My friend Luc Levesque wrote a piece on having a personal blueprint. It’s a great way to outline your work style and your quirks. Some people have called this a “user guide” or a “personal introduction”. Luc asked me to contribute to a group of others sharing them publicly and for the first time I assembled mine from a number of pieces I had written separately. I wanted to post here on my Medium too.


I’m thrilled to be working with you all. I care deeply about building great products for customers that help them in their lives. …

I graduated from college in 1997. While at college, the Netscape IPO, Yahoo IPO, eBay IPO, and Amazon IPO all happened. When I graduated, I couldn’t wait to go join this incredible time and be part of creating the next future of the internet. I moved to Seattle and joined a private company called Progressive Networks. It quickly changed its name to RealNetworks and went public in November of that year. (The one and only time I’ve worked at a company when it went IPO!) …

Today I spent the whole morning making a Scratch program for my family.

It reminded me of something my brother recently unearthed and that my Dad used to make cool programs on the Vic 20.

Amazing how the circle continues.

1 rem “greeting to grandparents” copyright 1982 by donald elman
2 clr
10 a$=”{red}{red}{cyn}{pur}{grn}{blu}{yel}”
15 poke36879,12
20 poke36878,15
30 print”{clr}”;
40 fori =1 to 22
50 gosub 3000:gosub 4000:print b$”S”;
60 nexti
70 fori=1 to 21
80 gosub3000:gosub4000:printb$”S S”;
90 nexti
100 fori=1 to 21
110 gosub 3000:gosub 4000:print b$;”S”;
120 next i
130 poke36876,0
140 fori=1to1000:nexti
150 s1=36874:s2=36875…

What many products feel like without great onboarding — Photo by Patrick Hodskins on Unsplash

Apps are amazing. I use at least 15–20 apps every day to get information, connect with my friends, capture memories, make memories, order food, order everything, and more. I always enjoy learning about and trying out new products. So many times though, I get let down.

Here’s how it usually goes: I am excited. I set aside time to focus on this new app a friend eagerly invited me to or maybe one I found via an article or an ad. I open it. I go through a short little onboarding flow that asks me for my name, email, a…

When my (now) wife and I graduated from college, we somehow managed to end up with a bunch of bowls and plates from our dining hall. We used to get food and eat in my room, and so they started to accumulate. We kept six of each. They were made by Homer Laughlin.

23 years later, they are still here. We still eat off of those plates and bowls almost every day. We have gotten new plates and bowls over the years — some at our wedding, some we bought at a local Japanese market. But when I was putting…


ThinkingTime is a Slack App that gives your team time to think. You use the App to post a question to your channel and then collect all responses to be released at the same time.

One of the best things about today’s communications tools like email, Slack, and messaging are they are incredibly fast and efficient. One of the worst things about today’s communication tools like email, Slack, and messaging are they are incredibly noisy, interruptive, and responding fast is often rewarded over responding thoughtfully.

Everyone has been in countless groups, threads, and channels where someone asks a thoughtful question…

In late January, I wrote this with my friend Abraham Shafi who is co-founder and CEO of IRL — a great and fast-growing social calendar app. We were talking about the future of social apps and how much opportunity there is ahead in bringing people together to do more and better things with their time. Abe and his team have been very focused on helping people meet up “In Real Life” and share more and better experiences together.

While I’m taking a break from full time work and larger commitments, I was so excited about the team’s vision and opportunity…

Thanks to Corona Virus, we’re quickly moving from social lives to social distancing. We’re changing work from in person / in office to WFH. This is a great window of opportunity for new products. Here are a few ideas I was thinking about. If you are building anything like this, let me know, it would be fun to jam.

1) ReplyTime

One of the biggest challenges with Slack, email, group messaging, and most group communication channels is what happens when you ask a question or ask for feedback. You usually start with a request for feedback by sending an email, a doc…

A lot happened over the past decade. As I was thinking about the impact of the past ten years, I thought about some hopes I have towards the next ten.

  1. Now that billions of people are online and using the same products, I hope that we can use them to help make society even better instead of just profit centers with great margins
  2. Now that we are seeing the real impact of our climate changing and global warming, I hope we can implement solutions that put the world in a better place for the next decades
  3. Now that we have…

Mammoth Media CEO Benoit Vatere and team.

There are probably 1 billion phones in the world that people have looked at in the past hour. 98% of millennials in the United States have a smartphone. While some people say “mobile is dead” (for new investments / startups) or “no one is downloading new apps”, this just doesn’t match up with the rapidly increasing numbers and time spent on mobile. Consumers are always on the hunt for new, fun ways to interact with content and each other. Last year, I wrote a blog post on how the next great platform is still mobile and it rings even truer…

Josh Elman

I love building products that people use. I‘ve helped build Twitter, Facebook Connect, LinkedIn, Robinhood. Investor in Medium, Tiktok/, Discord

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