Steve Corona

Self published Author of . Scaled Twitpic to 30m users. Building a life changing platform at Life360. Startup Advisor to Coursio.

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Electric Toothbrush

Monday morning, May 2009. I spent 2 weeks in Italy after turning 22 and was back in the office for the first time, catching up on boatloads of email.

“Hey Steve, can you come into my office for a second.”

“Actually.. close the door behind you.”

Close the door! Man! Must be time for that raise- I’d been waiting! All of those 70 hour weeks. Weekends and Holidays. It’s all about to pay off now. I had my eye one of those crazy expensive electric toothbrushes.

“So, this is going to be tough, but…”

I stopped listening. My next memory is driving home from work at 11AM, screaming. Everyone else got let go, except one guy- our worst programmer*. No matter how good you are, how much effort you put in, everyone eventually gets cut from the team.

My entire LIFE was my job. I was so proud of it. My title! And I worked my ass off. How could they do this to me? It defined me. It was me.


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Ideas have a 2 week shelf life

I have a new rule that I’m making for myself and holding others to.

If you haven’t worked on something in the past two weeks, you’re not allowed to talk about it.

Idea rot

I’m guilty. But not as much, anymore. My ideas would just sit for months. Stagnating. Ideas rot, and the only way to keep them from spoiling is to turn them into reality.

And I’m not the only one guilty of wasting ideas. I’ve heard about the same projects that y'all were going to start working on “this weekend” for the past 6 months. Stuck on repeat.

When all you do is talk, you forget the most critical step- making. I’m not saying skip researching your ideas, but less-is-more. You don’t need to be an expert to solve a problem and it doesn’t need to be perfect the first time. Cut before your measure.

How to bring an idea to life today

Block off a chunk of time. 6 is good, 12 is better.

This is seriously the...

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How I automated the boring parts of life

I have a bad habit: waiting until the last minute to do things. Like, last month I had to fly to New York to run a 193 mile relay race. I knew about the trip for almost 6 months, but didn’t buy plane tickets until 3 days before, at 4x the cost. True dedication to the art of procrastination. You can call me somewhat of an expert, and it’s one of my biggest shortcomings.

It’s not because I’m lazy- in fact, the exact opposite is true. I’m incredibly productive. I move fast, but I single task. I don’t bounce around with a million things at once because of the incredible cost of context switching. Spending time planning trips, picking flights, and buying tickets just doesn’t really seem important to me until it’s 3 days away.

Paying $700 bucks for plane tickets, though, when they should have cost $200, isn’t the best move- so I’ve spent the past month trying to get a handle on my...

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Create value by writing

I just read Dan Shipper’s blog post on “How to build a blog readership” and it got me thinking about how I was able to ignite my own passion for writing this past summer.

Rewind 6 months. If you asked me for the 10 things that I hated doing the most, writing would surely make the list. It’s not that I’m a bad writer, but I was out of practice and my only memories of writing were from when I was forced to do it. I imagined myself sitting infront of a blank screen, cursor flashing, trying to bullshit my way through 1000 words (double-spaced) due in the morning. Writing? No thanks! I never wanted to write again. And can you blame me? Our schools make writing a chore, something to avoid, and turn so many away for life.

Instead of ignoring the problem, I took on the challenge headfirst. Failure has never stopped me and even after failing to actively blog a dozen times before, I started this...

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Living without time

The only unit of time that matters is heartbeats. Even if the world were totally silent, even in a dark room covered in five layers of foam, you’d be able to count your own heartbeats.

Paul Ford, 10 Timeframes

Time. When broken down into minutes, hours, days, such small units over a lifetime, they don’t really seem to exist. It’s almost like a reality that we all subscribe to - existing only because we agreed it should. On the other hand, time is always marching forward. Infinite. Abrupt when divided into years, decades, centuries.

The smallest units, insignificant over a lifetime, are also the most stressful. The most frustrating. I was sick of it.

I unsubscribed from the clock

Dropped my watch right into the garbage. Shut off the glowing green-blue digital clocks that seem to piggyback on every appliance known to man - microwave, stove, VCR. The one in the corner of my computer...

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The most interesting people are “local”

I used to frequent a small sandwich shop, O'Bagelo’s. The owner and only employee, John Vito, was a miser and philosopher of sorts- he’d make interesting and thought provoking conversation while crafting your lunch.

“The most interesting people that I know are local. They read the city paper, get involved in their community, and constantly know what’s happening around them.”

It was just conversation, but this quote stuck with me over the years.

Now that I’ve gotten more into the movement, I’ve realized the most important thing that you can do for your community is to support your local ecosystem- whatever that means to you. For me, it means supporting small businesses and buying as close-to-home as possible. By keeping your dollars in town, you’re reinvesting money back into your neighborhood, instead of exporting it to some company in China.

Two months ago I made a pledge to spend...

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College was my biggest mistake

When I turned 18, my parents expected me to go to college- it was the only option, the only way to be a successful adult. I’m a 2nd generation Italian. My mother and grandparents came over to America and bootstrapped themselves from nothing, so needless to say, I would be the first in the family to get a degree and it was kind of a big deal.

We were middle class, but not rich, so I had to borrow to afford a $44,000/year RIT tuition. It’s what everyone else does, right? $44,000 might as well have been a million dollars, because in my mind they were equally unfathomable- with only $300 in my checking account, I had to make a decision whether or not to borrow $176,000. Makes sense.

No one could tell me why I was wasting my creative energy, focus, and life on something I didn’t want to do. Classes didn’t hold my attention- I could teach myself more in an afternoon than I would learn in a...

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How 30 days without Social Media changed my life

30 days ago, I made the decision to give up social media for a month. Well, here I am, reporting that I’m still alive and that the past month has been life changing- the most successful month of my existence.

Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and Hacker News were all on my blacklist, well- sort of. My goal for giving up social media was to create more value in my life, quit hoarding information, and appreciate the time that I spent with friends. So, full disclosure- I briefly used Facebook and Twitter 5 times during my haitus to pimp blog posts, and I’m okay with that, because it was for the sole purpose of sharing value (and getting more pageviews, duh).

From the beginning

First day of social media withdrawl

The first couple of days were full of withdrawl symptoms- I’d open a new tab in Chrome and start typing without even thinking about it. I missed my constant entertainment from Twitter.

It got better. I...

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On Keeping a Journal

One thing most people don’t know about me: In 2008, fed up with the daily grind of a 9 to 5 and being unsatisfied with life, I decided that I wanted to chase after my childhood dream of becoming a cop. I took the test for the New York State Police and did very well.

NYSP Results

During the application process, I had a 1-on-1 with a 20 year NYSP veteran and we had a great conversation- “Do you have any regrets?”, I asked. “Are you glad that you chose to spend your life this way?”.

Steve, my only regret after being on the job for 20 years is that I didn’t keep a journal or dairy about everything I’ve seen and done. I’ve met the president, was sent to New Orleans during Katrina and NYC after 9/11. The whole Bucky situation. These were incredible, defining moments in my life and I wish that I could remember them forever, read through day-by-day and relive exactly how I felt in the moment.

The next...

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Run naked

In life, in business, in everything, we have the tendency to hide the rough edges, smooth over the unappealing, and give the illusion of perfect. Startups gloss over numbers, exaggerate, hide details- terrified of giving away some non-existant secret. People hide their feelings, opinions, and act on their best behavior.

Here’s a secret- no one likes your best behavior. Be real.

Run naked, and I don’t mean it literally, but run naked in your entire life. Parade your flaws. Wear your heart on your sleeve. Have an opinion. Be passionate. Let your personality rip. It’s what makes you charming, lovable.

Open up and share your secrets. Blog about how much money your business makes. Tell people your middle name. Stop being that guy at the beach with a shirt on. Own it.

Okay, so maybe I did mean it literally

I wanted to see how it’d really feel to run naked. So, I just went out and logged...

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