Friday, December 18, 2009

The Nemisis

I call this the 'Nemisis' because it's the hardest hill run that i can do from my house. It's about 5 1/2 miles with the 40% being a steadily increasing uphill, of course culminating in just a heart attack final quarter mile and then a gentle sloping back side all the way back down to my house. I'm still working on not walking at all. I'm down to walking about 20 meters just before the start of the real uphill (Mt Ribidioux) which is about 2 miles into the run. From mile 1.8 to about 2.5, you just feel like you are going to die as it quickly jumps to 5% all the way to 8% grade.

Here it is on

Saturday, June 27, 2009

invest early or wait for profit with small clients

I had an interesting conversation with the CEO of a new startup last week. We were discussing how I might be able to help them reach a known set of potential customers (they had a database of contacts with known demographics and buying patterns). As the discussion progressed, the CEO kept mentioning how many great ideas I had on how to improve their strategy, as well as execute on the immediate tactics. I was thinking "wow.. this is great, this deal is a shoe in, we're a perfect match".

We continued to talk for another 10 or 15 minutes and notes were being taken on the ideas we were bouncing around (not all me by far, he was an amazingly experience and knowledgeable technology exec), and then he said that he'd like to keep in touch with me and meet again in about 3 months. I asked him why we'd wait 3 months, when he'd said that the campaigns needed to run and be completed in the next 6 weeks? He said that we sounded to 'big' for the mode they were at and didn't want to make us think that although they might have champagne dreams, the definitely had two buck chuck budget.

We went on to talk a few more minutes about this issue and I assured him I understood their position, and that our/my goals were to work with interesting people, with good ideas. When these opportunities came along, budget was obviously a necesity, as we all need to feed our families, but as a company, we wanted to do engaging work, and work with interesting people as a primary objective. He continued to be concerned about leading us down the wrong road, so we agreed to speak again in a few months, which is when they thought they'd have the traction to engage with us.

I really appreciated to honesty of the conversation, but am defintitely contemplating who was right? I certainly like the idea of working with a young startup from the very beginning and help them grow, but I've certainly seen what he's talking about, where we come to an agreement based on what they can afford and then into the engagement they want more because they can now see more possibilities, and it's just not profitable or wise for us to do more for the same budget. You'd think this would be straight forward and it's a simple math problem of either they can afford the cost of our offering (they can't) so we should move on, as he indicated. But the beauty of being a human is that I get to reason, and make exceptions. when I find that special connection in a potential client, it might be worth doing a bit more and help it blossom into something great that we'd be proud to say a few years down the line, 'we've been with X since the very beginning'.

I dont' have an answer, but am defintiely pondering what I've learned, and would I do something different next time.

Friday, June 26, 2009

9 miles of altitude - good - price the following week - bad

Originally uploaded by toosuto
I spent the past weekend up in Tehachapi, between Mojave and Bakersfield, with my in laws for the weekend. On Sunday morning, Fathers Day, I went out for my normal run, which I love to do up there. It's a 4.5 mile loop, at about 5000 feet elevation (i think it's actually 4750 or something like that - i need to reinstall drivers so it shows me my elevation more clearly.

For some crazy reason, I had a bug in my bun (oh, I should also mention that as I live in Riverside, I''m accustomed to running at about 350 feet above sea level), and deciced to run a second loop, in celebration to my Fathers Day bbq extravaganza planned for later in the day. Normally, a 9 mile run is my minimum average for my weekly 'long run', but that elevation gain really does take a little more effort. Overall, it seemed like after about 6 miles, I actually seemed to be getting accustomed to it, and really thought that the last 3 miles went extremely well.

The problems started on Monday and really ran all week. I really felt tired, which I'm assuming was an after effect of the altitude. I'm sure overall it'll make me stronger - but looking at my stats for the week - i certainly wasn't breaking any speed records. After that longer run, i really do get why the pros go up to Colorado Springs and Boulder to train. Doing that for even a couple weeks and then doing a race down at sea level must be a huge help.

Monday, May 25, 2009

work blog for andersson-pape studios (ap studios)

I'm doing less work related blogging here lately, and i kind of forgot to mention why! With the startup of a new company, andersson-pape studios (ap studios), Andy Andersson and I are working on doing some really great 3D creative, iphone work and always trying to push the edges of what Flash can do. From a strategy side, we are trying to really dig deep into how Social Media can play a part, and we see mobile really starting to finally come into it's own here in the US (part of why we chose iPhone creative to be part of the mix).

If you want to see what is going on in the digital/interactive/mobile world, check out the blog at or the website at

I'll continue to rant on technology and interactive here, as well as share my triathlon hopes and woes, as well as talk more about the family as we all grow up and experience different things as well.

Friday, April 10, 2009

first race of the season

Well, this past week was the Carlsbad 5000. It's a fast, flat 5k running race in Carlsbad, California, that my buddy Kelly O'Shaunessy and I have been running since 1998. I've only beaten him one time in all of those years, but I keep trying. I'll give you all of my excuses and get them out of the way now. He's 5'10 and I'm 6'4", and that means that I out weigh him by nearly 30lbs.

I've always felt that I trained harder than him for the race, but he easily takes me to task each and every year. We actually do 3 or 4 races a year against each other. The Cbad 5k, as we call it is the only pure running race. The others are all Sprint distance Triathlons (1/2 mile swim, 12 - 15 mile bike ride, and 3 mile/5k run) along the Orange County/San Diego Coast. I take an even bigger beating at the Triathlons' than I do at Carlsbad.

What I've discovered (slowly) over the last several years is that I'm more attuned for longer distances (which Kelly won't race me at), and I'll do one or two races at these longer distances each year (one year I did a Half Ironman Triathlon (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run). What I needed to admit was 2 things.

1. that 30 lbs heavier for 6 inches taller was too much, and when you swim, bike and run, every pound counts - no matter how much you train

2. that training for distance is completely different than training for short distance speed

I figured these things out during this past fall, (well - i finally admited to them at least) and decided to use the off season to start putting it into practice. I started experimenting with how to lose weight, while not killing off too much of the hard earned muscle that i did need for training. I use the website at called 'The Daily Plate' which also has a corresponding iPhone application. Over the next few months, I figured out what settings actually corresponded to how my body actually functions and started losing weight, that didn't seem to adversely affect my running performance. As of March 31, 2009 I've lost 10 pounds, 8 of it the last 2 months.

I started noticing my speed increasing as I lost weight as well. I did two things to improve this. First I started forcing myself to run faster during portions of each run, even if it meant I had to walk towards the end. A friend of mine was a pro triathlete, and he always told me' to run faster, you have to run faster'. So simple it's stupid, but it works, and as I became leaner, this seemed to even increase my speed more. Now when i say more, I mean more for me. I can run a 9 minute mile forever (I can stop running for months and pick up at any time and run 10 miles at a 9 minute mile pace - for some folks that is a big deal. But running an 8 minute mile was a real struggle for me, even for just two miles, much less 3. I ran plenty of 6 minute mile in high school - but nothing in the last 15 years.

Now, in the last 2 months, the increase has been gaining and i went from feeling like I was dying after running a couple 8:30 miles, to running an average pace of 7:40 in the carlsbad 5k (that would be a 23:15 - by far my best time in many years. I've been fluctuating from 191.5 and 193 lbs since the race last weekend and my body is definately processing the big push last weekend, and my metabolism is asking for more food than I'm used to, but i actually find eating more than what is on my schedule and I love more weight. I think it's a next jump in what's going on, and I'm sure I'll be making more adjustments.

My next race is the Newport Triathlon (800m swim, 15 mile bike, 5k run) on April 19th. I have a vision of being 189lbs for the race, and performing even better.

Friday, March 06, 2009

follow up on livestrong 'my daily plate' iphone app

just a short update letting folks know that I had a chance to speak with some of the team members who built the calorie tracker iphone app. They indicated that they are working hard and to watch for some great new features coming soon! I'm participating in their 'dare' to publicly track my food intake for 14 days. I could win an ipod, but that isn't my motivation, it's just lots of fun to have one more way to keep myself honest and accurate in tracking my daily caloric intake, and really test the iphone app to it's limits.

One of the areas i've seen that is lacking (one of the few) is that the 'fitness' portion isn't as nearly polished as the 'food' section is. I hope that is one of the areas that will get updated in the next version. It's really nice in 'food' for it to show me my regular menu items, and this would be huge for the fitness area too (so my regular swim, bike, run and weight training were just sitting there for me to pick).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

new favorite iphone app

I'm absolutely obsessed with the 'my plate' application. I really like the web features, but it's the iPhone app that just kills me. The iPhone app is so clean and well thought out that I actually prefer the iPhone app over the web forms. I don't think that I've ever chosen to use a mobile app over a full screen web application. The smaller screen size almost always becomes enough of a detriment that the web is a much easier way to go, but it's just not true in this case.

The app is about tracking your calorie intake and tracking your workouts, but with this type off app, you usually get tired of it after just a day or two. The difficulty in putting in every meal you eat, and each individual item is just too painful. It's just not true with this one. It's so easy to enter search information in, and the fact that they've preloaded you with not only food you buy in the grocery store, but also food you eat out at a restaurant. From Old Spaghetti Factory to Hardees (Carls Jr) and Kroger. The extensive database is quick on the 3G network and I'm just so impressed that I can keep track of that level of detail without frustration.

I'm fortunate to have such a great organization like to participate in, as they seem to be extremely commited to their goals, as well as the overall health of everyone, and making it available for everyone to use.

It's a pretty close tie, as to whether I use my facebook, pandora or livestrong iPhone app more each day, but I'm giving them all a run for their money on a hourly basis.

Great job to their web team.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


You would think that with all the options for communication in our very busy 21st century world, that our ability to communicate would be better than ever. I find that with most of the people I work with, that they'd say that communication is worse than it has ever been. The problem seems to come from distraction, not from an intent not to communicate.

I've taken a lot of seminars and courses in communication over the last 20 years, whether it was while I was in the Army, college or corporate time management training, the key item all 3 warn their students about is disruption. Disruption of your thought process, leads to poor communication. They all tell you that you need to set time aside each day for each type of work that you do. This includes strategic/long term thinking, operational work (getting things done that include your day to day job) and communication (phone calls (returning messages) answering emails, twitter, SMS, social media status updates -whatever forms you have). You can see that the list of communications options is really getting a bit crazy - and most of them have great potential to interrupt your other efforts. Let's look at the list one more time - just to make sure we are really taking into account everything you have that is making noise during your day to interrupt your train of thought:

  1. Phone Calls (office phone)
  2. Phone Calls (cell phone)
  3. SMS/Text Messages (cell phone)
  4. Email (notification from your pc/mac)
  5. Email (blackberry/iPhone)
  6. Twitter (tweetdeck, etc)
  7. Instant Messaging
I'm sure there are more options on the number of active communications/disruption devices you have that can interrupt your train of thought - or even the other forms of communications (you are trying to answer emails, and you keep getting IM chats popping up, or your phone keeps beeping that you have another text message).

The result is that you may be sending out requests for information in order to do your job better, but then not responding back to others, because you have so many other devices vying for your attention. The basic principles of time management still apply. You need to create discipline into each device and know exactly how and when you are going to respond to each one. I'm sure many will say 'they are all important things I'm waiting to get status on!!" The problem is that if everything is imprtant, then nothing is important. Important by definition indicates that it stands out from the other items.

These new forms of communication are arriving in front of us much faster than we can adapt, as a society, and the result is that a lot more falls through the cracks of our own personal customer service. It's easy to want to be all things to all people, all the time, but the reality is that success will come from effectively communicating expectations. When can you really get back to something. How often can you really watch the form of cummunication that you expect from that person. You even need to come to an agreement with each communiction goal you have, as to which form of communication will be the preferred method, so that you can determine what percentage of your time neeeds to be devoted to it (time management).

We can't avoid new forms of communication. Our business depends on communicating in the ways that our customers, bosses, and peers are the most effective, and adpting to them as quickly as we can (if our goal is customer service - which we mostly are). Just remember to be honest with yourself, determine how often you can really commit to that form of communication, and make sure to let others know what it is. Don't speak generally, be specific. Transparency is more than just open communication, it's also effective communication.

Photo Credit visions by kai

Monday, January 19, 2009

Does (Network) Size Matter?

Everywhere I go, whether in the real world or online, there are folks out there collecting as many contacts as possible, at any cost. In the real world, I've rarely seen this be a successful tactic, and I don't see it working so far online either. I know of a lot of 'LIONS' on LinkedIn, and folks with many thousands of followers on Twitter, but in most cases, it doesn't seem to make them happy or more successful. I'm not saying that there aren't people with large followings and networks that haven't achieved success, I'm just saying it isn't their social media networks that were the cause of that success, they have other skills that have done that for them.

I know you've seen these folks in real life networking events. They show up at the event, grab a drink at the bar and quickly move to the closest conversation in progress, with 5 of their business cards in hand before they ever say word one. They insert a few words into a conversation, just enough to get attention, others in the conversation are polite, and introduce themselves, and vois la, they have an opening to push cards into the unwary hands of everyone, who now feel obliged to find a card and provide it to the intruder, out of polite response. The members of this conversaton are soon left by the 'networker', and barely notice as they continue their conversation. These folks will all be a bit suprised the next day when they get at least one, if not several online networking invitations to become 'friends', as well as an email, and most likely a voicemail left before business hours.

There was no 'connection' between the networker and the conversations that he repeatedly joined throughout the evening. He didn't really join in their topics of discussion, or contribute to their quest for knowledge or humor (whatever they were looking to discuss). Why does this person now feel that he can reach out and innundate everyone he's met with requests that, if accepted, show a close personal or business relationship with others? This same person will also forward more requests for connections to your network than any of your closest network combined, and you'll get tired of using the 'ignore' button much sooner than you think (should you actually accept their 'friend' and network invitations.

Please people, take a breath, enjoy the work you do, and when you network, join 2, maybe 3 conversations during the evening, that really intrugue you, and really participate. This is true online as well - find groups and discussions that you are passionate about (either pleasure or work related). The people you meet, will see your knowlege/passion on the subject, and over time, will come to rely on you and when they need something you have to offer - they'll think of you first, because you are the right choice. You don't need a network of 10,o000 friends and followers - you just need enough quality relationships to help those who need it, which will provide you with all the sales you'll ever need - really - I promise.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Happy New Year and Where is my next blog entry (all 4 of them)

Ok - so I've been trying to get better about how to capture the ideas I come up with for the blog. A couple triathlon ideas really needed to get out, on how to get back safely from our holiday feasting, and then some issues I see popping up online with Twitter, as folks start falling into the same bad habits they have in 'real-time' networking (grabbing as many cards as possible without having a single meaningful conversation).

Anyway - the draft mode is great. It lets me pop on - start an entry and see - there goes the phone now - ok, I'm back - as I was saying, it lets me get a thought down before I lose it and see if it fleshes out.

Unfortunately I now have several started but I seem to run out of day before they get completed.

Well, I feel a small sense of accomplishment by putting a couple thoughts together, and ofcourse, I had a few things I wanted to tweet about, but the calls and the blog writing all takes time. So many thoughts going on, and so little time.

Thanks for listening.