Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

I Command You To Grow!!

Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

I love synchronicity – the Jungian idea that events are “meaningful coincidences” if they occur with no causal relationship yet seem to be meaningfully related. This Spring, I started reading Mike Michalowicz’s book ‘The Pumpkin Plan’. The central idea of his book is that business people should be more inclined to trim away customers to focus solely on their best customers in order to grow them, and their company, to the biggest size possible. Mike likens this business focus on the best customers to a farmer who tries to trim away all pumpkins on a vine to a select one or two in order to grow the biggest pumpkins possible. This Rhode Island farmer’s pumpkin grew to 2,261.5 pounds!! What?!?

Speaking of books, I currently have two books for sale on Amazon if you’re interested: ‘The Lean Startup’ and ‘Sprint’.

Growing is what Spring is all about. For some reason, this Spring in particular has had me focusing inordinately on growth: growing my own vegetables, growing my income, growing my net worth, growing my muscles, growing my cardiovascular strength, growing my family bonds, helping my employer grow. Every day I think about GROWTH. How can I grow more? How can I get bigger? How can I 10x my life??!?! I’m done shrinking!!! I look at the earth – not the World as a whole, but dirt – and biological organisms and how life literally springs forth from it every Spring. No matter what man does to the planet, seemingly, life still springs forth every year. The life force is so strong on earth. Life wants to grow! Life must grow! It can’t be stopped. That’s what this planet does – springs forth life and growth – and humans are no different.

My girlfriend and I started a garden in our back yard a few weeks ago. It was back-breaking work. We got covered in dirt and mud. It rained as we worked. Our backs and hands hurt. I could barely stand upright the next day. It felt awesome. We now have spinach, beans, herbs, bee-balm, tomatoes, potatoes and cucumbers growing. We also have planters of grape vines, black berries and blue berries growing. Despite our lack of farming skills and knowledge, the earth continues to spring forth life. The energy to give life, emerge and grow is unstoppable and everywhere. It’s awesome to think that we humans are products of this energy.

We didn’t stop at a garden in the back yard though. I bought some land down in Southern Virginia this Spring so I could grow even more life! My family and I were down there last weekend (West of the Richmond area) planting Apple, Plum, Cherry and Oak Trees.  We also seeded Sun Flowers, Wild Flowers, and some other seeds.  If we let the land sit for long enough without intervention, trees and weeds of all sorts would eventually take over the land. I am trying to impose my own growth plan and will on the land instead by determining what life I say will grow there.  Why must we grow Fruit and White Oak trees and Sun Flowers, JC? Because I said so, that’s why.  I command it to grow!!

Also in the last few weeks, I discovered this guy, CT Fletcher, and how he uses the phrase, ‘I command you to grow!’, to grow his muscles as he lifts weights. He commands his muscles to grow! Why? Because he said so! It’s his ‘Magnificent Obsession’! This is genius! CT has learned to envision the change he wants to affect in his life, and to impose his will over it to make it so. Can I do that too? Can you?

My new mantra when I look at my Bank Account, my Gardens, my Trees, my Relationships, AND my muscles is: ‘I command you to grow!’ Why JC? Because I said so, that’s why!

Building A Startup On AWS

Let’s Dance

Building on the knowledge learned from my previous two blog posts on my following of the Wild Rydes AWS Serverless Computing Tutorials, ( Wild Rydes Part I and Part Deux), I decided to put some of that information to use in my own work at www.nautilustracker.com.

I’ve been working on some mobile apps and a back-end platform supporting my trans-Atlantic Ocean Rowing attempt last year with my girlfriend, Cindy. I’d like to turn some of the things I’ve developed thus far into a Software as a Service (SaaS) for other people to easily use on similar adventures. To that end, I wanted to quickly create a responsive website to put out some information about my future offerings, including the ability to allow interested parties to contact me by providing their email address and a contact message in a simple contact form.

Know Your Limitations. Build On the Shoulders of Giants

I know I do not have great web design skills. Web Design is just not my focus. But I needed to create a nice looking website for my startup landing page. What to do? I did some quick searches and found lots of free Bootstrap templates I could use for my purposes. Over the course of an afternoon I grabbed a free Bootstrap Template that I liked, cut-in some of my own images, and modified the html to create the menus and sections I wanted in my landing page. I brought in some of the JavaScript from the Wild Rydes tutorial I was working through to connect my Contact Form to my DynamoDB database running in my AWS Account. After I had a look-and-feel I was going for, and the functionality was working ok for the Contact Form, it was simply a matter of uploading my web site assets to my S3 bucket:

> aws s3 sync . s3://www.nautilustracker.com

Stop Daddy

I had previously registered my Domain Name (nautilustracker.com) with GoDaddy last year. Now I wanted to move the DNS Registrar to AWS. This turned out to be very easy. Once I followed the documented steps to move a domain to AWS, I only had to add an A Record to point to the domain to my S3 Bucket containing website artifacts. I will point this A Record to a CloudFront endpoint soon.

Lipstick On A Pig

Now that the landing page is up, there is a mountain of work to do. The next step is to get email working for my domain using AWS SES so I can use that domain email to register as an organization in the Apple iOS Developer Program.

Book Review: ‘The One Thing’

The ONE Thing

I just finished reading ‘The ONE Thing’ by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. This book was recommended by several people on many of the different podcasts I listen to, so I thought I’d give it a read. This book both bothered me and inspired me…but it mostly inspired me.

 

  • The interview question, ‘How do you eat an elephant?’, came to mind while I read this. The answer is one small bite at a time, and focus while you’re doing it.
  • The domino metaphor is a powerful one. Setup up a *HUGE* domino and try to knock it over by setting up increasingly smaller ones until the initial domino can be knocked over with a simple flick of the finger. In other words, big goals can be broken down into increasingly smaller ones, which when lined up in succession, can lead to an amazing chain of successes. ‘Overnight Successes’ are actually not a thing, but a long succession of ever increasing successes leading up to a big one.
  • FOCUS. Focus on ONE thing. Focus on ONE thing that will knock over the next domino. That’s the trick, now, isn’t it?
  • The first 4-5 hours in the morning are the most productive of the day. Don’t let anyone hijack that time. No Scrum. No meetings. No phone calls. Just productivity. Save the rest for the less productive hours of the day…in the afternoon. Easier said than done. Usually, our professional time is not our own. Perhaps, not yet anyway.
  • Keep your ‘One Thing’ in the fore front of your mind and activities always. Constantly ask yourself if what you are doing is helping you knock over that next domino.

Focusing on one thing is hard for me. I suspect it’s hard for most people. If it weren’t difficult to focus on just ONE thing at a time, I imagine there would be a whole lot more wildly successful people in the world. Focus has to be one of the secret ingredients to amazing success in life. My mind seems to always be wandering out to sea…


Somewhere on the North Atlantic Ocean...
Somewhere on the North Atlantic Ocean…

Summarizing books like this just doesn’t seem to do them justice, so I apologize in advance. These summaries are mostly for me and for solidifying key concepts in my own brain. This ONE book is definitely worth a read, however, so pick it up at amazon:

 



Getting MEAN: A Java Developer’s Perspective

I intimidate many people because I’m so pretty. Others might say I’m pretty ugly. But when I had the chance to get MEAN too, I jumped at it. In this context, MEAN is an acronym for the technology stack consisting of: MongoDB, Express, AngularJS and NodeJS. I wanted to briefly document some of my recent experiences and take-aways in working with this technology stack, so here are my thoughts.

For most of my programming career now, I’ve been working with mostly Enterprise Java. I started teaching myself Java in the mid-nineties from an O’Reilly book and from the start found the language very intuitive to understand (then). For a number of years now, however, I’ve been thinking that full-stack JavaScript is the way to go for Enterprise Software Development (and other applications as well). So when I had the opportunity to work on a short project using MEAN I was quite glad to get some hands-on experience with it.

First of all, when working with MEAN, you are essentially using the JavaScript language at all layers of application development, from the front-end to the middle-tier to the back-end data store. Theoretically, this should make the learning curve considerably smaller when working across layers, and should also make JavaScript Developers equally interchangeable across layers. The reality, however, is not quite that, but it’s close.

‘M’ Is For MongoDB

MongoDB is a NoSQL database used for storing JSON Documents. MongoDB is very easy to install and run, especially on Linux-based systems. You can run JavaScript in the database; you can even write MapReduce programs in JavaScript and run them on the database. But the main advantage of using MongoDB in this technology stack is the ability to easily store and retrieve JSON documents without have to apply JSON structure to your data after pulling it out of the database. This makes it easier to ship JSON formatted data directly to your front-end without having to mess with RDBMS tables and SQL… and even DBA’s for that matter (‘…can you PLEASE create a table for me!’). Wait, I don’t say ‘please’ anymore because I’m MEAN.

‘E’ Is For Express

Express is a dream to work with. It’s very simple and intuitive to use and takes no time at all to go from knowing nothing to creating fairly complex JSON REST Web Services. We connected Express to our MongoDB instance using Mongoose, which is so simple even I could configure it. Simple is good, right?

‘A’ Is For AngularJS

I found working in Angular 1.x fairly difficult to understand. The associated documentation is not all that well written and generally not very helpful. I feel like the framework is a bit over-engineered. I have not worked with Angular 2.x yet, so perhaps things have improved. Nevertheless, many, many organizations have invested heavily in Angular, so I’m sure I must be missing something, and without a doubt AngularJS is better than working with Java Server Faces (JSF) or Struts. Nevertheless, I might actually try ReactJS as the front-end framework next time as several co-workers have strongly recommended it.

‘N’ Is For NodeJS

NodeJS is the server-side JavaScript middleware that ran our Express JSON REST Services. Working with NodeJS requires that you get used to writing asynchronous code, but once you get the hang of that it’s quite fun and easy to use. From a Java Developer’s perspective, working with NodeJS is so much more efficient than having to compile and package Java Code into a WAR or EAR before deploying it to a JEE Container, like Tomcat or JBoss or Websphere or Weblogic. In Java land, that process seems to take years sometimes. When using NodeJS and a code monitor like nodemon, you simply forget about about the code deploy process and start to take for granted that your code changes are instantly available for testing on your local server. What?!?!

The Node Package Manager (npm) makes installing and managing modules very easy as well.

Fast Development, Fast Deployment

As mentioned, using code watch tools like nodemon, or even grunt or gulp serve-up local code changes in real-time. That speeds up development time significantly. Moreover, your mocha, chai, karma, etc. test scripts are invoked automatically each time you make a code change, so feedback on whether your build is broken or not is instant and continuous. Once integrated with an efficient Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) Pipeline, code commits to Git can be automatically built, tested and pushed-out to a running server in your environment of choice. Of course you can do the same in Java, but I bet that MEAN Developers can develop twice the functionality, if not more, than Java Developers in the same amount of time.

In business, speed kills when your MEAN (and pretty).

Dreaming Big Dreams Is Hard

“You can do anything you put your mind to.” — Pat Caple

It’s hard to believe it’s August 2016 already.  It’s hard to believe that I’ve been living in a strange house in Silver Spring, Maryland, for the last month-and-a-half, since renting my house was the only way to cost-effectively set off on our ocean rowing adventure.  It’s hard to believe that my girlfriend, Cindy, and I planned to be completing a row across the North Atlantic Ocean about this time…somewhere in Ireland.  It’s hard to believe we failed to accomplish this, and failed in such a big way.  Our row only lasted three days and two nights at sea.  Epic fail.  You can read more about our plans to row across the North Atlantic this summer on our website.

I’ve had more epic failures in my life than successes.  Successes seem really hard to come by.  Is Michael Phelps human?  Am I a sub-human?  I wanted to be an Olympic Sculler in the 1996 Olympics.  While attending Graduate School in Germany in the early 1990’s, I decided to take a long weekend to see the rowing events in the Barcelona ’92 Games.  I totally missed the rowing events, but was able to see some of the Basketball and Waterpolo events.  I was smitten with the idea of being in the Olympics one day.  I bought an Atlanta Braves Ball Cap in the Atlanta Airport on my way home from Stuttgart Germany, where I had just completed Grad School in 1992, as I came back to the United States to pursue my Atlanta ’96 Olympic Dreams.  I moved to Virginia and found my way down to the Occoquan River where the National Sculling Team trained.  I found Igor Grinko, the National Team Sculling Coach, and I asked him what I needed to do to make the team.  He said: ‘row…alot’.  I did a 2k erg test for him.  He said his women rowed faster than me.  But I didn’t quit…at least not for another two years or so.  My son was born in 1997, and that is when I decided to quit.  Ok, so my son off-set my Olympic Dream failure quite handsomely…and then my two daughters.

Looking back, I have realized that alot of my biggest dreams, and failures, have been centered around the sport of rowing.  Maybe that’s because I love the sport and camaraderie so much.  I listen to the Olympics taking place in Rio on the TV, but I can’t watch.  It reminds me too much of broken dreams.  I wish I was competing in the 4x sculling competition in Rio this year, or arriving in Dingle, Ireland, as one of the first American Pairs Boat Crew to ever row across the North Atlantic.  Damn dreams…Maybe I need to have more children to help offset this failure.

The athletes you are watching on TV now, who are competing in the Rio Olympics, have already achieved an amazing feat, regardless of whether they win a medal in the games.  It’s just an amazing accomplishment to even make the Olympic Team and to win the privilege to compete at that level.  Truly incredible!  These athletes have athletic powers well exceeding what might otherwise be attained from 10,000 hours of repetitive practice.

But forget sports.  I’m putting my mind to a new dream.  My new dream is to become Financially Free, Independently Wealthy, and to be able to ‘retire’ well before Social Security is *supposed* to kick in.  I may fail in achieving most (if not all) of my dreams, but I never want to be known as someone who quit dreaming because of failures, or never dared to dream big dreams in the first place.  Plus, this dream has nothing to do with rowing or sports, so maybe now I have a chance of reaching it.

Now, who’s got my money?

 

Building Great Software Teams

‘The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts.’  — Aristotle

Where I went to High School, the members of the Football Team often wore T-Shirts that said, ‘There’s No I In Team’.  At the time, I thought it was strange how obvious this was and that maybe the football team was just feeling proud of their newly found spelling skills.  ha ha.  Now that I am older and a bit wiser, I am starting to better understand the profundity of this statement: “There’s no I in Team”.

Over the course of my professional career as a Software Engineer, I have had the pleasure of working in some amazing Software Engineering Teams…and some not-so amazing ones.  In the amazing teams, I often wished we could stay together, forever, or at least the duration of our careers, so we could continue working hard and having fun building great things.  But being part of a great team never seems to last very long.  Engineers get bored, Companies get sold, go public, people get hired away…  The stability of great software teams just never seems to last very long.  It’s really too bad, because great software is built by great teams, not individuals.  It’s just like the sport of football.

One of my new favorite TV shows is ‘Ballers‘, with The Rock.  I’m struck by how similar the recruiting process is for key technical talent and football players, albeit on a much smaller scale of grandeur for most software engineers.  I wish Company X would recruit me for $10 million over 3 years…But all this focus on the individual talent would seem to detract from the most important thing a Company or Football Franchise is trying to build: Great Teams.  A $10 million dollar Running Back may gel great with the players in Miami, and not gel so well with the players in New Orleans, for example.  Building the right team is hard and often just happens out of dumb luck.

What if companies/organizations hired teams instead of individuals; or, what if software engineers who enjoyed working together and gelled well marketed themselves as a Team to Corporate Recruiters instead of as individuals?  I still haven’t figured out how that would work logistically or practically, but it’s an interesting idea I think.

Building a Business Vocabulary – I

I’m trying to build-up my business vocabulary and acumen.  Why?  Because I am pretty comfortable as part of the technical team of an organization.  When you’re comfortable, you’re not growing.  For over twenty years I’ve worked in back-office cubes building technology for organizations.  I now want to have a larger focus, a better grasp of a company’s big picture – and no, I don’t need another degree (MBA), and associated student debt, to get me there.  I want to be a successful entrepreneur one day.  To that end, here are some words I am committing to memory, because to walk the walk, you gotta talk the talk:

Entrepreneur:  ‘A person who organizes and manages a buiness undertaking, assuming the risk for the sake of the profit.’  — Webster’s NewWorld Dictionary

To be an entrepreneur, you have to take a risk if you want to realize a profit.  There’s no getting around the risk part, by definition.

Capitalist:  ‘1. A person who has capital; owner of wealth used in business; 2. an upholder of capitalism; 3. loosely, a wealthy person.’  — Webster’s NewWorld Dictionary

Grant Cardone introduced me to the term ‘Capitalist’.  I never thought of becoming a Capitalist until I heard him mention it as a desirable characteristic.  Sell or be sold.

White Space:  Hmm.  This one is kind of tough to define.  You won’t find this defined in your average home Dictionary (mine is Webster’s NewWorld Dictionary, which I’ve had since College).  Essentially, in the context of business, this term refers to potential opportunities in the market where there might not be as much competition; a place where new businesses might have room to operate.  Here’s a 2010 HBR article that helps further define the term.

I first heard this term from listening to a Gary Vaynerchuk talk.  I highly recommend positioning yourself to hear Gary V. talk shop at some point if you can.  It’s all about the hustle.

Revenue Per User (RPU):  According to Investopedia, RPU is ‘[a]ratio used to express the profitability of a company on a per-user basis. RPUs are calculated by taking overall revenue and dividing by total number of users.’

I first heard of this term listening to Nathan Latka’s ‘The Top’ Podcast.  This cat is a business genius and I highly recommend his podcast.

Real Rate of Return (RRR): According to Investopedia, RRR is ‘[the] annual percentage return realized on an investment, which is adjusted for changes in prices due to inflation or other external effects. This method expresses the nominal rate of return in real terms, which keeps the purchasing power of a given level of capital constant over time.’  For example, if you make 5% return on an investment, and inflation is said to be at 3%, then your RRR is really 2%.

Again, I picked-up this term from listening to Nathan Latka’s Podcast mentioned above.

Affluenza: According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary online, this is defined as ‘extreme materialism and consumerism associated with the pursuit of wealth and success and resulting in a life of chronic dissatisfaction, debt, overwork, stress, and impaired relationships <Affluenza is particularly rampant in the United States, where we place a high priority on financial success and material possessions. — David Hawkins, Breaking Everyday Addictions, 2008>.  

I heard this word today while standing in line at my Bank listening to a News Story on the TV.  This is one of those ridiculous words, like ‘twerk’, which has no place in a proper dictionary.  From my perspective, Money should be used to buy Financial Freedom and experiences, not more stuff.

Ohana
Ohana

“It’s not about money or connections. It’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone when it comes to your business.” – Mark Cuban

Freedom Fast Lane Live, Austin, TX : Day 3

Day 3 of Freedom Fast Lane Live

Here are my notes from Day 3, the last day, of Ryan Moran’s Freedom Fast Lane Live Conference (December 11-13th) in Austin, Texas.

Jaime Tardy and Ryan Moran – Habits of Millionaires

  • Fitness is a top focus of top tier millionaires.
  • Half of millionaires she interviewed eat Paleo.
  • Millionaires tend to work all the hours they can, not reduce work hours (ala Four Hour Work Week).
  • Millionaires know their strengths and play to them.
  • Getting really good at hiring the right people is critical to success.  Culture Index.  Disc.
  • Need clarity on direction in order to create a strategy and steps to get there.
    • This is the key role of a CEO.
  • Make Agreements with employees, not Expectations.

Ryan Deiss

  • In Internet Marketing, need to find the sweet spot between Direct Response and Branding.
  • Bank Vault anecdote relative to online relationship with potential customer.  Need to make deposits and build trust before making withdraws.
  • Book: ‘Product launch Model’, by Jeff Walker
  • Retargeting and Pixel Pushing now more important than list building.
  • Place Pixels now even in the absence of direction and strategy; figure out how to monetize later.
  • The future is Cost Per Pixel (CPP).

Robert Herjavec

  • Sometimes it’s the people you are targeting that makes all the difference in sales.
    • Took $17 million Ugly Christmas Sweater business to $600 million by targeting University students.
  • Poor people save money, rich people buy time.
Robert Herjavec talks shop
Robert Herjavec talks shop
  • Runs the largest privately held CyberSecurity Firm in the world.
    • Slow growth, but there was a tipping point.
    • Biggest competition now is IBM.
    • Took a while for his market to mature and get hot.
    • He was doing $50 million a year and still did not fully realize the size of the market.
    • Trick is to invest ahead of the curve, to anticipate future demand/market, not react.
    • Always know the growth forecast for your company for the next year.  If you don’t hit your numbers, figure out why and adjust.
    • Oracle and Microsoft took 10-12 years to hit $50 milly mark.
    • Growth is hard; dreams are good but you need a path to get there.

Unfortunately, we had to leave to catch a plane before getting to hear all of Mr. Herjavec’s discussion with Ryan Moran.

Conclusion

  • Everyone needs to be an entrepreneur today, for a host of reasons.  Everyone needs to learn to sell.  Sales cures all ills, up to a certain point.
  • Getting to the top takes work and the willingness to out-work everyone else chasing similar dreams.  Sometimes, it takes losing everything and starting over…several times.
  • At least two immigrants were part of the multi-millionaire speaker list at this conference: Gary Vaynerchuk (Belarus) and Robert Herjavec (Croatia).  There is something unique about people coming to America with nothing and crushing it financially.
  • Taking a company to $50 million can take 10-12 years, if you’re lucky.  Making more than $50 milly is rarefied air.
  • Big, successful companies need great employees to reach the big $$ objectives.  Be serious about hiring the best; help employees achieve their dreams and they will help you (Jeff Hoffman). Culture Index, Disc assessments.
  • Per Nathan Latka, on ‘The Top’ podcast, episode 140, Ryan Moran paid out about $150k for this Conference.  He sold somewhere between 400-500 tickets at around $1495 per ticket (people who bought two or more tickets were given discounts on subsequent tickets).
  • We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.  The more time I can get around high rollers like Gary Vaynerchuk, Grant Cardone, Jeff Hoffman, Robert Herjavec, etc., the better.

Austin in the background

Freedom Fast Lane Live, Austin, TX : Day 2

Day 2 of Freedom Fast Lane Live

Pat Flynn

According to Pat Flynn’s website (Smart Passive Income), he brings in around $120k a month, so I was really interested to hear him speak and to perhaps get a glimpse into how he is able to bring that much money in each month.  Here are some of Mr. Flynn’s key points:

  • Analogy of internet users in a pyramid.  Lowest level of pyramid composed of ‘Casual Audience’, then ‘Active Audience’, then ‘Connected Community’ and finally ‘Raving Fans’ at top of pyramid.  Goal is to move ‘Casual Audience’ to the ‘Raving Fan’ level (ala Kevin Kelley’s 1000 True Fans).
  • Book: ‘Ask’
  • Book: ‘The Power of Habit’
  • Small moments with individuals can add up to a large ‘Raving Fan’ base.
  • Follow up with customers on Product Sales.  Make sure customer happy.
  • Highlight Users and Sponsors in Blogs and Podcasts.
  • Idea of Factory Tour: Invite fans behind the scenes.
  • Makes most money from affiliate marketing, sponsors, advertising, etc.
  • Excellent at building trust with audience.

Travis Sago

  • Break big problems/goals into manageable steps.
  • His goal is to make $10 million next year by working with just 20 people.  If he can find $2 million hidden in 20 people’s companies, and take a 25% cut of the find, that’s a $10 million year.

Grant Cardone

This cat energized the afternoon with thought provoking rhetoric on his philosophies of work, making money and keeping money:

  • If you want success, you need to learn to sell.  Sell or be sold.
  • Real Estate is an important piece of the wealth building puzzle.  He emphasizes multi-family and apartments with average rents around $900.
  • Mr. Cardone’s Biggest Life Mistakes:
    • Started Small
    • Stayed Small
    • Did not reinvest
    • Did not collaborate
  • First good thing he did was to wait three years before investing $350k in a $1.9 million, 38 unit multi-family/apartment building.
  • Never take advice from quitters.
  • Got to have schwag.
  • Never, ever, ever quit.  Ever.
  • Continuously work on who you are.  Like yourself.  You need to have confidence in yourself.
  • Spent $400k on personal investment this year!
  • Simplify your choices: More, Less, the Same.  Which do you choose?
  • Don’t be who you are, be who you SHOULD BE!
  • Feed The Beast and starve the doubt.
  • Buy Real Estate (multi-family), and do not sell.
  • Real Estate and Art are the two places to have money during inflationary periods.
  • Rent where you live, and rent what you own.
  • Never be a Buyer; Always be a Seller.
  • Be an Entrepreneur now so that one day you can be a Capitalist.
  • Only reason to go to College is to meet people.  Good skills for younger generations to learn are Spanish and Mandarin.

After two days of intense learning, it was time for a few margaritas in down town Austin…

Margaritas

Freedom Fast Lane Live, Austin, TX : Day 1

Go Big, Or Go Home

I love the title of Ryan Moran’s Podcast, ‘Freedom Fast Lane’.  He’s putting on a live conference this weekend in Austin, Texas called ‘Freedom Fast Lane Live’, and I’m here in Austin attending the conference.  I really wanted to attend a conference this year.  I feel like conferences give working professionals the ability to get out of their environments, mingle with people they don’t know and learn something new.   If you’re not growing you’re dying.  The same holds true for business.  Growth and development is THE name of the game.

I debated on what kind of conference I was going to invest in this year.  I have not attended a professional conference in years, so this year I was determined to make it happen.  I am going to grow professionally, not die!  In fact, I now want, and expect, myself to grow exponentially.  No more half-assed expectations or settling for mediocrity!  My life is going to change significantly in 2016, for the better.

I thought I might want to attend some tech conference like BlackHat or OWASP – all Computer Security Conferences.  But these conferences seemed too focused and narrow for me at the moment.  I need to think big and be around other people who think big.  I need to blow the roof off of my current status quo.  I therefore settled on attending a conference centered around Internet Marketing and Entrepreneurship.  In my mind, this is the most important thing I can focus on in my career at this time.  Dream big, go big, or go home.  I believe that investing in one’s self is imperative for personal growth and development.  I also believe that Ryan Moran’s Conference has the potential to help me take huge steps forward in my personal and professional growth.

One of Austin's monthly Internet Marketing Parties,
One of Austin’s monthly Internet Marketing Parties,
Austin City (Without) Limits
Austin, City (Without) Limits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided to blog about my experience each of three main days at the conference…Here are some of my takeaways from Day 1:

Day 1 of Freedom Fast Lane Live

Jesse Elder

  • Goal Setting and Practice are the keys to achieving all that you want.  Practice is imperative in the realm of entrepreneurship.
  • Appreciate Everything, need Nothing, Have it All.
  • There is no Risk when you are clear about what you are doing and are fully committed to your objective.
  • Measure personal growth and progress by looking at where you were in the past relative to current state.
  • Exclude ‘Yeah, but’ from vocabulary – dream-killer talk.  Words matter.
  • Human beings are Energy.
  • In order to achieve entrepreneurial success, we must overcome our fear of disapproval; remove the need for approval in the first place.

Jeff Hoffman (Priceline.com founder)

  • Starting a business is a way to achieve a better future for yourself and others.
  • Write down dreams and goals and put them where you can see them daily (e.g. index cards on bath room mirror).
  • Design your own future, don’t let others dictate it.
  • Dream Big, Work Hard, Create Value
  • Solve Real Problems
  • Chase Excellence
  • Info-Sponge (form meta ideas from themes in disparate places).
  • Focus on Operational Excellence
  • Deliver the right message to the right customer.  No one wants to buy your shit!  Get to the root of why a customer is giving you money!
  • Clearly define success and failure and time-box (Define and Sign).
  • Book: ‘Straight-Line Leadership’
  • Treat employees like your company depends on them; how can you help employees achieve THEIR dreams?

Mark Jenney (RVShare)

  • Money does not create happiness.  (I’d like to find that out on my own, thank you)
  • Ask yourself these questions to determine if you should continue in current professional path:
    • 1) Are there any happy, old Rich guys who do what I’m doing?
    • 2) Does what I am doing now matter?
    • 3) If I stop what I am doing now, would the world be better off?
    • 4) On a scale of 1-10, how important to humanity is what you are currently doing with your life?
    • 5) Would I be totally happy and fulfilled 10 years from now doing what I am currently doing?
  • Authors Note: It sucks to have high expectations of life sometimes…
  • Silicon Valley, as opposed to Internet Marketing Companies, creates more Billion Dollar Companies because they focus more on contribution – helping others get what they want, rather than simply extracting wealth from others.

Gary Vaynerchuk (Vaynermedia)

  • Re-emphasizes that one key ingredient to success is practice…and hard work.
  • Attention is an asset.
  • Actually look at 50, $50-$100 million dollar companies and learn how they got to that level.
  • Look at White Space in economy right now and look to fill a gap.
  • Focus on personal strengths and outsource the rest.
  • Get people to give honest feedback on your skills and abilities.
  • ‘Work your [f$#@&*$] face off.’
  • People skills are the most important skill right now.

Reward for a long day