A Personal User Manual

My team is currently spending a bit of time filling out these Personal User Manuals and the exercise has been illuminating, to say the least.

I had a few thoughts on a recent vlog about this as well:

You can review my own here as well as get the template below:

What I loved about this exercise is that it really made me think about my own behavior and how this impacts other people. I also was surprised (but shouldn’t have been) at how much time this took to thoughtfully answer the questions!

I hope you can find time to create your own Personal User Manual and then have the courage to share it with your team!

Feel free to send me a copy of yours and give me feedback on mine!


I spent a little time updating it… here’s the full text:

User Manual

Here are a few things that you might find helpful to understand about me! Last updated: 04/09/2021

What Do I Get ENERGY From:

  • Stories: I love hearing, seeing, and experiencing stories. I love being transported to new worlds through narrative.
  • Learning: I love learning new things; I’m especially curious about the intersection of dissimilar and unrelated things.
  • Entertainment: I love to be entertained and I particularly love old(er) video games and movies. I do love the ’80’s.

What I VALUE the Most:

  • Agency: I value the freedom to choose my own path and to invest my time and resources in the things that matter the most to me.
  • Changing One’s Mind: One of my favorite mantras is “strong opinions, weakly held”.
  • Saying Sorry: Being able to say “sorry” is a superpower.
  • Health: I’m very vocal about creating a healthy environment for myself and for those that I work with and I’m an advocate for making these topics less taboo.

What I Don’t Have the PATIENCE For:

  • Bullshit: You win me over when you’re frank, direct, and full of candor. Say what you mean.
  • Indecision: Speed of decision making is an operating virtue in my startup.
  • Do What You Say: Fastest way to build trust is to do what you say; you know, integrity.

How to Best COMMUNICATE with Me:

  • Give it to me Straight, Be Direct, Give Me Context: Knowing what you need and being able to articulate that clearly and efficiently is something I really appreciate.
  • Decide Who’s Taking Notes: I am not very good at taking notes while talking so please help me understand who’s going to be in charge of data capture, collection, and distribution.

How to HELP / SUPPORT Me:

  • Ask Me Questions: I love answering questions. So, ask.
  • Give Me Time to Recover: When I have a “moment” I’ll often need time to recover. You can expect me to apologize and I will do my best to provide context and an explanation for my behavior in time.
  • I’m Already Paranoid: Being a startup founder makes you paranoid. Consequently, I don’t really like surprises. Thanks.

How I Make DECISIONS:

  • Quickly: It’s all about speed of decision making for me. “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” – General George S. Patton

A Few of My QUIRKS:

  • I hate windshield wipers… almost as much as I hate mosquitos.
  • I don’t drink anymore; sober since 2016.
  • I like wearing the same stuff most days.
  • I have two auto-immune disorders which make my breath smell really bad. I’ll do my best not to kill you when we meet IRL.
  • I like listening to music on repeat… a lot (and I like it loud).
  • I eat gluten-free foods and I’m lactose intolerant.
  • I drink coffee twice a day: Morning when I first wake up and then at 2:15pm.
  • I love / hate exercise. 4 times a week I walk ~3.0 miles and then M/W/F using a HIIT / Tabata-style using my own bodyweight.
  • I love video games but I don’t have time to play them. Sad.
  • I love the 80’s and I’m stuck in a retro-wonderland.
  • I love the color orange.

Other Things About Me:

A few additional things that you might find interesting:

  • I have a twin brother. I’m the oldest of 5. I’m adopted from South Korea.
  • I have 3 kids: Roenne (f/14), Arden (f/10), and Oliver (m/3).
  • I’ve been married for 15 years to Sue.
  • I have 2 advanced degrees: Masters of Biblical Studies and Masters in Christian Education.
  • I love sushi and soccer.