Life Updates

A welcome letter from Kevin K.

Life Updates

Hi friends,

Thanks for signing up to be part of my newly-formed newsletter. This is a new motion for me, so I hope you find it valuable, insightful, and delightful. Before diving into the newsletter, I'd like to kick things off by catching you up on what I've been up to for the last year.

— Kevin K.


tl;dr Updates

The last 12 months have been a complete whirlwind. For those of you short on time, here's a brief synopsis of what I've been up to:

  • Added Brie, a Bernese Mountain Dog, to our little family

  • Grew, ran, and sidelined a company (Rezza)

  • Traveled to: Denver, Phoenix, Cancun

  • Designed two new products:

    • Grace - an automated conversational agent (chatbot) who helps you live a happier life

    • Sapience - a digital decision-making assistant

  • Improved my meditation practice with help from (Headspace, Oak, and Waking Up)

  • Moved (again) to a new place in downtown Seattle

  • Started a podcast called How to Live to 200

  • Left Crossfit (after nearly 12 years)

  • Joined InVision, the leading design platform

  • Started the re:Find newsletter (welcome!)

What about your company, Rezza?

“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.”

— Charlie Munger

After three years (+/-) of designing, building, and leading Rezza, my co-founders and I have decided to take a step back. This was an incredibly difficult decision. Each of us invested our own blood, sweat, and tears into every aspect of this company. We sacrificed a lot to get our dream off the ground. Our team worked tirelessly to change the way companies collect and consume critical data insights. We built a new product that received a lot of great feedback. But, sometimes you have to face the music and move in a different direction. Like many great startups before us, we realized that our product/solution was just too early.

Want to know more about what we were building at Rezza and the challenge we were tackling? This a16z podcast sums up our product-market fit challenge better than I ever could:

Message to team Rezza: For those of you who supported us, I'd like to personally thank you for everything you did. Building something from nothing is hard enough on its own. The contributions of our investors, advisors, and employees cannot be overstated. I am incredibly proud of the work we did together and respect and appreciate each of you.

Life After Rezza

Rezza was an incredible learning experience. It was such a great opportunity for me to grow my skills and test a great idea with great people. After deciding to take a step back from running Rezza, I took a little time off and enjoyed the end of 2018. Running a startup is both a marathon and a sprint. Once you're done, it's important to block a bit of time for rest and recovery. We spent time with our families and took some time to relax in one of our favorite places, Lake Chelan.

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After taking some time off, I started thinking about what I’d like to do next. I realized that I want to do more by doing less. Over the last few years, I've pushed incredibly hard and realized that it takes a toll. I'm working on mastering the art of saying no. I want to focus more on outcomes than activities, in both the personal and professional aspects of life. Here's a shortlist of what I'd like to focus on:

  • Creating: writing, newsletters, products, music, cooking.
  • Growing: mindfulness, meditation, sustainable health, sleep quality, etc.
  • Unlearning: bad habits, mental traps, negativity, etc.

The Journey Ahead

Professionally

I've decided to join InVision to build the professional services business line. InVision is a company that garnered my respect years ago when they reimagined the digital design process. The company is fully-remote and growing at a breakneck pace. And yes, all 850+ employees work from home. It's a really exciting opportunity and I couldn't be more excited to join the rocket ship ride. 🚀

Personally

Kelsey and I are so excited about the future. We're working hard and love the work we do and the life we're building. The startup world helped me examine what is most important in life. I have always had a "work comes first" mentality, but I'm actively working more on finding balance. One of the best forcing functions to break away is spending time with this 100+lb (and still growing), little lady.

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Brie

Born: 07/02/2018.
Named after: yes, Brie the cheese.

Brie—born 7/2/18—joined our little family last September and has brought nothing but joy. She's sassy, sweet, and social. While we've certainly lost some freedom (parent life, am I right?), we've gained exponentially more by adding Brie to our lives.

In addition to managing our "little" bundle of joy, we're excited to start the process of designing a home in Lake Chelan, Washington. As a recovering architect, this has been a life-long dream for me. When we purchased our land we dreamed of a reprieve from the fast-paced life of Seattle. As we inch closer and closer to the culmination of this dream, we couldn't be more excited about building this new part of our life.


Wait, but what about this re:Find thing?

Alright, now that you're caught up, let's talk about more interesting things. I love learning and growing, but I've always found it difficult to just go deep on one thing. I like to be a generalist, learning from a lot of different sources and finding the creative spark between them. Whether it's architecture & design, technology and business strategy, or productivity hacking, this newsletter is designed to bring these forces together.

re:Find is a place for modern humans to expand their horizons, spark curiosity, and optimize the work-life integration. re:Find is a curated mix of useful and interesting findings, including articles, links, and products at the intersection of design, technology, and culture. Below is a short preview of re:Find newsletter content:

Unlearn 101 Simple Truths for a Better Life #reading 📚

I honestly had no idea who Humble the Poet was until I came across this little book, but as someone interested in rethinking how we interact and grow, the book definitely piqued my interest. It’s a concise guidebook to living a better life (think: Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations for millennials). It’s not a revolutionary book, but given how easy and concise it is, I’d recommend giving it a shot.

P.S. Don’t forget to checkout my constantly out of date recent reads list.

Changing on the Job: Developing Leaders for a Complex World #reading 📚

A great little book and a really practical introduction to Adult Development Theory. This book really hits home for a lot of executives and leaders, as the bulk of the content focuses on placing development within the context of work. As someone fascinated with growth and change, this was a must-read for a brief moment in time. If you’re looking to learn more about leadership and development, this is a great starting point.

The Impact of Short Interest on the Performance of Tech Initial Public Offerings in the U.S. #reading 📚

Not the most exciting read, but a great primer for understanding the context behind tech IPO lockup periods. Also a great reference point for those who pay close attention to the upcoming onslaught of tech IPOs.

The productivity pit: how Slack is ruining work #reading 📰

Slack is becoming one of the most widely used tools in the tech industry and beyond. But has it helped us communicate better? In most respects, no. Worth a read for anyone working in the always-on workforce of the future.

Slack Focus Guide #reading 📰

Scared by the article above? Read this for a practical antidote to the new way of working.

The Feedback Fallacy #reading 📰

Does it really help to focus on your weaknesses? When it comes to work, the data has some interesting things to say. This article makes a great case for why we should focus on building up and leveraging individual strengths instead of “correcting” perceived weaknesses. While I don’t agree with every point in this article, I think it raises some important points that are worth considering. If you’re a manager, this is a must-read.

Next Meeting Mac Menu App #tools ⚒️

When you spend your entire day in meetings, the smallest time saving device can be the biggest productivity hack. This little menu bar app keeps your next meeting top of mind, allowing you to quickly switch meetings with one click (or a keyboard shortcut).

Two Hundred Fifty Things an Architect Should Know #reading 📰

A fun reminder of many things taught in architecture school, but that can also be applied elsewhere. Whether you’re an architect, designers, or just a curious reader, I encourage you to look for ways to apply the concepts to other areas of your life.

Until Next Time

We’re on a journey, and I’m glad you’ve joined me on mine. I’m writing a few posts on remote work cultures, entrepreneurship, and the new state of design.

Thank you for reading and supporting. If you have advice, feedback, or post suggestions, please let me know!

- Kevin K.


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Thanks for reading, and see you next week,

— Kevin K.

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