Taking 60 seconds a day to make it a better one

Love-Hate relationship with LinkedIn

LinkedIn is getting on my nerves. Sometimes I feel a bit schizophrenic about it all.

You see, in the beginning, I kind of liked them for their sense of purpose, their niche, their focus.

They weren’t for everybody to find everything. It was for professionals (mainly business/office types) looking for other professionals. Period. Simple.

But then things started feeling bad for me.

You can’t totally blame LI.  We humans have a certain way about us.

We have weird needs; cognitive & psychological needs, if you will. One of those, of course, is the need to be liked. To be popular. To be cool.

Linkedin connections

LinkedIn popularity

Facebook friends number

Facebook popularity

Twitter followers

This need has a bad way of making networks smarmy.

Pretty soon, the networks erode our trust in it and its purpose, and some start jumping ship.

I’m starting to look for the lifeboats.

This love-hate relationship has really intensified as I started using the network more over the past three to four years and I discovered why my L/H relationship is so intense:

1. LOVE:  I like the focus and purpose of LI. For business professionals to connect, share introductions, help people move along, even accelerate, in their careers and professional development.

2. HATE: User experience. On mobile, on desktop.  Just not intuitive in spots you’d think a company the size of LI would be able to produce on. (Why can’t I remove a connection when I’m looking at it on my iphone?)

3. LOVE: Ability the platform gives those of us who have some real specific reasons to talk with incredibly accomplished and awesome executives the slim chance to get connected.

4. HATE: The growing number of members (including senior LI employees) who connect to others willy-nilly and when the time comes to connect others to their network, their replies are: “Sorry, I met them once at a Conference two years ago and I really don’t know them” or my favorite “I don’t know Suzie”.  (gotta give it to him for his honesty)

What happens in the digital world of socializing and networking, we know, is downright nuts compared to what we’d do in real situations.  In the world of events, conferences, meet ups, sales dinners, etc, just tossing someone you don’t know your business card, walking away, and expecting to be “connected” afterwards, is a bit ridiculous.

But in the LI world, accepting a request from someone you don’t really know, probably won’t stay in touch with, or don’t care to, happens all the time.

Even as LI has given us all a means to ignore the request entirely. 

[Don’t get me started on people who send requests without even a charming “Hello, great to see you here old friend!”, or a couple of sentences about why I should consider being connected to you]

The latest string of #4’s have gotten me particularly snarled, but in a good-fired-up-want-to-build-something-better kind of way.

As I continue to build my startup, a curated connection service built on trust and personalization, I’m reminded of the supreme power of the under-served and the open holes of opportunity these tiny pet-peeves present for the entrepreneur. For it was only one very specific thing that differentiated Southwest Airlines, Virgin, Dyson, and so many others from their competition.  And they each continue to leverage their respective competitive advantages all the way to the bank.

Yes, there are lots of other reasons besides popularity to keep connecting with people you barely know. But I wonder, when – or how – will we be able to control for these so our online networks don’t lose their value for the purposes in which they were created?


You are not alone

“At the beginning of a novel, a writer needs confidence, but after that what’s required is persistence. These traits sound similar. They aren’t. Confidence is what politicians, seducers, and currency speculators have, but persistence is a quality found in termites. It’s the blind drive to keep on working that persists after confidence breaks down.”

American Novelist, essayist and critique, Walter Kirn said this about writers, but it’s just as applicable to people who build something out of nothing. Whose empty canvas isn’t a page with a blinking cursor, but an idea floating amidst their wrinkled grey matter.


Kirn could have easily been describing all of those people who lost limbs and go for a run every day anyway; kids who hear “You’ve got cancer” and smile through Christmas, and mothers with four kids under 10 and still make time to prepare for  running, walking, swimming, triathlon or cycling events each year.

Being alone and persistent is a fairly difficult proposition.

I’m not suggesting you need someone physically present with you at all times to help you maintain your persistence; in fact, Dr James Fowler and Dr Christakis Third Degree of Influence rule conclude it’s not necessary.

But being persistent becomes incredibly easier when:

– You start to realize little wins

– Others see those little wins

– The impact of your persistence starts affecting others around you {positively}

And, in all of those, others are necessary.

Who and where are your ‘others’?


painting the car while you drive it

In this Fortune interview with authors W. Isaacson and J. Huey (who wrote biographies on Steve Jobs and Sam Walton of Wal-Mart, respectively)


Courtesy of CNNMoney.com

John Huey shares one of his fav stories of his time spent with Walton.  It just happened to be at his bedside in the hospital shortly before he passed away.

What I loved about it is Walton’s true heart as an entrepreneur.

A moment spent worrying about how you’re going to actually DO something is a moment spent NOT doing it.


He [Sam Walton] was dying, and his family had gone out for the day to go shopping and left me there. He says, “John, I want to get out of here,” and he starts pulling the tubes out of his arm. I said, “We can’t leave.” And he said, “I’m going. Are you going with me?” And he picks up the phone and he calls the Bentonville airport — his airport — and he says, “Send a plane down here. I’m going to be there in 45 minutes.” And I have to pull him out of the bed. I roll him out, down into the lobby. He’s a shrunken little old guy, and he gets down to the lobby and says, “How are we going to get to the airport?”
I said, “Yeah, you didn’t think of that, did you?”


Entrepeneurs — the crazy folk who say they’re going to make shit happen, but worry about how they’ll do it as they’re doing it.

Onward and upward, always.

what happens when the ladies get together

Courtesy of BusinessInsider.com

As the media continues to produce stories on finding the women operating in tech companies, whether it be health related, internet or otherwise, the ladies continue to do what they do well, quietly move behind the noise and [in the words of a wise friend] make AWESOME happen.

Nobody’s told these women there isn’t enough of them out there in the tech space. And for that matter, that’s not the reason they’re building companies in that area anyway.

I’m not sure if I’m yet on a first-name basis with Sheryl and Marissa, but I’m going to go out there and say anyway that my sisters-of-anotha-motha are doing just what I expected they would ….  having a chat and making AWESOME happen.

There’s been plenty of judging going on about Yahoo!’s future, and Marissa’s role in it.  And that’s good. It happens whether a man takes the helm, or a woman. (‘Course when a man is expecting his first child, does the media write about it as if it were a miracle the human race has never witnessed?)

If there’s one thing these two do well is role model for the rest of us.  And in this case, I am stoked to see two of the most influential women in technology doing just what we need more of:

Forming an alliance and figuring out how, together, their companies can make awesome shit happen.  And oh — Everyone Benefits. Consumers. Yahoo!. Facebook. Employees.

Go on ladies — get on with your bad selves.  More meetings, please.

Onward and upward, always.

Haunted houses

Starting a company is like being in a haunted house with those characters following you around with big knives…


a. It looks scary at first. But I’m still somewhat intrigued by what’s inside.

b. The best ones have a huge line of people wanting to go in. [nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd, right?]

c. And they come out with smiles on their faces, even though somehow they were scared to death going through it.

Despite all that, and knowing I’d likely freak out in the dark not knowing who or what is around the corner, [sometimes even wishing to get out as fast as I can], I can’t stop thinking “Nobody’s gonna kill me in there, and it is pretty dark , so who’ll know if I poop my pants a few times?” – so I keep moving forward.

Onward and upward, always.


Going with my inner Buddha

I’m a big fan of the “and” philosophy.  Meaning, any time I hear an “either/or” option coming, the wheels in my head are usually contorting the image into an “and” option.

Why not butter AND parmesan on my popcorn?

Why not gnocchi AND a milk shake?

Why not have sushi AND pizza for dinner?

Hmm, food seems to be a theme in my thinking.

It isn’t always that way – in business, too, I’m a fan of  “And”.

Like, Why not a mobile device option AND opportunities to meet in person?

Sometimes there are caveats to the rule (I like caveats, too).  Like, will it make me sick? Is death a possibility?  Will my customers be confused, unhappy, or bored?

But, recently, a chain of personal events have made me question the value of “and”.

My sister is enduring and valiantly fighting a rare form of cancer – stage IV PNET Neuroendocrine carcinoma. AND, it’s throwing some really bad punches right now.

(2010) Me: on left  Sis: wishing she still lived in San Diego where natural Vit D was more prevalent.


My parents are separating …. after 41 years.


My father’s mother is 96, and dying. AND, my aunt (his sister) passed away from cancer in July.

Not sure I want to add another AND to this list. So i’ll stop there.

Surprisingly, I feel a bit Buddha-like in all of this.  A weird sense of calm. Through crocodile tears (do crocodiles cry?) yesterday I thought about this, and came to the conclusion, the desire for control and the realization that  there is absolutely nothing I can do or control to change anything in all of these situations, was oddly comforting.  It made me stop — and cry more.

The feeling of calm doesn’t lessen the grief. It just lessens the angst around “What if I…?” “What if they…?” “What can i do to…?”

I have given as much and wherever I can to my family. AND will always do so whenever they call on me for more love.

For now, and into the foreseeable future, I just lean into the discomfort and trust I’ll make it through.

Onward and upward, always.

Making hairy audacious goals happen

Finishing 620 miles on your bike over the course of 7 days would’ve made me vomit on the spot a decade ago.

Fortunately, it isn’t a decade ago.  It’s now.

And in 2012 I made a hairy, audacious goal:  Raise $10,000 buckaroos in support of the Challenged Athletes Foundation – and then ride my bike 620 miles down the coast of Cali with 100 others who did the same.


Note to self:

There are perks to working your ass off.

The training wasn’t ‘work’.  Meeting your buds for rides around San Diego county every Sunday doesn’t qualify. Neither do the other 4-5 days a week of jumping in the saddle for some QT with my steed count as work.

The fundraising can be qualified as work. And it’s not for the faint of heart.

Fortunately, I’ve been fundraising for my business.  Unfortunately, that act doesn’t get any easier, no matter if you’re doing it for charity or for corporate investment opportunities.

In the end I learned a few important nuggets:

1. Hairy audacious goals are hairy for a reason. Hair = friction And there will be plenty of that on the way to reaching a worthy-to-reach-goal.

2. You’ve got to surround yourself with the best peeps you know (and ones you don’t know yet) in order to realize your goals.

3.  A huge portion of optimism, Can-Do attitude and endurance goes a really long way during those hairy, rough patches that come along during the journey.

Onward and upward, always.


Why cyling 620+ miles in 7 days is like founding a company

Day 1.

I have a GREAT idea!  Something that will change the world!!

Day 2:

Nobody knows how my bad ass idea is going to make this world better, and millions will be better off because of it.  I might even charge for it.

Now, I need a logo.

Week 3:

(Or earlier)

Holy crap, how am i going to… [hire people, develop this product, build a website, file my taxes so i don’t get ripped off].  This is a bit harder than I thought it was going to be…


My first day on a 620+mile journey down the rocky, windy, hilly gorgeous California coast, to support the Challenged Athletes Foundation, has been 88 miles of delicious energy.  it all started with 150+ people from around the country ready to ride in support of challenged athletes, with about 14 of those challenged athletes on the ride with us.


It was like Day 1 of starting my company GOTRIbal.  The fire in my belly. The excitement to build something powerful and influential. The constant onslaught of ideas exploding in my brain.

And then the first hill.

And the second.  The long second hill. The one I’ve never ridden, so I don’t know when it ends, or how steep an incline it will be around the next corner.

All this as I’m supposed to be enjoying the journey, and I see the “Group A” speedy riders flying by me.

I can’t help but think about the similarities between participating in an endurance event like this, and founding a start-up.

Random challenges I’ve never encountered (hills!), not knowing how long the challenge will last till I get over the hump (Hills!), and watching other Founders get investor funding, building awesome teams of people, and killing it with their product (Damn “Group A” over achievers!).

But the best thing about endurance sports (or a start-up) isn’t about speed. It’s about all the intangibles you sometimes lose sight of.  The really cool things you build to be better.

Like, the strength and smarts about your equipment, your body and your threshold for pain ….


Then, it’s what you do with that development once you build it, like mentoring other founders or speaking at events, or writing blogs, making your business case smarter, your pitch deck more influential, or your financials cleaner….(or like a 620+ mile ride for Challenged Athletes Foundation).

Ultimately, doing any endurance event, like founding a start-up, is more about how persistent, tenacious and mentally strong you can be and not just how weak or strong you are.

And in this journey down the coast, I’m reminded [AGAIN!] how nobody succeeds in realizing a dream (starting a company, riding 620 miles, or running 1 mile) without the full blown support and belief of the people you surrounding you.


I can’t wait to see what Day 2 has in store.

Onward and upward, always.

Hills were made for climbing

A lot of us who play outside on our bikes or in our running shoes, tend to get a bit antsy around ‘hill training’.  There’s a good portion of people who question our angst, saying instead “I love hills!  Bring em on!”


We might like to have a Love-Hate relationship with those folks, [love em cause we wish we could have the same attitude, hate-em cause we don’t], but hills – like broccoli and spinach – are just really really good for us.

You are stronger, more confident, more efficient and yes, even faster, when you do more of them. Whether you walk them, run up em, or cycle them, hills help us just be better moving bodies.

In 2 days, I’m starting a journey to support athletes who’ve had their own personal hills to climb.  Kids and adults who have lost limbs due to war, tragedy and illness. I will ride 620 mile from San Fran to San Diego to support the Challenged Athletes Foundation in their mission to give equipment, clinics and mentors to those who can’t play outside and climb their favorite hill just outside their back doors.


And in my journey, I’ll be climbing California coast’s very real, sometimes long, and I’m sure exhausting hills. But I’ll be alongside challenged athletes with one arm, or some that can’t see, or some missing both legs — and hopefully I’ll be able to keep up. [don’t think for a second these athletes aren’t FAST]  I look forward to the challenge, and welcome your comments on the hills I roll over ….  they’ll all be posted here for your viewing!

Onward and upward, always.


Saddle sores and the meaning of life

Recently, the never-ending-running-machine, Dean Karnazes quoted Roger Bannister (the first human to break the 4-minute mile barrier) in his reference to how the ancient Olympic Games are so different than today’s modern Games:

the Greek ideal was that sport should be a preparation for life in general, this increasing professionalization and corruption in concert with burgeoning emphasis on individual victory has led to the decay of the ancient Olympics.

He brings up more than one good talking point in this simple quote, so I’m not going to spend an entire post on all of them.

One in particular, is powerfully poignant.  That whole bit about ‘preparation for life in general’ hits a chord.

In less than 10 days, I am taking on a new athletic journey that will have me sitting on my bicycle for 620 miles down the coast of California. And as much as I’d like to say I’m just doing this of my own free will and desire for adventure, alas, I just don’t have that kind of cajones. I needed a reason other than ‘adventure’.

I am riding with a group of 100 other people who are raising money and awareness for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, a nonprofit that gives equipment, prosthetics, hand-cycles, mentorship and clinics to those who want and need to get back outside and keep playing.

As an able-bodied, somewhat obsessive-compulsive athlete my entire life, I have intimately experienced and understood the inherent values – be they physical, emotional or psychological – that comes from practicing a sport (or many, in my case) for competition.  And barring good parenting, sport is most definitely one of the best things an individual can do to prepare themselves for success in life, health and emotional well-being.

I expect musicians, classic painters, and other artists to disagree.  I mean, you don’t become a Yo Yo Ma without discipline, commitment and focus.  But what you miss in those disciplines are the physical benefits you receive by moving your body on the field, pool or running trails; and understanding of how nutrition impacts your ability to move, focus and concentrate, and the experience of seeing how your behavior impacts others who are counting on  you.

So thank you Roger B. and Dean K. for stating the obvious.

And as I ready my tubes of chamois cream for the ride of my life, I’ll be thinking less about my saddle sores and more about who will experience the benefits of sport as a result of my efforts.

Onward and upward, always!

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