Food Poisoning

Laurel and I both got food poisoning on our last day in Big Bear after having eaten at Masala Indian Restaurant. Very unfortunate. I stayed up all night alternatively vomiting or having diarrhea. I also had a fever as my body tried to fight off the invader.

Having had food poisoning makes me much more appreciative of my usual good health though. I think I take it for granted that I feel great every day and can do anything I wish. I need to appreciate that more, because I won’t always have it.


I would really like to build a community of people who get along well and live a bit more like our tribal ancestors.

Our modern society glorifies individualism and encourages isolation from others. Laurel and I’s closest family member is a 45 minute drive away and most are hours away. Our closest friend is 15 minutes away and most are much further.

Social isolation is a major cause of depression for many people. Humans are not meant to live alone without company… we need those we love around us every day.

I have fixed this issue for myself by building a routine where I call a family member or friend every single day. I typically do it during my morning and evening ten minute commutes to work. I think a lot of other people haven’t done something like this though and live in loneliness and isolation and depression.

For awhile now I have been talking to people about the possibility of a “commune” – probably not the right word given the connotations associated with it from the FCLDS, hippies, and other nuts. I think I will call it “tribe”… this is a more attractive term.

The basics of my idea is that I would like to organize a group of family and friends to live within walking distance of one another… this could be in the same apartment building in a city, or in a suburban neighborhood, or something like that.

My brother’s wife’s family actually already do this. They have several adult daughters and their parents each with their own house in the same neighborhood. This works really well for them as they have built in babysitting they can trust and friends and help when they need it.

The biggest challenge I have with this in Los Angeles is the expense of real estate. Another major issue is that people have jobs in different areas of the city and this could create long commutes for some people. A few of my friends are business owners and could possibly do it with me, but they have already purchased homes thus committing themselves to the locations they are now.

I have thought of moving back to Washington to do this there. I could live fairly close to two of my brothers and also my grandparents. The challenge there is that it would be more difficult to run Coalition. I would also need to live in the very uninteresting town of Puyallup rather than a metropolitan city like Seattle.

I do think it will be important to join or build a tribe though soon. I just need to find ways to make it work.

Ground Fall

I have been climbing for six years now and yesterday had my first incident where I was on belay and my climber had a groundfall after clipping one bolt. Fortunately, we were indoors at Cliffs of Id and had thick padding so he was uninjured other than a rope burn. It was embarrassing and I felt really bad though… that should never happen when I am belaying.

What happened? Matt and Max and I were playing a game of trying to finish a climb using the least holds possible. Matt was the climber and I was belaying him. He did an impressive dyno to start the lead, clipped the first bolt, and went for the next highest hold he could reach.  He got up about a little past waist height with the second bolt. I should have said something, but Max called it out first to him. Matt started to downclimb a little bit, pulled on the rope to clip, then changed his mind. I pulled back in the slack when suddenly Matt slipped and fell. I didn’t expect the fall but still tried to sit down to remove slack but it wasn’t enough and Matt hit the ground from maybe ten feet up.

What lessons did I learn / relearn?

  • Allow absolutely minimum slack between the first and second bolt until that second bolt is clipped
  • While I usually need to jump to give my climber a soft catch, I need to back away faster and sit faster on falls on the first bolt
  • Don’t allow distractions to keep me from stopping my climber from making unsafe moves. Its easy for the climber to miss a bolt or get the rope around his heel or something or backclip and the belayer needs to call that out.

Thankfully, Matt wasn’t injured other than a rope burn and a sore calf. Could have been worse.

I have high expectations for my belayer when I am climbing, and need to have much higher expectations for myself. How can I expect a good belay if I don’t give one?

More Effort = Easier & Happier Life

As a child I thought that the happiest lives were the laziest ones… people who were rich and could just relax all day.

As an adult, I have realized the opposite is true. The times I have done nothing have been some of the most depressing times in my life.

The harder I work (as long as I balance that work evenly between exercise, learning, finance, and social / emotional well being), the happier I am.

I rated yesterday (Sunday) a 10 on my happiness scale of 1-10. What did I do?

  • Ran 2.5 miles first thing in the morning
  • Programmed for 3 hours watching laracasts and refactoring scoretask
  • Climbed at Cliffs of id for 1.5 hours with a friend Brett
  •  Wrote a blog post
  • Took a nap
  • Worked another 3-4 hours on laracasts / scoretask.
  • Watched a movie with Laurel
  • Played rocket league for an hour

Reflecting on the Past

One of my goals now is to try to reflect on my past each day and see what I can learn. In that effort, my blog post today will be based on and inspired by a search back through my emails from 2011.

First thing I see is tons of different ideas that I email to myself. From one day alone here is the list:

  • Help key people start their own businesses or move them up in Coalition
  • Spend one full day in each bis unit (SEO, web design, etc)
  • Change biz model to franchises
  • Look at other SEO companies clients in LA and try to bring them over
  • Hold weekly business meetings and discuss everything with partners –We did do this for about three years and it was highly effective, but hard to maintain.
  • My superpower is perseverance
  • Build a brand
  • Create free trials for seo and design
  • Show employees I value and appreciate them
  • Do the Christmas party at C&O Cucina unless you find a better restaurant
  • Give Biz help as xmas gifts…. teach a man to fish…
  • Buy start small finish big book for each brother
  • Go on a trip alone this weekend

I also saw an email telling a key employee at that point in time that some of the behaviors that person had were destructive to the business… It took me three more years or so to let go of that person though.

Lots of emails with employees who are no longer with the company. Lots of great people I am still in contact with and some that I haven’t talked to in a long time.

I hired my brothers wife for a brief stint, she didn’t like working here as she didn’t want to talk on the phone.

One old SEO employee who was emotionally unstable but quite brilliant at his work. He once told off the CEO of one of our biggest clients lol.

Another email conversation with an employee who started doing cold calls and later moved to client management, and now works at another LA agency. Good person.

One of my favorite early developers Hiren. Really nice guy, he had to suffer through some of my early managerial screwups.

Another great developer I visited in Argentina.

I really appreciate these old people who’ve helped at Coalition, I’d love to hear from them again!


Video Uploads

Uploading videos to Youtube is a nightmare through their API. All of the videos have to first be uploaded to your server to a temporary directory, then you can upload them to Youtube itself. The problem is that large videos can cause out of memory errors or timeout errors or cause your server itself to bog down. I am trying to figure out how to do this better to improve my skills testing recruiting application, but haven’t figured it out yet.

The Lure of Unhealthy Food

I have been eating more unhealthy foods recently. On Father’s Day, I had a steak with butter and a beer. At Disneyland, I had a Churro. Last week I ate mochi ice cream, and a few other unhealthy foods.

I told myself each time that it was no big deal since I workout a lot and generally eat healthy.

I gained ten pounds to 207.

I need to avoid processed foods, especially sugars and butters and deep fried stuff. I will live 7 years longer with a better quality of life if I can reduce my weight to 168 now.


As humans we have a very interesting relationship with food.  We have an intense need to always eat more.

Biologically we are just trying to survive. Our DNA believes we live in a world of scarcity and starvation, thus forces us to binge as much as possible then our fat cells store as much energy as they can.

The result is that we are all fat.

I guess we would need to re-engineer human DNA to put a stop to obesity.


Mike showed me how to refactor my Laravel recruiting application so that it would be testable yesterday. I have been working a few hours today and doing the actual refactor. I have a lot more to do!


I find it helpful to track my productivity in my daily goals spreadsheet. Some of the recent areas I have been focused on are:

  • Emails
  • Strategy documents
  • Reviewing back end developers and sending offer letters
  • AdWords management
  • Company meeting
  • Team lead meeting
  • Management retreat
  • Kickoff meeting
  • Report meetings
  • Creating a new video testimonial for
  • Working on with Kevin
  • Sales calls
  • Programming the recruiting app
  • SEO review