When I was three, I wanted to lie in a hammock. We didn’t have a hammock, and my parents were not going to buy me a hammock. So I strung a sheet up between two doors in our house and made myself a hammock. I remember hitting the ground hard in my first attempt to secure the sheets to the knobs. This became my earliest evidence of living one of my mottos: “Fail fast, learn, and move on.” On my second try, I succeeded and fell comfortably asleep in my hammock until my parents woke me up for dinner.
When I was five, I wanted a pool, but we didn’t have the money to build one. The Portland, Oregon, weather didn’t justify it. My first attempt that spring to build one did not please my parents as much as the hammock had: I locked the ...