riddle. enigma. burrito. margot.

Seeking Simians For Revolutionary Startup Opportunity


Are you a scrappy, self-motivated chimp, ape, gorilla, baboon, orangutan or anything that falls within the spectrum of simian who wants to change the stale face of gold mining as we know it? I’m currently looking for future-oriented, entrepreneurial primates with hustle; the kind who can help me develop my core product — blasting gold from the ground like so many t-shirt cannons.

My stealth gold prospecting startup is the hottest startup in Shasta Valley! Not only because we’re hot, but also because it literally gets very hot here. I once knew a chimp whose brain essentially cooked in his own skull while scrubbing the sluices. By the time his gurgles reached me, it was too late. I dumped water on his head, but that only seemed to accelerate the boiling process. And then his brains slid out his ears and nose and into the water, and I was like, shit, sluices need to be re-cleaned, and I could seriously go for some cheesecake right now.

Wait, that was a dream. I did, however, once knew a chimp whose brain exploded in his own skull while scrubbing the sluices. But if memory serves, that has nothing to do with the heat. It’s more a chemical reaction their brains have in reaction to sluice metal.

Look, we’re re-imagining existing technology to create the next massive boom (literally!) in the $360b gold mining market. We’re innovating the user experience across several platforms (panning, sluicing, dredging, hard rock mining, byproduct gold mining, cyanide process and other super sexy gold extraction methods) to massively improve a) the product, b) the form factor, and c) the business model (i.e. b2i – business to investors!) Why are we useful? Please. Why aren’t we useful? My startup is creating a groundbreaking, revolutionary new service for people finally wish to get rich the quick way.

Hardware is at the heart of my stealth gold prospecting startup. The vast majority of our operations are powered by our own custom-pilfered infrastructure, ranging from Pie Pan to Doko Dredge Stacks.

My stealth gold prospecting startup is essentially the first gold mining tool that people will actually use and see tangential (or is it tangible?) results. We locate a rich pay area, run some sampling, then bring in heavy duty materials to blast that shit out of the earth.

We’re accomplishing this with our CTO, my uncle, whose kidney seizes up whenever there’s gold within a 15 mile radius. He’s agreed to come with, so I’ll need to sneak him out of the ICU first. (Will also need funding for a mule who can carry him. Also, a truck with a horse trailer if the mule gets tired, so my uncle can drive him around.)

I see opportunity everywhere and I will know exactly where that opportunity is within a kidney-determined radius, once my candy striper outfit arrives from Amazon. There’s even an app in the works which lets our investors track just how much gold they’ll be getting in real time.

This is where other startups would say they’ve raised a successful seed round, and we’re not exception, except that this baby basically funds itself. Once we get that traction, it’s hockey stick growth all the way! No trough of sorrow, except for the worker-coined “Trough of Sorrow” where we bury victims of work accidents.


– You have a passion for disruptive products and loud noises, like blowing shit up or disturbing simians at other nearby gold prospecting startups.

– You love catching bugs. Not only catching bugs, but building out a scalable, A/B testing framework that ultimately produces better bug traps.

– You enjoy wearing many hats. (Construction hat, chef hat, medic hat, etc.)

– Research and evaluate cost-effective third-party software solutions to keep my uncle calm without copious amounts of Valium. For example, I hear Farmville is quite bland.

– Think critically about performance optimization, concurrency and security issues while running around with a massive fishing net and catching gold as it explodes out of the ground while trigger-happy gorillas stand around making sure you don’t run away with it.

– Love marketing? Me neither! It is also your job to outline immediate and long-term marketing plans when you retire to your makeshift tent at night.

– Work side by side with the founder (me!) as I sit in my air-conditioned tent with you fanning me (another hat you’ll enjoy).

– Dive into near-boiling waters to pull fish out of their natural habitats and throw them into a fish tank for relocation so they won’t get in the way of our operations. We are humanitarians first, pescatarians second. If a fish starts giving you lip for grabbing it in the middle of a school day, poke it directly in the eye. Left eye, not the right, since the left one has more cartilage and is slightly more impervious, which means all it will feel is blinding pain, but this is important: will not actually be blinded. 

– Generous equity package in a fast growing startup (Generous referral bonus if you bring in another monkey! We give you their equity.*)

– Spend 20% of your time devoted to any side project of your choosing from a list of side projects we give you. Cooking, cleaning sluices, you name it.

– Become part of a vibrant, flourishing community, where every day, wizened prospectors and food cart luminaries drop by and provide up close mentorship. Also, our CTO likes to shout motivational quotes from Tony Robbins while he’s urinating, which is often.

– On-site fitness obstacle course. Avoid all the skull-crushing boulders you can handle!

– Competitive salary commensurate with skills and experience.

*My uncle also likes massages. Anyone who gives good massages gets more equity.

Still here? Drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you! Please send a brief introduction, resume and links to any relevant work to

Code monkeys will be turned away immediately. I can usually tell – worse haircuts, maybe? Also, your shirts have that “I found this in a box at a startup party” quality about them.

Many thanks to Maneesh Goel and Jason Shen for reading drafts of this. I’ve given them the roles of Ape #13 and #26, respectively, in my upcoming Dr. Zaius biopic.

Note: I have no reason for choosing monkeys other than being inspired by Dr. Jane Goodall using them to work in her diamond mines on The Simpsons. Also, as you could probably tell from my last post, I enjoy anthropomorphizing animals.

AEYCPCHA #1: The Ski Beanie

The first in our AEYCPCHA series (a.k.a. An Enterprising Young Copywriter Product Catalogues Her Apartment) revolves around a ski beanie the author found at the back of her closet.

mouse with cookie

You gave your mouse a cookie, so he asked for a glass of milk. And then a straw. And then a napkin to wipe his mouth. You thought it all so cute. So innocent!

Worst mistake of your life. By handing him that cookie, you handed him the power. By immediately acquiescing to his request for milk, your fate was sealed.

The mouse started to ask for more things. A mirror (to encourage his vanity), nail scissors (to threaten you with), a customized miniature bed (to feel better than the other members of his species), a tiny rocket launcher (to pre-emptively discourage other members of his species from looting him), a pocket-sized throne with special suction cups on the legs (to lean out the window of his castle without falling and aim his rocket launcher at the bustling masses below).

Your back cracks one morning while crawling out of your servant’s quarters and you realize you’re 41. The mouse greets you by shooting chunks of potatoes at your head with his special potato gun, while you duck and scrape chunks of cookie dough off the floor with your nails.

“May I enter, sir?”

A lump of potato explodes on your forehead, rolling off the bridge of your nose. He grins at your receding hairline.

“Saw Dances With Wolves last night,” he says, leaping off his throne, jabbing at invisible enemies. “I’d like a teepee.”

“Very good, sir. I’ll get on that straight away.”

“I don’t know about you, but I’m feeeeeeling 22,” he shouts, waving his gun.

Your notes on said teepee include:

  • Easily collapsible
  • Softest material known to man or mouse
  • No door flaps (too easy for enemy combatants or looters to enter)
  • Air holes for air
  • Fits over throne


If the above fits your life situation perfectly, then you’re in luck. Ski beanie = mouse teepee! Problem solved.

If the above doesn’t fit your life situation perfectly, and you want this ski beanie for reasons entirely different from those involving a hubristic dictator mouse, then you’re in luck. (I can’t imagine what those reasons could be. Maybe keeping your weed stash warm? I don’t know. I’ve got my own problems.)

Ski beanie shot

Exhibit A: Ski Beanie, Propped Seductively Against Machine. (Note: Bender decal not included.)

Wear this beanie: Don’t. Even inside.

Don’t wear this beanie: If you like living.

This beanie tells the world: I want to die, but in a very specific manner. Namely, a mouse shooting potatoes directly into my ear canal while I sleep.

God, what a beanie!

Wait, you could wear this beanie: In a parallel universe.

People tell me you could wear it: While skiing, in a parallel universe. (Oh, I get it now.) Ironically enough, the author bought this hat at a crowded open market stall in Hong Kong, one of the most humid places on earth, as an wizened female hawker shouted obscenities at her.

Create ski beanie memories: In a parallel universe, while …

  • … donning it on a cold winter’s night immediately prior to a date because you thought it’d look cute, but then enter the coffee shop, plop down across your date and immediately remove your beanie in a flurry of insecurity.
  • … utilizing the bobble on top by lighting it on fire! Attract the opposite sex, freak out your local lice population or help airplanes taxi.
  • … storing seeds from your next door neighbor, who temps over at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault and sneaks a few here and there as reimbursement for less-than-stellar wages.

Nobody knows what goes into the sausage.

“You can always rewrite. You can always go back and fix the incredibly stupid shit you did the day before. There’s nobody watching. Nobody knows what goes into the sausage […] so you can fuck up in the most epic ways, right up into the point where someone else has got the manuscript.” – Warren Ellis (being interviewed on The Nerdist podcast) 

Nobody hates my writing more than I do. (Seriously, you think you hate my writing? Hater, please.)

95% of the time, what I see when I write is crap. Leaking out of my fingers, tumbling out of my brain, oozing onto the screen (sorry for the visual, sorry) – a millennia’s worth of crap.

It’s common for many writers to loathe their initial product (and even the “final” one), but for me, the shock comes from this: I don’t recall harboring this much resentment at the drivel leaking out of my fingers when it was all I was doing. 

I’m not kidding when I allude to a time when writing was all I did. I majored in Creative Writing. My classes were about writing novellas, crafting screenplays for short films, navel-gazing as an art in long-form nonfiction, etc.

I mean, I had my doubts, but I clearly recall a time when I could write uninterrupted and a whole hour would go by without too much embarrassment. There were even moments when I chuckled aloud at something I had just typed. (If you can make yourself not cringe, let alone laugh while writing – that’s a keeper!)

You see, when I was still an impressionable young undergrad, I was under the impression (see: “impressionable”) that I would be a great writer of novellas and long-form nonfiction. You know, like a real writer! Like, for The New Yorker and shit! If anything, my self-worth should have been more tied into my writing. Logic stands that I should hate my writing less now that it’s not the singular thing that defines me, career-wise. (I am nothing if not a jack-of-all-trades startup community manager!)

I can pinpoint the moment when this happened, actually. It was after I graduated, after I started working a real (gasp!) job in Hong Kong, after I stopped obsessing about writing and writers that I really started to obsess about writing – or rather, my lack of motivation to achieve real writing. Sure, ordinary writing could come out, but it was just my thoughts. It was simple. It wasn’t my voice, though. How could my voice be so fucking … simple? Mundane? Normal? Just like everyone else.

I even agonized about this in an email to a penpal of mine back in California.

“For me, it’s a cycle. Advance one step, regress two. Get real excited about the prospect of writing for a week, sink into a funk for the next month. I have no idea what my voice is anymore, to the point where I feel like it’s pointless for me to have an opinion. I don’t have anything fresh to say and I feel like I’m parroting most of the time. Most of my free writing activities end up in a jumble of frustrated expletives, and beyond that, I can’t even stand to look at the damn computer screen anymore.”

Two years later, much of my free writing still ends up in a jumble of frustrated expletives, but the difference is, I don’t hate myself so much for it.

Here’s where the uplifting part begins – I’ve been forcing myself to write every night for the past month. I try to do at least 500 words, but I’m not strict about it. Sometimes I’ll feel the inspiration and it’ll stretch far past 1,000. Sometimes I’ll be exhausted and 200 words will eek out about my day.*

But it’s working. Every day, I can feel myself sucking just a tiny bit less. And if you can notice it, that sort of validation is huge.

If I were to start this month-long writing process again, here’s what I’d tell myself:

  • Just do it already.
  • Stop being so precious about your writing.
  • Embrace the stupid and be surprised in hindsight. Some of the stuff you generate during those long, stupid sessions where you’re cursing your feeble brain matter is actually … not so bad.

This is the first blog post that I’ve published since I started this saga, but I’ve generated some really fun ideas that I actually can’t wait to run with:

  • A fake Craigslist ad to solicit a chopper, i.e. someone who will mise en place my veggies for me. Especially bacon. Do you know how annoying it can be to chop your own bacon into tiny squares? I need it for my salads, all the time!
  • A treatise on how to actually, thoroughly do your research on a company before applying or going in for an interview, so as to blow away the HR minion and/or future boss.
  • A fake Craigslist ad to sell my Prius, which got me reminiscing about some of my fond and not-so-fond experiences in said car.
  • The coinage of “thrivel,” i.e. “thrive” + “drivel,” which is basically every inspirational-quote-turned-image put up on Pinterest. I am the biggest sucker for these.
  • How customer service is soul-sucking and deeply-rewarding at the same time. How amazing customers can just make your whole day so, so great.

I’ve come this far in one month. Let’s see what kind of trouble I can generate in two!

*Let’s not underestimate how hard it can be to write every day. Some days you wake up and feel like writing, other days you wake up, know you have to write and opt to look up recipes for paleo ways to crust pork chops. Or apartment decor for your new studio. On the upside, my apartment feels infinitely cheerier to be in now that I have actual stuff on the walls!