Category Archives: Life Journal

Rebooting Startup Lessons

I set a goal five years ago to blog regularly about my day job running a software company. I setup the Startup Lessons category and managed a handful of posts that year before things stalled. Since then, most of my Startup Lessons have been about related books or riffs on interesting posts.

So after a lengthy hiatus, I’ve decided to reboot Startup Lessons. My (new) goal is to write at least one post a month sharing what I’ve learned running a business over the past 15 years.

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To us, it was home

A couple of years ago, our church had a guest pastor who told an interesting story about his childhood. He was an older gentleman, probably in his late seventies or early eighties. He said that in the neighborhood where he grew up, people left their doors unlocked because there wasn’t anything inside worth stealing. The families worked hard and often relied on each other to make ends meet. While it would be considered a poor neighborhood by today’s standards, he and his friends didn’t see it that way. They played games in the streets and in each other’s yards. If he was considered poor, he didn’t know it. In fact, as he put it, “I didn’t know I lived in the ‘hood until I started watching TV. To us it was home.”

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Calls for change are a regular refrain these days. Maybe it’s because we all have a voice via social media and the internet. Maybe it’s because it’s an election year. Maybe it’s the effects of being quarantined for the last 6 weeks.

Whatever the case may be, there’s no shortage of calls to change our current attitudes, behaviors, and/or laws to stem the effects of climate change, improve the safety of public places, provide access to health care, reduce the number of homeless, and the list goes on.

When calling for change, we (which includes me) ask questions like why aren’t people doing more? Why aren’t our community leaders and government officials responding to calls for action? Why aren’t businesses, both big and small, stepping up to support and improve the communities they do business in?

While these and others are all great questions, perhaps the questions we should be asking is how can I effect change? How can I influence things? How can I become part of the solution?

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10 Books to jump-start your personal development

I became interested in personal development a few years ago. My goal was to learn how to manage myself better by understanding how the mind works and building good habits.

Since then, I’ve read quite a few books on the topic. Here are the 10 books that I found most useful in my personal development journey. They are the ones the had the biggest influence on changing the way I approach life, and hopefully, in reading these, they will have the same positive effect on your life too.

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What you focus on expands

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a real estate training seminar put on by Ninja Selling. To be fair, I shouldn’t call it a seminar. As they say, it’s an installation.

I learned a lot that week. Most of it had very little to do with real estate. Instead, I learned a lot about managing one’s self, setting and achieving goals, and becoming an overall better person.

The most important lesson I learned that week was a statement the instructor kept coming back to over and over again – “What you focus on expands.” It resonated, it stuck with me, and I keep seeing examples of it everywhere around me.

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Do the right thing

The time has come. It’s time for the ‘gig economy’ companies and others exploiting employment regulations and independent contractors to step up to the plate. They need to face the facts, admit the truth, and reclassify these workers as employees. It’s time to do the right thing.

I wrote a similar article, What’s Bad for the Hive, a couple of months back. Little did I know back then that the world would change so dramatically since then. I’m going to do my best to keep this rant short, so you may want to refer back to that post first for a little background before wading into this one.

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Sheltered-in-place thoughts

Spending the last two weeks sheltered-in-place affords one a lot of time to think. Outside of walking the dog and the rare trip to the grocery store or Costco, I haven’t left the house. So as we enter the third week with no official end in sight, here are a few thoughts that are helping me through this period. Hopefully these can help you navigate and spend the time wisely, too.

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Being present

A recurring theme in meditation is living in the moment. I’ve been practicing meditation for over a year, and living in the moment is a skill I’m still working on. So what does it mean to be present, to live in the moment?

Being present is about learning to let go. It’s developing the ability to let go of worries about the future and regrets about the past. It’s about letting go of the painful thoughts that cause emotional suffering. It’s about letting go of the attachments to people, things, and events that distract and agitate us. It’s not about controlling the here and now, it’s letting it flow naturally, moment by moment.

Letting go is not easy, at least it hasn’t been for me. It’s perhaps the most difficult part of learning to be consistently present in the moment. It requires adopting a different mindset. It’s taken me the better part of a year and a lot of meditation sessions, but I feel like I’m finally starting to get it. Here’s what I’ve discovered through the process.

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