lily pad illustration
lily pad illustration

As a kid, my dream was to get my drawings published in Highlights for Children (yep, the children’s magazine you find in dental offices across America). My plan was to draw a masterpiece, submit it, and then see my artwork grace the hallowed pages of Highlights. So I drew a few pictures and submitted a couple of times, but when my drawings didn’t get picked, I became disillusioned with the child art world, tossed my crayons aside, and gave up.

I mistook my dream for a goal, and that’s what set me up for heartbreak.

Was my dream simply too…


This piece was originally performed live for You Are Not Alone: An Uplifting Show About Depression, but given that we are all now, collectively, deep in the shit, I thought it would be appropriate to share.

  1. Try a mindful breathing exercise. Remember that even if you are very bad at everything else in your life, you can still breathe.
  2. Be gentle with yourself when you end up criticizing how you breathe. Who knew someone could be so bad at a process that happens automatically for most people? You can try to breathe again later.
  3. When you find yourself ruminating over…


Dear Lisa,

As you know, New York State has declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus. I can imagine you have concerns about how I, Seth, a man you last saw wearing an ironic dinosaur onesie after we had sex in 2014, am taking precautions against the spread of COVID-19.

I want to assure you that I am here to support you during this time, though I cannot hold your hand or spend the night due to transmission rates and not at all due to my inability to be emotionally vulnerable. …


May the odds be ever in your favor, form fields.

DonorsChoose.org handles a lot of donations to classrooms. Last year, our checkout flow, which included viewing cart and payment page, handled over 2.6 million transactions (whoa!) — which is exactly why we needed to look at it with a critical eye.

We didn’t decide to redesign checkout because anything was broken or buggy with it, but because it is such a core part of our site. Since every single donor has to go through checkout in order to make a donation, we knew it needed to be as frictionless as possible. …


People love write-ups on huge redesigns with flashy before and afters, but every redesign doesn’t have to be like Anne Hathaway’s makeover in the Princess Diaries. Sometimes a redesign can feel more like a spot-the-difference puzzle from Highlights for Children and still make an impact.

Spot the Difference by Jason Sampson

At DonorsChoose.org, we’re not always building new features; we’re often focused on refining and improving our core features. One of these core features is our match-offer product, where foundations and corporate partners match donations on our site. …


People love write-ups on huge redesigns with flashy before and afters, but every redesign doesn’t have to be like Anne Hathaway’s makeover in the Princess Diaries. Sometimes a redesign can feel more like a spot-the-difference puzzle from Highlights for Children and still make an impact.

Spot the Difference by Jason Sampson

At DonorsChoose.org, we’re not always building new features; we’re often focused on refining and improving our core features. One of these core features is our match-offer product, where foundations and corporate partners match donations on our site. …


One of the most important parts of any e-commerce or crowdfunding site is the item details where people can learn about the item that they’re purchasing or donating to. On Kickstarter, that’s a “project.” On Etsy, it’s called a “listing.” On DonorsChoose.org, we call it the “project page” — where teachers request the materials and experiences they need for their students.

The project page on DonorsChoose.org is a teacher’s primary fundraising tool because this is where donors come to give. It’s our #1 landing page — more people come to our site through project pages than through any other page…


Learn how we reaped the benefits of a design sprint even though we have a tiny team and few resources.

Our team has considered running a Google Ventures-style design sprint to come up with creative solutions for some of the problems we’ve faced, but a five-day commitment from several team members was prohibitively expensive for us. As a resource-constrained non-profit with a small product team, we have to be especially prudent with how we use our time, so we decided to adapt this 2-hour design sprint to fit our needs (Full disclosure: Our full sprint took about 3 hours).

The Problem We Set Out to Solve

Plenty of websites let teachers raise money from their own social networks, but what makes DonorsChoose.org unique is that teachers on…


Your hacker elitism is shitting all over my good mood.

While researching programming bootcamps for a friend of mine who was interested because I can’t shut up about how much I loved my experience at General Assembly, I came across a lot of skepticism and cynicism regarding programming bootcamps in general. I read many of these opinion pieces months earlier when I was trying to decide whether or not I should bother applying to one because $12K is a lot of money to invest in something that may essentially be a scam. I had read these before, weighed my pros and cons, but decided to go for it.

It was…

Tea Ho

Brooklyn Comedy writer. Former wedding photographer, web designer & developer.

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