Everydayfor60

Taking 60 seconds a day to make it a better one

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Suffer Fest

A loving term referring to the entry, and decidedly difficult journey through, the Pain Cave during any  athletic pursuit. Usually ends in sweat, grime and other slimey fluids covering every inch of spandex and skin.

This event is followed closely by some enormous blended concoction of random powders, seeds, fruits, and/or veegetables.  Then, shortly after said blended-concoction, a feast of the ‘normal’ variety (something requiring a ginormous plate).

Today my trusty steed did its best to support me up hills that felt like walls. Adding insult to my injured ego were the dry gusty winds sucking every last drip of gusto i had in my weakling legs (and any bit of saliva I was savoring while trying to remain quenched as i gasped for air on said hills). 

When the salt came off my withered bod, I found [again] that the parallels between the challenges of sport and starting a company were remarkably similar:

Exhibit A:    

Necessary and Best are two words endurance athletes tend to get confused on when choosing gear.  Case in point: I have a dear friend who loved using her road bike to train for triathlon races — for 15+ years. For those not in-the-know, this is basically blasphemy in the sport of triathlon.

And yet, she won a lot of races. Despite not getting the “Best” gear for doing so. She even went all the way to the World Ironman Championships ….. winning the 1st place Overall Amateur Champion there(2008).  She wrote a great article on the very things she practiced to not mix up “Necessary” and “Best” … and most all of it was budget-driven. Because if there’s one sport more ridiculously expensive than golf, it’s triathlon.

This pix is of my trusty steed; and yes, it IS a triathlon-specific bike. What I know now is, I got lucky. I wasn’t smart like Wendy. Only after a year or so of training did I learn I perform really well in conditions that play to my strengths on this bike.  But a lot of people don’t get lucky, and then they’re selling the bike to someone like me for a nice discount.  [I bought a one year old model that hadn’t changed in the new year I purchased it. And I saved a bundle]

Lessson?  In starting a company, don’t get “Necessary” and “Best” mixed up.  Necessary is not only always mandatory, but it’s also ‘good enough’.  You might just find that after 10+ years of uisng what was “Necessary”, and/or modifying it where needed, the $$ you might’ve spent on “Best” has earned you “Best Company to Work for in 2012”.

My next lesson learned comes tomorrow….   It’s all about the Peeps.

Onward and upward, always.

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Paying it backward

Crying while you run is really hard.  at some point, you either stop and wail…or keep running, and the faucet just shuts off.

Crying, during a hellish swim set in the pool, is almost as hard … fog and leaky goggles add to the mess.

At some point it gets hard to stay sad.  Especially when you get to look at some things like this on a regular basis —

This watercolor painting, the home-made pendant hanging from its corner, and the beautiful thank you cards peeking out from the top, are gifts from incredible humans I barely know, but remind me of the power of the company that was created for them. What moves a human to create such beautiful works of art; whether in watercolor, jewelry or the written word?

The same thing that might move us to tears when we run. Or write the best article we’ve ever written. Or do 20 push ups when we’re 75, on a dare. Or cross the finish line when we thought we’d never be competing in a race.

Emotion.

We are moved by it.  Positively.  Negatively. But rarely, are we neutral when the emotion is strong enough.

I’m proud to have started a company that moves people to do such wonderful things for someone they barely know.  I like to think they do it because the company that supported them to do something wonderful for themself has inspired them to Pay it Forward….. or, backward.  

i’m eternally grateful for the payback. 

Onward and upward, always.

Save the girl talk

Look… I’ll be the first to sign up for a girls weekend to San fran to gab, grub and gab some more. [been there, loved it] the clothes, the shoes, the food, the lounges, the clubs, the SHOES.

The ladies though, do a disservice to our gender when we start bringing a few irrelevant topics to more gritty scenes.  Like tech meetings or business panels.

We have a tough time as it is in these male dominated spheres, so why dig deeper holes for ourselves?

Women business executives, brilliant researchers, tech founders and software developers, scientists and athlete managers are just as serious about their craft as the next guy. So my frustration is heightened when I hear a female tech-founders panel moderated by someone asking questions like “Star wars or star trek?” and “Tell us if you’re married, or have children” [and then the moderator calling attention to the single women on the panel for any guys in the audience who might still be paying attention].

I tend to see opportunity in most things and so rather than whine, i thought of a few things for how we can all be better moving forward:

1. Your personal life is irrelevent….unless you’re on Dr. Phil. Moderators: I, the audience member, came to learn about how this woman, or women, tackled a major business hiccup, met a tech-founder, persuaded an angel to invest, or what resources were the most valuable as she scaled her business from the launch phase to the growth phase.

2. The “Balancing life and work”  issue. I’ve never seen a tech panel of men who’ve been asked how they handle ‘work/life balance’ while they coded, or did biz dev, for 17 hours a day.  I know this is a common topic amongst women, and it definitely has relevance for women more than men, but not when the audience is at an event to hear about how someone grew, started or sold their tech business.

3. Lose the “ums” and put your hair back if it’s in the way.  I’m not asking for a Steve Jobs-like presentation, but lose the “ums”. or at least 37 of them. Speak to us with confidence, not arrogance and respect us as an intelligent audience who came to learn from your experiences. Oh, and we’re not in a bar trying to get a date with you. Casually brushing your hair around and finishing every sentence with a question mark doesn’t engage us, it revolts us.  or, maybe just me.

At one event i attended, there were 3 men having a full conversation in the back of the room, near where I sat. This while the moderator continued through her discussion with the panelists. They exchanged smirks when the panel was prompted to talk about their marital status and what gadget they couldn’t do without if they were on a deserted island.

At first i was frustrated by their continuous banter. And, no I’m not about to excuse their rudeness. But I did realize, that that was just the by-product of them not taking the conversation happening in the front of the room seriously. And we have every ability, and responsibility, to learn from that and make it better next time.  

*For a great talk on women in tech and business, watch Sheryl Sandberg. COO of Facebook, also named the fifth most powerful woman in the world.

Onward and upward, always.

Potholes

When you’re starting a company from zip, the number of potholes in the road outnumber the smooth asphalt by 10:1.  sometimes it just looks like a game of Twister out there, and instead of a car, motocycle or bicycle, you really just need to be like the frog in Frogger. 

and that’s the happs today.

Jumping over one pothole and hoping i don’t fall into another one. Sometimes the damn things look to be covered with newly laid asphalt (like a new person in my life who promises intros to interested seed investors). But once the light falls differently you realize it was just black tarp, and then you almost lose a leg as you fall ass-over-teakettle into the darn thing.  yep, i get frustrated –  but then i figure, i’m smarter about identifying black tarp for the next time and how to get around it.

A little skin off the knee and i’m back on the holey road.

i’ve also learned that what makes the hard parts easier is scheduling bits of time where the road has a few welcome detours that say things like “gelato shoppe next right” (or, for those who can’t follow my side-winder way of saying it… “meetings with people who make things happen and support me on my adventurous journey”), and then i’m fueled up again. 

To those who’ve been my ‘gelato shoppe’, thank you.

 

Onward ho!

Dry hair optional

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That’s me. wet as a rat after my early morning swim sesh, eye sockets looking crazed because I squeezed them into goggles when they were barely open after a restless night of quasi-sleep.

why do i look like i just opened my fav present on christmas?  because I had just finalized a great deal with a fabulous new partner. I don’t get many “W’s” in the win column in that regard, at least at this level, so i always find time to celebrate.

like most days though, celebration usually lasts as long as it takes for the camera to catch the moment, and then i was prepping a coach for her live fb interview, while i shot off tweets to the universe about her impending Chat-fest.  

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She completely kicked ass by the way.  some people just know how to serve other people in a way that makes their hearts sing….and she’s one of those.

i hung up from that sesh, grabbed my goods, and sped off to a luncheon where not enough food was served for my ragin belly. rarely is. this morning was bad since i barely ate anything between my workout and  my monster-non-stop-calls + marketiing+article writing+website updates+ fb interview sesh. so i was ravenous.

no matter. it was a great meeting….but i had to jump into the MINI woo and turbo boost it up to Carlsbad to meet with another cool chick who was changing the world in another awesome way… working for one of the top sports marketing agencies in the world and representing some of the toughest, best athletes in action sports.

and i was running on fumes. well, the poor MINI was being asked to run on little carbs…she needed fuel — and bad.

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she hung in there and after my meeting, it was back on the freeway, ear budz in, and phone calls being returned.

tonight – emails await, a financial model that needs rework for a future call with potential investors, and sales tax reporting is due… in six days.

and i’m running on fumes.

onward and upward, always!

Entrepreneurship

Yesterday epitomized my world of founding a company. Good happened (workout). Bad things (client not returning calls).  more bad things (website not working). Really bad things (website still not working, and can’t reach developers).

I transitioned from operational (Must. Fix. Site.) to the strategic (restructure the biz/financial model in preparation for meeting with execs). I was bipolar and schizo all at once.

I thought about documenting it, but honestly didn’t have the seconds it was going to take away from me actually doing work to manage the issues going on.  Come to think of it, I didn’t have the strength to write, is what it really came down to. I was in “do” mode.

my website’s main feature broke (so members couldn’t join), i don’t have developers to fix the problem, and I have limited (read: almost none) tech skill to craft an intermediate “ATTENTION! NOT A GOOD DAY TO JOIN – OUR WEBSITE ISNT WORKING” notice to web visitors.

Now, after letting a recent conversation settle a bit more in my brain, I’m ready to do what was proposed — give life to this roller coaster ride of beginning a company aimed at changing the world for the better. and add in a bit of color wherever i can – photo and video to be exact.

but investing in a ‘cheap’ video camera (uh, hello – i’m a first time founder….without a nice vc backing my every move to grow this puppy) is a no brainer – [read: not gonna happen]. so i’ll be praying to the video gods that my girlfriend’s V.1 Flip works for more than 1.5 minutes at a time….and then i’ll be gracing the world, or at least the three friends who are listening to this, with my-less-than-groomed-experience as I make calls, write newsletters, return online comments, preparing sponsorship documents, and interview pro athletes, amazing authors and cool women from around the world — and a whole slew of other tasks, activities and strategic moves.

so welcome to the journey and the wild adventure …  buckle up.

Onward and upward, always.

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