Today, On This Rosh Hashanah, In What Is Apparently The Year 5772, I Would Like to Give Thanks.


Today is Rosh Hashanah, and I am in Columbia, Mo. The last time I was in Columbia for Rosh Hashanah, Barack Obama was just a Senator from Illinois, my Missouri Tigers were about to head to Lincoln, Neb., to play a conference game, and I was still a month away from signing up for something called Twitter. Now I’m back at Missouri as an RJI Fellow, and I dress decently and show up to work at 8 or 9 and leave at 5 or 6 or 7, and I have a corner office, and a staff that is on call to help me, and when I leave a voicemail for someone, that someone calls me back.

For the longest time, I’ve joked to my parents about being “a professional,” but for the first time in my adult life, I actually feel like one.

There is still much work to do, but it is hard not to take this moment to think back on all that has already happened this year. I am most grateful for the journey so far, and I look with wonder towards the journey that lies ahead.

There continue to be an incredible number of people who believe in me and believe in what I am doing, and it never ceases to amaze me how much that knowledge helps me through each day.

Onward I go, for them.

#BergChat: The Pivot!

Four weeks ago today, I went in front of a group of students here at the University of Missouri and told them I wanted to buy them a beer and talk about journalism. And then I went in front of another class. And another. And another.

And told them, a few hundred in all: I wanted to buy them beer and talk about journalism.

The first thing that happened was, a whole bunch of students tweeted at me to tell me how excited they were about the idea.

The second thing that happened was, nobody came to drink with me.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve offered three so-called #BergChat sessions to students so far on Twitter. One student has taken me up on the offer.

So it’s time, I think, for a pivot.

What’s a pivot, you ask? Take it from Eric Ries, author of the soon-to-be-bestelling book, “The Lean Startup.” Says Ries, a pivot is:

“The idea that successful startups change directions but stay grounded in what they’ve learned. They keep one foot in the past and place one foot in a new possible future. “

And, okay, the #BergChat isn’t a startup; it’s just office hours at a bar. Still, the spirit of the pivot works here.

Now, the way I’ve been organizing these #BergChats is by sending out a tweet or three to my followers — among them, a multitude of j-schoolers. I’ve named the day/time for that week’s chat. And I’ve asked students to tweet back at me if they’d like to join me for a drink and conversation.

Except that I’ve forgotten a simple rule: College kids don’t operate on the same time schedule that I do. And that means I’m pitching this to an audience that isn’t actually listening at the moment I’m talking.

Hence the need for a pivot.

So here’s the new plan: The #BergChat is always open and available to you, the students. All you have to do is tweet at me something like:

Hey, @danoshinsky, got time for a #BergChat this week?

And assuming I’m in town, I’ll say yes, and we’ll set a time.

To recap: You tweet at me. We agree upon a time. And then said Beer/Shirley Temple is purchased, and we talk about whatever you want to talk about.

That’s my pivot, and I’m sticking to it.

At least for this week.

Why I’m Doing What I’m Doing.

This was originally published over at the RJI blog. But I really liked what I’d written. So I’m republishing it here:


This is not a motivational blog post. I am not writing this to inspire you. I do not want you to read this and quit your job.

Is that clear?

Are you sure?


Because I go to Mach 1 pretty quickly on these things. I get wound up and start running like Lombardi before the Ice Bowl, like a guy who’s got an Espresso drip running in one arm and the soundtrack to ‘The Natural’ blasting in the earbuds. I get wound up, and sometimes, the fortune cookie quotes start leaking out.

It’s all this one girl’s fault. I was having a beer with an MU student on Wednesday. J-school senior here on campus. Ambitious, talented, overworked. She wanted to know about me and my startup. And like any student worth her journalism degree, she had a good question for me:

Why are you doing what you’re doing?

And I didn’t answer it well enough. Lately, all the questions have been forward leaning: What are you doing now? What are you doing next?

But it’s been a while since someone asked me, straight up: Why are you doing what you’re doing?

I didn’t give her the full answer yesterday. So right now, I’d like to tell her, for starters:

I’m doing this because I can. Because there’s opportunity for something like Stry. Because it’s risky. Because I want to learn. Because I don’t have 2.5 kids and a wife and a job and a mortgage. Because I had the money to get it started, and maybe I’ll find the money to keep it going. Because I hated life in a cubicle. Because I’m too naive to know that failure is all but certain for a startup like this. Because I made it this far, and yeah, Red, maybe I can go a little farther. Because I think the phrase “You can be whatever you want to be” needs another case study. Because I want to do the work. Because I like doing the work. Because I like being busy, and not TPS Report busy or Conference Call With the Head of Whatchamacallit busy. Because this is the time I have, and this is what I have to work with, and because I’ve got people behind me who seem to think I can pull this off, and because so do I, and mostly:

Because I can.

There are not a lot of things I believe in completely — I’m not Crash Davis, alright? — but I believe this: In this life, you find things you love and people you love, and make room for both.

Right now, with Stry, I’ve got something I love. I wake up in the morning excited to get up. I know that sounds like some “Jerry Maguire” BS, but it’s true. I love coming to work. This company sinks or swims based on what I do. It’s on me. This thing goes as far as I can take it.

That’s terrifying and empowering and thrilling, and it’s my day-to-day existence. I love that.

And, yeah, the fortune cookie quotes start leaking out sometimes. But I don’t mind that. I had a yoga teacher in San Antonio who told me once, “Trying is doing.”

So why am I doing what I’m doing?

Maybe it’s because I just had to try.

Why I Look Happily Towards The Future of Missouri Football, and What Exactly I Mean By That.

There is a very strange realization I came to tonight:

Fans of my alma mater believe that who we were define who we are.

And I do not.

I was with this girl tonight. She is Missouri-born and a Tiger fan through and through. She loves this team. She actually understands football.

And tonight, when the Mizzou-Arizona State game went to overtime, she immediately said: “We’re going to choke.”

I asked her why, and she said, “Because Mizzou always does.”

And that’s thinking I used to be able to get behind. But lately, something’s changed.

See, when I showed up at this school, Mizzou wasn’t very good at sports. We lost. Always. And usually in rip-your-heart-out fashion.

But since I’ve been here: We’ve won far more than we’ve lost. We’ve beaten the #1 team in the country. Been ranked #1. Been to two Big 12 title games. Won a New Year’s Day bowl.

Longtime Mizzou fans forget this, though. Because in their minds, we’ve always been bad, and we always will be. Even when we’re winning. Even when we’re beating the #1 team in the country.

For them, past is present.

I don’t think like that anymore. I’ve rooted for a lot of bad teams. I’ve seen a Maryland football team get dominated by Ohio. Not Ohio State. OHIO University. I’ve seen teams like American and William & Mary beat my beloved Terps basketball team. I’ve seen the Redskins falter and falter. I’ve seen my Caps fall again and again.

My hometown of Washington, D.C., is closing in on Cleveland as America’s worst sports town. This is not a good thing.

But what I am certain of is this: It is the hard times that make the big wins that much sweeter. As a fan, we need losses like tonight’s. We need to be demolished sometimes.

Because one of these days, a win will come along that reminds us of why we watch in the first place. And it will be all the sweeter because of it.

I believe in the future of Missouri football. I believe there will be heartbreak, and I believe there will be greatness.

And I am damn sure that I will be out at a bar rooting hard for those Tigers every Saturday. I’ll be watching because I believe: Good things come this way.

I hope next Saturday brings better things for my Tigers. I really do.