Tyler Travitz


Thoughts on Startup Life, Design, Technology, Marketing and the Internet at Large


Everyone remembers this day in their own way. Everyone has a story, none less important than anyone else’s. For those of you whose story includes the loss of someone you care about, I am terribly sorry. I can’t imagine the pain or grief. I’ve already read many stories today; each providing a unique perspective on the day. I think it’s cathartic to share, so, here’s mine.

I was in computer programming class in my senior year of high school when it happened. Mr. Rudy had ducked into our classroom and shouted, “Terrorists just flew a plane into the World Trade Center!” A known prankster, we dismissed it. Then, the second plane hit. Crying in the hallway. The superintendent had told teachers not allow us to watch the events on TV. I don’t blame him, he was doing the best with the information he had at the time, but it was a huge mistake. Thankfully a handful of teachers had the foresight to realize the historical significance. We ditched classes. We wandered the hallways and huddled around TVs. Faces white, mostly silent and stunned. The day dragged on. 2:30. Time to leave, but the day wasn’t over.

For whatever reason, they failed to cancel our soccer match that afternoon. It was an away game, with about an hour and 15 minute drive. After what was probably the quietest bus ride I’d ever taken, I was glad to finally see my parents there. I hugged them. I sat in the bleachers with them during the JV game. I asked my dad what was happening. He did his best to answer.

I remember standing on the field listening to the National Anthem before the game. I heard it in a way I’d never heard it before. The way that sends shivers down your spine, gives you goosebumps and makes your eyes well with tears. Mine did. The really messed up part was, that day was so beautiful otherwise. Sunny, warm, not a cloud in the sky. So many questions, so few answers. In high school, soccer was my life, but I remember thinking how insignificant how trivial the game felt, how everything felt, compared to what had happened. 

Looking back now, I am proud of how America came together to overcome the dark hours and days and months that would follow. Thirteen years later, in the grips of tragedy, bitter partisanship, and chaos abroad, we would all do well to remember that “united we stand, divided we fall.” #NeverForget

Sep 11, 2014

"We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered."

– Tom Stoppard

Mar 25, 2014

The Perfect Turkey Sandwich

As a big fan of lunch, it’s been a lifetime quest obsession to perfect the art of sandwich making. I love sandwiches. A great sandwich can turn around a bad day. There’s just something wonderful about it’s simplicity, and yet it can just as easily be complex.

The turkey sandwich has long been a staple in my diet. It’s a go-to. Today, I believe I perfected the turkey sandwich, so I thought I’d share the ingredients.

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Mar 24, 2014

Advice For Young Designers

Recently, I’ve been meeting with a number of young designers looking for their first gig or to land a new one. I’ve been giving sharing a lot of advice individually, but I thought it might be helpful to share publicly as well. 

From 2008-2013, I led a team of ~10 designers, developers and project managers for a large communications agency. Over that time, I was responsible for the hiring decision for several designers. So as a hiring manager, aside from talent, what did I look for in a design candidate (in no particular order)?

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Mar 20, 2014

What I Learned This Week #2

Another week, more great learnings.


Business: There are people who make swift decisions
From working in a corporate environment, I’d become accustomed to business decisions taking a long time. Business at a large scale often means many layers of bureaucracy and “red tape”. (In some cases, that red tape is necessary and warranted. In other cases, less so.) I was pleasantly surprised to meet some folks this week who had the willingness and authority to make informed business decisions swiftly. They didn’t hem and haw. They heard us out, liked what they heard and acted. Awesome. More people should take this tack. It wastes everyone’s time less.

Nerd: HTML5 Window Messaging
We’re working on a cool new feature for CentUp that uses iframes. We’ve been looking for a way to detect what’s happening in the iframe (eg- url change) but hadn’t found any promising solutions due to browser security. I stumbled across this post detailing a method in the HTML5 spec that lets iframes communicate with parent windows and vice versa. Amazing!

Life: A little appreciation goes a long way.
I was raised to appreciate the things that I was given and the people who love me. It’s a simple concept; gratitude. While I have always felt deeply grateful for the blessings in my life, I haven’t done a great job of telling people just how much I appreciate them. One of my New Year’s resolutions (which I am still keeping!), was to let people know how much I appreciate them. It’s been a simple as a text message or a phone call, but the people I’ve reached out to so far have seemed really appreciative of my appreciation. I really hope that they pay it forward.

What did you learn this week? Please share!

Photo credit: Glenda Sims

Mar 3, 2014

What I Learned this Week #1

I hope to make this a series. Just a quick post highlighting the things I learned this week. Here it goes:

Business: Being a successful entrepreneur requires more than just working hard.
For most of my life, hard work has been enough (perhaps mixed with a bit of luck). Work hard, get what you want. The longer I spend working in CentUp, the more I’m realizing that it’s going to take more than just working hard. Also required: luck, good timing, thick skin, and probably most importantly a strong network. I continue to marvel at the fact that Len seemingly knows everyone, and if he doesn’t know them, he has no fear in setting up a coffee chat. This is certainly a growth area for me.

Nerd: JSON
For the neophytes, JSON is JavaScript Object Notation. Basically, it’s a way to store data for a website or application. For a long time, I was irrationally intimidated by JSON. Since I started my career as a Flash coder, I was used to using XML, which is what I used to create
Headlines Against Humanity. I quickly realized how bulky and slow XML is when you’re trying to build something quickly. It’s also a pain to parse with JQuery. So, for ValentinesDotGov I decided to try JSON. After a short learning curve, and some time using this great tool, I found that JSON is so much easier than XML. I won’t be going back.

Life: Tiny Habits
Brit and I started a program this week based on a book she’s reading called Tiny Habits. The idea is simple:

  • Identify a habit you want to create for me, it was “hanging my coat in the closet when I arrive at home.
  • It starts with a trigger statement. For me,  “After I walk through the door…” My trigger is walking through the door.
  • Add your habit. “After I walk through the door, I will hang my coat in the closet.”
  • Finally, you have to celebrate your achievement after you complete it. “Wohoo! I hung up my coat.”

It’s very simple, but super effective. Try it out.

That’s it for week 1. What did you learn this week?

Feb 14, 2014

What Keeps Me Up At Night

One of my favorite interview questions is, “What keeps you up at night?” It’s typically asked of CEO types and politicians, so no one is asking me. But, I’ve been thinking about the question a lot since joining CentUp full-time in October. I promised myself I would be very transparent about my #startuplife, so I thought I’d share.

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Jan 12, 2014

Words to Live By

Today, I happened to watch part of Ted Kennedy’s funeral, only by chance. The cable guy had to come to give us a new cable box. As the new cable box was “reprogramming” itself, I couldn’t change the channel, which was stuck on NBC. I watched as President Obama gave his eulogy. Love or hate his politics, you can’t deny that he is a gifted public speaker. His entire speech was appropriate and touching, but one particular part really spoke to me. I want to share it with you all because I think that these are words that we would all do well to try to live by. I hope that these words touch you as much as they touched me.

"We cannot know for certain how long we have here. We cannot foresee the trials or misfortunes that will test us along the way. We cannot know God’s plan for us.

What we can do is to live out our lives as best we can with purpose, and love, and joy. We can use each day to show those who are closest to us how much we care about them, and treat others with the kindness and respect that we wish for ourselves. We can learn from our mistakes and grow from our failures. And we can strive at all costs to make a better world, so that someday, if we are blessed with the chance to look back on our time here, we can know that we spent it well; that we made a difference; that our fleeting presence had a lasting impact on the lives of other human beings.”

Aug 29, 2009

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