Why I Stopped Bodybuilding

Through my childhood and early teens I was a lanky kid who spent most of his time reading books. I loved books… I probably spent 3-4 hours every day reading all sorts of adventure, fantasy, sci fi, thrillers, and anything else I could get my hands on. This didn’t do much for my physique. I was very skinny and very tall, and I never played sports or did anything athletic.

I moved in with my grandparents when I was 14, and my grandpa took me to his gym a few times, but neither of us really got into it. I didn’t see any changes, so I lost interest.

My senior year of high school I went out for football (there were no tryouts, everyone made the team at my little 1A high school). The first two months of the season, my body felt really sore all of the time. My shins had agonizing shin splints because I had never run much before. By the end of the season though, my body had adapted massively. I was much more muscular, but also even skinnier than before. I was 6’5”, but only weighed 170 pounds or so. I did develop the best jumping ability of my life at that point. I could stand on the baseline of a basketball court behind the hoop, leap forward and two hand dunk behind my head! Crazy stuff.

After football season ended, I started going to the YMCA gym near my house with my friends quite a bit. I remember we spent most of our time working on bench press (I could put up 135), and curls. I continued going for the rest of that year and the summer following before college.

When I got to college, the University of Washington had a wonderful gym for it’s students. I went down there four or five days a week to lift weights with friends or by myself. I was doing a lot of drinking, but also a lot of lifting, so I continued to see some improvements. At the end of my freshman year, I had around 200 pounds of muscle. By the end of my sophomore year I reached 225 pounds of muscle. At that point, I could bench press 315 pounds and squat 400 and do 25 straight pull-ups.

My junior year, I decided to lean out and took ephedrine right before it was banned. I got down to about 4% bodyfat with 205 pounds of muscle and could see every ab muscle in relief and trace veins from my hands to my arms to my chest down through my stomach to my legs to my calves to my feet. Crazy stuff. It was the only time in my life I would walk down the street and girls would turn their heads to look at me. Then I got off ephedrine and laid in bed for about two weeks lol.

I continued to lift weights through my first job out of college (22-25) and then switched to Crossfit for a couple of years (25-27).

Around 27, I decided that my number one goal was to be as healthy as I could be. Bodybuilding increased the risk of injury and also increased your weight, both of which were bad for your health.

I slowly transitioned from 27 to 30 to doing rock climbing. I continued to lift some weights, but slowly decreased this over time. At 30, I met Laurel and she got me into running. Now I just run and rock climb. I’ll do pullups and pushups too, but no longer do any weight lifting.

Overpaid CEO’s Stealing From Shareholders

The Nytimes.com had an article today on CEO pay packages. As a CEO and a shareholder in companies, I find the pay packages these guys are receiving to be just plain robbery of public companies.

Basically, here is how their scam works: The Board of Directors at a public company sets the pay for each CEO. Who is on the Board of Directors? Mostly CEO’s from other public companies. They will vote to give the CEO any amount of money he asks for regardless of whether he actually earned it… because they expect him and his friends to do the same thing for them on their own boards.

Most of these CEO’s are no different than any other employee at the company they work for. Most of them did not found the company and many of them have not even worked all that long at their company. They should not be earning far more than even the original founder of their company earned. The value they add is not nearly what they claim it is… and in some cases like Marissa Mayer (who made $186 million on the sale alone), they actually destroyed the company they were hired to work on.

CEO’s should be paid mostly with long term vesting stock options (options that vest in 3 years, 5 years, 7 years, 10 years). NOT in cash today and NOT in stock grants today. They should be paid for actually improving the long term success and viability of a company.

I think any honest CEO would cap their own cash pay at no more than 2x their next highest paid employee and no more than 20-30x their lowest paid employee.

You do need to motivate a CEO like Steve Jobs to be interested to come back and take over a monumental project like helping put out the fires at Apple and build it into a titan, but that should be done with long term stock options that have vesting prices well above today’s current stock price.

I even dislike the pay structure that founders give themselves as CEOs… they often give themselves enormous stock options that come at the expense of their partners in their businesses – their shareholders. The shareholders are like silent partners who have no power – the CEO has all the power and typically just grants himself higher and higher percentages of the company. A great example of this was Larry Ellison who paid himself $67.3 million in stock options in 2014… he did not even do much work as he spent most of that year vacationing. I consider that outright theft of his partners / shareholders in Oracle.

How can this problem be fixed? We need to adjust corporate governance so that a Board of Directors is truly independent and aggressively defends the interests of the shareholders. A Board should act in the same way I personally would as owner of Coalition Technologies if I was hiring a CEO – I’d look for the most talented person at a reasonable cost.

The Honest Job Applicant

A fictional job applicant’s information conglomerated from my actual experiences with people over time (client’s employees and pre-skills test CT employees):

  • “I get bored after six to nine months of work and quit every job I’ve had”.
  • “The gap in my resume was six months I spent in a drunken stupor in my bedroom”.
  • “I hate people and will drive out any team members you assign to work with me”.
  • “I like to have sex with my coworkers”.
  • “I can’t actually don’t have the skills you need, but I will baldfaced lie to you to get the job”.
  • “I am severely emotionally unbalanced and will cry regularly at work”.

There is no justice

I’ve been reading a very fascinating book, “Sapiens”, that has really helped me to think about things we humans take as absolutes in a new light. Concepts that we assume to be concrete real things… really just don’t exist except in our own imaginations. Everything from justice to money to laws to human rights to religion to politics are invented by human beings. People are so adamant they are real… just because they aren’t.

In reality, we are apes who have evolved higher level brains capable of longer range thinking and story/ myths that enable us to work together better.

Hacksaw Ridge Movie

I am a little worn out on movies that glorify war, especially those that don’t really portray it accurately. No one stands up and runs around when they are under fire. You crawl from place to place.

Self Ban Registry for Addictions

I had an idea that I thought could help smokers, alcoholics, and gamblers.

Create a national registry that people can voluntarily add themselves to that associates their drivers license number with a self-ban list for their addiction of choice.

For example, a smoker could add themselves to the cigarette ban list. Any time the smoker went to a grocery store or convenience store to buy cigarettes, the clerk would scan their license. If their name came up as banned, the clerk would not sell that person cigarettes.

Same thing with gamblers – casinos would scan the drivers license of all gamblers and reject entry to those who had added themselves to the compulsive gamblers list. Same thing with alcoholics – grocery stores, restaurants, and liquor stores would scan the licenses of the buyers and reject those who self identified as alcoholics.

Potential objections to this idea:

  • Would it be expensive? No – it would be a very simple web application with an API that could be integrated with any convenience store or restaurant point of sale system.
  • Would it be intrusive? No – people would only voluntarily sign themselves up for this. If you don’t want your information tracked, you don’t have to sign up. The only thing tracked would be license numbers of those on the self ban list.
  • Would it reduce profits of cigarette companies, breweries, and casinos? Yes – and that’s a good thing. The higher their profits are, the more human suffering they have created.
  • Could someone else add me to the list as a prank? No – you add yourself to the list at the DOL where licenses are issued.
  • Would this process make checkout longer? No – many grocery stores already scan your license to check your age.
  • Could you un-ban yourself if you wished? Yes – you could go back into the DOL and un-ban yourself. Perhaps have a week cooling off period.
  • What would the penalties be for violating the ban? I’m not sure. Could just be social pressure with no fines. Or it could be a $100 fine per instance or something like that.
  • If this is such a good idea, why hasn’t it been done already? Probably because very wealthy and powerful companies that prey on people’s addictions would lose money, and the corrupt politicians they support oppose it.

 

Ongoing Feedback Tool

I built a tool for giving my team ongoing feedback and launched it last week. What is my team’s reaction so far?

First, check out how it works:

A user can:

  • Write in their feedback
  • Select who should receive it
  • Decide whether the feedback is positive or negative
  • Decide if the feedback is small, medium or large

Lots of team members have been using it so far, here is a running log of the most recent feedback:

Seems to be quite helpful for people to share their thanks!

The one thing no one has tried yet is leaving a frowney for someone else… I might just disable this feature as I feel it can be dangerous.

Permanent Mob Mentality

“Mob mentality” is a powerful phenomenon sociologists have observed… a single human will seldom heckle another person or riot. However, throngs of sports fans will torch cars, protesters will storm government offices, and gangs will go to war over very small slights. Scientists have actually shown that your brain shuts off your sense of self during these times of collective endeavor. You and every other person in the mob might have morals against hurting others, but when a mob rises it has it’s own moral code that overrides all the individuals in it.

Our brains are made up of billions of neurons. Each neuron is a cell that can send and receive messages. Your neurons are what pass information (thoughts, feelings, physical actions, etc) through your brain. Your neurons are the basis of what makes you you.

We humans have long considered ourselves to be independent entities with free will. I propose that this is changing with the internet and enormous population of humans on our planet.

I think that each human being who is internet connected is becoming more and more specialized, and is part of a larger entity that is developing (or perhaps already has developed) a higher level of consciousness.

Most humans today are becoming hyper-specialized and are extremely dependent on the millions of other hyper-specialized humans for almost all of their needs. For example, I do web design and online marketing. I have very little understanding and no ability to actually grow food in industrial farms, transport it in gigantic cargo ships, distribute it through warehouse and store systems, build the car necessary to visit that grocery store, build the raw materials for the car / ship / industrial farm equipment…. I am completely dependent on a network of millions of other humans to do all of that. The benefit is I can be deeply specialized and do work that would be impossible without spending my entire life learning and growing in this one specific area.

I have noticed that everywhere I go, people are always on their internet devices. Even when I am driving down the road, fully one third of other drivers are looking at smartphones. All of this internet connectivity and specialization are turning individual humans into neurons in a much larger global human hive mind.

The internet itself is now described by many people as if it is a conscious, living, moving entity. When news comes out, vast populations of humans become excited and react in ways very similar to how neurons in your brain react. When there is an attack on the infrastructure of the internet, companies and governments organize to fight it off (like white blood cells fight infection in your brain).

Internet connected humans globally are now acting nearly in unison and are in a state of permanent “mob mentality”.

In the past, when “mob mentality” would take hold, a new consciousness separate from any individual in that mob would be born. Usually it would only hold together for a short time during some act or goal then it would dissolve.

The internet has connected vast populations of human beings very tightly into a mob and now we are observing a permanent state of “mob mentality”. This mentality is actually maturing and growing into a separate larger entity / brain, of which we are merely neurons.

 

The Cloud

Ten years ago or so, the Cloud was supposed to be the next big thing. It actually already was a huge thing with software as a service products hosted on the cloud exploding in popularity (Gmail, BigCommerce, MailChimp, and others).

Now most people take it for granted that their website and the apps they most frequently use are not installed on their computers, but are installed in the cloud somewhere.

Artificial Intelligence is just like this – it is a buzzword that has exhausted most people out there, but it is rapidly being adopted almost everywhere and is getting far better quickly.

Thin Wall Climbing Today in Joshua Tree

I climbed two 10ds, a 10a and two 5.9s.

Child’s play and the one next to it were the best. I almost sent the arete but gave up too easy once on the rail when all I had to do was reach up.