Calico = ~5 Months Old

May23

He is so tall :). He is doing great and I am having a blast! I can’t wait till his little head fuses so I can take him on some rougher stroller rides on gravel :)

Lindsey took some great photos, I call him lil bear and she likes buying him cute lil hats :)

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Advice For Entrepreneur Parents

May23

I just launched a new site that collects and shares advice for Entrepreneur Parents and their spouses. Lindsey and I received some great advice from fellow Vistage members and their spouses last year on balancing marriage, becoming parents, and entrepreneurship. When I looked online I couldn’t find much beyond the typical “top 10 ways entrepreneurs put on their pants”, so I decided to start a site to collect advice from real entrepreneurs on a variety of questions. Plus advice from and for spouses on how they tackle it all too.

Check out the site here, it is brand new so the advice is slowly being collected :)

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Asiago Cheese = Fav Cheese

May4

I love the taste of Asiago cheese, it almost has this bitter nutty taste at the end. The longer it is aged the more I like it :). Along with Manchengo, it is some of my favorite cheese. I finally decided to dig into it’s history & locale and here is what I learned…

What is it? It is an Italian cheese made of cow milk. The only authentic asiago cheese is made in the alpine region of the Asiago plateau in Italy (they have a EU DOP to stipulate that is the only place that can really call itself Asiago – EU DOPs are fascinating in themselves btw). There are some places in the USA that call themselves Asiago but are not, and they will taste much different than true Asiago (verified). Asiago can be aged or served fresh (I like aged).

Map of region in top of Italy’s boot:

History? They can trace it back to around the year 1000 from that region in Italy. It started off being from goat milk, but by 1500 cows replaced it. Why did they switch? Cows are gentle chewers of grass and stopped digging up the valuable grass roots. Crazy.

It can be hard to find, and impossible to order online still :(

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Calico takes a stroller ride.

April27

I am having so much fun with one eye :)

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Happiness is…

April25

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A Date Which Will Live in Infamy.

April23

The date was April 23rd 2017, a quiet Sunday evening. My wife and I had been married for 855 days plus another year on top of that during which we were dating. During that time we had a baby, traveled the world living in studio apartments, and so much life. But, for all that time my wife had not tooted one peep… but on April 23rd a magnificent thing happened, as she walked up the stairs she let out the cutest little toot in front of me :).

A remarkable record as she swears she is nothing internally but sugar, vanilla and all things nice.

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All Or Nothing

April21

Internally I hit “all or nothing” as a thinking trap pretty often. What is all or nothing thinking?

Seeing things in absolute (black-or-white) terms, without recognizing the middle ground (e.g., success/failure, perfect/worthless).

For me this trap seems to emerge over self-discipline, my performance, and my health. It is a shitty trap to fall in as you take a small loss and turn it into losing the entire war. Combine that with high internal standards and being shitty at self-forgiveness and I can get some pretty critical internal thoughts or even depression.

All or nothing thinking has some serious pros though and as a tool, I do not think I would be where I am today without it. The hard part is trying to figure out if it is still effective, and if so when and to what degree. If you can maintain the “all” it can lead to high levels of achievement, skill, expectations, and drive.

On the negative side, the “nothing” can lead to loss of self-confidence, depression, being very tough on yourself, inability to do things just for fun, inability to relax, pushing your body harder than it should, and the feeling that nothing is ever good enough. It can also sabotage the effort you have put in just because you missed one little step that largely does not matter (ie perfection over progress).

I grew up with the concept that a failure of your health/body is a personal failure, and that seems to be where “all or nothing” thinking is most potent. I’d really like to get rid of that… Anyway, just something I’ve been thinking on lately.

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Self Discipline & Self Forgiveness

April21

How do self-discipline and self-forgiveness interact? If you are trying to be disciplined in how you pursue your endeavors how do you find the capacity to forgive yourself when you miss a day or “slip” in your self-discipline practice?

I am not very forgiving toward myself. I am very critical and internally I hold myself to very high standards. When I feel I have failed I am very hard on myself. I also tend to sway towards all or nothing thinking, and if I fail I feel that I’ve let down all the steps that came before that one. It can be a pretty brutal combination.

Someone challenged me on this recently and I have been thinking about it a lot… The questions I have rolling around my head are things like:

How do you balance self-discipline with forgiveness for yourself?
At what point does forgiveness hurt your self-discipline practice?
Can you be too kind or forgiving toward yourself?
What does self-forgiveness look like?
When does self-discipline become a lack of flexibility?

What is self-discipline?
I read a lot of short definitions from dictionaries and a lot of longer posts on blogs, here are my 2 favorites (they jive the best for me internally):

#1 – On the surface self-discipline essentially comes down to having a reason to do something and sticking to it for the long-haul. However, this is not just about the process of pursuing a goal. It’s more specifically about your ability to control your desires and impulses to stay focused on what needs to get done to successfully achieve that goal. As such, self-discipline involves committing to long-term gains without falling prey to instant gratification along the way.

And, they created a nice graphic to explain it (click to expand)

#2 – Self-discipline is the process of building specific habits over time that can help you obtain a desired outcome, objective or goal. In other words, it’s about taking small consistent actions that help you form the habits that subsequently help you attain your goal.

This sounds a lot more forgiving than the voices in my head. They have a more holistic feel to self-discipline, instead of a one lane road you are charging down and if you step off you fail it is about improvements here, then here, over there, and as long as you consistently improving you are going the right way.

Perhaps I have gotten lost in the weeds and focused too much on the small steps instead of seeing my progress on the big map and appreciating how far I have gone. IE, it isn’t a set of dominos I fail at if one doesn’t fall down because I will move forward the next time. That is a much kinder thought process than one failure = huge deal = you are failing at x.

One tidbit I really liked on a blog post this post by Kristen Lamb was the following:

Just like working out our biceps, we must be wise how we train our self-discipline if we hope for long-term success. If I wanted to build my bicep and I went to the gym and did 500 curls with a heavy dumbbell, then who is the REAL dumbbell? My arm would be sore and likely injured, and it certainly wouldn’t inspire me to want to return to work out. Self-discipline is the same. Don’t start Day One trying to have the discipline of a Shaolin Monk. That is a formula to fail.

This took a long time for me to learn, and I still struggle. I still try to zoom up to 100 and power through instead of applying a light touch and building the habit first.

Why is self-forgiveness important?
This was a hard one for me to answer as it is not something I am good at. I am reading a lot on this subject and psychologists say it is key to psychological well-being (which makes it sounds important ;) ). I am going to continue to explore this one and start trying a few things to encourage this practice (loved this read – highly recommended as all his writings are fantastic).

Why do I value self-discipline?
Because with practice I am able to better prioritize what and why I am doing something, avoid distractions, and get the things done which take me closer to my big goals. I am going to die, and I do not want to look back and see myself wasting time on things that were not important to me, or that I didn’t think deeply about why I was doing them. For me it is about deliberate action/living. If I am outside reading, it is because I love that and want to be there.

“Amateurs wait for inspiration. The rest of us get up and go to work.” ~Stephen King.

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Snowy Boulder Colorado :)

April3

A shorty beautiful hike on Saturday after Boulder got a dusting of snow (it was supposed to be a foot). We are both still loving it here, great town!

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Nice easy hike around Boulder.

March28

This weekend I went on a easy hike called Meyers Homstead Trail, or the Meyers Gulch Trail. It was a relatively flat hike with a wide path and the out and back added up to a total of 5.5 miles. Beautiful pine forest, old barn, etc. Highly recommend! Good one for kids too I think.

If you want something more challenging, Walker Ranch is right around the corner which is an 8 mile loop with some climbs and beautiful walks along the river. I see people fly fishing out there quite often.

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Business startup rates vs closures.

March2

Given the publicity and prestige given to startups and business owners you would think that the USA is in the middle of a huge entrepreneurship boom. The opposite is true, we are seeing some really worrisome numbers emerging around business startup rates (this is something I’ve been reading about through 2015 and 2016 and it has me concerned, still doing a lot of research).

4 scary facts!

1. The number of businesses being started has fallen for decades. For the first time in 2008 the number of businesses closing was greater than those being started. Why is this worrisome? New companies are the ones that create 95% of new jobs. Existing companies create very close to 0 jobs when you total it up. The number of employees at new companies versus established has dropped from around 3.8% to 2%.

Click to enlarge:

2. Between 2010 and 2014 only 104,600 firms were created. Between 1983 to 1987 ~500,000 were. We are in a downward trend and the question is why. Demographics? Internet? Changing employment needs or habits? What?

3. The number of metro areas with more business startups than closures has shrunk consistently over the last 40 years. Prior to 2008 80% of metro areas had positive rates, in 2009 that was only 11%. Even after the recovery from the recession only 60% have positive business startup rates (2014).

Click to enlarge:

4. Over time it also appears that much smaller number of metro areas are the ones responsible for the bulk of new firms and subsequent employement growth.

In 1983 to 1987 29 metro areas were responsible for 50% of new firms in the USA.

In 1992 to 1996 30 metro areas were responsible for 50% of new firms in the USA.

In 2002 to 2006 14 metro areas were responsible for 50% of new firms in the USA.

In 2010 to 1014 5 metro areas were responsible for 50% of new firms in the USA.

Given Americans relocate for jobs 50% less than a decade ago that means that the bulk of these advancements are happening in just 5 metro areas. You don’t even want to see the stats outside of metro areas as small town america’s business start rates are hurting really bad.

I highly recommend you read the full report that Economic Innovation Group put out. There have also been a lot of stories in the WSJ and similar over the last couple years. Thanks to EIG for some of the screen grabs I added to this post, really impressed with them spotting this trend and starting to bring attention to it.

PS. Apologies for spelling/grammer, super late when I wrote this.

posted under Business | Comments Off on Business startup rates vs closures.

My Baby Has Man Farts.

February25

See this cute little guy?

Since the moment we got home he has had man farts.

He wakes Lindsey up at night with his man farts.

He wakes Ben up at night with his man farts.

They are loud.

They are not baby farts.

They are man farts.

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Wow Mr. Trump.

February24

What an interesting time to be alive.

“Trump is a poor man’s idea of a rich man, a dumb man’s idea of a smart man, and a weak man’s idea of a strong man.”

Are we witnessing the rise of a new wave of nationalism? Is this what it felt like to be in Europe after WW2 and watch the rise of a new political movement in Spain, Italy, and Germany? Or, is this what it felt like in the quiet before the 1930s global depression and massive changes around the world due to economic chaos?

Is this going to produce a huge backlash and back to expanding FDR’s programs? Will the Democrats come back in 2018 and 2020 with big wins? Will this be the last death rattle of the modern Republican party or can they survive with Trump and his core supporters?

Or, is this just a minor event that will fizzle away? Will Trump be impeached in 100 days and back to typical? How much damage can Trump and his people do to the social contract & safety net Americans currently enjoy?

Or, is Trump and his team going to bring about improved prosperity for ordinary people? Will he smash the old system and actually provide something better for Americans? Will he remove FDR’s big government, remove the social safety net, and see America’s economy flourish because of that?

Living in this moment is a lot scarier than you read in a history book about the quiet before something big. The only thing I have to compare it to is September 11th, but that was quick, and then it was just a feeling of watching history as we picked who to bomb and the rest of us went back to our normal lives. It is weird & cool & scary to be in this moment.

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Calico Jack Gets Personality!

February7

It is crazy how quick Calico is getting some personality! He is doing great, and he had a blast meeting one of his other grandmother’s and auntie :). I love how much he looks like Winston Churchill when he squinches up his face.

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The hardest part is picking a path.

February1

I’ve read a a few hundred business management books and it is amazing the scope of possible options when you face problem x. The hardest part is to pick a path and apply good thought process to your choice. It is SO hard to apply that process and ensure that you are not trapped in the process/framework versus too chaotic and undisciplined! Quick story from a book I’ve been reading:

There is an old story about an Indian chicken farmer who lived outside of New Delhi. For many years, he successfully raised and sold his chickens to support his family. One morning, when he went to feed the flock, he found several dead chickens. Not knowing what to do, he packed a bag, took a train into the Himalayas, climbed a high mountain and found a guru.

“Oh, guru,” he wailed, “some of my chickens have died!”.

“What do you feed them?” asked the guru. “I feed them corn,” replied the farmer. “You must change their diet to wheat,” declared the guru. The farmer descended the mountain, took the train home, and changed the feed from corn to wheat. For several weeks, everything went fine. But one morning, he went to feed the flock and found several more dead chickens. So he packed his bag again, took the train, climbed the mountain, and found the guru.

“Oh, guru—more of my chickens are dead!”

“How do you give them water?” asked the guru. “I have wooden bowls that I fill with water,” replied the farmer. “Troughs!” declared the guru. “Go home and build troughs.” Again the farmer returned home, built troughs, and his flock thrived for the next several months. But one morning, the farmer found more dead chickens. Back to the guru!

“Guru! More chickens are dead!”

“How do you house the chickens?” asked the guru. “I built wooden chicken coops for them.” “You need a new ventilation system,” declared the guru. Back home, the farmer spent his savings to build a new ventilation system. For two years, his business was better than ever—until, one morning, he went to feed the flock and ALL the chickens were dead!

Back at the guru’s cave, the farmer cried, “All my chickens are dead!”

“That’s too bad,” said the guru. “I had many more solutions.”

Advice isn’t useless, but it isn’t a magical solution. Every path is different in life/business.

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This is bwb’s personal blog so he can share his thoughts with the world, however scary or silly they might be. Plus family and friends can track what I am up too, and where I am in the world.

I am pretty simple. I love Mangos. I love the ocean, although mostly at sunset as I’m a ginger. I love to travel, eat exotic food, read, and use my imagination. I love creating and developing ideas into businesses, understanding how all businesses work, and building cool stuff. I am a globalist and see the entire world as my responsibility and playground. And, I am married to an amazing woman who makes life even more fun :)! And, we are now the proud parents of Calico Jack :).


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