The Power Of Tweets

I usually write about tech and business in these posts. But with my daughter’s due date quickly approaching, it’s naturally causing a lot of reflection and thought around those existential questions and emotions in this journey we call life. I’m now 18 months into this father thing with our boy Harrison, and in that time, he has already surpassed my 11th grade history teacher, Nick Prowse – who until now was untouchable as far as teachers go.

I know it’s an age old cliche that children are our greatest teachers, but I am now starting to realize where it comes from. Harrison teaches me new lessons on a daily basis and they tend to fall into one of two themes. 1. The power of cultivating a growth mindset, 2. and the importance of being present.

The power of cultivating a growth mindset

To see the world through our boy’s eyes is a very unique and rewarding experience. Literally everything he encounters is new and interesting. He is by far my greatest teacher and reminder on the importance of the here and now.

Carol Dweck describes this in her book Mindset, where she talks about the spectrum between a fixed vs a growth mindset. A fixed mindset lives in a rigid world of winners and losers, where talent is fixed and abilities cannot be learned. A growth mindset on the other hand is embodied by failing forward often in order to achieve rapid learning and progress. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.

Yesterday Harrison practiced going up and down the stairs no less than 20 times, and for me it was a perfect example of that. Through this growth mindset, he is changing and developing at a remarkable pace which is incredibly inspiring.

The importance of being present

I’ve never paid as much attention to the birds and trees in our backyard since Harrison came around. He is utterly fascinated by the “birdies”. And I apologize in advance for this, but I’m quickly learning that the tweets in our backyard are far more significant than the ones in my Twitter account. I think C.S. Lewis succinctly captured this idea of being present that as adults we are constantly striving to rekindle.

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”

And with that, I’m going to end with an amazing short film put out by Radiolab a few years ago which summarizes the above, entitled Moments. Enjoy!

Tesla Model 3 will be unveiled March 31st

There has been a lot of hype and anticipation for Tesla’s Model 3 mass market entrant to the electric car industry. While enthusiasts have been guessing at its release date for more several months now, our long wait has nearly come to an end.

Elon Musk’s goal has always been to bring electric cars into the mainstream, by starting first with its high-end Roadster model, and gradually building economies of scale until the timing and technology infrastructure were just right.

Timeline

  • 2008 – Tesla releases the high-end Roadster super car in 2008
  • 2012 – Tesla releases the luxury Model S in high-volume production after moving into the famous Fremont, CA NUMMI plant
  • 2015 – Model X SUV is released in limited production
  • 2016 – Tesla’s affordable mass market Model 3 begins taking pre-orders

As of this afternoon, Tesla has released an e-mail announcing that the big announcement will take place this March 31st in addition to the start of online reservations.

We’re excited to share details of the Model 3 prototype unveiling at an intimate event in Los Angeles, CA for less than 800 people.

We want to share this with Tesla owners first, as a token of our appreciation for your support over the years. We’ve saved 650 places at the event for current owners including their guests.

Places will be allocated at random through a drawing on March 16. To enter, simply click below and register before noon PST on March 16 2016. You’ll need to use your MyTesla email address to ensure successful entry into the lottery. On March 17, official invitations will go out to those selected through the lottery.

Model 3 reservations will open to the public in Tesla stores at 10am Pacific on March 31st. A website live stream with online reservations will begin at 8:30pm Pacific the same day.

Top 5 Hacks for Multiplying your Effectiveness

I recently wrote about decision fatigue and how it can get in the way of our progress. 

One of the hacks that I’ve been working with is the idea of identifying what Dan Sullivan calls Multipliers; that is, specific activities or projects that will move you towards multiplying your effectiveness. 

Every quarter I identify five “multipliers” that will help me get one step closer to my 25 year vision. 25 years because it creates a filter for me to focus only on the activities that will have enduring value – a radical concept in the west where we live by quarterly earnings reports.  

Although this 25 year mindset may seem radical here in the West, in Japan it is embedded in their culture. I discovered this while studying international business in Tokyo during my University days. Toyota is a perfect example of this mindset where they demonstrate the long game through their relentless pursuit of continuous improvement coined “Lean Manufacturing”. More evidence of this mindset can be seen simply by looking at the top 10 list of oldest companies.

  

In my own personal pursuit of multipliers, I’ve recently become aware of the power of what I would call “mini-multipliers”, more commonly referred to as  automation. Computer engineers have been aware of the powers of automation for years. But until recently, people like myself who are inept when it comes to coding have been on the outside. 

Enter tools like Zapier, Workflow and IFTTT that are changing all that. The following is a list of the top mini-multiplier/automation tools that I am currently using to help multiply my effectiveness.

1. Zapier

Zapier is like a magic genie that integrates with a massive list of applications allowing for near infinite possibilities.

  •  Send my teams weekly, quarterly and monthly e-mail reminders for a variety of projects and reporting requirements
  • Automatically add e-mails that I star to a to-do list in Trello (my to-do application)
  • E-mail shipping instructions to our shipper/receiver automatically when a 3d printed part has been marked ready for shipping

2. Workflow

Similar to Zapier, Workflow is a mobile application that can be programmed to perform numerous chains of events with the push of a button

  • Send my wife flowers with the push of a button (I’m not joking). When I push a button it sends an e-mail with specific instructions which I’ve created an email template for
  • Order a pizza. On those Fridays when we decide to treat ourselves, I’ve programmed a button that sends a request for our two favorite pizzas to the restaurant in our neighborhood. I push the button on my phone and 15-20 minutes later they are ready for pick-up

3. Fiverr 

Are you impatient with Excell or require some quick artwork at a bargain? Fiverr is an awesome resource connecting you directly with the crowd. I often get spreadsheets cleaned up and formatted, illustrations, whiteboard videos etc. for a fraction of the price that a local design house would charge. 

4. Numerous

Is an app that organizes a feed of all the numbers that I want to track in one place. I can track:

  • The price of Crude Oil (which is up to $38.75 today!)
  • A countdown of the number of days until my daughter’s birth
  • # of days until the next SpaceX launch
  • Temperature in Edmonton
  • Charge level of my Tesla
  • # of likes on Facebook business pages
  • Current Net Promoter scores for our business

5. Evernote

This is my lifeline for all documents in my life. Picture a digital filing cabinet that you don’t need to organize. Evernote is powerful, and can read PDF’s and handwriting. I simply scan in all of my documents and files, and Evernote makes them a breeze to find through intelligent searches at any time from anywhere. 

Have a list of mini-multipliers that are helping you elevate your game? Send me any of your suggestions or recommendations.

My Recent Conversation with an Uber Driver

The last several weeks have been heavy travel months for me, and I’ve had the opportunity to use Uber a handful of times before they were kicked out of the province of Alberta. I am not a fan of parking at the airport, and so I frequently will catch a ride to avoid taking my car. Below are a few of those experiences.

Uber driver #1

My first time ever using Uber was about 15 minutes before I had to head to the airport. 6 minutes after downloading the app and setting up my account, there was a friendly driver in a brand new, immaculate black Honda Pilot in front of my house. 

I struck up a conversation with the driver (Bruce) as I was curious about the type of people using the app as drivers. It turned out that Bruce is a father of 3, and an entrepreneur who owns a big truck for his livelihood. In the winter time he clears snow for the city, and in the summer he hauls gravel. With this current winter being unuasually mild, Bruce’s truck has sat dormant for most of the winter while he continues making payments which include storage. In order to make ends meet, Bruce has enjoyed the convenience of driving part time through the use of Uber.

Uber driver #2

For my second trip to the US this year, I was greeted in less than 5 minutes by a clean and welcoming mini-van. My driver this time (Dan) was a single dad with a young boy around the age of 8. I noticed hockey sticks in the back of Dan’s van and learned that when he is not selling medical equipment to hospitals he is coaching his precocious 8 year old son. With the tough economic conditions, Dan’s regular gig has taken a hit, and Uber has been a convenient method to make extra cash to help out with his son’s financially demanding hockey activities.  

These were just two of my at least 6 experiences using Uber, and with each trip I noticed something interesting. It occurred to me that the typical driver profiles were pretty average Albertans wanting to get ahead in the face of the many challenges we’ve faced as a province over the last year: namely…

  • More than 100,000 oil related jobs have been lost
  • The price of our oil, our key economic driver has fallen by more than 70%
  • Our economy has hit a floor not seen since the early 80s

Attempting to turn Uber into a taxi company

The types of drivers that I met using Uber were not full time taxi drivers, and I think that is the beauty of the platform. And this is a point that I think our government is failing to realize. Uber is not a replacement for taxis, it is a disruptor of taxis. I understand that this comes across as alarming for many people. But we have to take a step back and understand why it is that Uber is so disruptive. 

In my previous post I wrote about disruptive businesses leveraging technology to become extremely customer-centric. Uber has accomplished this feat, and its success is merely a reflection of the masses voting with their wallets. 

 By imposing regulations such as mandatory background checks as well as license and insurance upgrades, it no longer exists as a ride sharing app. We are creating another taxi business. As an entrepreneur, I see a service and business model that is near perfection when it comes to connecting supply and demand. Drivers who want to give rides being matched seamlessly and automatically with drivers who want a ride. A driver validation and rating service in my mind is more than adequate to give me confidence in the person picking me up.

What does this mean for Alberta?

In the face of our numerous economic challenges at present, I remain incredibly optimistic about the spirit and capabilities of creative entrepreneurs who will innovate their way out of this situation. What I am apprehensive about is that our government has demonstrated a level of bureaucracy signaling to businesses and investors that Alberta is not a progressive province. As a result, what we are seeing and will continue to see is a mass exodus of talent and capabilities from our province by people with good ideas. As an example, I have met more Canadians than I can mention who have moved to California and seen incredible success. When polled, every one of them cited that they didn’t think their ideas stood a chance of succeeding in Alberta.

We have incredible and very capable people in our province and in our country, and I do see a bright future – eventually. I agree that our oil rich privilege has created some apathy that we will need to push through in order to return to prosperity. But this will take a change in mindset, especially on the part of our elected representatives. I see Uber as a first strike, and we’re now sitting 0 and 1. It’s not too late. 

In the meantime, I hope to see more than a dozen Uber drivers in Edmonton when the platform returns this summer. 

5 Tips for Managing Decision Fatigue

It has been said that the quality of decisions that we make deteriorates throughout the day. In fact, a 2011 study in the National Academy of Sciences found that judges who were responsible for granting prisoners parole became increasingly less lenient as the mornings approached lunch. On an empty stomach their decision making capabilities were actually compromised. 

Thankfully most of the decisions that I have to make throughout the day are slightly less significant. Nonetheless below are a few strategies that I have experienced real success with that could help put you back in the driver’s seat.

5 tips for managing decision fatigue

1. Choose your clothing the night before. 

Our brains when faced with choices throughout the day move closer towards a state of cognitive overload. Removing that first decision of the day is a surprisingly powerful trick to help conserve brain energy in the early hours of the day. I’ve taken it one step further by loading my closet with a dozen of the same black shirt to help remove one last decision. A word of warning though, this advanced move may lead to people questioning your bland wardrobe.


2. Meditate first thing in the morning



Prolific author Robert Greene compares our brains with icebergs, in that the majority of cognitive reasoning is buried within our subconscious. But this potential can often get drowned out by our monkey minds. The daily intentional practice of quieting that chatter in our minds can have huge benefits towards setting us up for success and happiness. Even 1 minute each morning is a powerful small step towards achieving the numerous benefits of meditation. A good entry point that I’d recommend is an app called Head Space


3. Write in a journal for 5 minutes each morning

The Five Minute Journal has been one of my best purchases so far this year. Each morning (most mornings if I’m honest) before looking at my phone or scanning e-mails, I jump straight into my journal to jot down 3 things I’m grateful for, and 3 things that would make today great. Sound simple and trivial? It’s actually more difficult than you would think. But it forces me to exercise that same muscle as the meditation to give me laser focus on 3 things to achieve each day.


4. Exercise each day even if just for a few minutes

This is an obvious one, and I won’t get into the myriad of benefits of daily exercise. But I’ll put it in as a reminder to stop making excuses. The body and mind are so linked that it would be impossible to aspire for a balanced life without tending to both. And if you have troubles finding the time, start out with an app like Seven Minute Workout.


5. Break your world into 90 day chunks

Chris Anderson illustrates the exponential curve of choice in his book The Long Tail. There are so many avenues of choice in our world these days that they are literally trending towards infinite. One only needs to visit the supermarket to count the amazing abundance of choices. Who knew there would be demand for Lobster Roll flavored chips? Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach recently wrote a book called the 25 Year Framework, in which he has succinctly mapped out where he wants to be 25 years from now in all aspects of his life. He then breaks it down into 90 day chunks. Each quarter effectively equals 1% of 25 years. A great way of dealing with the overwhelm is to write down 5 multipliers or goals that you can work on each 90 days that will move you closer to that 25 year target. And if you have one bad quarter, no sweat. It’s only 1% of the picture.


Whatever your situation, there are a tonne of intentional hacks that can help you regain control of your days. What tricks have you found to be successful?