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Hatch Squat

Since December I have been doing Crossfit.  It is nothing short of challenging, but it is the first type  of workout I have found that gets me excited about working out again.  One of the things we have done this year, and are just starting again, is a Hatch Squat series.  It is designed to increase your overall squat ability over 12 weeks.  

I go to the amazing Crossfit Oregon City.  They posted this spreadsheet to calculate your weekly weights which was originally found here - http://www.mikesgym.org/programs/uploads/hatchsqt.xls.  When people are in the middle of their workout they spend a ton of time trying to figure out the weights that should be on the bar.  My idea of fun is a bit warped so I modified the spreadsheet to calculate the plates needed for each weight, personalized for you.

Download Hatch Squat Spreadsheet

Enter your weights in the yellow boxes at the top.  The spreadsheet does the rest.  Just print the section you need each week and you are ready to go.  

If you have questions or suggestions let me know.

Dance Like No One Is Watching

Thinking back on 2013 there was this one moment that really stood out to me.  As the year came to an end I just kept thinking about it.  My 4 year old son and I were at my daughters dance performance.  When he thinks no one is watching he starts breaking out his moves.  What inspires me about this is he is a kid who is so expressive and creative.  When the music takes him he dances.  The funny thing is that you will see moments in the video when he stops, which are moments when he things someone is watching.  Most of us are conditioned at this point to always worry about who is watching.  He is my inspiration as I enter in 2014 to live more and dance like no one is watching.  

Starting the Year Off Right

Instead of taking off at a full sprint to start the year I spent a few days at the coast with my family.  It was a great way to get ready for the crazy year ahead.   Bring on 2014. 

 

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Brilliant Advertising by Apple

Another amazing ad by Apple that plays to the emotion of the user while Microsoft and Amazon are trying to compete on features and price.  You wonder why Apple is winning.

Task Management Hack: Captio to Asana

 

It has been a while.  I have been a bit busy with our company Tellagence.  Because life is a bit crazy I'm always looking for ways to be more efficient.  I have always looked at task management systems and I have currently settled on Asana.  It is a good system that is improving consistently but one area that is lacking is the speed that I can enter a task on my phone.  They have decided to build the application using a mobile site which requires it to reload every time.  Not good for the need. 

My memory sucks.  If you have to wait more than a second to enter a task it becomes an issue.  I know that sounds crazy but when you think of a task you need to get it out of your head and captured.  Many times you are doing something that you don't want it to distract you from for more than a second or two - like talking with someone.  

One of the blogs I read is by Brad Feld.  He recently blogged about a task took he uses - Captio.  It is a great little app which allows you to email yourself a task very quickly.  Because I apply GTD as my methodology for organization another email does not do me much good.  I don't use my email inbox as a task list (bad idea).  

Asana allows you to email tasks but the email that comes from Capito is a standard email address so I had some concerns about someone else doing the same thing.  Then I might get other people's tasks and vice versa.  So I needed to auto forward any email to my gmail account from Capito to Asana.  I couldn't figure it out very easily so I used my favorite tool on the internet - IFTTT.  

I created a task that hooked to my gmail and forwarded any email from Capito to Asana.  Now I have a quick task hack.  You can use my recipe here.  

Apple Continues to Push the Retail Experience

I had to run into the Apple store today in downtown Portland like I have many times before.  I am always amazed at the number of people that are in there ALL the time - which may be why they have proposed to the City of Portland to build an amazing store downtown.  

Apple has always been great at making the shopping experience something you desire at most other stores.  Most of the store employees can check you out with their iPhone but today there was a new twist.  

If you walk in with your iPhone, have on wireless and location services you can use the Apple Store app to check yourself out for any item that does not require someone to get it out of the back.  It was cool and easy.  You open the app, put the camera over the bar code (just like a QR code reader), enter your apple password and you are done.  It works just like if you bought an app or a song.  

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The guy that was helping me said that they are suggesting it to all users.  If you walk in and need a cord or headphones or anything on the shelves you can scan it yourself and walk out.  No help required.  If you get stopped at the door you show your receipt on your phone - otherwise it is on the honor system.  

I found it amazing.  You can get the app here if you don't have it.  Nice job Apple.

How to Make Sense of the Explosion of Productivity Apps

Over the years I have been in search of a great application that will help me stay organized and be productive.  I need that compensating factor for who I know I am.  For years the digital options have been lacking.  A trend I have noticed over the past year is a resurgence in taks management, collaboaration and project apps.  There have been significant developments on this even in the past month.  Here is a post about my thoughts as well as some upcoming posts I'm working on. 
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Tellagence Startup Update

Here is a post that I originally posted over on The Study of Social.

It has been an interesting 7 days.  We moved in a very positive direction that has seemed to have unlocked a bunch of things we needed to figure out.  Now the only issue is that we have to go back and redo some work on assumptions we had made around the business.  Enjoy and let us know what you think.

 

My First Experience at Helping Organize a Conference

Until I made the move to start my own company 4 months ago, I spent the last 8+ years at Tripwire in the IT security industry.  About two years ago I discovered Security B-Sides.  I had the chance to attend events in Las Vegas, San Francisco and Austin.  Because a group of us appreciated the value they provided and the people involved in them we decided to organize one in Portland.
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Startup Updates #5 and #6

I have been posting these over on my other blog at The Study of Social but I realize that some of you don't go over there.  Here are the last two startup updates I have.  More on the way.  Things continue to move forward.

Startup Update #4

Hello everyone - time for another update on my startup.  It has been a busy month with some big movements.  We are starting to get our pitch more refined and on point as well as some big movements on our prototype.  I have started posting this over on my blog focused on the company at The Study of Social.  

Thanks to everyone for your interest and support.

 

Startup Update August 5, 2011

It has been a couple of weeks since my last update.  Things are moving quickly so I wanted to take a few mintues to share.  We are progressing on the prototype and details of the business.  We have also started to have some funding converstations which are always interesting.  Please give me feedback.  Many of you have told me you have checked these out.  We really appreciate your support.

Startup Update - July 1, 2011

I promised in my last post that I would give updates as they happen on my new startup.  We have some exciting things that are going on.  There are also a ton of interesting things going on in the startup community like the Portland Seed Fund and PIE that have launched over the last few months (days).  Here is my update for the week.  
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Major Life Changes

Four weeks ago today marked the official end of the last 8.5 year chapter of my life and the start of the next very exciting one. May 24th was my last day at Tripwire. Tripwire was a place that gave me massive opportunity and an opportunity to grow. It was only my second job after leaving college and it gave me the chance to do everything from accounting and finance to running a business unit to pioneering the use of social media.
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My GTD Weekly Review is Anxiety Management

I had someone point out to me the other day that the reason that I was calmer after doing my weekly review each week was because it was really about anxiety management. I think she was spot on.

If you have no idea what that means you can check out the organizational productivity method created by David Allen. The weekly review is the part of the process where you go through all your projects and make sure you know what the next actions are based on your objective.

What I have found is that the majority of my anxiety each week comes from worrying that I have captured everything and I'm doing the right next thing. This is not perfect but it sure helps me to feel like I have my arms around everything. Given I'm a pretty low prudence person by nature this is my compensating factor. This is my chance each week to make sure my lists are consolidated. I have my eye on all my projects and the list of projects is complete.

Monday hits and I'm off into another crazy week but this little piece of GTD reduces so much stress each week that I would HIGHLY recommend it.

The Study of Social

I have been working on formalizing a new project over the past few months which is why my blogging here has gone down considerably.  For about 18 months now I have been having escelating conversations with Nitin Mayande and John Wrobel on social media.  I read a ton on the subject and in many posts or conversations I want to jump in a debate things because there is so much room for evolution of the conversation.    (Also I like to debate - my wife hates it and my mom says I should have been a lawyer.)  Anyhow there is a ton to learn and explore on how social media works, how it impacts how people build relationships and how businesses adjust to this.  One of the biggest areas of improvement that can happen around this space is real data and science.

Because of the desire to jump into this conversation more fully with Nitin and John we have formed a new blog:  The Study of Social.  The intent is to bring multiple perspectives to this conversation.  We will be talking about social analytics, social network structure and the performance of the network.  I believe these items are all very critical to gaining a better understanding on the impact of social media.  Please check it out and let me know what you think.  I will still blog here about some things social, like tools or news, and buisiness items.  All of these items are starting to converge for me and continuing to discuss them is important to me.

I hope you have a chance to take a look and let me know what you think.


Thanks

Matt

Is the Risk that Comes with an Opportunity Worth a Shot at Happiness?

When I was growing up I heard lots of people tell me to do what I was passionate about. I always nodded my head and moved on. In concept I got what they were saying but like most teenagers / young adults I had no experience to know where they were coming from, let alone know what I was passionate about.

Now in my mid 30s I have a little more experience and a different perspective. I graduated from Truman State University with a degree in accounting. I pursed accounting because I was good with math, I liked logic and accounting is a system that once you know the rules of the game you can master. It was also nice that there was a clear career path for most accountants unlike my friends that graduated with a marketing or management degree. The path was to go work for a public accounting firm and grow your career from there. I was lucky enough to land at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the largest accounting firm in the world (at least at the time).

I spent the next 4 years living in that system. It is very similar to a lawyer. They put you through the grinder and treat staff like an expendable asset. You work really hard, you learn a lot and you get good pay. I was making a good $10k more than most of my friends and thus the chase began. My success was being judged by the size of my paycheck and that was validated each year by the size of my raise.

As my career continued to accelerate so did my salary for many years. I liked my job enough but it was far from ideal. You get into such a pattern of comfort that you don't want to risk something different. I moved from running a finance group to working in business development to running a startup. You don't realize how much you need a change sometimes until you make the jump.  I found this in moving out of finance to running a startup.  The difference level of enjoyment was massive even though I went from little risk to massive risk.

Through this journey you realize that the bigger picture is not about the money. Money is nice but it starts to flatten out when you reach a certain level. It could go up more but the rate of change is not all that great in the traditional rat race. Family comes into the picture and you start to question if you are spending your time in the place that gives you the best long term return. Even though you ask the question you are sucked into the system and into your own mentality about the system. Change is scary and uncertain so people don't do it.

Over this time you start to learn a lot more about the world and a lot more about yourself. I have always been a big fan of the process of self actualization. I look at my life and find the parts that get me excited. It is not always very clear but those are the pieces that are indications of your passion. When you find that passion you want to spend your time there.

Those people that told you to do what you are passionate about during high school and college and figured something out. Life is much more enjoyable if it is centered on your passion. All parts of your life benefit because you love what you do everyday. After all, life is very interconnected. Those people that gave you advice years ago - I bet most of them were living in regret, wishing that they could be following their passion but not having the balls to take the risk. They were now in the system and change would cause major disruption. It introduces risk. How would they pay the bills? There are lots of people depending on them now. The balance of responsibility, risk and happiness.

If you were in a situation where you had an opportunity was in line with you passion but had significant risk. Should you take the risk and follow that passion or play it safe and leave things as status quo? Is it a paycheck or happiness that you are after? Are those one in the same for you or if you were to describe your ideal world is $$ required for your happiness?

To be clear - this is not about money for me but so many people are chasing a check or don't feel that they can take a risk because of how it affects that income. What do you think? Where do you stand?