Chris Shiflett en-us Chris Shiflett is an entrepreneur and web developer focused on building community and bettering the open web. Email Authentication Last month, we sent the first issue of the Faculty newsletter since the pandemic. We didn’t know what to expect. Would people remember us? Did they want to hear from us?

Thankfully, everyone loved it.

But, we had a problem. Many subscribers didn’t realize we had sent it until they saw me mention it on social media. They never got it.

What happened?

It turns out that our newsletter was being flagged as spam. In the years since we sent the last issue, a lot has changed. Google, Yahoo, and others started requiring email authentication (SPF or DKIM) in 2022. Beginning February 2024 (tomorrow), they’ll also require DMARC for bulk senders. If you have a newsletter with more than 5,000 subscribers, that includes you.

Email authentication, like HTTPS, has evolved from being a nice-to-have to a standard expectation.

I’ll show you how to set up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.

If your email address is provided by another organization, they bear the responsibility of setting this up for you. For example, if your email address ends in, Google is handling email authentication for you.

If you send email from a custom domain, particularly for a newsletter, keep reading.


SPF was the first real attempt at email authentication. It uses a DNS TXT record to indicate which servers are allowed to send email from your domain.

It’s easy to implement, but you’ll need to know two things:

  • How to create a TXT record for your domain
  • Which servers you use to send email

If you don’t know which servers you use to send email, performing an MX lookup on your domain might help you figure it out.

The SPF record syntax is pretty straightforward, but there are a lot of options, so it can be overwhelming. Here’s the record I use for my personal email:

v=spf1 ~all

For clarity, this is the value of a TXT record with a host of @. It’s what Google recommends if you only send email from Google.

When a server receives an email claiming to be from me, it can look up my SPF record to see that only Google is allowed to send email from my domain, and then verify whether the email was in fact sent by Google. (It does this by looking up the SPF record for, which Google keeps updated.) If not, it’s flagged as spam.

The ~all part indicates a soft failure, so the email will end up in someone’s spam folder rather than being rejected. If you’re confident everything is working correctly, you can change this to -all.

At Faculty, we use Google for our regular email and Mailchimp for our newsletter. To allow both of these to send email from our domain, our SPF record is a little different. We need to include to allow Google to send email on our behalf and to let Mailchimp send email on our behalf. You can only have one SPF record, so to allow both, you need to include both like this:

v=spf1 ~all

I have a friend who uses Google for her personal email and MailerLite for her newsletter. Here’s her SPF record:

v=spf1 ~all

If your situation is different, seek examples from your email service provider(s). Just remember that if you send personal email using one provider and a newsletter using a different provider, you might have to combine two examples into a single SPF record.

More information:


DKIM lets you sign your outgoing emails using public-key cryptography. You publish the public key in DNS, so receivers can use it to verify the signature.

Google makes DKIM easy to implement but hard to find. Gmail settings are currently found here:

Admin → Apps → Google Workspace → Gmail

From here, you should be able to authenticate email.

Google will generate a key pair and provide the TXT record you need to add to your DNS. This record contains the public key, and once Google confirms you’ve added it, it will use the corresponding private key to sign your outgoing email.

Once you set it up, it’s seamless.

Setting up DKIM with Mailchimp is a little different. Instead of publishing your own DKIM record, Mailchimp wants to do it for you. To give Mailchimp the ability to do this, you need to add a few CNAME records instead. Mailchimp uses selectors k1, k2, and k3, so you’ll need to have CNAME records for each of these. Here’s what we use for Faculty:

If you use Mailchimp, just substitute with your domain, and this should work for you, too.

MailerLite uses the same approach as Mailchimp, but you only need to publish one CNAME record:

If you use MailerLite, just substitute with your domain.

More information:


DMARC uses a DNS TXT record to indicate whether email from your domain is protected by SPF and DKIM, what to do when a check fails, and how to report back. It’s required for anyone sending more than 5,000 emails per day, which includes a lot of newsletters.

Because reports are sent as individual emails, I decided to use a service. DMARC services can receive and consolidate all of the reports on your behalf, providing you with a user-friendly summary. It’s better than wading through thousands of emails or ignoring the reports altogether.

I’m currently using Dmarcian. It’s free for personal use, but if you have a newsletter, you might have to pay. My friend Jason recommends DMARC Digests from Postmark, which offers less detail but is less expensive.

Setting up DMARC with a service is easy, because the service will provide the record you need to add, complete with a unique email address where reports will be sent.

If you want to receive your own reports rather than use a service, you probably at least want to set up a separate email address that you can check independently. To set up a DMARC record for and receive reports at, publish the following TXT record with a host of _dmarc:

v=DMARC1; p=none;;

Just substitute with your domain.

Consider p=none as a good place to start. Once you can be sure everything is working correctly, you can use p=quarantine or even p=reject.

More information:


By far the most helpful tool I have found is This is a service that provides an email address for you to send email to, and it will give you every kind of insight you can imagine. If you have a newsletter, send a test email to this tool before sending to all of your subscribers, and you should be able to identify problems before they affect deliverability.

I can’t recommend it enough.


With email authentication set up correctly, your emails should reliably find their way to their recipients. With DMARC in particular, you’ll be able to quickly identify problems as they arise or reassure yourself that all is well.

If you like this post, perhaps you’d like to subscribe to my blog. And, if you like reading about design, technology, and assorted miscellany, I hope you’ll subscribe to the Faculty newsletter.

Thanks for reading.

Wed, 31 Jan 2024 09:25:11 -0700
2023 Recap For many years (2004–2020), I made time each January to post highlights of the prior year. It was a nice habit, and although I mostly did it for myself, I really enjoy reading yearly recaps from others, so maybe some of you do, too.

I lost the habit during the pandemic, but I’m going to pick it back up again. (I did write a catchup post that captures some of what I missed.) I’m also going to use this opportunity to call these recaps rather than highlights, partly to remove the positivity bias. While 2023 did have some highlights, it was a tough year.

Quite by accident, I’m posting this exactly 40 years after the original Macintosh was released. We had one at Webb, and along with the C64, it captured my imagination and contributed heavily to my lifelong passion for computers. Much has changed in the last 40 years, but I’m still using a Mac.


We went to Meow Wolf Convergence Station, which is a little hard to describe. Meow Wolf is like an art gallery, but instead of walking around looking at art, it’s an immersive experience where you’re in it. The kids loved it, and so did I.

We went skiing in Keystone, which boasts the world’s largest snow fort. I didn’t know it at the time, but this would be my last time skiing for a while. I haven’t been since.

Although it’s not something I would normally recall, it was around this time that the last two years of playing soccer again started to pay off. It took longer than I expected, but I finally felt like I had my speed, strength, and stamina back. For a brief moment, I felt like my old self. Some of the weekend pickup games were especially fun.

The month ended with some truly heartbreaking news that I decided not to write about.


February began with a memorial service, and Matter, the neuroscience company I co-founded, felt more important than ever. I really poured my heart into it, because I wanted to make a difference.

I found myself stretched too thin, and this continued throughout the rest of the year. Most days consisted of back-to-back meetings all day. My schedule was like a crowded parking lot, with cars circling around ready to snatch any space that opened up. I was trying to do too much. Despite what LinkedIn hustlers might tell you, this is not how you do your best work.

To make time to prepare for my whole team coming to Boulder for a week, I skipped out on a weekend trip to Snow Mountain Ranch with my family. This turned out to be a big mistake.

I played pickup soccer that weekend. For many reasons, I felt like I really needed it. Unfortunately, about an hour in, disaster struck. I got hit from behind when I wasn’t expecting contact, and I hurt my left knee. There’s never a good time pick up an injury, but this was the worst. I went home and iced it. When I woke up the next day, it was clear it was serious.

My injury dominated every moment the week my team was in town. I was swollen and broken and unhappy. It was meant to be a week for us to connect, reflect, and grow as a team, but it wasn’t for me.

I made an appointment with a PT who performed a Lachman test and gave me the worst news: my ACL was completely torn. An MRI later confirmed it and added a bucket handle meniscus tear to my list of woes.

Around this time, Christina volunteered me for a few school things, which was probably something I didn’t appreciate in the moment, but it was good for me. I designed the program for the lip sync show and learned GarageBand well enough to mix some music for it. (I learned iMovie the year before to create the 5th grade slideshow.) I was doing some really good work (if I say so myself) and picking up some new skills along the way.

Christina and I went to Buena Vista to see Brett Dennen. We stayed in an Airbnb that was a short walk from the venue. The show was really great, although standing for hours was not ideal with my swollen knee.


I had knee surgery. It was a trifecta: they repaired my meniscus, harvested my quad (for a new ACL), and replaced my ACL. I had to wear a locking brace, so I couldn’t bend my knee, and I wasn’t allowed to put any weight on my operative leg for 6 weeks. Everything hurt, and I was bedridden.

Four days later, SVB collapsed. All of Matter’s money was there. Most commentary conflated depositors with investors, acting like anyone who banked there deserved to lose their money. It was all very upsetting. After a nail-biting weekend, news came on Monday that depositors would be protected. Disaster averted.

Almost a year after ordering it, my new bike finally arrived. In most ways, it was an upgrade from my Urban Arrow. It would be three months before I could ride it.

We held a pinewood derby workshop at our house. We have a lot of useful tools and knowledge to help kids make their cars fast. Sadly, I was unable to help or even go outside to watch. It did give Killian a chance to step up and help, which he did.

As part of our Christmas gift to the kids, we booked a family trip to Brooklyn for spring break. Except I couldn’t go. Thankfully, Christina’s sister Rose was able to take my place, and they all had a good time. The trip coincided with Kinference, a conference put together by Cameron Koczon. (For those who don’t know, we created Brooklyn Beta together.) Christina dropped by the conference a couple of times and texted me a steady stream of photos with friends, which was really lovely.


We celebrated Christina’s birthday at Southern Sun. It was 6 weeks after my surgery and my first time leaving the house. My brace was set to allow up to 60 degrees of flexion by this point, which I could just about manage, but sitting was pretty difficult.

Christina and the kids went to Vail for closing weekend. I remember hoping I’d be able to join them next time, since it would be several months before we went skiing again. Wishful thinking.

I began having severe, debilitating shoulder pain. It lasted for months, and I was up every night. Despite an MRI and numerous assessments, no one could figure it out.


We had birthday parties for the kids. I was still in a locking brace but able to walk without crutches, so I could participate.

Killian won the regional pinewood derby race, a particularly incredible feat considering he did all the work by himself. (It’s meant to be a collaboration with a parent.)

I started going to the kids’ soccer games again. I was amazed at how much they had progressed since I last saw them (last season). Killian scored a solo goal after receiving the ball in his own half that was particularly impressive.

Tears of the Kingdom was released, and the kids and I jumped right in. We had so much fun together, and it was all they talked about for a while.

On my birthday, Christina and the kids bought me coffee, hot sauce, and chocolate. It was pretty much the perfect gift.


We took a family trip to Snow Mountain Ranch and stayed in a yurt. Each morning, we drove to Simple Coffee in Granby, which became a favorite ritual for the kids. I walked around quite a bit on uneven ground and ended up regretting it later.

I took the kids to Beautifica at Fiske Planetarium. It was interesting, but unworthy of the hype. I remember thinking we should go to the planetarium more.

Christina planned sleepaway camps for all three kids during the same week, so we had our first kid-free week together in over a decade. We rented a tiny cabin and had the best time. We did miss the kids, and they missed us, but it was a pretty wonderful week.

I bought a new car, the first new car I’ve ever owned. I knew I wanted our next car to be an EV, and with three kids (and a dog), there aren’t many options. It’s amazing and fits us perfectly.


The kids started watching Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous, which is the first show I can remember them all really enjoying. I enjoyed it, too, so it gave us something to watch as a family. (The kids don’t yet know that a sequel is coming this year.)

We saw the Indigo Girls at Chautauqua. Christina is really good about getting tickets to concerts, and this show came with a really nice surprise: Garrison Starr was the opener. I used to go to her shows when living and working in Memphis. She’s still great. We chatted for a bit after the show.

I had a first “daddy and me” planned with Tegan to see Avett Brothers at Red Rocks and stay overnight in a nearby hotel after. It didn’t go as planned. We saw the opener, then the show was delayed for lightning for quite a long time. After the second delay, it was already late, so we headed to the car. I think she still enjoyed the trip, but she was a little disappointed. We stopped for lunch in Golden on the way back.

We took a family trip to Manitou Springs, where we stayed in a tiny home. We toured the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, played at the Manitou Springs Penny Arcade, went to the Dinosaur Resource Center, and visited Garden of the Gods on our way back home.

Christina and I saw Tori Amos at Red Rocks. We sat with friends in the general admission section instead of our (closer) seats, which made it better.

The Women’s World Cup began. (It was disorienting to think that 2019 was four years ago.) I don’t know why, but it wasn’t as fun as last time. Maybe it was me, or watching in the middle of the night, or waning superstars. The US loss to Sweden was pretty exciting to watch, even if it ended in disappointment. For those who missed it, the match went to penalties, and the goal that sent the US home was initially saved by Naeher, but the ball rebounded off of her gloves and was spinning back toward the goal, and she had to save it again off the goal line. Goal-line technology confirmed that the ball was over the line, which I believe is true, but I can’t see any space between the ball and the line. Naeher says she will go to her grave claiming she saved it.

I took the kids to the cinema to see Elemental. We biked to Cinebarre in Louisville, which has extra luxurious seats and servers who bring you food and drinks. It’s a splurge, but the kids had such a great time. Biking there made it an adventure. To continue the fun, we walked across the pedestrian bridge after and went to Chuck E. Cheese.

Later that night, Christina and I saw Ira Glass at Chautauqua. It was the first time I had seen Ira since he spoke at Brooklyn Beta (and made a balloon animal for Tegan).


Tegan had a Girl Scout camp at Tomahawak Ranch, and I took the other kids with me to pick her up. We stopped at Crossroads Pub and Grill on the way back.

I took the kids to Cirque du Soleil, which was incredible. Their shows are always so impressive.

We watched in horror as Lahaina burned. We have so many good memories there, and many of the places we loved were burned to the ground.

On August 11, I ran on a treadmill. It wasn’t pretty, or fast, or for very long, but it felt like a massive triumph nonetheless.

The kids started 3rd, 5th, and 7th grades. Killian and Riley walk across the street, and Tegan has a 20-minute bike ride. I’m able to join her for about half of the ride, since it’s on my way to Roost.

Christina and I went to see Swell Season at Levitt Pavilion. It was great. The last time I saw Markéta and Glen together was many years earlier at Radio City Music Hall, shortly after the success of the film Once.

I took a quick trip to NYC for meetings with TLGG and met some new people, including the grandson of Boutros Boutros-Ghali.


Christina ran the Grand Traverse, a race through the mountains from Crested Butte to Aspen.

Rose and her wife Jenna visited to see Sylvan Esso at Red Rocks with us. We took a day trip to Nederland while they were here. The kids love the Carousel of Happiness, Train Cars Cafe, and Crosscut (the best pizza in Colorado).

I went to Brooklyn for a week with my team at Matter. The standout memory for me was finally seeing Sleep No More, and then staying out late at Don’t Tell Mama, a super fun piano bar we used to frequent back when we lived in Manhattan.

One of the team-building activities was a puzzle race called Great Gotham Challenge that reminded me of Midnight Madness.

On the last morning, I met up with Kelli to talk through some fun stuff we were working on together. It was raining hard, and I was soaked by the time I got there, despite it only being a few blocks away. While we were busy chatting, I was unaware that it was flooding all around us. By the time I hopped in a cab to head to the airport, getting there was impossible due to all the road closures, and my flight was cancelled. (Even one of the terminals in LaGuardia flooded.) Of course, with so many flights being cancelled, finding another one was really difficult. I did manage to make it home that night, but missed seeing Tig Notaro with Christina as planned.


Oliver came to town for a book tour, so we met up for coffee prior. We chatted about the years since I moved to Boulder and a bit about his new book. He had to leave for the venue quite early, so I decided to eat lunch and meet him there later. While I was eating lunch, he texted to say he had lost his Apple Pencil and needed it for his talk. Thus began a fun but frantic adventure that involved racing to the Apple Store to buy a new one, then racing to the venue in time for his talk. I was 10 minutes late in the end, but it all worked out. And his talk was great.

I had another quick trip to NYC. The night I arrived, I took the train to Prospect Heights and had dinner at Chuko, my favorite ramen place. While there, I heard someone behind me say, “Chris?” It was Lazar, a friend I used to play soccer with every Saturday in Prospect Park.

One night while I was in my hotel room helping Tegan with her math, I mentioned that I couldn’t hear her very well, so she held her mic closer to her mouth and asked if that was better. I laughed so hard, because it was a tiny handheld mic. I took a screenshot for posterity.

The solar eclipse coincided with one of Killian's soccer games, so we arrived early and had plenty of glasses to share. The kids especially loved how shadows were crescent-shaped. It reminded me of the Veritasium video about shadows.

Tegan took a school trip to Canyonlands that she had been planning and looking forward to all year.

The kids were really into Halloween, as always, and they especially loved Halloween mode on the Rivian.


I had an electrodiagnostic and nerve conduction study performed on my shoulder and surrounding areas to try to determine the underlying issue of my prior shoulder pain and continued weakness. The doctor determined that I have nerve damage that will heal on its own in a year or so. He said it was caused by something attacking my nervous system, which also explains why the pain was so severe.

Christina and I saw Patty Griffin at Boulder Theater. I hadn’t seen her since she played at the Gibson Showcase (RIP) in Memphis. Her voice isn’t quite as strong as it used to be (she could really raise the roof), but it was a great show.

Christina had lunch with Gabby Giffords at Walnut Cafe, one of our favorite local spots. (I still need to watch her documentary).

I met up with a group of SoBo dads for beers at Under the Sun, starting a new tradition.

We watched Tegan perform in her school play, 67 Cinderellas. She played one of the Cinderellas.

We hiked up to Royal Arch. This was the most challenging hike since my knee surgery. Going up was easy, but coming down wasn’t. I needed the challenge.

I made broccoli casserole for Thanksgiving. It was a favorite of mine growing up. I predict I’ll be checking this post for the recipe later this year.

I took the kids to Macky Auditorium to see the Nutcracker.

Chris Merritt visited Boulder for a Faculty summit to plan for 2024 and beyond.

We launched a public beta for the Matter app, and I blogged about co-founding a neuroscience company and returning focus back to Faculty (and Roost).


Following in his older sister’s footsteps, Killian is on his school’s Battle of the Books team. (Tegan won the regional competition last year.) I almost fell out of my chair when I saw him reading Jack Cheng’s book, See You in the Cosmos. (Many of you probably know Jack, but you might not know he wrote this amazing, award-winning book.)

I led one of Killian's scout meetings to teach some knots. The knots I taught were prescribed except for a bonus one I included at the end, the Ian Knot. It is the best and coolest way to tie your shoes, and even the parents were eager to learn how to do it.

We had a holiday party at Roost, which was a lot of fun. Sticking with tradition, we held a white elephant gift exchange.

One of the fun local traditions is to climb to meet Santa at Neptune. Santa sits on a ledge at the top of a climbing wall, so kids line up and have to climb up to him. It’s a fun twist.

We sent the first Faculty newsletter since the pandemic, which included some really great links (the main reason to subscribe, in my opinion). Unfortunately, most people reported that the newsletter ended up in spam, so stay tuned for a blog post on SPF and DKIM.

We bought Super Mario Wonder and really enjoyed it. We beat it in Killian’s game first, then I played it through on my own. I decided to 100% it, and was rewarded with the Final-Final Test Badge Marathon, probably my favorite Mario level of all time and reminiscent of Super Mario Logic. If you have this game and haven’t yet played this level, you’re in for a treat.

The holiday break was spectacular. I took two weeks off and enjoyed every day. I took the kids to afternoon tea at Chautauqua Dining Hall, we toured Celestial Seasonings (and the kids got really into having tea every night), we ate at the Spaghetti Factory, and we went to the cinema to see Wonka. We played at home, had movie nights (and watched Klaus, one of our favorites), and generally had fun every day.

2023 was a tough year, but it ended on a positive note. I’m hopeful about 2024 and can feel my energy and enthusiasm returning.

Happy New Year to you. Let’s make it a good one.

Wed, 24 Jan 2024 10:07:41 -0700
Introducing Matter

This is the story of how I co-founded a neuroscience company.

First, some background.

I’ve wanted to make a difference for as long as I can remember.

Years ago, I started a conference called Brooklyn Beta with my friend Cameron Koczon. At the time, despite all of its promise, technology mostly served those working in technology. Even among startups — renowned for innovation — there was an abundance of SaaS companies providing tools for other startups.

We wanted to change that. We wanted to make a difference.

We hope to not only inspire you to work on your own ideas, but we also want to highlight problems that matter. Our speakers will inspire you and help you understand how your skills can help.

We had big ambitions but a modest approach: gather the best people we knew working in technology and inspire them with speakers they would not normally hear from, people working on problems outside of the technology bubble. By shining a spotlight on important problems, we hoped we could make a difference.

Maybe we did.

Shortly after moving from Brooklyn to Boulder, I started Faculty.

We’re a boutique web design and development studio. Some might call us an agency. Others might call us a product studio. We think Faculty is something altogether new.

At Faculty, we believe in:

  • The limitless potential of technology
  • The power of good work
  • The joy in bringing good ideas to life

Good work is especially important to us. So important, in fact, that we carefully defined what good work means to us. (We even printed posters.) More and more people working in technology are taking shortcuts, or worse, overcomplicating solutions, finding joy in complexity rather than in bringing good ideas to life.

We know we can do better, and if we’re going to reach our collective potential, we have to.

We want Faculty to lead by example.

To succeed, we need good clients, people who recognize the importance of long-term thinking and doing things right — and who have good ideas.

And, to really make a difference, we need to reach beyond the world of technology.

Two years ago, I met a neuroscientist named Axel Bouchon. Among other things, he had figured out how to measure happiness, and he needed our help coming up with a product that could connect the science to people’s lives, helping them live longer, healthier, happier lives.

It was a dream project. Can an app actually help people? We had to find out.

The first few months flew by. I was learning a lot and brimming with ideas.

I learned that you can calculate neurotransmitter activity by assessing your emotions. (One of the first things we built was a neurotransmitter calculator.) I learned that we create memories — and learn — based on two criteria: repetition and emotional significance. I learned that more memories means more neuroplasticity. I learned that more neuroplasticity means you’re more creative, you’re more empathetic, and you live longer.

Imagine the impact we could have if we could increase everyone’s neuroplasticity!

I also learned that when you recall a memory, you recall the emotions — you literally feel how you felt when you created the memory, which means you activate the same neurotransmitters. You’ve probably noticed this when recalling a funny memory, particularly when telling others about it. A phrase that inevitably comes up is “you had to be there.” This is because your story is acting as a memory recall trigger for you and anyone else who was there.

This was the breakthrough.

We dreamed up an iOS app that you would carry with you. As you live your life, you take photos to mark the moments that are meaningful to you. Later, when you have time, you rate your emotions, turning the photos into digital memories. The app knows which neurotransmitters are activated for which memories, and which neurotransmitters you might be missing, so it can resurface the memories you need most. As you make memories, you learn more about yourself, so you can start to make changes to your life to improve your health and happiness.

With a solid product vision, we started building.

Along the way, we settled on a name for the company, did all of the branding (a process that deserves its own blog post), and hired an outstanding team. We weren’t just building a product; we were building a company.

Fast forward to today. A lot of hard work from a lot of good people has brought that product vision to life, and it’s now available as a public beta on TestFlight. Just sign up for the beta at, and we’ll email you instructions.

As for Faculty, we have a gorgeous new website designed by Simon Collison, and we’re ready for our next challenge.

Thu, 30 Nov 2023 12:34:22 -0700
Pelé’s Soccer Pelé retired before I became aware of him. The first time I ever heard his name was in Pelé’s Soccer, a video game for the Atari 2600. Like many Atari games, it had cool cover art, but the gameplay required a lot of imagination.

Pelé transcended soccer. Everyone knew who he was, the way you might know who Michael Jordan is, even if you don’t pay attention to basketball. In fact, when debates about the greatest athlete of all time come up, Pelé is always there.

And now the king of soccer has died.

If you want to learn more about him, Netflix has a documentary called Pelé, FIFA posted a lengthy tribute, and this YouTube video curates some of his greatest World Cup moments. Watch this play in particular a few times, and then read this article about it.

Joga bonito!

Thu, 29 Dec 2022 17:22:31 -0700
Two Years “Is it here?”

It was Thursday, March 19, 2020. It was COVID-19. Later that night, we would get a notification that school was cancelled until after spring break. It was here, and school administrators were scrambling.

That was two years ago. It feels like a lifetime ago, but also recent, a phenomenon that I’ve been fascinated by ever since. (More on that later.)

For almost 20 years, I’ve been posting yearly highlights at the start of a new year. I didn’t do that last year (for 2020), and I didn’t do it this year (for 2021). Instead, I’m going to give myself a mulligan and highlight a few memories from what was a rather challenging couple of years.


Jessica visited Colorado to promote her new book. We ate one of the largest slices of pizza I’ve ever seen, she gave a great talk at BookBar, and then we had a couple of drinks and talked about old times.

I flew to London and took the train to Nottingham with Chris, Doug, and Henry for New Adventures . I didn’t know it at the time, but it would be my last trip for a long time.

The night before the conference began, David, Henry, and I took the train to Manchester to watch Manchester United lose to Burnley. We missed the last train back to Nottingham and ended up having a surprise adventure.

Faculty sponsored the conference, and we had a booth where we encouraged attendees to write notes of gratitude that we would deliver. Perhaps it wasn’t the best marketing strategy, but it was fun to spread a little bit of joy.

We unveiled Keybase Book, a website dedicated to educating people all about Keybase and what makes it great. You can read more in the case study. It was especially nice to work with Kelli on some fun design elements inspired by visual cryptography.

Black Lives Matter protests all over the country (and the world) demanded change. I was so inspired by the bravery of protestors, especially considering the prevalence of police brutality at the protests.

We unveiled a new website for Faculty, the first redesign since we launched.

I finally watched Ted Lasso and loved it. It was exactly the kind of show we all needed, with a protagonist whose optimism was disciplined and genuine, and who eventually won everyone over, including me.

We unveiled a new ecommerce site for Jessica Hische.

Despite a substantial increase in voter suppression, we overwhelmingly elected Joe Biden as President of the United States.

Both Pfizer and Moderna received emergency authorization from the FDA for their vaccines. Incredibly, Moderna designed their vaccine in just 2 days. (Pfizer’s timeline was surely similar.) Thank you, Kati Karikó for making such an incredible feat possible.


Roost moved into a new, larger space in the Steel Yards. It has soaring ceilings and plenty of room to grow. I’m grateful that Roost survived the pandemic. For several months, Jace and I built custom-designed desks for the new space. I hope to write more about the design and the process, because I love how they turned out. We have 11 custom desks for full-time members and enough room to accommodate at least 22 part-time members. I also hope to be able to host more events now that we have more room.

In March, a devastating mass shooting took place at our local King Soopers. I was so grateful that Christina and the kids were at Roost on the other side of town rather than at home. Christina organized a lovely vigil for the community where she also gave a brief speech. (The video starts with Nicole introducing her.)

I got vaccinated in April. I would never have imagined being so excited about getting a shot.

Christina and I celebrated 20 years of marriage.

The Euros were a lot of fun. I almost won Guessi. I was 1st going into the final and guessed England to win (they didn’t).

The kids got vaccinated in November. I was so happy to finally have our whole family vaccinated.

We visited family in Tennessee over the holidays, most of whom we hadn’t seen in a long time. It was an extremely hectic trip, with no more than a day in any location, but it was nice.

Devastating fires destroyed over 1,000 homes near us. Our home was spared, but many families lost everything. My heart hurts for everyone affected, and especially for all of the local kids who have endured so much overwhelming tragedy during the pandemic.

At the end of the year, I met a neuroscientist.

To be continued…

Sat, 19 Mar 2022 14:23:20 -0600