Marketing, Minneapolis, Music & More

KUBB TOURNEY!

No big post today as I’ve got to get ready for our annual winter Kubb tournament on Lake Harriet.  If you aren’t familiar with Kubb, take a look here.  Wish me luck!  Below is a video of a my buddy Seguin winning it a few years ago.  Tons of fun and a great way to get out during winter.

Winter Wrap

This is the time of year that seasonal affective disorder usually takes hold, but we’ve had a very light winter and it hasn’t been completely crumby. The new snowblower we bought barely got used, we had a really nice December and January, with colder than typical November and February. But thus far it’d rate above average in terms of severity. Meanwhile the East Coast continues to get pummeled with huge snow storms continually.

Still this time of year is a bit dry as we’ve been cooped up quite a bit the last four months due to weather. I’ve had a sore throat since Friday so have stayed home, rested and worked on our big launch for April this weekend. The issue is the need to get out and do something different to break the monotony associated with day in, day out, capital T truth of adult life. In future years we will hopefully be travelling somewhere warmer at this point, but this year we’re keeping it close.

Living in Minnesota at this time of year always seems odd.  Keep it in mind as you strive toward Spring.  It’s just a part of life here.

At times like these I’m usually buying too much music on Amazon. Today resulted in five new albums. Music is a great way to switch things up, and now that I’ve installed a backup hard drive on my system there’s nothing to worry about if a crash happens. The only thing needed is a phone with more room to be able to store more music.  That will likely happen later this year with the new iPhone iteration.

I’m eager to get out on my bike and hit trails in the spring.  Or go on hikes with Teresa.  This year will be more difficult however as our third trimester is nearing and Tempo will be arriving in May.  At that point joint excursions will be out of the question for a short period, however we’ll get a good stroller and try to make moves in the sunlight when we can.  It will definitely be an adjustment.

What to do with the rest of the day?  I’m uncertain–but it’s probably best to get up and move away from the computer.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Da Kid is Back in Sota!

Growing up, I didn’t always have a lot to do.  We lived in the sticks of Alexandria, Minnesota.  Although a decent sized town — roughly 9k in my youth — where I lived only a few people had permanent residences.  The other homes were all lake cabins that people visited on weekends.  There just weren’t that many families in my area.

I was the youngest of three, a boy sibling to two older girls, which often made me the odd one out when it came to finding things to do.  We had a basketball hoop with a gravel turnaround.  Many hours were spent dribbling and shooting, pretending to be in the NBA.  The first time I played on an actual gym floor I felt like Superman, being able to dribble without rocks altering the bouncing movement of the ball made my control insanely better.  Basketball was an escape for me, a way to be something more than a slightly shorter than average skinny kid in rural Minnesota.

On Sundays NBC would play professional basketball games, which I’d be glued to the TV for as we didn’t have cable.  Around 1991 I started watching the Timberwolves on the local Fox affiliate that ran a game roughly six times a season.    I started watching and got excited about Isaiah Rider, when he did the East Bay Funk Dunk to win the dunk contest in 94, well, it was something out of this world.

The Timberwolves were never a team that grabbed me for a specific reason.  They were always losing, but at my age it didn’t  matter to me–it was just about cheering them on and loving basketball.  They were my team because they were the team on television a few times a year.  I kept rooting for them–hoping they’d get to draft Shaq or Zo, but getting Christian Laettner instead.  He had a decent NBA career but it makes you wonder what would have happened otherwise.  The team has historically bad luck in drafts and mediocre results in trades.kevin_garnett_rookie_display_image

Draft picks were always the most exciting time of the year as a Twolves fan.  We were never near the playoffs, so drafts were the best chance we had at a turnaround.  They represented hope and  excitement for the future.  In 1995 we drafted a very skinny, tall young man who absolutely tore up his high school league at Farrugut Academy in Chicago: he averaged 25.2 points on 66.8% shooting, 17.9 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 6.5 blocks.  His name was Kevin Garnett and he was knicknamed Da Kid because he was only 19 years old–the youngest ever in NBA history.

Da Kid was a string bean of energy, running, dunking and playing D with enthusiasm.  He’d slam his forehead with the ball after missing free throws.  He’d goof around a lot. He was too skinny, getting handled well by older stronger forwards in the league.  There was a moment against the Lakers where Cedric Ceballos dunked on him in an isolation, he ran back to D saying “Not ready, not ready” while shaking his head.  He may have been right, but Flip Saunders (the new coach at the time) was bent on getting him minutes and he joined the starting lineup in the second half of the season.

In his second year, with the help of Tom Gugliotta and newly acquired Stephon Marbury, the Timberwolves made their first ever playoffs.  They were swept by the Rockets who had a bevy of older, but still very good veterans.  As seasons went on, Da Kid became the Big Ticket, shouldering the expectations of being a star in the league.  He signed one of the largest contracts of all time, $126M, and was anointed as the cornerstone of the team.  This actually alienated Marbury, who ended up getting traded afterward.

KG continued to progress.  In the early 2000’s he was clearly one of the best overall players in the NBA.  In 2004 he won the NBA MVP–averaging 24.2 points, 13.9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.5 steals a game.  The year before this he’d registered similar numbers, but the MVP was given to Tim Duncan, who had very good numbers as well but a better team overall.  It’s tough to really describe how much he did on the floor.  He could guard anyone in the league other than Shaq.  He actually guarded point guards.  I remember him clapping loudly in Steve Nash’s face at the top of the key, arms spread wide eating up all his space.  He always guarded the best players in crunch time.  He passed the ball unselfishly and, though he wasn’t an offensive force, he kept the team playing the right way.  KG carried the team to the Western Conference Championship with the help of Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell.  They ended up losing to the Lakers when Sam Cassel was hurt.kevin_garnett_04_nba_mvp_trophy_photofile Had he not been hurt, there’s a good chance they go to the NBA Finals to play a very good Detroit Pistons team.

Things kind of fell apart for the Timberwolves after that.  Sprewell stated he needed to feed his children and spurned a three year $21M contract extension.  Sam stayed for a little while but management foolishly traded him AND a first round pick for Marko Jaric (don’t ask.)  To add salt to the wound, the Wolves hadn’t really been stocking up on young talent to that point due to an under the table deal with Joe Smith (drafted number one the same year as KG) which was found out by the league and penalized heavily in the form of draft picks.  In this day and age, draft picks represent a huge amount of the value that a franchise has to offer in trades and restocking their roster.  Most NBA cities are not destinations for players, LA, New York, Chicago and Miami being exceptions.  Minnesota still struggles to attract free agents to this day.

All this combined into a situation where KG was carrying more and more of the load while results on the floor continued to deteriorate.  He was not happy.

This is where the true value of this human being shines through.  Kevin Garnett never asked to be traded.  He never complained since he was a younger wolf.  When he first entered the league and performed well but the team struggled, he had been vocal in the locker room.  Sam Mitchell, a veteran small forward at the time push back HARD on him vocally, paraphrased “YOU are the one with the big contract, YOU have to take responsibility.”   After that, he just worked more and more.  As a Minnesota fan, to have someone as good as him on our team carrying us every year for 12 seasons when he could have easily bowed out meant a huge deal.  He was the consummate teammate and leader and put us on the map as a franchise.  He will always be my favorite player and I imagine there are hundreds of thousands of other people that feel the same.

Ultimately KG was traded to the Celtics in a rebuild move which, though sad at the time, was necessary.   I was actually very happy for him and watched the Celtics games that year.  He went on to win a championship with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce in Boston.  After winning, he was crying and screamed “ANYTHING IS POOOOSSIBLE!!!!” on national television.  No one in Minnesota was surprised.  He called out our state immediately, saying this one was for us, this one was for everyone in Chicago, for his mother.  Top of the world.

The unfortunate part of this story is that the Celtics could have easily one three championships if it weren’t for injuries.  They were extremely good.  But they were also aging vets, a few years ago they broke up the group–Ray Allen had left to play on the Heat with Lebron James.  The Celtics traded KG and Pierce to the Nets where they mired in mediocrity.

After winning a championship Garnett became more aggressive and did some silly things on the court.  He’s not without flaws and winning made him more abrasive to many fans.  But despite all those things, he’s still a hero of mine.

KG is 38 years old.  He’s played almost twenty years in the league.  He’s averaging 7 and 7.  He doesn’t have much left in the tank.   We traded a younger player, Thaddeus Young, who would undoubtedly have more production on the court to get Da Kid back in Minnesota.  His first game is Wednesday and I’m thrilled to go hear his name announced.  He’s going to retire here and regardless of wins and losses, that means a lot to me.  We don’t get a lot of heroes in Minnesota sports.

Welcome home KG!  Minnesota loves you.

Long Term Goals Continued

A few posts back I brought up the idea of long term goals juxtaposed against short term annual goals.  I’ve thought a little more about this and have bucketed out some of the different things Teresa and I are working toward.

The big goal is to lead a happy, enlightened existence filled with family and friendships.  I’d like to spend most of my time learning new things and enjoying the relationships currently in place, as well as those that will develop in the future.  But how does one go about that?

Generally speaking, you can figure out how to do all the things you want to do and delineate the resources necessary to do so.  The most finite resource is time–everyone has a ticking clock here.  Finances are another big resource need.  It’s really unfortunate that so much of adult life is spent thinking about finances–as a youth you do not spend that time thinking about it because it’s not really your responsibility.  But as an adult you have to consider the costs of everything–what a drag!  :-)  Money will not make you happy though.  Seeking out money with a ravenous appetite will leave you shallow and lifeless.  It’s not really what’s important.

Here are a few of the bigger goals for the future:

1.  Education for our kids. Tempo is on the way and when s/he arrives we’re going to have to learn a lot of new things.  I value education incredibly.  That may sound a bit trite as most folks wouldn’t say the opposite, but I don’t necessarily mean education in the traditional sense of purely getting degrees.  Degrees are all fine and good, but the ability to disseminate knowledge and learn on your own is more imperative than anything.  Not all children are taught that they are capable of anything they choose to do and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy of limitations.

It was in undergrad where this all came to fruition.  There was an epiphany moment where I realized that anything on this planet could be learned and that made anything possible.  I wish I’d thought this way at a younger age, my  path may have been different.  Teaching self reliance and empowerment to my kids is more important to me than anything else.  If they know they are capable of anything, they will achieve greatness.  Greatness does NOT mean being a Ph.D or being the worlds preeminent authority on a subject.  Greatness can be quietly living a life you choose outside of public view.  But understanding that YOU choose is imperative–you can do anything, but you do not have to.  If you want to be a doctor, a psychologist, a rocket scientist, an author, an artist, an army officer, a teacher, a business person…it’s all well within reach.

I do not know how to spark this type of thought process yet.  Thoreau and Emerson that opened my eyes–but I do not know how to do so for others, it’s likely to be a pool we wade into slowly.

2.  Own a nice place to live. We “own” our house now–if you consider having hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt owning.  I don’t.  So paying off the mortgage is one thing.  But there’s a lot more to it than paying it off.  There are multiple projects we’d like to take on.  The first is hardwood flooring upstairs.  We need to rebuild the deck outside, making it bigger and using premium materials that don’t need repeated staining.  Our basement needs to redo the flooring, rebuild the bathrooms and paint.  The chimney needs to be patched up a bit.  Insulation in the roof needs to be redone.  Fireplaces need to be automated.  Shelving needs to be built upstairs.  The other bathrooms need to be renovated.

This stuff costs a good amount, but it’s well worth the cost.  It’s not just about having an asset that’s worth more when you pass it on to your kids or sell if you want to retire somewhere warmer.  It’s the fact that you live in a place you enjoy getting up in every day.  And you take pride in building it and maintaining it as your own.  This is a long term goal as there’s simply not enough resources to do all these projects right away–I’d imagine it will take us a good 10 years to get everything the way we want it.

Paying off the mortgage will take at least that long and probably more.  I really need to take a hard look at that and build a plan.  We have an FHA loan and after five years we can take the mortgage insurance off of it if we own 20%, which shouldn’t be an issue.  The house as appreciated about 8% alone since we bought it.  Our loan is at an amazing rate, so paying it off quickly is not a huge priority, however it is the largest expense we have.  Eliminating it is the biggest step to financial independence we could take.  Remember, financial independence is about having the choice to do what you want, it doesn’t mean you’d change your current lifestyle or work, but it’s an option.

3.  Retire comfortably. I dislike the vagueness of this statement as it could mean many things to many folks.  To me this is probably more of a financial exercise than anything else.  There aren’t that many things that you need in retirement.  My parents are retired and live simply–enjoying their lives at the lake.  Teresa’s father is retired and her mother still works three or four days a week doing something she enjoys.  They’re both doing well without a big need for money.  We will very likely go down the same path.

4.  Travel extensively. Earth, space, physical nature and the like are riveting subject matter.  I want to see as much of it as possible.  It’s going to be harder to do so with Tempo, but people who say you cannot travel with children are fooling themselves, it’s not true.   Travel costs a lot, but when the only stuff you spend money on is your house and saving for retirement, it’s well within reach.  I’ve travelled to the following places in order:

Puerta Vallarta, Mexico
New Zealand (Wellington, the West Coast of the South Island)
Seoul, South Korea
Los Cabos, Mexico
Costa Rica (Guanacaste and the Southwest Coasts)
Belize (San Ignacio, Hopkins and Caye Caulker)
Banff, Canada

Teresa has gone to Africa and China without me, but many of the above places are shared.  We want to keep travelling and will.

5.  Live healthy. Physical, mental and emotional health all fall here.  Everyone has different ways of doing these things.  For me it’s mostly physical exercise, writing and reading, being honest and working through issues with people when they exist.  It’s actually harder than it sounds, humans are all imperfect.  We have flaws.  Keep it in mind.

6.  Help others. I’d like us to lead a life where we help as many people along as possible.  That means being active in our community and being generous with our resources where we can.  I’ve been so fortunate to get help from people throughout my life and want to give back.  I think there’s a lot more to think about on this one.  What are the best ways to give back?  This goes far beyond simply giving a charity money; that’s the easy way out.  Working with organizations to improve others’ lives by giving your time and knowledge where it’s applicable is much more rewarding.  I’d really like to teach in 15-20 years as that can really scale to help younger folks.  Teresa is already helping young people every day.  She’s a great teacher.  She’s going to be a great mom.  I feel very lucky to have her in my life.

Hard Wood Flooring Project

When the tax man came in 2015, he was kind.  So we have a small amount of extra cash to use toward a vacation or something else.  After discussion, we decided against a getaway and are going to put it toward some home improvement in the form of hardwood flooring upstairs.

Last night we went to quite a few different stores looking at hardwood for our upstairs living area.  Right now the kitchen has cherryish laminate which Teresa hates and I’m somewhat indifferent to outside of the fact that it’s laminate, I’d prefer solid wood.  The rest of the upstairs is covered in a carpet which isn’t terrible, but has already seen plenty of wear from the family who lived here previously.

We want to redo it with solid hardwood.  Hardwood looks great, lasts a lifetime in many instances and can increase the value associated with the house.   We aren’t planning on moving any time soon–we really like Bloomington (funny how I was so adamant to live in the city and now it’s all peachy keen, we change over time).  So the overall value of the house isn’t really what’s driving the decision, it’s more that we want to live in a nice looking place.

I built a fence at the end of our first first summer here, then stained it last year.  It looks really good and I honestly appreciate it all the time.  It keeps the dogs out of harms way and provides some privacy as well.  Redoing the floor seems very similar to me in that we will appreciate it aesthetically and enjoy the fact that it’s set up the way we wanted.  We’d like to get this done before Tempo gets here.  So we’re going to take a few trips this morning and look at options for a full scale seller/installer too.   I like this Acacia–so that’s first on the list.

Tax Man Cometh — Travel Time

Saw the tax man last night.  I’m torn whether or not to continue to go to him or not.  He’s a very nice guy, but also charges me and Teresa $250 per year to go through him.  That’s probably about 2x what it would cost to do myself.  I really dislike taxes and feel like it’s easy enough to mess it up that using a professional service is worthwhile.  I’ll have to consider it more next year.

Regardless of that decision, we had a “good” tax year in that we’re getting a refund.  There are no “good” or “bad” years of course.  It’s only a positive way to look at the government having your money for longer than they should.  However–cash is cash and we were waiting this year to decide if a vacation was in the cards.  With Tempo on the way and many other bills to pay for, we were iffy on a trip.

This may contrast somewhat with some of my previous goal of financial independence stated–trips are expensive.  I feel like I should lay out a quick philosophy on this one.

Growing up, my family did not have a lot of money.  Neither did Teresa’s.  We are of the same financial ilk, growing up to blue collar type families with multiple children.  We often speak about similar stories of being excited to go out to Pizza Hut or go on road trips for vacations.  We did not have a lot, but we had plenty for living a good life in the rural areas of Minnesota.  Our lives are much more decadent now:  we can go out to eat any time we want, we can afford cable television (though we don’t buy it), we could shop at designer stores for clothes (but we don’t often), we have a lot more discretionary income than our families did growing up.

But we are still in debt from student loans and have a mortgage.  And Tempo on the way set for arrival in May (beyond excited for this btw).  Neither of us has ever owned a new car.  We eat out sparingly, and when we do it’s at lower cost establishments.  We put away a large amount of our income into retirement accounts and the rest is mostly attributed to student loans.  In short, we live like we do not have a lot of money, because we really don’t.  If you have loans, a mortgage, car payments, credit card debt or other liabilities–they have to take precedent over other discretions.

I read a good amount about personal finance today.  Here are a few blogs which keep me honest:  Mr. Money Moustache, Get Rich Slowly, 20 Something Finance, Josh Kennon.   Before grad school, I thought very rarely about finance.  With a family and responsibilities thereof, it changes quickly.

Lots of folks go hard in the paint on personal finance.  They live their lives obsessed with saving every penny.  I think there has to be a balance.  You could get hit by a bus tomorrow, after all.  Growing up, we didn’t have a lot, but we still had fun and enjoyed life.  There is no reason it can’t be the same now.  I focus on paying down larger debt, saving for retirement and still enjoying the fruits of labor.

How do we enjoy them?   I’m not big into material stuff.  Nice cars, fancy clothes, expensive dinners–for the birds mostly.  I do appreciate all those things, but they will not truly make you happier.  They are a temporary high, which needs to be repeated continually–and after a time they become commonplace.

The things I do feel good about spending money on are plentiful.  Normally they are value focused, and by that I mean the money you put into them is long lasting and worthwhile.  Travel is high on the list.  The biggest reason is that seeing new places and making memories lasts a life time.  And provides new perspectives on other culture.  Knowledge is the best gift you can give yourself, and I mean that.  It sounds cheesy, but it’s true.  Enlightenment is happiness and travel is a great way to learn new things.

Our house is another.  I have no qualms about spending money on our house as it’s something we use every day and is normally an appreciating asset.  The money aspect of a house removed–I take pride in having a nice place to live for the family.  Plus it’s fun to make things better over time.

Smaller discretionary expenses include new music (soundtrack to your life!) and other types of art, going out for good food (Pizza Luce, Chipotle), and outdoor activities.  You’d be surprised what you can do without spending much money too, some of our favorite things to do cost nothing at all.  Hiking, biking, going to the park, etc.

So at the end of they day, yes we want to be financially independent, but we still want to enjoy the small fun parts of life simultaneously.  You can be frugal and still have fun.  Now–where are we going next month?  :-)  Enjoy your weekend.

Crazy Busy Work — Best Time of Your Life

It’s launch time.  Often times in business and marketing in particular, you spend a great deal of time preparing materials and executing strategy for a launch. It’s a cyclical thing, every year you have to innovate and bring new life to the market.  It’s as exhilarating as it is exhausting.  You think about work all the time, you continue to grind away at year long projects and build and build and build…

And it’s the best time of your life.

There is NOTHING better than building something that is going to succeed in the market with a team of great people.  It will last beyond you. Amazing!

But there is stress too.  Everyone wants the projects to do well, but there are differing perspectives on how to launch, at all times.  Opinions are everywhere.  I think the quote goes “if we have data, lets use that–if all we have are opinions, lets use mine.” These differing perspectives cause turbulence and it continues on throughout the development of the project.

A few things to keep in mind in times of turbulence:  YOU are not your work. When people provide you feedback or suggestions for improvement, they are not necessarily attacking you.  They are providing insight from their vantage point.  It’s EXTREMELY easy to forget this in the midst of a stressful development project because we are all so committed to great work that it’s easy to feel a personal connection to anything you build.  But it’s not you.  It’s the work.  The work HAS to change and evolve to be ready for market.

People mean well, 99/100 times.  There is an absolute truth to everything being tied to your attitude.  You and others in an organization have to embrace a presumption of positive intent.  If you waste time on thinking about people’s motivation, you will spin your wheels.  Trust me, everyone wants what’s best for the company.

Leaders are leaders for a reason. They have been through the trenches and fought the battles associated with previous launches.  They’ve seen the good, bad and ugly.  Their perspectives are important and should be weighted as such.   This in no way alleviates responsibilities of others to speak their minds and serve as stewards to a new product or launch.  But leaders can teach you a great deal if you let them.

This work very well could be your best, ever.  Make it so. Despite all the aforementioned turbulence, I am always happiest when launching new products or services.  The last five years of my life have been spent in that annual cycle of building new offerings and bringing them to market and it’s inspiring and humbling to be a part of it.  Over and over again.  If you get to do this type of work, put pride into it.  Do everything you can to make it the very best it can be.

Savor the time.  The best things in your life often reflect the hardest work.  And you’ll look back and be thankful for being a part of it.

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

Over the last few months, I’ve been reading Catch 22 by Joseph Heller.

It’s a longer book, with a meandering storyline initially which follows the wartime travails of John Yossarian in the waning missions of WWII.  John is a pilot flying missions dropping bombs and avoiding220px-Catch22 shrapnel fire from the land defenses over which he and his comrades are forced to fly over repeatedly.

The higher ups in this fictitious army are bordering on evil, continuing to increase the number of flights that must be taken by each person, thereby increasing the likelihood that they die in mission.  Yossarian is bordering on insane through the continual attempts to keep him airborne, during which he must question the sanity of others who do not share his perspective.

Honestly, the book is difficult to follow initially.  There are so many characters to meet and little continuing plot.  It jumps from perspective to perspective, with ideas displayed differently depending on when and who is the subject.  Most chapters are named after a character with more information about them after–but the continual back and forth between the chapters make it somewhat nonsensical–which may very well have been the point.

Heller’s writing style did not fail to make me laugh on more than one occasion, often times repetitive as a the characters continued to play “who’s on first.”  The world of Catch 22 is something satirical.  The very idea of Catch 22 is a paradox:

“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

“That’s some catch, that Catch-22,” he observed.

“It’s the best there is,” Doc Daneeka agreed.”

Due to the book, the term Catch 22 has entered and maintained its place in the English lexicon as a logical paradox.  Prior to reading this book, I’d heard it stated many times but never truly understood the implications.  The term is consistently used throughout the book, sometimes in tragic ways, sometimes as a joke.  But war is not a joke.  So how can a book about war be a joke?  This seems to be a revolving door with Heller.

I almost quit reading about three quarters into the book.  Terrible time to quit a book, but it really didn’t seem to be letting up on the continual lack of direction.  I then looked up a review online which pointed out that the latter parts of the book were less whimsical, more violent and war focused.  It was true, thankfully.  The end of the book actually tied things together for me much better, and provided some much needed long term perspective.

Strangely enough, I actually found this book to be very similar to A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.  There subject matter is no where near one another, with the former a very somber subject matter slowly making its way the dredges of human existence and the latter a walkabout with an oafish indulgent utterly devoid of social understanding or responsibility.  But the writing of both is humorous, and bordering on lunacy in most areas.  Toole followed a more direct line of thought, but both can be described as creating ridiculous worlds.  There is a real similarity to the endings of both as well.

I’m very glad to have finished this one, and glad to have read it in the first place.  I have a sincere doubt most folks would find it enjoyable throughout (I didn’t) but for those who enjoy reading and writing in ways that challenges you to think differently about a work’s purpose, it’s worth it. 

Communication Is Changing Before Our Eyes

In the past decade of exponential human change, we’ve seen the internet consolidate and disperse the vast majority of human knowledge on a scale previously unbeknownst as a possibility.  How we found and shared information has been irrevocably altered, for the better IMO.

The changes are everywhere.  Everything you do and use now is getting closer and closer to connected, if it is not already so.  This communication is written on the medium and posted where it can be accessed from any area with a connection.  Where we previously used landlines to call each other, or made physical notes sent via postage, today we electronically communicate via binary code.  Phone calls will all be digitized.  When we grew up, we watched “Back to the Future” and saw video calling and thought it was an amazing idea.  Kids today will shrug.

Writing complete thoughts out in paragraphs is very much going the way of the buffalo.  I work in business and can say that many of the emails I get from people (including superiors) are not punctuated correctly or complete thoughts.  These are the same people that lament kids texting with the get off my lawn critiques.  It’s silly really, people are going to communicate in the ways that are easiest, and that’s just fine.

I don’t know when the term “emoji” started, but I’m hearing it a lot.  I was reviewing the Apple Watch page today and thinking about how we’ll be able to connect to anyone at any time very quickly.  Look at some of the concepts here, they are using emoji, tapping and heartbeats to communicate!  It feels like this is going more and more nonverbal.  The popularity of snapchat and other picture texting services also points here.

The traditional models of communication are more predictable and less contextual than nonverbal.  I am curious as to what communication mediums stick and do not, as there is difficulty in predicting what will actually happen in the future.

Long Term Goals

At the start of the year I wrote a lot about short term goals–things to be achieved for this year.  It’s something that has become part of my life, looking at what’s happened in the past year and setting a course for improvement over the next.  It’s really enjoyable, and much like this blog, gives me a more clear understanding of what is happening.

It sounds strange to say that last part, because if you are living your life and cognizant of it, shouldn’t you already know what’s happening?  Yes, you should.  But what I’m learning as I get older (coming up on

birches

32 years of age in April) is that time actually seems to go faster and faster. I’ve written about it multiple times in the past, in fact, probably more times than I can recall.  Which is the reason why keeping track of things is important.  You see, there are so many things going on in your life it becomes easy to lose track of them–colloquially referred to as losing the forest for the trees.

Short term goals are easier to track, because they are closer to fruition.  Longer term goals are arguably more important, but not as easy to write about.

For instance, a long term goal of mine is to pay off our mortgage, which is a smaller facet of the larger goal to be financially independent.  It’s been creeping into my head  more and more as other liabilities are closer and closer to being paid off.  However, it’s a huge goal!  Our house will take years or even decades to pay off.  If we were to follow the mortgage payment, it’s 30 years.  The size of such goals

makes them more difficult to manage.  Although it hasn’t been something practiced personally, it seems that parcelling the larger goal into smaller chunks is the best way to manage it?

The bottom line is that I haven’t spent enough time on long term goals.  What are the things Teresa and I want to achieve in our lifetimes?  What do we want for our children?  Tempo is coming soon.  How will we set out to achieve them.

I’m going to try to carve out time this year to think more about the long term goals and how to set a path toward them.  Hopefully once they are a bit more clear I can get them written down here.

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