Tag Archives: life

Day 847

Kablamo!  50 days slide by in a blink.  At this rate I’ll be done in 17 blinks.   Focus has been a serious problem over the past four weeks due to personal and professional issues.  Nothing that I can’t handle one at a time, but when the floodgates opened up, I knew that I’d be in for a fun ride.

The next two weeks are dedicated to sorting, packing up (and throwing out), moving, unpacking and settling in.  I’m unsure what’s going to happen on the office front, but I’m fairly confident that I’ll be able to find something close to home before September (May and June will be on the road, July work travel & cottage time, and who wants to be in an office in August??).   I had found a school program that I was planning on taking in September but opted to start in 2015.  This way instead of dropping everything in my life to apply before today, I’m going to take my time and do things right.   Put together a portfolio, gather all of my references and get ready for when applications will be accepted October 15th.  And be the first application in (and hopefully the first one accepted).

That’s it for now.  Time to get started.


Doing More

Most of the time, I feel like I was not able to do enough for someone.  Yes, I can connect people and follow up with them and hold their hand through the process, but most of the time it is not enough.  I’ve come to realize that it’s due to two reasons – perspective and questions.

People tend to have a skewed self-serving perspective, which on it’s own is not a bad thing.  It’s the realization (or lack of it) that everyone else has the exact same perspective that can change a lack lustre idea into a disruptive technology that revolutionizes the way we perceive / communicate / interact with the world.

Questions – two parts to this reason – not enough of them and not the right ones.  People tend to make a series of broad assumptions when they are talking to someone new or to an expert in their field.  It is these assumptions, or the fear of being thought of as dim witted, that never allows someone to get to the heart of the matter.  Or worse still, they don’t ask enough questions to uncover a gem or nugget of knowledge that they can harness or use to further their own self-serving interests.  The wrong, or right questions, depends totally upon perspective (see previous paragraph).  If you cannot see things from another persons perspective (the person you’re talking to, your audience, their audience, or the potential client) then you are in for a world of hurt.

I’m starting to think that I could do more just be helping people with perspective and questions.  I wonder…

Brought to you by the letter H

I learned a few new things this week. 

Humility – I popped a big surprise on someone this week and did not get the reaction that I was expecting.  It didn’t help that this was one of the most stressful weeks that I’ve experienced in a few years (and I wasn’t the only one who was feeling the heat).

Honesty – I was reminded what it’s like to depend on someone for something and have them come through before the deadline.  I was also reminded of the fact that one of my flaws is procrastinating on something if it is not absolutely important or just outside of my peripheral vision. 

Transparency – Open and honest communication between all stakeholders always makes things go faster.  No secrets means no surprises.

Hustle – Monday to Friday – 81.5 hours clocked.  Three new potential clients brought in, 7 new opportunities identified, and a whole lot of problems solved.  I couldn’t have done it without Swash and V.

Homework – Being in the right place at the right time means nothing if you haven’t done your homework.  Knowing who does what and how that fits into the grand scheme of things makes life infinitely easier.  Understanding the terminology provides a lot of clarity. 

Hefty – I’ve had three tasks on my to do list that have been there for a few weeks.  One of them I managed to clear off.  The other two feel insurmountable at the moment.  I guess it’s back to the basics – break each task down into their individual component and then just do it.  No more planning to plan.

The “H” drill – A special thank you to the High Park Demons for re-introducing this drill and for all of the Aussies who pronounce it “heych”.  Makes me smile every time.

I’m looking forward to seeing what I’ll learn next week.  🙂

The Long Way Back

Every so often, I fall back into an old habit that I picked up while in university.  Midway through a project or when things are slow, I would apply for a job.  Didn’t have to be a fancy job or even one that I cared about; I would walk in, sit down for the interview and ace it.  That would be that and I would get on with the rest of the project feeling better about life in general.  

Recently, I found myself in a position where I was applying for jobs – not because I was falling into that old habit, but I truly thought that getting a 9-5 / salary position with a mid-size firm was what I needed.  Turns out that the job market in Ontario isn’t too hot right now and companies are not willing to take a risk on someone who hasn’t had a “real job” since he was 17.

I didn’t know it when I started, but I chose the path less followed – the one of the entrepreneur.  I’ve been through three periods of time when it was sexy to be an entrepreneur in the mainstream media and two periods where it was unsexy (that tended to be the time when Google would hire a huge glut of disenfranchised entrepreneurs).  I can generally see the look on my parents and my significant other’s face as I get peppered with questions about “what do I want to do with my life?” and “am I happy?” – as the frequency increases then I know that A. the overall economy is getting worse, B. someone else of my generation in their sphere of influence just got a new job, and C. they are genuinely concerned for my well being.

The path I chose to take

I was fortunate that early in my life I had three role models / mentors that helped frame the way that I thought and drastically skewed my outlook on life (for the better).  The skills and expertise that I have developed while working and unintentionally volunteering with startups, has given me the ability to quickly assemble, mobilize and deploy resources while at the same time constantly evaluate whether the project that I’m working on will come to fruition.  In the past, I’ve been a bad judge of character and caught up in the hype of a project, but I’ve become less hyper and slightly jaded in my old age.  I still maintain a total inclusion policy for entrepreneurs, believe in a non-zero sum game philosophy and the whole “give before you get” mantra, however I know that I have the attention span of a two year old and have commitment issues.

I do know that if I had gotten a 9-5 job out of university my life would be easier (less ups and downs) and I would have a more inward / selfish focus.  I also know that my life would not be as rich and I would not have had the experiences and lifelong friendships that I’ve made over the past thirteen years.  

You meet some interesting characters along the way

Over the past two weeks I have been looking into the startup scene in Barrie, Ontario and working with a few of the local players to develop more of a community.    Personally, I was inspired by Brad Feld when he came to Toronto late October for his book launch organized by StartupNorth and I’m using (ok copying) his ideas about organizing a community around startups and their entrepreneurs.  At the event, one person asked a question about how to decide what events to start with to mobilize a community / get involved, and Brad electrified the audience by saying “You don’t need permission from people who are currently ‘in the community’.  Talk to people, find out what they want and bring them together.  Just do it.”

One of the first things planned in Barrie is an Open Coffee Club to be held at The Creative Space on Tuesday December 4th at 8am.  You can get involved and get more info from the  Barrie Open Coffee Club Facebook page.  This event is open to entrepreneurs, investors and those with entrepreneurial spirit (intrapreneurs, socialpreneurs, etc).  Startup Weekend is set to launch May 3rd and the plan is to have a series of events such as workshops, hackathons, and creative events to get the startup players formed into more of a community before then.  So come out December 4th and give your input!


Barrie Open Coffee Club:




Ignorance is not an excuse!

I found a picture that I will be using in the Weekly Photo Challenge – you can see the picture and post here.  If you want to see other pictures posted by people, you can see all of them here: DailyPost: Opportunity.

Sunday Run – 50 minutes – 1 point / Monday workout – 45 minutes – 1 point

Marketing points – 196 points for talking to new people (yes that’s 196 people that I spoke to on the phone or received a response from via email) / 2 points for new contracts

Total points for the day – 200!

A little point on ignorance.  Every day I seem to fight against ignorance.  Most of the time it centres around the theme of finance and money, but over the past week it’s been more around computers / IT / social media as a marketing tool.  It turns out that people are lazy.  I guess I used to be part of that majority – that is until I discovered a magical thing called Google (and YouTube).  Don’t know how to use bookmarks in your web browser?  Google “how to use bookmarks in a web browser” or look up the same thing on YouTube – goodness me – step by step instructions on how to do it?  You’ve got to be kidding me!  Hold on, you mean I can do that for any topic?  You mean there are other people in the world who’ve had this problem in the past?! (note the sarcasm please).

Tomorrow will be a half-day for work – probably the morning but it will depend on a few factors.  I’m so psyched as I’ll be turning 30 with nothing solid planned aside from being open minded. 😉

Self shot
The View
The Road Less Traveled

31 Day Sprint

Yesterday I started a sprint – thirty-one days of concentrated effort to bring to fruition a few projects that I’ve been working on for the past few years. At the end of the sprint, I’ll be in a much better position in general while developing a different outlook on life and business.

There are five areas that I’m focusing on:

* Health – physical and mental
* Financial – metrics and daily measurements
* Spiritual – philosophical and ethical questions about the world around us
* Spare time – develop hobbies, set time aside for them
* Marketing – communication, brand, and channels

It was around this time last year that I started to inch towards Sendai, Japan and I find myself getting that itch to do something similar. It’s been over six months since the earthquake and tsunami and I find myself still being a little resentful/bitter and mourning. I don’t think that I have come to terms with the experience and I’ve let it influence my life until now.

Today I’m writing about the financial objectives of the 31 Day Sprint. In terms of metrics and measurement, I’m tracking the daily activities that will lead to more business and subsequently more income. Each day I track the number of points accumulated and plot them on a chart against these categories:

0-15 points – Danger level! I may soon have a boss.
16-33 points – Average – if that’s what I want.
34-51 points – Looking good. I’m in the top 20%.
52-69 points – The Million Dollar Pro.

I get a point for each of these activities: introductory client meeting, all documents collected, proposal sent, cold calling (1 point for each business owner spoken to), agreement signed, contract signed, contract extension, supplier interest on a project, a phone number collected from a cold contact (face to face), referral contacted, mail-outs / direct ad mail (1 point per 20), newsletter or newsworthy email (1 point per 20).

After the sprint, there will a concerted effort to continue to track these activities, in addition to revenue per day, expenses per day and hours billed.

Progress to date:
Day 1: 5 points

It’s not very good, but I’m being honest with myself and making more of an effort to focus on the positive and not spend my day putting out fires.

More updates to come….

New Gobi Office

The new office is officially setup – all phone, internet, cubicls, etc have been setup and now open for business.  The background noise tends to increase as the day wears on and it is definately easier to see the computer screen in the afternoon so that there is no ‘rising sun glare’.

Read more…