Three down…

Two weeks left in the 2013 CrossFit Open and I’m tied for third in the world!!! Just kidding, I’m currently the 41,209th fittest man in the world! And ranked 4,004th in the North East of the United States.

12.1 + 12.2 = 13.1 WOD of the Open. So CrossFit HQ married the first two workouts from the 2012 Open to come up with 13.1 which looks like:

Proceed through the sequence below completing as many reps as possible in 17 minutes of:
40 Burpees
75 pound Snatch, 30 reps
30 Burpees
135 pound Snatch, 30 reps
20 Burpees
165 pound Snatch, 30 reps
10 burpees
210 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible

I only managed to get 112 reps, which put me into the middle of the 135 pound snatch portion of the workout. I was hoping to get deeper into that round but my problem is definitely my snatch technique. Once it gets over 95 lbs, I’m muscling the weight up and it might as well be a clean into a strict press. My tight and none explosive hips don’t help. Also after 70 burpees and 30 lighter snatches, my body was pretty tired. Excuses, excuses…

Workout 13.2 looked like this for the men:

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
115 pound Shoulder to overhead, 5 reps
115 pound Deadlift, 10 reps
15 Box jumps, 24″ box

The announcement for 13.2 was extra exciting as I got to witness it live at CrossFit South Brooklyn. Performing the first workout was two-time CrossFit woman’s champion Annie Thorisdottir and she competed against Lindsey Valenzuela who finished 9th in the 2012 CrossFit Games. This is the second time I’ve seen Annie workout live and she is a nonstop work machine. She nearly lapped Lindsey in the workout with a score of 361 reps versus Lindsey’s 335. Thor’s daughter should definitely be the odds on favorite to three-peat in 2013.

As for myself, I managed a mind blowing 187 reps! I know, incredible right? Box jumps have been the bane of my existence (what else is new) since finding CrossFit so I did step ups instead. I would have liked to get to 200 reps but maybe next time.

Workout 13.3 was the same as last year’s 12.4 which was:

12 minute AMRAP of:
150 Wall balls
90 Double-unders
30 Muscle-ups

Lots of people were complaining that they expected something new and different from CrossFit HQ. I think its great that they recycled one of the workouts. Anyone who does CrossFit knows that repeating workouts is what we do so that we can give ourselves benchmarks and goals to try and beat. In 2012 I did not finish the 150 wall balls, mainly because I got no-repped probably close to 20 times, mainly for not getting low enough in the bottom of my wall ball which is the bottom of a squat. This year, I was at the gym 45 minutes ahead of time to stretch and warm up my hips and legs. I also worked on really pushing my butt down to the bottom of my squat and bouncing out of the bottom of the wall ball. This helped tremendously. I was only no-repped twice during the wall balls and made it to the double-unders of which I did 25, resulting in a final score of 175. I was pretty happy with this since my goal upon hearing WOD 13.3 was to simply make it past the wall balls. Next up, one of my goals for 2013: a muscle up and I feel like I’m definitely getting close.

So that’s my 2013 CrossFit Open experience so far. Have no idea what to expect next but I’m excited for it. Would love to hear from some of you guys and how you have faired versus your expectations.

Learning to code…

So its been a while since I have written about learning to code because I have been…well actually trying to learn how to code. A lot has changed since my post in February about whether to learn to program or not and its been a wild ride. I’ve taken a summer long front-end Web development class focusing on HTML, CSS and Javascript. I am currently learning Ruby / Ruby on Rails at General Assembly. I am enjoying it so far but its definitely challenging.

That said, tonight, December 5th, I am super excited to be on a panel with three much more seasoned and experienced programmers to discuss learning to code. Brad Hargreaves, who is leading the panel and is one of the co-founders of General Assembly. How cool is that? Chris Wiggins is an associate professor in the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics @ Columbia (oh, you fancy huh?). And last but certainly not least, Christopher Castiglione, who is a digital product developer as well as a teacher at General Assembly. I’ve taken his series of classes, Programming for non-programmers and his classes are one of the reasons I have decided to delve deeper into learning to code. Thanks Chris!

What am I doing on this panel you may be asking? I’m asking myself the same question as I would probably fit in better in the crowd than on the panel. That said I have definitely learned a few lessons these past few months of trying to learn to program and I hope I can share those experiences with the crowd.

Free tickets are still available via Eventbrite.


Seems I need to rethink my last post if I ever want to co-found a company according to Ben Parr. He makes some very valid points…

Why business co-founders ought to learn code
by Ben Parr
February 25, 2012 8:39 AM PST
Learning to code will make you a better entrepreneur, even if you don’t become an expert.

In the new Internet economy, code is king. Taking the time to learn the basics of programming will help you succeed in business and entrepreneurship.

A few days ago, an aspiring entrepreneur e-mailed me with a simple question:

“Do you need to be an expert in coding to build a successful startup, or can you employ experts to do the technical work for you?”
This person has demonstrated success as a businessman and a salesman, but he caught the entrepreneurship bug and couldn’t shake it. He wanted to start his own company.

I knew what he wanted to hear: You don’t need to know how to code to start an Internet business! It can and has been done! Instead, this is what I told him:

“You have to code, not because you need to be good at it, but because technical employees are far more likely to follow a founder with technical experience.”

The era of coming up with an idea and hiring a technical person to build it is over, and it has been for a long time. It’s easier than ever to learn code, thanks to services like Codecademy. This is especially true for entrepreneurs that want to build Internet startups.

“I’m surprised at how helpful, even now as an investor, being able to code things is to my job,” Harjeet Taggar, a partner at the incubator/seed venture firm Y Combinator, says. He qualified his response by noting that certain industries, such as enterprise sales, require more noncoding tasks than consumer-facing applications.

“I think a big takeaway is that if you’re a business co-founder, you should 1) at least spend some time being able to understand the vocabulary of code, and 2) pick an idea that leverages your skills.”

This topic is personal for me. I’ve been spending the past two months working on a startup, in addition to this column. The majority of that time has been spent coding and learning to code. I’m no expert though–what takes me an hour to build, my co-founder can create in five minutes.

But that’s OK–I don’t need to be an expert. My job is to focus on research, user acquisition, partnerships, and the business side of the startup. My programming responsibilities basically boil down to a few key tasks:

Find and fix bugs
Implement small features
Manage the site design
Understand how our product works on a technical level

The last point is the most important one. Understanding how difficult a requested feature will be to implement has made me better at prioritizing our company’s time appropriately. The only way to truly know how a feature or a product works is to understand code.

My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is simple: if you don’t know how to code, learn. Don’t worry about becoming an expert–just put in the effort and learn the basics. The knowledge and understanding of code will make you a far stronger entrepreneur.

Read more:

What are your thoughts?

To learn code or not to code…

I want to learn the Internetz. However, as a person with a mostly financial background and very little Web experience where do I begin? HTML? javascrpit? kidsruby? How old is too old to learn to program? I think it all depends on how much time you are willing to devote to learning the craft or science. Sure I can go back to school and learn it or take classes online but is it something I am passsionate about? There is also a great discussion on this topic on Chris Dixon’s blog.

I’ve taken a couple of classes recently at Skillshare , one of which was “Learn to program in 120 minutes.” Nice thought but we all know that its not realistic and Dan (the teacher) made that perfectly clear. To become a programmer takes thousands of hours of coding and practice.

But that is part of the beauty of the Web and sites like Skillshare, you can explore things for free or relatively inexpensively and see if they are for you. From the research I have done, programming is not something I am likely to focus strongly on going forward. That doesn’t mean I won’t continue to explore my options and learn more about programming. In fact, once this class becomes available on Skillshare again I’ll probably take it.

-Noob out!


I’m a native New Yorker. I plan to use this space to give my thoughts, observations and analysis on topics and things that interest me, from all things NY (sports, fashion, business) to Crossfit as well as more Web related businesses, especially the exciting batch of new companies that make up “Silicon Alley”. Please feel free to comment as I am always looking to learn new things. Thanks.