Personal

This website mostly focuses on my work and professional life, but there are several things about my personal life that help inform my work and ideas. I’ll mention a few:

I love to mountain bike. This is the core way I exercise but what I really love about it is that I get to go off by myself and think. My routine is to try and get a couple rides in each week before work. I take off from my house and get up and over the Berkeley hills into a relatively wild park for some quick off-road before flying back down through the UC Berkeley campus in a nice loop. On weekends I like to take a nice off-road adventure for a few hours. I always have my digital recorder to capture my thoughts about the week past or the week ahead – or whatever I’m trying to figure out. I always come out of this process feeling more centered and in a good mood.

I love the outdoors. I have a group of four great guy friends who share a passion for getting out into nature. We love to take back-country ski trips into the Sierra mountains, particularly in Yosemite, and do our share of downhill. Each summer we go off with our entire families on a week-long camping trip into the mountains, where we canoe back on reservoirs to get to unofficial campsites in the woods and live off the grid: swimming, climbing and hiking.

I love to travel to foreign countries. I caught the bug for foreign travel when I studied for a year at the University of London and, besides the requisite European grand touring, spent a summer hitchhiking from London to Egypt via Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Israel. I spent the year after college graduation traveling from the top to bottom of Africa, through Communist Europe and Russia, and Central America in civil war. I eventually became a young journalist in Asia and traveled all over that entire region. I’ve been to well over 50 countries, and throughout my teens and 20s racked up more than 50,000 miles hitch-hiking (including dozens of cross-country trips in the US).

I grew up in the Twin Cities in Minnesota. I grew up in a middle class Catholic family in middle America. I was the oldest of four kids, and my mom stayed home with us while my father worked pretty much his whole life as an administrator in a small liberal arts college where the whole family spent a lot of time. I had the classic American high school experience as student council president, captain of the basketball team, honor student, etc. My family had a rustic cabin about an hour outside the Twin Cities on what became a wild river preserve. We spent a lot of our summers up there, and that place still means a lot to me.

I now live with my family in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve lived in the same house for what’s getting close to 20 years in Berkeley. We built a back cabin on the property that I oversaw as general contractor and helped construct with some skilled friends. That structure acts as my home office, and I maintain my work office in the Mission District in San Francisco. My wife is a therapist, social worker, and social entrepreneur who founded and ran an innovative shelter and clinic for homeless youth. My daughter is at a liberal arts college in the Midwest, and, among many other things, is a NCAA athlete, playing basketball, a sport I also love.

One final personal note: All the photos that provide the backdrops to the different sections of this website were shot by me and represent places that have some personal meaning. You can see the places I camp, and ski, and ride, and – you get the point.