My longest friend recommended Sam Harris' podcast to me about a year ago, and I've been hooked ever since. Some episodes are easier to get into than others, but this one is definitely worth a listen.
We've got a lot of work to do as a nation to address the implications and aftermath of Russia's use of social media during the 2016 election, but as an app developer, it gives me all the more reason to help steer people towards building software that makes society an objectively better place.
(By "objectively better", I mean taking a look at the pros and cons of social media and ubiquitous internet connectivity and see if its use makes us wealthier/healthier/happier, or if it's only making a handful of people those things.)
One thing I've spent a lot of time doing in the last few years is to flip my assumptions on their head. For example,
I really like how Steli and Hiten challenge the inner dialogue that we all have around asking other people for help. If you do your homework in advance and ask for considered advice or feedback, more often than not, people will be glad to offer it.
I heard on a different podcast a few weeks ago that people love to be asked for their advice and assistance, and in doing so, you're honoring them by making them feel valued and needed.
We can all use help from time to time, and if there's ever anything I can do to help you, dear reader, then please don't hesitate to ask.
Quite a fun episode of my favorite Minnesota beer podcast, especially since they're profiling the brewery my wife works at.
I think it's interesting to see how a brewery like Badger Hill can continue to thrive in a market with such intense competition. However, as they allude to in this episode, there is no industry quite like the craft brewing industry as it relates to sharing resources between competitors.
While it's not quite as open, I think folks inside the app development consultancy space are similarly amicable towards their competitors. I've had many lunches over the past year with folks that I am actively competing again, but we are both willing to share advice and give nudges over difficult barriers.
It goes to show that while many situations are framed in black or white, truth or lie, Sith or Jedi, the world almost always operates on a spectrum between the two.
There were a ton of valuable takeaways from this episode of The Tim Ferriss Show featuring an interview with Seth Godin.
That concept of "be a professional, not authentic" was quite eye opening. I had orthopedic surgery not too long ago, and it truly would've been a bummer if she decided she didn't feel like cutting my knee open that day.
I've had my own existential qualms about selling apps because, at the end of the day, does anyone really need an app? However, much like scope creep, you can find a way to spin it into a positive for everyone involved. It’s okay to sell people something you think they don’t actually need, because they actually do need it. Be empathetic and sell to what people think they need.
You get better by serving your smallest viable audience. If you keep trying to make things work for folks who don't fit that niche, you are just doing a disservice to those who do fit your niche.
If you run a company, this is required listening.
I'm 25 pounds heavier than I was this time last year.
I could blame it on a ton of things, including a lack of motivation to run after the ultramarathon, my knee surgery in June, and work-related stress.
Instead of playing the blame game though, I've decided I'm gonna do something about it.
After reading The 4 Hour Body earlier this year, I took a few big points away that I've been adopting in my life. One of those points is to find small changes you can make to your life that will yield big gains.
I think those of you who know me would say that one of my biggest vices in life are sweets. I'll easily pound a quart of ice cream in a single sitting if I can. At weddings, I'll grab two edge pieces (and hopefully, one of those is a corner piece). My wife's freshly-baked batch of three dozen cookies will not last a full week.
Another trait I know about myself is that I need to set audacious goals for myself, if for no other reason than to prove that I can do it.
With those points in mind, I've decided that November 2018 is going to be "No Sweets November" for me.
What are the rules, you ask? Here goes:
- Sweets includes any food product with a ton of artificial sugar. For me, this would include ice cream, cookies, brownies, cake, candy, muffins, breath mints, and donuts.
- Naturally-occurring sweets will not be eliminated, so I can still do things like apples and grapes.
- From midnight on November 1st until 11:59pm on November 30th, I will not consume any sweet.
Some will say that this month is probably the worst month for doing this. After all, my birthday is on the last day of this challenge, not to mention Thanksgiving and two weddings.
I would argue that those reasons alone make it the perfect month to abstain from sweets. After all, the point of this self-imposed restriction is to lose weight. I'll be much happier with myself if I can end the month 3 pounds lighter than if I were the same weight and ate sweets all month.
I'm already off to a good start. While going for a walk this morning, I found a full sized, unopened bag of M&Ms laying on the sidewalk. I picked it up and thought about tearing right into it, but after remembering the challenge, I handed it to my friend instead.
See you in December!
Steli Efti: I do think that most people maybe haven’t answered the question truthfully and are suffering the consequences from it. That’s my instant and initial response when you say, how do you figure out who you are? My first thoughts are that you have to ask the question again and really make sure that you have answered it correctly versus just being attached and stuck in an answer that you might have picked out when you were really young a really long time ago.
This was exactly the podcast episode I needed this weekend, and I want to store it somewhere that I can come back to it in a few years.
If you're stuck in an endless loop of unhealthy and unproductive patterns, give this short episode a listen.
Edmonds: Nintendo’s legal department also got worried about lawsuits from various gun manufacturers if we used real gun names. We had to change them to made up ones, which was disappointing.
Hilton: So the whole team just started making up names that sounded appropriate for the guns — except for the Klobb, which we named after Ken Lobb, who was one of the most senior guys at Nintendo at the time and was a big supporter of the game within Nintendo.
I mean, is there anyone my age who didn't grow up on this game? The story of how multiplayer came to exist is particularly interesting as someone who is used to working in an industry where the best ideas come late in the game.
I consider myself to be a podcast enthusiast, but I will be the first to admit that I have not listened to many of the most popular podcasts.
I've been a fan of Joe Rogan ever since NewsRadio, and I've seen some clips here and there of The Joe Rogan Experience, but I've never sat down and listened to an entire episode of his podcast. I had a feeling that his political views were more libertarian, but beyond knowing that he's a proponent of weed, I didn't know much about him on a personal level.
With that in mind, I went through the most recent episodes of his podcast to see if there was an episode that would help me learn what he was all about.
I can't be the only one in the world who thinks the political scene in 2018 is incredibly draining and makes me feel ultimately powerless. As soon as I saw that Ted Nugent was on an episode, my initial reaction was, "ugh, why the hell would I listen to this crap and subject myself to more of that same feeling?"
Before listening to this episode, here was the sum total knowledge of facts that I knew about Ted Nugent:
- He was a musician of some sort
- He wasn't popular in my Twitter bubble
- He tends to speak in brash, general, and oversimplified statements
In an effort to remove myself from my bubble, I thought, "you know what? A lot of folks seem to love Ted Nugent, so I'm gonna listen with an open mind and see what it's all about."
The episode was pretty long (over three hours), but if you've got the time, I highly encourage you to give it a listen. A few things I took away:
- I didn't realize Ted was all about hunting, and I noticed myself nodding my head in agreement during the discussions around being responsible with nature and treating the circle of life with respect.
- The discussion around the vegan lifestyle was also illuminating. I know a few folks who try to do the vegan thing, and it's interesting to look at it from the perspective of "look at the number of animals and plants you need to kill with pesticides in order to keep them off your land so your tofu can grow."
- The first hour or so is mostly Ted and Joe talking about how misunderstood hunters are. Of primary note is a part where Ted says that people think hunters are all fat, sloppy rednecks who go out and hunt down hundreds of animals at a time. He says that if non-hunters would actually talk to a hunter and see the world from their perspective, it would really make things better. I thought this was a profound point, which was made completely ironic by the next observation:
- No fewer than 50 times in this episode does Ted identify a group of people (liberals, politicians, the DNR, bureaucrats, anti-gun folks, illegal immigrants), caricaturize them, and berate them for their "ignorance."
Joe spent a lot of the episode silent, because Ted just would get on a rant and keep going. However, I think Joe did do a great job of holding Ted's feet to the fire a bit over some of his statements.
My favorite part of the episode was when Ted went to the bathroom, Joe monologued about how messed up the gun situation is in our country and that he doesn't have any answers for it. It was refreshing to hear that, since everyone seems to have an answer that wouldn't work in practice.
Like I said above, the episode was long, but I found it to be absolutely illuminating, and I will be seeking out more podcasts like this in order to make sure my perspective on life isn't being persuaded by only one type of voice.
If anything, the biggest takeaway from this episode for me was that what we need right now as a country is to find a way to come back to the table together. Social networks seem to thrive off of exploiting the worst in us as humans, and even though the first word in that phrase is "social", it has made us anything but.
Back in 2011 when I started this blog, I wrote a post that outlined some short and long-term goals that I had for myself.
I came across that post while re-doing this blog, and I thought that establishing some new goals was a worthwhile task.
For the past few years, I've been using an analogy for setting goals that I like to call "the swimmer's approach", which I came up with while watching triathletes swim during a race.
When you're swimming a fairly long distance, there are times where you need to put your head down and swim hard, and there are times where you need to lift your head out of the water and make a plan to head in a certain direction.
The key here is to combine both as efficiently as possible. If you're just heads down swimming hard all the time, you'll likely start veering off course considerably. Conversely, if you are spending all your time looking off into the distance, you'll never get there.
So today, I'm focusing on getting some new goals. Here's what I've got:
Short Term Goals (by August 15)
- Completely unplug for a week and enjoy time with my wife
- Take Charlee to a place she's never been before (like a new splash pad or the science museum)
- Come up with a sales strategy around our long-term support plan for JMG
- Finish the Siri integration with my weight tracking app
- Watch 3 movies on my Plex server
- Walk around the block without crutches (0.5 miles)
- Write another blog post for this site
Medium Term Goals (by December 31)
- Set a budget for marketing at JMG and launch a campaign
- Close a large sale
- Merge Rob's project management app (Triangle) with my sales and marketing app (Gil) and give it an awful name (like Trian-Gil)
- Get the average subscriber count for Constant Variables up to 100 per episode
- Get version 1.1 of mncraft.beer released
- Watch 30 movies on my Plex server
- Go for a 1 mile run
- Brew my first batch of beer
Long Term Goals (by July 1, 2023)
- Run another marathon
- Build up a 6 month emergency fund for the JMG
- Move to Wisconsin
- Have an event with one of our businesses
- Have another kid
- Finish watching all the movies on my Plex server (currently, I'm at 600+)
Now, it's time to start swimming.
A few weeks ago, I got an email from Google saying that I had an "unusual number of 404 errors" on my site. I looked into it, and a very helpful script kiddy exploited my Wordpress site and took over the admin account.
It didn't look like there was much in there in terms of damage done, but they basically changed my admin password, bricked my template, and moved on.
After years of neglecting this blog (yet again) and after years of dealing with an annoying CMS, I had the same thought that every web developer has: "Nuts to this, I'm just gonna build this site myself from scratch."
So here we are: timbornholdt.com version whatever!
After reading back from my old posts in 2012, I realized that I really should start blogging again. I really enjoy seeing how much has changed in the past 6 years, and I know that if I start blogging about my life now that I'll look back in another 6 years and have the same feelings.
So without further ado, welcome to the blog, and we'll see you in another 6 years!