On Election Day in November, 2020, I found myself behind a plexiglass shield checking in Travis County voters. Six or seven other people had been assigned to work the polls at St. Lukes On The Lake Episcopal Church in northwest Austin, Texas, which meant this was the largest group of strangers I’d been around in at least six months.
As a textbook extrovert, I was elated.
Before COVID-19 descended on the world and forced us into quarantine, I would regularly stop in at two or three events around Austin per weeknight to support old friends, make new friends, and learn…
On Friday, September 18, I was driving to the store to get some beer after my last meeting of the day.
It had been a particularly weird week — my birthday was the day before. It was a pandemic birthday, so we stayed in and ordered Tex-Mex from one of my favorite local spots in South Austin, El Borrego De Oro.
My ultimate comfort food is a plate of cheese enchiladas covered in chili con carne. But when I ordered online, I accidentally selected “chili con queso” for my enchilada sauce instead of “chili con carne.”
Amanda, Tim (my business…
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Delia.Garza@austintexas.gov, Sabino.Renteria@austintexas.gov, Gregorio.Casar@austintexas.gov, Ann.Kitchen@austintexas.gov, Jimmy.Flannigan@austintexas.gov, Leslie.Pool@austintexas.gov, Paige.Ellis@austintexas.gov, Kathie.Tovo@austintexas.gov, Alison.Alter@austintexas.gov
To City Manager Cronk, Mayor Adler, and members of Austin City Council:
My name is Nathan Ryan. I am writing to you in my personal capacity as a resident of Austin, Texas, District 2.
Whether it is homelessness, incarceration, housing, income level, home ownership, likelihood of dying from COVID-19, maternal mortality or police brutality, Black Americans are disproportionately on the least-forgiving end of those spectrums, their communities most greatly affected since slavery reached the North American continent over 400 years ago in 1619. These outcomes are systemic.
On the last Friday of every month, I usually host a large, no-agenda happy hour with some friends called Cocktails and Conversations. There’s nothing to it: just friends at a bar on a Friday, talking about their week over drinks and french fries. Somehow, this casual ritual grew from about ten friends when my friend Michael Henderson and I started it in 2017 to well over one hundred people attending regularly in early 2020.
At our Cocktails and Conversation on Friday, February 22, as people were coming in and out of the South Congress Hotel Bar, I found myself talking…
This week, flooding in Michigan caused two dams to breach. In the city of Midland, 41,000 people could soon be “under approximately 9 feet of water,” according to the state’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer.
As of May 10, 2019, California had seen 675 wildfires. As of May 10, 2020, the state had seen 1,130 — a 60% increase.
My home state of Texas is, as always this time of year, bracing for hurricane season. Modeling out of Penn State University’s Earth System Science Center say that 2020 could be the busiest hurricane season in decades.
These national disasters represent very real…
As I walked into the office on campus at the The Walt Disney Company’s publishing division in Burbank, California, on Monday, September 8, 2008, I could already feel the weight of the conversations we were going to have that day.
The day before, on Sunday, September 7, the financial markets were down 20% from October and the United States government had announced it was taking over Fannie May and Freddie Mac after they had sustained major losses due to their ill-advised lending of subprime mortgages.
I wasn’t a student of politics or policy at the time, so I wasn’t entirely…
It was about 3:10am on January 25, 2020, and a team of two others and myself—a friend and a new friend—were trudging down a hill in East Austin, behind a church, near a bar, walking towards a fire lit off in the distance. We were all wishing we had worn better shoes because our socks were already frozen, and we had just started. It had just rained, so the slope we were walking down was muddy, we all slipped at least once, bracing and calling out to make sure the other person was alright.
The three on my team were…
Ok, here’s the truth: I had a little bit too much bourbon on New Years Eve, and spent most of January 1, 2020, on the couch recovering (if you’re reading this, I am truly sorry, mom). I only had a little bit too much, though, because I was having such a good time with so many good friends.
That sentiment adequately describes how I felt about 2019, too: I did a little bit too much, but I only did too much because I was having such a good time with so many good friends.
In 2019, Blue Sky Partners doubled…
In a perfect world, no American would need or want to own a firearm. But we don’t live in a perfect world.
I don’t identify with these feelings, but I understand the desire to own a gun for self-defense or for sport. I also understand the constitutional framer’s outlook on the need to make sure that average citizens are ready to defend themselves, not necessarily against each other, but against their own government were it to become tyrannical.
Read the prologue (or just plow on ahead).
If you’re a business owner¹ today, you are bombarded with leadership best practices.
“Great leaders possess dazzling social intelligence, a zest for change, and above all, the ability to set their sights on the things that truly merit attention,” they say.
“Leaders must motivate, instruct and discipline the people they are in charge of,” they say.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way,” they say.
Nice. These pull-quotes all sound super efficient and catchy. …
People person, husband, friend 🤟 CEO, @blueskyprtnrs ; co-founder, @ourgoodpolitics ; board, #LBJFutureForum; commissioner, ATX; hot takes, my own