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Choosing a new blog theme

I always have a difficult time picking out a new theme for my website.

I like clean looking sites like The Brooks Review, Marco and Allen Pike, but I have a hard time finding a template to start from.

Best I’ve found so far is Bootstrap so I’m going to start there and see how hard that is to convert to a Statamic theme.

Link Blogging: Step 1

Continuing from yesterday’s post, I have built a Statamic add-on that:

  1. polls my public Pinboard for any bookmark tagged ‘lb’
  2. grabs the data
  3. creates special links posts here.

Pretty cool, eh?

Next up is getting the site actually up with new design. Just gonna start with the link blog.

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I went to an event last night, given by Boris Mann.

True to form he spoke about the importance of recording your thoughts for your future self.

I have been collecting links for a while now, first storing them in Instapaper but moving recently to the wonderful Pinboard, with all its tagging and easy API. (My love for Pinboard is a whole ‘nother topic).

Boris has inspired me to review my thoughts/links nightly and post the interesting ones. I will start by using Postach.io to post while I work on my actual site (based on Statamic. Regardless of the method, the links will be here.

I am also going to attempt to actually blog more. It won’t be daily, but I have added an nightly task to review my day and post any thoughts I have.

Day 1 – Niagara

Great Wolf Lodge is something else. A great water park with many slides and forts.

There is also a Magic Quest the kids can do:
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After the slides we went to Niagara Falls and the Hornblower (was Maid if the Mist when is was here 20 years ago).



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What Many Startups Need…

…is sales.

Most startups are done by technical founders and even if they get some VC/Angel funding they may not be getting the help they need to properly sell their products/services.

I started looking around to see what the valley is doing for this and I found Upshift Partners (more details on why they are needed here).

I had an interview with them but they want their team in San Francisco for the next 12 months so nothing happened (at least not yet!). I found nothing like this in Vancouver, though there are several accelerators that could add this, like GrowLabs, Invoke, Spring.

So now I have two options:

  1. Go out on my own for this, or
  2. See if I can work with one of the local groups to get this going

The program would look something like this:

  • sales organization based on Predictable Revenue model
  • 12 week program – option to continue
  • $5-10k/month – option for performance bonuses and/or equity
  • very data based – several detailed reports/KPIs
  • complete sales process instituted – from marketing to sales presentation to closing flow

If you are interested in learning more, let me know.

How I approached my new career

My goal was to never truly apply for a role. I wanted to find a cool company that needed/wanted me and just make it happen.

To do that I had to really understand myself and what I wanted so I first worked with a career advisor to figure out:

  • what I’m good at – evangelism, sales, coaching
  • what kind of companies I like – small, startup, agile, fun
  • what industries I’m passionate about – green, health & wellness, education

Next I went through a huge list of local companies to find ones that fit my criteria and looked interesting. At the same time, I reached out to my friends and asked them for help (intros, company suggestions, etc).

Then I went though the list and found people I’d like to talk to and see if I had a connection to them via LinkedIn. It was rare that I did not have a connection. I really tried not to depend on the same people all the time (I have several extremely well connected friends), and that meant I sometimes had to reacquaint myself with some old colleagues, which was nice. If I didn’t have a connection, I reached out on Twitter to try to set something up. Surprisingly, that worked several times!

I set up meeting with my connections first, unless I knew them well, and then moved on to the key people I was trying to meet.

And while I did research the companies before I met, I never checked to see if there was a position. Good companies bring good people on even if there isn’t a defined position.

I never turned down a meeting, even if I knew that I wasn’t interested in the company because new connections are always great and you never know who they know.

I have been extremely happy with the results; met some amazing people and companies and have several interesting opportunities to choose between.

Is there anything more frustrating than…

…tough to diagnose, only slow at certain times, internet service?

Our internet is only slow in the evenings. Telus says that we have “foreign DC voltage” on our DSL line. Interestingly, I am using TekSavvy (which resells TELUS) and my tenant is on TELUS and he has the same problems.

His modem, etc are on a different circuit so I’m not sure what is going on here.

All I know is that it is extremely frustrating.

A New Story

After spending a long time figuring things out and a short time being frustrated, I have started my journey into something new.

It began a year ago when I realized I was not happy at work. I quickly jumped back into the Vancouver start-up scene; however, as I did not really know who I was (or why I was unhappy), my efforts were not very focussed and unsurprisingly not successful.

In the fall I began working with a mentor to figure out a) why I was unhappy and b) what would make me happy and c) what I’m really good at. I went through very comprehensive physchological testing and learned that I enjoy (and am good at):

  • coaching/training
  • helping people solve problems
  • investigating trends
  • getting people enthusiastic about new solutions

We also figured out that I am more suited for smaller, more agile companies rather than larger, more process-driven ones.

During this time my passions have also become clearer:

  • making sure kids are learning the right things in the right way
  • educating people about the importance of good food and regular excercise so they make it part of their lives

One of the reasons I became frustrated was that I was no longer passionate about what I was doing and who I was helping. If I don’t believe in what I’m doing, I won’t be effective nor will I truly enjoy it. I know that sounds like a cliche, but I didn’t realize how important it was to me. So I have started to find & meet like-minded companies in Vancouver to see how I can help them.

I am very excited.

A Good Time

Definition of a great weekend in Vegas:

  • Golf at TPC Vegas (tough greens)
  • Dinner at Margaritaville
  • Fun poker session at Bellagio
  • 3+ hour hike at Red Rock National Park
  • Great burgers at Burger Brasserie (Paris)
    • 2 Mojitos
  • Seeing Anthony Cools
    • 2 vodka 7s
  • Really drunken poker at PH
    • Green apple shot
    • 2 tequila shots
    • Vodka 7
    • Many many spiced rum & ginger
  • Delayed flight
  • Dinner in the LINQ
  • 6 hour poker session at Aria
  • Direct to airport with no sleep

What I Bring

  • passion for wanting to make people better
  • enthusiasm and humour
  • selling snow to eskimos
  • merging of technical knowledge + understanding how to present value
  • lots of communication and collaboration (I prefer to work with consensus)
  • willingness to jump in where needed to Get Things Done.