds we've planted, grow.

Along the way I continued to learn how to uncover and understand my own personal truth, how to share that truth with others, how to reveal my flaws and how to accept the flaws of others - all with the hope of living a more loving and loved life.

The result has been a small number of intimate, family style, friendships at a depth I've never allowed myself to experience before and a larger set of close friendships with a kind of extended family. Both have worked to lift me up from sorrow, share my triumphs and added so much joy to my life. These people are beautiful, insightful, flawed, ambitious, fun, funny, immature, mature, striving, failing and getting up and trying again. In short, they are amazing.

Throughout this personal and professional growth, I've gone from surreal moment to surreal moment - everything from living in an amazing mansion with amazing people, meeting and partying with one of my heroes (who couldn't have lived up to my ideal any better) to watching a reality TV show get made and broadcast from my home.

I'm thankful to my friends, colleagues, lovers (both past and present) for filling my year with abundance. I'm thankful for the professional opportunities, the personal love and affection, the moments of tenderness and tears.

This is just the beginning. I can't wait to see what 2013 brings. My only wish for next year is good health and forward momentum. My new years resolution is to continue to find and share my personal truth and to learn to listen and love better.