Friday, January 30, 2015

Well, About Those Hard Things...

When I workout I don't really listen to music that often. Instead, I flex my muscles or shred my bike to a podcast. On Friday's, I typically listen to the Diane Rhem show. While on Sunday's, I listen to Meet The Press. The opportunity to learn while exercising has been one of the most joyous parts of my outdoor shredding career, and sometimes the most distracting. On one particular Meet The Press, I was getting so fed up with the political jabber that I had to keep stopping to calm down. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was actually talking out loud. And with the volume turned up I couldn't really notice anyone but me and my political frustrations. When I stopped to pull over, another bike rider rode past me and said, "I totally agree. That was a little ridiculous he said that on Meet The Press last Sunday." Ha! True story...

I'm amazed by what the internet can offer. I didn't go to the Stanford Engineering School, nor was I raised in California for that matter. But I love the fact that I can go online and watch an entrepreneurial presentation by Ben Horowitz from the VC firm Andreesson and Horowitz. For starters, Horowitz is a hip hop fan, so despite his amazing achievements, he's already piqued my interest. Secondly, I'm enamored by his peace time vs war time CEO concept. The talk is mainly about his new book The Hard Things About Hard Things. I've already purchased a sample copy, and then promptly bought the whole book. Go ahead and check out the talk for yourself:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Silence Before Thought...

My father recently gave me a picture my Great Grandmother took of the Newcomb trading post in Newcomb, NM. My family owned the trading post for many years. In the picture are my Great Grandfather's associates as well as customers. You can almost feel the traditional west in this sepia-toned artifact. The women in the picture proudly promote the Navajo rugs on display. Rifles and tools are not too far from the hands of the sun-battered men. Our family's Indian tradition goes back to before New Mexico gained statehood. Growing up my Grandmother bestowed many of the cultural beliefs about the Navajo on me and my Sister. One thing she spoke of, but never quite sunk in was the quietness of the Indian people. Perhaps it was my Grandmother's love of colorful story telling that prevented us from truly capturing what it means to be silent - she's an incredible story teller at that! Over the weekend I read something that reminded me of silence. A Sioux Chief wrote about the traditional politeness of their culture. One path to practicing this form of respect is silence before thought. This struck me, as those of you who know me, find that I am probably the worst at this (probably my Grandmother's genes passing down to me). I love flying off the handle with free-forming ideas. However, as I get older, I realize how, not just quiet for quiet-sake is important, but the formation of ideas is important, and that takes silence before thought. Today, as I consider my interactions with people, I will try to remember this.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Defense Of Brevity...

I worked with this accountant once, more like a chief council kind of guy. He was about 70 with bulging eyes and a powerful look. At meetings he wouldn't say much. However, at a key point, he would spell out these one-liners that got all of us grasping for an answer. Classic grey-haired man, right? Yep... He was that kind of guy. Quick little quips about what we were planning that boiled us in business meditation (in some cases we actually abandoned our ideas). I wouldn't say the approach was that genius, but it did teach me something. Many times the best commentary or insight comes in small packages. It is the very act of simplicity of action/thought. One might call it thinking before one speaks


Tuesday, January 06, 2015

How Does Squamish Do It - Even More Trails To Ride - Video


The Patrol: Up and Down Squamish from Transition Bikes on Vimeo.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Why You Should Pitch The Disaster Plan First

What kind of story do you want me to tell you? I guess I'll tell you the one about the company that could sell $4m worth of widgets with $3.9m in profit in six months. I could also tell you about the company that could create 10x the product with only five people. I could also tell you about the company that could create a super app capable of pivoting into 10 different things when the market changes directions. But that company doesn't exist, and the business plan I really want you to believe in doesn't either. As humans, we are naturally optimistic, so we want to believe. However, the true nature of what we are about to launch will die (95% do). So, here's a crazy idea... When pitching ideas, instead of investors taking in said pitch and cutting it in half, why don't we just start with a realistic story and work like hell to get there.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

Why Businesses Should Thrive On The Expectation Of Ideas...

And then there are those organizations that die with a lack of ideas...

I had a dream about all the company employees I've know throughout my career. They were all standing in a circle telling me about "the good old days" of x company. They kept getting louder and louder. Some of them worked their way closer to me. "It was different then, it was different then..." They kept screaming at me. I finally broke through the crowd and ran away. I found a safe spot and rested my head. I was soon approached by one of the workers. He had a calm face and quiet demeanor. "Do you know why they are yelling?" He asked. I answered that I didn't know, and wanted them to stop. "No one listens to their ideas anymore... Their ideas are dying, and so is their work. When ideas die, so does good good work." He said lowering his head in sadness. It was then that I woke, and started writing this blog post...


I'm not sure if the worker who approached me in my dream is right, or not. But I realized why all the workers were so upset. If no one listens to the troops in the field, then wars are lost. The same is true of companies. Those executives that don't talk to their customers, nor listen to what field-level employees are saying will similarly lose revenues. A lot of the best ideas come pre-packaged, not from consultants who simply re-package what you already know, but from the field-level employees whom have carefully considered the angles of their idea, usually, with the customer involved. They are truly a wealth of knowledge. I've learned, throughout my career as a leader, that just by listening and engaging employees you can super-charge your organization. I've also learned that ideas soon begin to flourish when you listen. It all seems so simple, yet we don't do this...

In my dream, I ran from the employees. Instead, I wish I had just engaged with them as the workers in my dream were my ideas trying to gain their voice. Even in our heads, we stifle what could be a the next big thing. Listen up, and down, and inside!