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Bay McLaughlin
Living in Beta
Living in Beta

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Bay McLaughlin commented on a post on Blogger.
Great article Allison. Education is critical...full stop. If you don't have something to do with furthering education, in any sense of the world, you're not helping humanity. I do it through teaching open classes, mentoring, and coaching. I like to focus at least 10% of my week doing this at a minimum. Like you said... these things add up quickly!

Keep up the focus on Ed! We need more people like you.

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Living in Beta
Why being imperfect is just right!

Beta is a term I learned from being in the software and technology industry over the last eight years. But, in case it’s not a term you’re familiar with, here’s my quick definition.

beta — a state of software (or hardware) where erorrs and bugs are expected and where polishing or finalizing the program relies on the feedback of a group of people called ‘beta testers’. The reason I like to use beta vs. alpha (the state before beta where the sowftware or hardware is only released to the creators parents or closest friends) is because I’m advocating for you to put yourself out there as you are today. This is meant to create the natural question of waiting for tomorrow to present yourself to the world when you’re a bit more ‘perfect’ vs. showing everyone where you are today, including all of the imperfections.A more technical definition can be found here:

I believe that we all need to be more kind to ourselves and accept that we are where we are and who we are today.

While a simple thought, the effects of internalizing this belief have made a profound impact on myself and those that I lead every day.

Think back to the last time you thought, ‘I should be better at this skill / job / or relationship’ or the most common and possibly most destructive of all self-doubts, ‘I should be thinner / prettier / or more wealthy’.

When was that? This morning? At lunch? Or maybe just a minute or two ago? You’re not alone.

Before I left Apple, I asked myself (while preparing for one of the classes I teach), how did I get to a place at 28 years old where I had worked for the world’s most popular brand, had hired and led the most successful team and region in my division worldwide, and was making the most money I had ever made,but wasn’t satisfied or happy?

My observation of my own insatiable appetite for living for tomorrow instead of fully living for today led me to research happiness further. One of the first experts that peaked my interest was Brené Brown who found that most of us operate out of a place of fear or shame daily. My belief is that self-doubt is a modern ‘disease’ that stems from our most basic needs being met for generations in conjunction with our near constant overstimulation. And although I don’t have scientific evidence to support this, I am certain that everyone I know suffers these effects at some point in their life.

And knowing that I wasn’t alone in my confusion, having found myself extrinsically successful, yet feeling intrinsically unsatisfied, I began formulating the concept of ‘Living in Beta’.

At first, ‘Living in Beta’ was purely aspirational. Then it become a philosophy that I to tried to live up to each and every day. After only a few months, ‘Living in Beta’ became an obsession.

I immediatley saw that I could take this simple concept of ‘Living in Beta’ and help others accept and promote themselves daily. My hope was to help them understand that they should be proud that they are unfinished, not completely polished, and invariably have a laundry list of things they wish they were better at. I assure you that I know how hard it is to take a confident attitude towards being imperfect, especially online or in public.

Rooting my claims in science, Shawn Achor’s research on happiness shows that 90% of happiness is derived from within, leaving only 10% coming from without. If that’s even partially true, then striving to accept and enjoying a ‘life in beta’ is pretty close to essential. If you want to dive further, watch Brené Brown’s talk on vulnerability which shows how people who feel a strong sense of worthiness are the only people that truly free themselves from the vicious grasp of fear and shame.

So, while it’s not easy and you’ll likely find few people that have the courage to stay this course with you, I encourage you to try. Just begin the long and difficult task of searching for your true sense of worthiness and accepting that you are, in fact, currently in beta.

I’ve added some great talks below to help you along your path towards ‘Living in Beta’. I encourage you to research each of these incredible authors further if you connect with their message. They all have profound work to consume.

Here’s to you and ‘Living in Beta’.

You can do this!

-Bay, aka,@BetaBay

Further reading:

David Kelley (, inspiring for overcoming fear, being creative

Brené Brown (, perfect for accepting who you are and redefining how you approach your life

Shawn Achor (, great for framing your approach to happiness

Sheryl Sandberg (, focused support for women on how to go after their goals

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It’s the age old debate of success being attributed to effort or intellect. I stand firmly in favor of the power of effort. My belief is that YOU have to make it happen. Whatever it is you’re searching for isn’t going to happen on its own.

After my hiatus to Tahoe this winter (where I was focused on shaking off the last four years at Apple), I came back to Silicon Valley to reengage my network. A peculiar thing happened…everything was the same. The major trends and trade winds were just as I had left them months earlier.

It made me think that no matter where I am in my life (location, profession, varying degrees of responsibility, etc.), I can simply get back to hustling and opportunities, connections, and deals will follow.

For some, the concept of hustle may be as foreign as learning a new language. Put simply, hustle is ‘you in motion’.

A perfect example is my last Wednesday: The week prior, I was at Blue Bottle in the Mission with my film company ( and I ran into an old friend, Zack Verdin, founder of (,@zachverdin). Zack was enjoying coffee with Rebecca Kaden of Maveron Ventures ( whom I exchanged information with briefly. Rebecca and I met the following week to talk ‘shop’ and it ended up that her VC firm needed video work done. She also had connections for another company I advise (,, and I had a potential new seed investment lead for Rebecca (one of my other companies,,

This is the power of hustle (and real-time follow through) in action.


You HAVE to get moving (go to coffee shops, go to events, host events).

You HAVE to talk to people (talk to your neighbor on the plane and at the café).

You HAVE to follow through (email people while your’e talking to them, connect online, set up a coffee or next reason to meet if there’s a reason).

A great quote to further explain my point is from Richard Branson, who is arguably one of the most successful (and seemingly happiest) businessmen of our era:

“I have no secret. There are no rules to follow in business. I just work hard and, as I always have done, believe I can do it. Most of all, though, I try to have fun.”

So go get it! Stir it up. Make it happen. You can do it!! You just have to get started.

For a more colorful definition, check out the urban dictionary (I’m not recommending you do anything illegal :)

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Become a Conscientious Internet Citizen

'It’s as easy as creating something each day'

It’s really simple …all you have to do is write something new for the internet each and every day. It’s not about the length or even the topic necessarily. Rather, it’s about consistency. One sentence that sums up the whole point of your post and a simple anecdote to illustrate the concept you’re explaining to your audience.

That’s it!

Well, we all know that starting any new behavior is difficult. That’s why today I’m writing to share the simple lesson and support that I gained from a very popular online persona, Adam Rifkin. Named ‘Fortune’s Best Networker’ ( Adam has made a simple and highly effective habit of spending 10% of his work time on creating new connections and content online. Over years, it really adds up and as Adam so simply put today, ‘If you think about all of the people who you currently help offline, just imagine how many people you can help by putting the things you learn online for others to gratefully consume.’

And Adam knows his stats. As an entrepreneur who has had two businesses acquire more than 10 million users each, he estimates that less than 0.01% of people online create new content (this excludes liking on FaceBook, Instagram, or favoriting a tweet). When put into that perspective, it makes me believe that anyone who learned something new today has a responsibility to share it with the Internet.

I’m a culprit of worrying too much about how I will be perceived online, so instead of starting and undoubtedly stopping yet again, I’m going to follow Adam’s words of wisdom and simply begin (while I firmly try to live my life in beta, it’s still a challenge in many aspects of my life).

So this is my first bit of advice: begin writing down what you’ve learned today. Focus on one sentence that summarizes your post. Add an anecdote that further explains your point. Post. Rinse. Repeat.

For a great tool that helps me start new habits, check out the app Lift ( Feel free to add me and I will help give you support inside the app to help you achieve your new behavior!

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wow... great post +Elliott Hauser Ever wonder how much your cell phone provider knows about you?
Not sure how much information your cell phone provider owns about you?  Check this visualization of a German politician's data.  He requested the data via court order and then partnerded with the site to visualize exactly how much could be reconstructed about his activities. 

We should have rights to data this detailed about our lives, and keeping such data on servers should subject companies to a fiduciary responsibility to protect it.  And/or they should just delete it.

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