~1 Year Since My Bike Accident

Photos of my bike with an updated Surly touring frame.

I can’t believe it’s been about a year since my bike accident last year. For those of you who don’t know, around this time last year, I got in a nasty bike accident last year which left me with stitches, a concussion, two chipped teeth, and a damaged bike. It was pretty rough because it overlapped the time when I was shutting down Flare and transitioning to a new project. Thankfully, I had insurance and a strong support network here to help me out.

I made a fast recovery… and when I was able to ride again, I made a video that documented my crash as well as an issue I had with my bike. This all happened last year, but I’m finally getting around to sharing this video one year later.

One of my first vlogs on youtube I created last year.

Anyway, everything is okay now. Since then, I get my bike serviced once a month to make sure all the parts are in working order. I also got a full face helmet along with a GoPro to document my daily commute.

By the way, since last year, New Wheel (the company that sold me my e-bike), replaced my damaged frame free of charge. I had to twist their arm, but they stood by their product and rebuilt my bike after the rear wheel dislodging. So, if you’re in the market to get an electric bike in San Francisco, I’d recommend them.

So, I ride super conservatively now and I avoid questionable conditions.

HOWEVER, Google Maps managed to navigate me through a really sketchy path. I would say this felt as sketchy as walking around in the Tenderloin at night. I really wish there was a checkbox on Google Maps that says, “Avoid Sketch AF Routes”. Since I’m sharing some crazy videos, here’s another one…

Sketch AF bike route by Google Maps.

#neveragain

While I love San Francisco, there are times that I’d like to get away from the craziness. I live in Bernal Heights now, and it’s pretty safe/clean… but all you have to do is walk a couple streets down the hill, and it gets seedy.

Okay to lighten things up, here’s one more video of another bike ride. This is a time lapse of a bike ride I did with Patrick from Sausalito back to Bernal Heights.

Timelapse video of a 56 mile bike ride from Sausalito to Bernal Heights.

Hopefully you won’t get too dizzy watching it. It kind of starts smoothing out once we go over the Golden Gate bridge. Next time I’ll see if I can run these kinds of videos through a hyper lapse filter to remove all the jittering. Enjoy!

Hearthstone Design Inspiration

For those of you who don’t know, Blizzard (the company that created Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft, Diablo, Overwatch…) is like the Apple of game design. Their attention to detail is insanely meticulous. When someone says their product was built with love, Blizzard is the bar.

Hearthstone is filled with all sorts of Easter eggs, micro interactions and tiny little details. While most apps and games try to minimize long load times, Hearthstone celebrates it.

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Hearthstone’s match making load screen.

They could have slapped in a boring screen with a load bar, but they had some fun with it. I think there’s a lesson to be learned in these little details.

Recently, I saw a cool animation on Dribbble by Kyle Decker that was inspired by Hearthstone. To bring in these kinds of details to a product, a culture has to be built around going the extra mile. It’s pretty crazy that he was able to do this all with code.

Dat motion blurrrrrr tho.

As I work on Input, I’m trying to balance between building the essentials versus adding the special touches that add a wow factor. Here’s an example of a small animation tied to a micro-interaction when a user posts. Notice the tiny little animation in the button that resembles our logo. The animation prevents the user from double clicking and communicates that a post is being sent.

Button animation during posting.

I know these kinds of things won’t help us find product market fit… but there’s just something about exercising your love for details and the small things. I’m tickled by cool hover states, minimal transitions and micro-interactions. The best designs are often unnoticed… but on the other hand, I think there are times where users will welcome personality and a little extra somethin’ somethin’.

By the way, I made a Hearthstone video with my buddy Justin Ho. It’s a quick pilot to see if: a) it’s something that he’s interested in doing long term, and b) it’s something that I have time to edit. If you didn’t know, Justin (aka Lyrondak) was ranked #11 in the world last season. I actually believe he could be #1 in the world if he really tried.

The Greedy McGreeds original Hearthstone Deck.

This was our first attempt, so the audio and lighting is a little janky. Creating these videos is just a good excuse to fly drones and play crazy troll decks in Hearthstone.

Anyway, I’m not sure if this is something that we’re going to commit to yet… but I’m pretty determined to work on a video project at some point. I’m just waiting for the right opportunity. You’ll see some more experimental YouTube content soon.

Input Team Retreat

Glorious view of LA from our AirBnb.

So… it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged. Actually, that’s not entirely true–I’ve created content–I haven’t posted it yet. There’s a ton to share, so we have some catching up to do friends.

Our team had an offsite two weeks ago and we all met up in LA. It was great to collaborate with folks in person–we’re a distributed team, so getting real face time is rare. Maybe it’s just me, but I prefer working in person. Remote jobs definitely have their perks, but nothing can replace being around creative people in the same room. It was a great offsite, and I’m looking forward to more jam sessions like this in the future.

Timelapse of theview from ourAirBnb.

The house was a total surprise, and it was super comfortable. There was actually a pool and hot tub overlooking the city skyline with a beautiful unobstructed view of the stars above. I honestly could have just brought a tent and sleeping bag and could have been in heaven.

Huge kudos to Belinda for coordinating everything. The house, the meals, travel, team activities, etc were all on point. Speaking of which, let’s look at some of the photos.

Vincent and Dan talking tech with the LA skyline as a backdrop.

Ben, Roberto and Naveen moving stickies around using the KJ Method

Brainstorming session outside.

Korean BBQ, LA style with the team.

Cooking class at Sur La Table.

Ben pouring a perfect pint.

Ben, Belinda and Naveen taking pictures of the Venice Beach sign.

Dinner with the team and celebrating Naveen’s birthday.

Naveen rocking the Halal Guys wayfarer sunglasses.

Cheers!

The steak here was aaaaamazing.

Everyone checking their phones after our escape room adventure.

Vincent getting his portrait taken in the corner of a bar.

Anyway, those were some fun times. Now it’s time to get some work done. We’ve got a pretty ambitious vision, and it’s going to take a hungry team to build it over the next few months.

Photos from My Bike Ride

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Photo of a blocked off road beside Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

After the storm cleared up this morning, I decided to go for a bike ride. I ended up doing a 25 mile loop around the city. Here are some photos from my ride.

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Crossing the road.

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Shadows and pruned trees in the city.

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Stairs near the Painted Ladies.

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A small beach between Lands End and Presidio.

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Museum at the top of Lands End, featuring a collection of work by Monet.

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Photo riding down Ocean Drive.

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Close up photo of flowers in Golden Gate Park.

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Ocean beach.

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The court yard between the California Academy of Sciences and de Young Museum.

Getting Back on my Bike

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Photo of my electric bike in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.

It’s been only a month since my crash and it still feels like yesterday. The strange feeling of my newly crowned teeth, the sensitive parts of my face and the mild pain in my shoulder are constant reminders of the potential danger of riding bikes around San Francisco. For the most part, I’ve told everyone that I’ve fully recovered, but these ailments haunt me. My wreck was a wake up call—to put safety first, and minimize the chance of getting hurt.

While there is danger in riding, I think there is inherent risk in everything we do… including driving our cars, crossing the street, and playing sports. The lesson I’ve learned is that I should have taken extra safety precautions—if I had a full-face helmet, there’s a good chance I would never have gotten a concussion, multiple stitches, had to go to the dentist multiple times, etc. I’m not saying that a full-face helmet would save me from everything, but a little extra protection would have probably gone a long way.

I want to be clear that I was wearing a helmet, had all my lights on, gloves, and clothing that covered all my body. The one place that wasn’t protected was my face. More on that in a moment…

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Black and white photo of the Golden Gate Bridge and its reflection at Presidio an hour before the sunset.

There are still so many places in San Francisco I want to explore. And there’s really no better way to do that than on a bike. The convenience of riding to work is also amazing, not to mention all the health benefits. I also really like the idea of minimizing my carbon footprint. When I combine these reasons I realize that biking still makes sense in my life.

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Photo of my bike at Presidio.

The photo above is something I shot after work on Friday. I decided to take a ride and watch the sunset from one of my favorite vantage points, Hawk Hill. On my way there, I snapped this picture, and I was reminded of how beautiful this place is.

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Photo of my bike and helmet with the Golden Gate bridge and San Francisco in the background.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve upgraded my helmet. This is a full-face model designed for extreme down hill mountain biking. After doing researching and consulting with my comrades, this seemed to be the best choice. I was seriously considering a motorcycle helmet, but there’s a camp of riders that believe that motorcycle helmets can potentially obstruct visibility and sound—which could ironically be more dangerous. The helmet I purchased (Bell Super 3R) is pretty legit, and has new technology to prevent concussions and minimize head trauma.

Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again… but if it does, I’m more prepared.

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Photo of Marin County, towards Rodeo Lagoon as the sun touched down on the horizon.

This was probably my favorite photo of the evening. If I had more daylight, I think I would have ridden further… but I’m saving that for next time. This was truly a majestic view, and the only way to preserve that moment in a bottle was with a pic.

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Close-up of my new helmet. It includes a new technology called MIPS to reduce rotational head trauma.

My new helmet also has a built in Go Pro mount. I’ll be investing into one of those soon. The really crazy thing about my accident is that I don’t remember what happened. If I had at that time Go Pro, I could have examined the incident frame by frame.

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Photo of my bike in one of the historic artillery bunkers.

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A quick photo while crossing the Golden Gate bridge on my way back home.

I’ll have more photos share with you guys soon. And I promise that I will be as safe as I can when I’m riding.