Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Designer vs. Developer
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
What is the Problem?
Monday, March 29, 2010
The Unemployment Chronicles: Week 14
Friday, March 26, 2010
Threesomes Are Not All Fun
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The Spring Equinox!
Monday, March 22, 2010
The Unemployment Chronicles: Week 13
Friday, March 19, 2010
Successful Innovative Companies: Volume 20
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I Do Not Like Leftovers
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Search Engine Optimization
- Words are the blood of search engines. Searches are done with words and so far they only find words. If you want to become the most famous plumber in Boston, you need to make a website that incorporates words like plumber, Boston, best, maybe even the word famous to get more search engine hits.
- Links are the nerves of the internet. A click on a link sends a signal somewhere else. If you want to get noticed by a website or better yet a blogger, link to their website. If enough people click on the link they will notice that they are getting traffic from your website and go check out what you have. This applies to search engines because their robots go from link to link to find other webpages. So the more links you have coming into your website the higher you will appear in search results.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Book Review: Beyond the Mountain by Steve House
Beyond the Mountain struck me not for the descriptions of difficult climbing, which I promptly forgot, but for the emotional aspect. He tries several times to describe the connection between people after completing a very difficult and dangerous route. He describes the connection as one that might even be stronger than between a married couple. His descriptions reminded me of war veterans that often say they were closer to the people they served with than anyone else in their life. Veterans shared with each other in a way that people who weren't there don't understand. From my limited experience in that type of stressful situation I have an inkling of what they mean. Steve House, in my opinion, really centers his book around trying to describe those emotions.
Monday, March 15, 2010
The Unemployment Chronicles: Week 12
Friday, March 12, 2010
I Love Commitment
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Speak Up or Shut Up?
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
An Entrepreneur is:
- Scrappy. An entrepreneur will do what it take to survive. He or she will do unpleasant things to stay afloat. For example: "Call who? You've got to be kidding. I can't do that!"
- Desperate. Whatever it takes to make the sale will be considered.
- Terrified. This is one that separates those who do and those who do not. To make it as an entrepreneur you have to wake up terrified about what you have to do, then do it anyway. Many people delay their life because they are afraid. I am working on this one...
- Committed. There is no half effort in starting a venture like a company. It's all or nothing.
- Passionate. Who else would work around the clock on some project just to get paid in sweat equity (ownership in a company based on work put in instead of money invested) and intellectual property?
- Stingy. Somehow money just seems to always disappear...
- Brave. Facing fears on a daily basis changes the nature of risk. What might once have seemed like a huge risk is now even less scary than driving in Boston.
- Helpless. While many entrepreneurs start with the intention of doing everything on their own most quickly learn they can't do everything. In fact many find that there aren't too many things that they do well.
- Curious. Of the successful start up companies that I know of most of the owners thought 'why can't I/we do it better?' There is a certain interest to attempting something with an uncertain end.
- Resourceful. An entrepreneur doesn't have to be a true renaissance man but he or she does have to get things done that are outside of his or her formal training.
- Energetic. I think this word fits better than optimistic or hopeful. The idea is that an entrepreneur is excited to go to work and be there all day long.
Monday, March 8, 2010
The Unemployment Chronicles: Week 11
"Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible." — Doug Lawson.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Successful Innovative Company of the week: volume 19
I was talking with an aquaintance who is a professional mountain guide and he said that on a training trip about two years ago he started to cook supper and he was the only person that didn't have a jetboil so he went out and bought one the first chance he had. When professional mountain guides are all using it you know it works.
Since their first product they have expanded to include pans and larger pots and detached fuel canisters. Their product line includes everything for cooking. They also have a coffee press attachment and I have to say a nice cup of coffee in the morning is so nice sometimes.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
I will take one Hottie with a side of Crazy
In the recent past I had garnered a reputation for going after the girls that are a little crazy and inevitably quite attractive. My reasoning was simple: I’m attracted to them and if they are a little crazy they might be able to understand things like running 12 hours a week or spending two months in a war torn Asian country climbing a mountain. However, what I think is continually being challenged, whether the people who challenge me know it or not. In the last few weeks several situation have occurred that have changed my thinking once again.
Several weeks ago I watched a few minutes of Tough Love a television series in which a man tries to teach women how to find a truly compatible man and have a relationship built on something substantial. I believe he said something like, “look for a person that makes you feel the way you want to feel, instead of trying to find someone that looks good on paper or by some other superficial measurement.” I just kind of twirled that around in my head for a while until another comment from a wise elder two weeks ago brought up it’s meaning.
My elder was describing how he was married with two children at my age (23). He said that this strained his marriage and that he was too young to really enjoy raising his kids. He suggested that I was wise for not getting myself into that situation at this point in my life. Another comment that arose during that same conversation was the importance of having buddies. His wife made him get out of the house and in his case go golfing so that he would meet people. That way he would have some of his own friends. I guess I had never really looked at a relationship as having any time apart from each other. I thought it was 100% together, but I think now that’s probably naive.
A third input to this whole equation was contributed by the book "Beyond the Mountain" that I am reading by a recent top level alpinist, Steve House. He had married a fellow mountain guide, but then she moved on to other pursuits. He was describing how his marriage was failing due to him being on climbing expeditions all the time, which caused me to think about my personal quest for the "perfect" woman. While thinking about expeditions I could not help but remember this couple that was at basecamp on my expedition this summer. He was a climber, had summitted Everest, she had never done any ice climbing yet she stayed at basecamp both at Everest and Broad Peak and I think Cho Oyu with him. That was amazing. I think most of the men were jealous that their wives or significant others weren't there.
I believe in fate, and actions and consequences having purposes or meanings. So when I learned the stories of hardship and independence, I remembered the quote from Tough Love and it finally made sense. I have been looking for the wrong things. Searching for someone that runs, climbs, and that is interesting to talk to while still being amazingly attractive is more or less a pipe dream. Oh yeah women like that do exist, I think. In fact I’m pretty sure I’ve met a few they just have never measured up to my huge expectations. (Don't I feel shallow.)
What I am really looking for is support. Perhaps it sounds selfish, but on the other hand I am looking to give support as well. Since support is a rather vague term I will attempt to describe it in this context.
This descriptions starts with a scrap of information. I have taken at least 14 people traditional lead climbing for the first time. What this means is that in general I have to teach them how to belay a lead climber, how to remove gear from the rock, and a few simple safety procedures to keep them from killing themselves (and one of them almost did one time) or killing me. Now I have always chosen routes that are not terribly hard so I am not very worried about falling. However, in that situation I am definitely putting myself out there with my safety in their hands and their safety in my hands. If anything bad were to happen the novice would probably have no idea how to solve the problem. I am supporting them.
Another way to describe support is to tell about my parents. From handing me a water bottle in a half marathon at the age of 15 to letting me go to Pakistan. There is a certain mental boldness and confidence that I have in the presence of my parents that I don’t have everywhere. I know they care about me. My parents came to all of my sporting events, plays and musicals, scholars’ bowls tournaments, and concerts that I ever had through high school. I even told them numerous times they didn’t have to come yet they still did. They have taken an interest in my education even reading my MS thesis. Years of watching and supporting me as I attempted to do stuff. All the breakfasts, suppers, driving me here and there, doing my laundry, everything they have done amounts to so much I can't put a price on it. They have supported me like no one else.
One more way to describe support is the support of someone who understands. The past few years I have had several teammates and friends who I have suffered with and they understand what I am going through. Perhaps not because they do the exact same thing, but they see me every day and see the toll that whatever stress takes on me. They understand the challenges I was going through are not easy. The understand because they were there.
When I think about the support I am looking for in a relationship the final answer is that you can not fully describe emotions. Want to hear a little secret? After most of my longest days in the mountains I have cried. You see after about 14 hours of movement dehydration, fatigue and doubt creep into your head. Several times when I have been hiking down a mountain I have stumbled for the 200th time or seen another mirage or seen a trail sign that says four miles left and I have broken down. Sometimes it just comes out as a whimper other times there are buckets of tears. Having a partner helps tremendously. With a hiking or climbing partner it is closer to 18 hours on the go. It also gets more bearable as I get older and have more of these emotional days. It still happens but it's not as life changing. Inevitably though neither person talks because both are tired. I can last longer before emotions overwhelm me when I am with someone than alone.
What I’m looking for is that emotional connection spread across all aspects of my life. She doesn’t have to be a runner if she is willing to come to the race and drive me home. She doesn’t have to be a climber as long as she is willing to come to basecamp or at least hike a 13er in the summer. Most of my running is done alone and having someone to jog with or ride a bike beside me on a few of my 20 milers would be really nice. In fact, referring to the example above both with my elder and his wife and the elite alpinist, perhaps I need a relationship that is built with differences in hobbies so that we don't spend 100% of our time together? Perhaps then we would have an understanding of each other outside of our hobbies? I don't know the answer. I've never seen myself as a mens club type of guy but perhaps a nice grade three climb in the summer with the boys is my mens club.
Inevitably, I believe who I am gifted with will be who I need and not necessarily who I want. Who am I to know what is best for me? Many times those people close to me have pointed out what is best for me while I had no idea.
So what have I learned to do in this context? Redesign my relationships away from the physical into the emotional. Yeah, that sounds good.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Huge Expectations, Huge Disappointments
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
8th Grade Basketball
I am five feet and four inches tall. That’s about 163 centimeters for you Euros. Basketball is a tall person’s sport. Sometimes I don’t understand things terribly quick. I used to think I was quick learned, I'm not so sure anymore. For some reason I thought I could make a decent basketball player. So when my basketball coach told our team to quit drinking pop (soda, coke, mountain dew, etc.) for the season I quit drinking pop. I was never a heavy drinker and after the first month I didn’t even miss it.
Since then in the late fall of 1999 I have not drank anything carbonated on purpose. I had a Red Bull once and I had an upset stomach for two days. I have also tired punches and beers since that time but the bubbles are just too much for me to handle. I will have an upset stomach if I drink anything carbonated.
This was a significant event in my diet. Each can of soda has 10-12 teaspoons of sugar. How much sugar I have not drank in the last 10 years I have no idea.
It’s strange how one sentence in a 20 minute speech has altered the course of my life. Obviously I have no proof that I would be any different than I am now if I drank soda or beer but I think I would be different. I am convinced that those are calories that would have just never ended up on my midsection. Perhaps when I took six months off of running my freshman year of college I would have gained more weight and never gotten back into competitive running and then were would I be now?
I read a little of Malcom Gladwell’s Tipping Point book where he suggests that small actions can have huge consequences if they come at the right time. Well, an eighth grade basketball coach telling the team to quit drinking pop for the season seems to have lasting consequences for me.