A close friend of mine from my undergrad years is finishing up a graduate program in entrepreneurship and he recently asked me to come in as a technical consultant on a project he and a few of his classmates are putting together and hope to be their first post-school venture. The project they’re working on is quite interesting if you are in the appropriate demographic to see the value of what they’re putting together (it’s a small but valuable niche!).
They wanted my input on some of the technical details of voice over IP technology and general data and networking protocols. The beauty of these areas is that the underlying technologies have been around for decades and we are just now seeing some of the power and possibilities of these technologies trickle down to end-consumer use. For example, I’ve started seeing commercials for ‘personal cloud’ technologies and ‘cloud computing’ and ‘cloud data backup’. If I didn’t know any better I’d believe that cloud computing is some newly invented technology just now being tested and released. But I do have a bit of experience in this area and, quite simply, cloud computing was born since Lawrence Roberts and developed the first computer-to-computer communication via data packets (see Wikipedia here and topbits.com article here).
That said, in my research, I came across a few very interesting patents related to data exchange and switching. One of them is a patent for an intelligent switching system created by Keith Raniere (abstract here). It’s a rather interesting patent, but perhaps more interesting to me was the patent creator. I met Keith a number of years ago after I’d taken a Nxivm/Executive Success Programs training that a close friend had recommended me to. Nancy Salzman led the training. Nancy is an incredibly interesting woman. Her background is in NLP and she’s now the president and top trainer of ESP. I got to know Nancy some and, having had a conversation with me about my background and interests in technology as well as the direction I wanted to move in my life, she introduced me to Keith. Keith, as it turned out, created the concepts underlying the ESP coursework and also is a brilliant technologist and entrepreneur (I just found this bio on Keith).
I got the opportunity to work with Keith on a couple of projects and, between the Executive Success Programs training I participated in and subsequent mentorship of both Keith and Nancy, which significantly changed the direction and velocity of my life. In my own estimation, I’d hit a bit of a dead spot in my life at the time. I knew what I wanted to do and I knew, generally, where I wanted to go but I’d hit a plateau in a number of areas in my life. I’d achieved a high level of success professionally and had traveled around the world and had, by all accounts, a much sought-after lifestyle. But I had hit some kind of limit and I had been at that spot for quite a while.
That all shifted quite a bit after I took the training with Nancy. The education really shifted my perspective in a number of ways and I ended up shifting my business and, eventually, sold it in order to fund a number of projects I’d wanted to do since I graduated from college. When I evaluate my level of success now, I find it difficult to even compare where I was before to now – my evaluation criteria for success has fundamentally shifted and looking back, though I’d achieved quite a bit, I feel as if I was more or less just getting lucky.
That said, the success I’ve experienced is partly due to the education I sought out, but perhaps more important is the mentorship I had the privilege to receive from Keith. After meeting him, it became apparent that he had, in certain ways, walked the path that I was trying to get myself onto. I can’t hold a candle to his intelligence or to the passion with which he pursues the things that he pursues, but he was able to help me get to the place that I couldn’t quite find myself.
I took one invaluable lesson from those years that I try to give to whoever asks me for advice about their careers – get educated and find mentors. This perhaps holds especially true in entrepreneurship where quite often there is far less structure and there are far more question marks. No one can walk the path for you, but quite often someone can help you get out of your own way or show you a something you never knew existed…
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good and go for the great.” – Steve Prefontaine
This popped up on ironman.com the other day. I especially like this clip:
Even injured athletes can lose fat, despite a lack of exercise. The complaint “I gained weight when I was injured because I couldn’t exercise,” could more correctly be stated “I gained weight because I mindlessly overate for comfort and fun.”
My good friend Sylvie passed this onto me this morning, credited to John F. Kennedy:
The great French Marshall Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied, ‘In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon!’
And why is this deserving of a post? Well, it’s been perhaps over-emphasized, but we today seem to always be expecting some immediate result of our efforts, some immediate reward for our endeavours, and without it, we toss the task aside as futile, useless, pointless. However, the quote above speaks of the urgency of beginning to plant those seeds that will have a far-reaching effect down the road, and perhaps long past the time we even have the capacity to experience it. It reminds me of another quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
The years teach much which the days never know.
And that’s all for today’s philosophical rant!
People! This is important! Coffee is my beverage of choice and is probably one of the most under-appreciated culinary indulgences out there…if you get the right coffee. Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts and every corner coffee stand out there have pretty much destroyed our perception of real coffee tastes like – what it can really be. So here’s a starter list to get better acquainted with good coffee:
Crimes against coffee:
- Buying old beans
- Grinding in advance (rather than when you’re going to brew!)
- Using a coffee machine
- Playing it loose with measurements
- Shopping at the supermarket
- Buying coffee (any kind) at Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, etc. and believing it’s coffee
See the details here at Food & Wine
My friend over at My Favorite Things recently wrote a post about Glenn Cunningham. When Glenn was 8, he was caught in a fire, nearly dying. The doctor attending to him thought he would surely die, and certainly thought he’d never walk again.
But the brave boy didn’t want to die. Glenn made up his mind that he would survive. And somehow, to the amazement of the physician, he did survive. Yet when the mortal danger was past, he again heard the doctor and his mother speaking quietly. The mother was told that since the fire had destroyed so much flesh in the lower part of his body, it would almost be better if he had died, since he was doomed to be a lifetime cripple with no use at all of his lower limbs. His mother refused to let the doctors amputate.
Years later, through his own sheer determination, Glenn Cunningham broke the world record for the mile, the indoor mile, the 800m, won an Olympic silver medal and he’s considered by many to be the greatest American miler! There’s a sentence in the post that really struck me: “Glenn began to run to school. He ran for the sheer joy of running and being able to run.” I ran on a treadmill today. 3.25 miles. It hurt. I suffered. I remember when I was little, just running everywhere because I loved to run. Where did that turn into a chore? I’m considering giving up stationary-equipment-based exercise…
I don’t know if I’d say I love running, not how I imagine some people do. There are a number of things I love more than running…sleeping for example. And sex. And pretty much any team sport.
Anyway, I actually do enjoy running and a while back I did some digging on knee pain and running. I ended up coming across Newton running sneakers. In the end, I got a pair and I’ve run in them since. And I like them. A lot. They didn’t’ change my life like my classes at Total Immersion swimming, but they did change my experience of running! The other day I ran across a great article at ironman.com written by Newton’s Director of Research and Education Ian Adamson. It’s full of great data and kind of makes me want to go out and run!
Here’s a clip:
One important factor for western runners is our lifestyle. Humans evolved to spend six to eight hours a day performing functional movements. That is, standing, walking, carrying, lifting and generally being active. It is only since the industrial revolution that humans became sedentary, which has lead to problems, including a significant reduction in longevity4. Today the average number of hours of daily activity for our population is closer to 30 minutes, with most of our time sitting. Anthropologists have strong evidence that there has been more than five million years of bipedal evolution leading to humans (the last 200,000 years). Time score: evolution 5,000,000, modern lifestyle 250, modern running shoes 40.
I don’t recall how I originally found this, but over at Mansome (a fun series of webisodes about being man), there’s a great vid about cooking with a cast iron pan. Throw the rest of your pots and pans out gentlemen – it’s all cast iron all the time from here on in!
See the vid here:
If you’re here, you’ve found our new domain! We’re still working on some of the details and looking for a better design, but in the meantime, you’ll find all our posts here, so bear with us and enjoy!
I love how Boing Boing titles their post on this: “Soccer match-rigging, straight out of a Gibson novel”. William Gibson is certainly one of my favorite authors working today. If you haven’t read any of his work, pick up Neuromancer – one of his earlier works and certainly his most culturally significant and very science fiction-y – and Spook Country – very recent and more subtle blend of science fiction interwoven with a real-world setting. He’s an excellent and entertaining writer and one of my favorites.
So how does William Gibson relate to global match-fixing of soccer games? The description of how it’s done at the highest levels, as captured here by Brian Phillips at Grantland who’s post is summarized at Boing Boing, is so fantastical it seems to slip into an exotic, dark science fiction world that none of us plebes see because of the soothing veneer of the culture in which we experience our day-to-day lives. Here’s clip:
Right now, Dan Tan’s programmers are busy reverse-engineering the safeguards of online betting houses. About $3 billion is wagered on sports every day, most of it on soccer, most of it in Asia. That’s a lot of noise on the big exchanges. We can exploit the fluctuations, rig the bets in a way that won’t trip the houses’ alarms. And there are so many moments in a soccer game that could swing either way. All you have to do is see an Ilves tackle in the box where maybe the Viikingit forward took a dive. It happens all the time. It would happen anyway. So while you’re running around the pitch in Finland, the syndicate will have computers placing high-volume max bets on whatever outcome the bosses decided on, using markets in Manila that take bets during games, timing the surges so the security bots don’t spot anything suspicious. The exchanges don’t care, not really. They get a cut of all the action anyway. The system is stacked so it’s gamblers further down the chain who bear all the risks.
You’ve got to read the rest. It’s an enlightening and somewhat scary piece that elucidates some of the challenges of a broadly technologically integrated world.
How could I NOT post this? I’d actually come across it before but I was reminded of it by Boing Boing today.
- To get started, write one true sentence.
- Always stop for the day while you still know what will happen next.
- Never think about the story when you’re not working.
- When it’s time to work again, always start by reading what you’ve written so far.
- Don’t describe an emotion – make it.
- Use a pencil.
- Be brief.
I’m (surprisingly) impressed by Rob’s list. I’m especially a fan of the following:
6. Stop being scared. If there’s something you want to do but aren’t doing because you’re scared, suck it up and do it. The only things in life to truly fear are (a) stepping in dog shit, and (b) asking the one question that makes a public speaker take back the claim that “there’s no such thing as a dumb question.”
16. After two weeks of pure torture, exercise becomes amazing. If you don’t exercise now, commit for two weeks. Suck it up. Force yourself to do it. Whatever it takes. If at the end of two weeks, you don’t feel the pull to keep it up, then you can stop. But after one day of stopping, at least try to force yourself to do another two weeks. Keep repeating this until you realize how amazing you feel. If you don’t feel amazing after three tries, then stop eating all that fast food, idiot.
26. Say ‘yes’ to pretty much any request, especially when it’s something easy like seeing a movie, attending a wedding, or supporting a friend. Your friends will appreciate you, your life experience will increase, and your comfort zone will continue to expand.
31. People older than you don’t have it all figured out. They may speak with authority, but they mostly make it up just like you do. Most of them are full of shit. That said, listen to their advice. There’s a lot of wisdom in that shit.
33. Ignore the instructions on everything except crazy glue, hot sauce, and power tools.
34. If you can run three miles, you can run six miles. You may not think you can, and it may be painful and miserable, but you can 100 percent do it.
Full list here: 35 Life Lessons I Learned before Turning 35
A bit of a geek interlude here. If you’re not a PHP dev, disregard the rest of this post! Otherwise…
I came across a well-written comparison of Zend Framework and Symfony (disclaimer – it’s ZF-leaning) by Evan Coury and I wanted to give it a bump. It actually clarified a few questions I had, having never done anything with Symfony and having some ZF experience under my belt. I very much like his perspective/philosophy on the debate as a whole. As he sums up:
In closing, I’d like to re-iterate that Symfony 2 and Zend Framework 2 are both fantastic frameworks with a ton of brilliant people behind them. While Fabien makes some realistic points about things that make Symfony a great framework, he failed to point out that the same can be said about not only Zend Framework, but a handful of other high-quality PHP frameworks as well. Let me be clear that this is notmeant to be a Zend Framework vs Symfony post, and as such, I’m not going to include an additional list of selling points that actually do set Zend Framework apart from Symfony. In fact, I encourage challenge you to go spend an hour or so to learn about the opposite framework that you’re comfortable with.
Great perspective, applicable to things far beyond evaluating PHP frameworks!! Read the rest here.
The title of this post was penned by Dick Fishback on February 19, 1978, one day after the very first Ironman triathlon in Hawaii. 35 years ago yesterday 15 competitors set out to push the bounds of their body and mind to “Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life!”. The finishers times ranged from 11:46:40 to 21:00:38. Impressive, to say the least! Read about the event here.
Last week we posted about testosterone-boosting vegetarian foods. Today I came across a post on Made Man about non-animal muscle-building foods (for everyone!). The list is short but nicely made – with a thorough description of ‘why it’s good’ for each item. The list:
Here is some more bio info that the author of Basecamp Beans writes about himself or herself:
I spent two years living in San Francisco. My arrival there was facilitated by a job I was offered. The company was headquartered in the Northeast, but they were opening an office in a brand new building in downtown San Francisco right on California and Market Streets. I took their offer and after seven or eight months the bubble went pop and the San Francisco office closed and I was cast off to actually experience San Francisco rather than spend all my time at remote client sites.
As it turned out, losing that job was probably the best thing that could have happened. Not only did it push upon me the opportunity to take a look at whether I really wanted to live my life as a corporate employee, but I also got to actually experience San Francisco. I ended up rather poor but with a far greater experience of life.
North Beach was my favorite area to hang out. Spots Unknown has a great look at North Beach and it’s great food and culture here. Missing from that list? Golden Boy Pizza – a hole-in-the-wall pizza and beer place – and Caffe Roma – very good coffee roasted on-site and a great spot for sitting on the sidewalk and people-watching.
At some point, Basecamp Beans switched to their own website www.basecampbeans.com, a website owned by E-Mallard – owned by Clare Bronfman.
On the home page, there is a link to NXIVM vegan, Kim Constable.