12,000

I recently passed 12,000 total students across the six business and technology courses I teach on Udemy. I’m so grateful for everyone who has enrolled—if that’s you, thank you!

Those 12,000 students collectively represent 154 countries, with the United States accounting for less than a quarter of the pie.

Just a few decades ago, the notion of a single educator reaching 12,000+ students in the majority of the world’s countries would have been absurd. The Internet is a cool thing, isn’t it?

Education is changing for the better, and I’m stoked to play a small part in the e-learning revolution.

Headphones Can Be Deadly, If You’re Black

This jaw-dropping Twitter thread is worth a read:

(Open and scroll to read the whole thing.)

The guy was listening to music in his noise-cancelling headphones while shopping for hair conditioner. After deciding on a product, he turned to find two police officers shouting at him with their guns drawn. Unbeknownst to him, the clerk had called the police because she thought he was shoplifting. (He wasn’t.) She also apparently thought he was armed. (He wasn’t.)

Yet another infuriating reminder of just how dangerous it is to be a law-abiding citizen who happens to be black.

A Good Year For Commercial Aviation

Wow: 2017 was the safest year on record for commercial air travel, with a grand total of zero passenger deaths aboard commercial jets.

To be clear, this stat does not include cargo planes or commercial propeller planes, which had ten fatal incidents in 2017, resulting in 79 total deaths.

Still, aviation is safer today than ever before. It’s amazing to think that we can reliably and safely traverse our planet in just a matter of hours.

Looking Ahead To 2018

2017 has been quite a year. Vox compiled a great summary of some of the defining stories of the last twelve months:

Yes, 2017 has had more than its share of bad news. But despite the tragedy, injustice, and political dumpster fires, of which we’ve had plenty, life is actually getting better for humanity overall. It often doesn’t feel like it, but it is—and this gives me hope for the future.

As 2017 comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting and planning for the year ahead. I’m not a fan of vague “resolutions,” which are almost guaranteed to fail. Instead, I prefer to conduct a corporate-style “annual review,” where I set specific, measurable goals and then follow up and review my progress quarterly. (Chris Guillebeau’s annual review spreadsheet is a great starting point if you want to do something similar.)

My review for this year is complete, and I feel a real sense of clarity for where I’m headed in 2018. I’ve set a range of goals in business, productivity, fitness, finance, education, and even mental health—and I can’t wait to get back to the grind next week.

I hope you’re happy and safe on this New Year’s Eve. Let’s make 2018 a great year.

VICE’s Incredible Journalism

As scandal after scandal comes out of the Trump White House, we’re seeing a resurgence of not only journalism, but support for journalism. The New York Times, The Washington PostNewsweek, and even Teen Vogue have all been publishing outstanding stories.

But one outlet that I feel deserves greater recognition is VICE.

VICE is bringing light to a ton of important issues, and it’s doing so in a way that appeals to the connected generation. Its video documentaries are captivating, and VICE reporters aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty.

There’s a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville? Okay, let’s get in a van with some of them.

The Islamic State is publicly murdering journalists? Let’s go to Syria and ask them for a tour.

North Korea is threatening the rest of the world with its continued development of nuclear weapons? Let’s take a trip to Pyongyang!

If you haven’t been following VICE, it’s time you checked them out.

Are You Happy?

The brilliant and highly introspective conclusion to Bo Burnham’s “Make Happy” show, which I was lucky enough to see live in Cincinnati last November. This closer wasn’t part of the live performance, so it was a nice surprise.

Sadly it looks like this may be the last we hear from him for a while. The New York Times reports:

Mr. Burnham says he plans to take a long break from stand-up to focus on writing, get a movie about a middle schoolgirl off the ground and avoid the stage. He added that the demands on a comic these days mean that people send him tweets asking, “Are you dead?” after he’s been working on a special for a few years. “A band can take a break but a comedian?” he said. “If you’re not on ‘@midnight’ every month you’re Thomas Pynchon.”

I’m going to miss your material, Bo, but I wish you all the best and above all, I hope you’re happy.

VentureBreak Has Been Acquired

On February 8, 2010, I started a little blog about technology and startups called VentureBreak. Six years, thousands of articles, and millions of readers later, that blog has been acquired.

Although I’ll be leaving to work on other things, VentureBreak is in very good hands. Taking my place at the reigns is Luis Carranza, who runs Europe’s largest technology meetup (Silicon Roundabout) as well as several other conferences in the fintech space. I have total confidence that the publication will continue to thrive and grow under his leadership.

Running VentureBreak has been fun and rewarding for many reasons, but the most important thing I’ve gained over the last few years is a network of close friendships with entrepreneurs and other smart folks in the tech world. I’ve learned so much from these people. They are my rock stars.

This acquisition, along with my departure, was a difficult but very strategic decision on my part—one that will allow me to pursue some other things I care about while also allowing VentureBreak to continue to grow without me.

Thanks to everyone who has participated in this journey over the years. It has truly been an amazing ride.

A few past versions of VentureBreak.com