Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

In his 2009 essay Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule, computer scientist and YCombinator co-founder Paul Graham defined a manager’s schedule as one that revolves around hour-increments of time, usually switching from one meeting or task to another. In contrast, a maker’s schedule requires closer to half-day units of uninterrupted time to work on a single coding or writing task, which we’ll just refer to as “making”¹.

Since then, we’ve seen office work and schedules change drastically at least twice: once with the introduction of rapid-fire communication tools like Slack and again when the COVID pandemic forced many teams to work remotely…

How might we apply athletic training principles to train our productivity, do our best work, and reduce burnout?

This was originally published on my company’s blog.

A rainy morning track workout at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco
A rainy morning track workout at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco
A rainy morning track workout at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco. Photo taken by author

We are knowledge athletes

I first started thinking about similarities between athletes and knowledge workers¹ during my run coaching certification class. For starters, both require focus on building consistent habits, dedication to long-term growth and goals, and knowing the importance of sleep and nutrition. But I started thinking —wow, what would it look like if we devised and followed training plans for our work?

My coach writes often about stimulus in training: training is basically a structured way to intentionally stress our bodies to trigger musculo-skeletal adaptations that make us stronger and faster. But if we…

I read 32 books this year, which is the most I’ve read in a year as an adult-there was one summer in middle school where I think I read every Hardy Boys book available at the Oakland Public Library and made a good dent on the sci-fi section as well. In recent years, I struggled and sputtered when I picked up a book that was very educational or insightful, but just felt like a slog to read. Some friends gave excellent advice in this thread and now I don’t feel bad about abandoning books or pausing/putting down a book if…

My co-founder Ricky wrote about why he switched over to Spotify for podcasts. I initially was reluctant to switch over to Spotify for podcasts because they seemed like an afterthought/second-class media there. There’s also all the usual arguments in favor of keeping things open, but I can see the power of a closed ecosystem being able to improve the experience for both podcast listeners and hosts. With the RSS spec, hosts can at most know how many times their episodes were downloaded, which just isn’t very useful.

The recent addition of mixed music + podcasts playlists to Spotify, including the…

Originally wrote up a couple quick reactions in notes section of my blog, but I realized I had a lot more to say about this topic, so it became a post.

Strava announced yesterday that they’re trying to become a profitable business by focusing on paying subscribers. To that end, they’re making a lot of features that were previously accessible to free users now paid-only. Specifically:

David Tran’s Strava Heat Map
David Tran’s Strava Heat Map
Couldn’t think of a good image, so here’s my Strava heatmap
  • Overall segment leaderboards (Top 10 view is still free)
  • Comparing, filtering and analyzing segment efforts
  • Route planning on, with a huge redesign launching soon!
  • Matched Runs: Analyze performance on identical runs over time

Had a great time chatting with my friend Amanda for the weekly Back on My Feet San Francisco live chat about how I got into running, started volunteering with Back on My Feet, and what Running Happy means to me! Can’t embed the video on Medium, but check it out over on Facebook and let me know if you have any questions about getting involved with Back on My Feet or about running!

Back on My Feet San Francisco at the Kaiser Half Marathon!

Originally published at on April 18, 2020.

March was… a month. A few things that happened that happened in March:

This post specifically talks about running and startups, but I think this ethos applies broadly. It goes without saying that having the choice to do things for “the right reasons” is a privilege. I’m very thankful for my immigrant parents whose “why” was just to give me this choice.

We often ask What?: “What are you training for?” or “What does your startup do?”, but we rarely ask Why?. Obviously, Why?s are much more complex, and this post isn’t going to give you any answers, but hopefully will get you to stop and think about your own Why?s more often…

See Part 1 of this post for an overview of Strong Opinions, Weakly Held. Here in Part 2, we’ll be looking at examples of how to apply SOWH in poker, basketball and Starcraft.

Poker: The perfect game of imperfect information

Poker presents a perfect microcosm for practicing SOWH. In No-Limit Texas Hold’em, you start with seemingly very little information— just the two cards in front of you. As the hand goes on, you gain more information in the form of the house cards being revealed as well as other players’ actions. Each time it’s your turn, you have a limited set of options: you can check/call, bet/raise…

Since my co-founder Ricky introduced me to the concept of “strong opinions, weakly held”¹, I’ve been thinking a lot about why this concept seemed to resonate with me and how to deliberately practice it. For brevity’s sake, I’m going to henceforth refer to this concept as SOWH (pronounced SOW as in you reap what you sow).

For many worthwhile endeavors, whether that means figuring what to study in school, what to build first for your startup, or how to find the right partner, you typically start with a very limited set of information. It’s rarely clear at the outset what…

David Tran

Building the best place to get work done at I write about software, startups & running at and occasionally publish here.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store