I'm now blogging on Svbtle! »

Some big news, I’ve been invited to join the Svbtle network!

From now on, I’ll be blogging at blog.zackshapiro.com. I hope to see you over there!

  • Posted on 13th January 2013
  • 8 notes

My favorite habit: Write three positive things about today

I’ve been talking about this habit a lot recently and I thought it deserved its own blog post. It’s a really simple thing you can do to change how your brain scans the past. Rather than scan for negative, you’ll start scanning for the positive things, the little victories that you had throughout your day.

All you have to do is write down three positive things that happened to you that day.

In Evernote, I have a document called “Three Positive Things - December 2012” and in it each for each day, I have something that looks like this:


Matthew gave me a book on investing in the stock market and taught me a bunch

Brunch with Fabien, SheShe and Emily was a lot of fun

This was a nice, restful weekend

This habit comes from Shawn Achor’s The Happiness Advantage where he suggests tiny changes you can make to your life to dramatically alter your happiness.

I also use Lift to log and monitor each time I do the habit. I created a community on Lift which is growing quickly where you can join and get support from peers who are trying to start and continue this habit in their lives.

I log my three positive things every night or if I forget, first thing in the morning. I’m not too strict about when I write my three things down, as long as I do it.

In terms of habits, this one is pretty easy to start and continue. It’s one of my favorite parts of each day, I hope it can be for you too!

What are your favorite habits? Let me know on Hacker News!

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be humbled if you’d follow me on Twitter.

GitHub: An Archive Tool for Svbtle Blogs »

A few weeks ago, Brad McCarty mentioned to me how much he loved his Svbtle blog and the platform itself. He just wished there was some kind of way to archive your posts.

So I wrote it that night and threw it on GitHub for any and all Svbtle bloggers to use. 

The 29 line Ruby script will save all of your posts to a svbtle_archive.txt file for you.

I also wanted to start adding some of my own, non-work code to my GitHub account and this seemed like a great place to start. If you’d like to improve upon it at all, feel free. Enjoy!

Thank you

2012 was full of surprises and it pushed me way beyond my comfort zones. It was one of the hardest years of my life, as I transitioned away from college and school life and into the real world.

I started the year working at Path. When that didn’t work out, I interviewed unsuccessfully at seven different well-known startups for business development or product roles. In March, I thought a lot about what I really wanted to do and started teaching myself how to code. This time I wouldn’t quit.

I became an intern at TaskRabbit in June, got hired full-time in September and never looked back.

In the last year, I got out to San Francisco all fresh-faced. Made amazing new friends and solidified existing friendships. I have new mentors and a new direction as an engineer, a great girlfriend, and I’m happy.

So in no particular order:

Thank you to my parents, Devon, Mitchell, Steve, Victor, BL, BR, Yee, Dave, MVH, Brian, Nell, Leigh, Matthew, Jana, Rob, Josh, Jon, Lauren, Tom, Cesar, Marianne, Patrick, Matt, Danny, Jeff, Sarah, Amber, Josh C, Char, Benzer, Finkel, good friends in Boulder and San Francisco and anyone else who has been a part of my life this year.

Thank you for reading.

I hope you, your family and your loved ones have a happy and healthy holiday season and a wonderful new year.

Onward, to 2013. Let’s go.

  • Posted on 16th December 2012
  • 11 notes

I’m trying to be less hyperbolic.

I’m trying not to speak in hyperbole because I feel that the majority of our disagreements come from statements that mean to be everything though they never can be. I’m trying to avoid hyperbole in my life because a hyperbole is a lie - sometimes for effect, sometimes for art, sometimes because thinking the rest of a thought through is difficult and time consuming.

In Shunryu Suzuki’s brilliant “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind,” Suzuki-roshi talks about controlling others and how it is impossible. The way we can control others’ actions is to control our own, Suzuki says (I’m paraphrasing).

So it is with that thought that I’d like to try to be less hyperbolic in my own thoughts and speech. 

No more ‘This is the best {noun} ever!’

No more ‘That person is the funniest person ever!’

No more ‘Oh my god, this is incredible!’

Or ‘That event was the worst.’

Or ‘This is the best way to write this code.’

Or ‘The Republicans/Democrats are going to screw up America.’

Because none of those are true. 

Those statements exist to draw your attention away from the truth of each statement.

"This {noun} is very good."

"That event wasn’t a good use of my time."

"You should write this function in this way because…"

"American politics is a pendulum that sways back and forth, it will all even itself out in time."

And so I hope to make this effort and if it interests you, I hope you will do it too.

To be less hyperbolic.

Because I believe it will make our large world, marginally better.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be honored if you’d follow me on Twitter.