For me there is only traveling on paths that have heart, on any path that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length. And there I travel looking, looking, breathlessly.
— Don Juan, according to Carlos Castaneda
What’s the Most Powerful, Persuasive Version of Your Story?
One of my strengths, and passions, is that of clear and persuasive communication of arguments, cases, or stories that I devise. I have crafted one or another type of compelling story for most of my life. I am a student of story, argument, evidence, persuasion.
My Strengths and You. You may have heard of “thin-slicing,” and the idea that we can develop this almost intuitive mastery once we have spent at least 10,000 hours doing what we are sufficiently passionate about. Well, I thin-slice arguments, evidence, interpretations, stories: traits I’d argue make for very effective career and startup coaches. As a beginning writer and then as a trial lawyer, as a public speaker and raiser of angel and venture capital, and then as a coach, mentor, and an entrepreneur, I have sculpted whatever materials I had into the most compelling argument, narrative, pitch, spiel, or story possible. It’s what I enjoy; it’s what I do best.
My Writing. I also write: fiction, business plans, a travelogue and memoir of “Mom and Me” that I’m turning into a book, and a major non-fiction book, which I pitched to publishers, researched, and ghost-wrote, after building the branding platform, and which was published in March 2013 by Random House. As of May 15, 2013, it was #1 on Amazon in its category. I’ve dabbled as a literary agent and law professor, and I’m occasionally approached about projects on TV.
My Entrepreneurial Experience. I’m the founder of, among others, Feroce Coaching, its sister site Hot Blue Coaching, and Charles River Recruiting. I was instrumental in founding Internet companies such as SnapNames and Earth Class Mail, and in raising their combined $30 million in funding. In a world where “about 60% of start-ups survive to age three and roughly 35% survive to age 10,”* these companies are 12 and 8, respectively. Now, using Feroce’s special blend of strengths-based coaching, I coach executives, attorneys, business owners, startup entrepreneurs, artists, and people like you on raising their respective games to new levels, and on getting their lives and actions truly aligned with their stated goals and values. I’m also an active mentor with the Telluride Venture Accelerator (Colorado) and helped select the winning business plans of its inaugural year, 2013.
Partly from my nature and partly from coaching for years, I am, in the context of working with people, a black-belt in strengths-discovering, strategy-making, goal-setting, and follow-through. My top strengths in the StrengthsFinder 2.0 are: Strategy, Achiever, Communication, Intellection, Input, Learning. Try me. Regardless of whether you know you want to be coached by me, feel free to connect with me now on LinkedIn. I love creating opportunities for people.
My strength, and my passion, is to help you to understand your story, to have the courage to speak it and follow where it leads, and to tell it to the world in the most effective way possible.
I bring to my clients the perspective and habits of mind of both the entrepreneur and the artist. I empower people to be and act and even work for themselves, artists of their own lives and work, and to that end I help them to begin to release fears and worries about the opinions of others even as they become better able to identify and escape their influence. You can’t operate at your highest ability if you’re filled with the values and passions of other people. (People who live or work for themselves, in the service of their own passions, have simply been shown to be happier than those who don’t. Conveniently for career-changers, some of our career coaches are also small business coaches!)
I also care enough about my clients not to impose on them a cookie-cutter system copied from a coaching school. Like all Feroce coaches, I have real-world experience, so I customize my approach based on my unique experiences and signature strengths. I listen carefully on calls and hear things you don’t know you’re saying. I also engage with you between calls, via instant messenger, email, and text message.
Using polished skills of critical thinking, a form of literary analysis, and my own instincts, throughout each week I listen and respond with detailed commentary on your thoughts — for as Buddha said, all that you are arises with your thoughts — as well as constructive suggestions on dealing with uncertainty and managing difficult thoughts and emotions. I like a lot of intellectual and emotional stimulation, so I can’t just do the boilerplate coaching. I want to walk with you through the transformational space of coaching.
I work with clients to:
- navigate the choppy waters of organizational politics with effectiveness and integrity, in order to rise honestly and authentically in their careers
- create compelling, persuasive business plans (I also tell clients when I think their time would be better spent on something else)
- develop sales and marketing systems that really work, including online, search engine, and social media marketing
- craft speeches or presentations
- strategize difficult or challenging conversations and negotiations at home and work
- practice strategies for greater mindfulness and self-awareness, for exercising the compassion and forgiveness without which no meaningful success is possible
- do what I have done with my own work and life — to be independent of the yoke of others and master of my own time.
I have a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School, where I was elected (and somehow remain) president of my class, and a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where I graduated summa cum laude and first in my class. I have studied people and the human mind for decades. I completed the New Warrior Training of the wonderful Mankind Project. You can read some of my testimonials here.
For fun, I read everything and am writing a trilogy of novels. I’m also turning my experience walking across Spain with my mother into a book. See Camino Not Chemo for the inspiring, amusing, and moving story. Recently, I also began to pull together my thoughts on change and its challenges, to be read by people just like you.
A More Personal Biography
I offer summaries of my background for two different levels of attention span and due diligence. In the short version, you’ll find career and educational information.
In the longer, memoir version, you’ll be able to see in more detail what I’ve done and why I have perspective on many different facets of life and work — and how I’ve become a jack of many trades, master of several, and continually reinvented myself as I follow the paths that appeal to me. You’ll also see how ingeniously spectacular mistakes coupled with mindfulness are an ideal combination for a very effective coach.
Finally, this video, shot about two years ago, will give you some insight into my philosophies, as well as (because you were probably wondering) insight into what sort of video an amateur can shoot and put together, in three days, at the request a former client who happened to be an independent producer:
* U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, per the Wall Street Journal.