I Believe In The 2nd Amendment

I am a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. I do not believe in this right because I want to hunt animals, or protect my home against burglars. I believe in this right as the founders of America intended it: to protect the freedom of the people against oppression and tyranny.

The sitting President of the United States has been under investigation for potential treason. Strong evidence exists that he has come under undue influence from a hostile foreign state. Russia has been aggressively trying to subvert democracies world wide to further it’s own interests, and it appears our government may have been one of them.

The FBI has been investigating these potential issues, and in a very dark twist, President Trump demanded personal loyalty from the FBI Director and when the FBI Director told Trump he would give him honesty, Trump fired him. It is shocking to see this happen in America, though it’s a common occurrence in dictatorships in places like Turkey, North Korea, and Egypt.

This appears to be a blatant obstruction of justice. Our country depends on the rule of law and justice for everyone. We also depend on free and fair elections, and leaders who are not dependent on hostile foreign powers.

Our freedom in America may be under severe attack and this is the time our citizens need to take a hard look at exercising our 2nd Amendment rights. If you allow for attacks on our freedom like this, it’s a short road to being ruled by a fully authoritarian government.

I am a successful business owner and am closest to being a Libertarian. A lot of Trump’s tax and healthcare and economic policies would directly benefit me. I do believe in reductions to government spending (both to military and entitlements). However, I would rather see Trump impeached and a big government liberal elected than see us lose our freedom to a foreign power’s influence and watch the rise of a tyrant.

What is the red line for when citizens need to exercise their 2nd Amendment? Has it been crossed?

 

CEOs

Vistage so far has been a pretty great experience. I learn a lot doing the once a month all day training session with other CEO’s and it is good to have a coach who holds me accountable in 1 on 1s monthly.

I also have had the unexpected benefit of going to lunch with several of the CEO’s so far and they have shared a lot of good ideas with me and helped inspire me in new directions in the business. Pretty awesome!

Winner Take All & Accumulative Advantages

This blog post inspired my post here.

A fascinating phenomena occurs in both human society and in the natural world: a small percentage of sports franchises / businesses / species end up with a vast majority of the success. Why is this?

First, let’s look at some examples in human society as well as the natural world:

  • 1.4% of tree species account for 50% of the trees in the Amazon
  • Just two franchises have won almost half of all the championships in NBA history.
  • Google receives 64% of all search queries
  • 77 nations compete in the world cup, but 3 countries have won 13 of 20 World Cup Tournaments

What drives this? Why aren’t things more evenly distributed?

Two major principles drive the uneven distributions we see in the world:

  • Winner take all effect: a new startup business with only 1% more customers and 1% faster growth than a competitor might receive the entire three million dollar investment from a venture capitalist. The competitor gets nothing. As time goes on, that first business keeps gaining more and more advantages until it’s lead is enormous and it has orders of magnitude more customers than the competitor that originally was only slightly smaller.
  • Accumulative Advantage / Power of Compounding Interest: If two marketing firms are competing with one another, and one retains 99% of it’s clients each month, while the other retains 98% of it’s clients each month, at the end of 11 months the firm with 99% retention will have 90 clients while the firm with 98% retention will only have 80 clients. Stretched over four years, the firm with 99% retention will have 62 clients while the firm with 98% retention will only have 38 clients.

 

Fake Church Facts

Growing up, I attended a redneck Christian elementary school and high school. I also went to a pretty goofy church. Both places told me lots of “facts” that turned out to not actually be true upon further review:

  • That if the Earth was one inch closer to the Sun we would burn up, and if it was one inch farther away we would freeze to death. This was supposedly evidence that evolution could not have created life.
  • Woman don’t have sexual desires like men do.
  • The Bible contains secret messages hidden if you count every 10th word or something like that.
  • God created the heavens and earth in 6 literal days and faked all the evidence for evolution to trick us.

Work & Happiness

I have realized that work can provide purpose which is essential to happiness in life. I read a fair bit of Reddit and the people who always complain of being the most depressed are those who are unemployed. I have noticed in myself that when I am on vacation or on weekends are the times I am most susceptible to depression. Having a lot of varied and interesting work makes being depressed pretty hard.

 

Go See “Get Out”

Laurel and I saw “Get Out” yesterday. I won’t give away any spoilers but I highly recommend you see it!

Fake News & Lies

From 2006 to 2009, I worked primarily in the SEO and Reputation Management division of Visible Technologies. Another big division of the company did Social Media Analytics. Basically, we were forerunners to the companies talked about in this article – the ones that provided Peter Thiel, Steve Bannon, and others the data and capabilities to swing voters opinions with well placed lies, fake news, and exaggerations that play on their fears. I am now seeing a lot of techniques we used twisted for very nefarious ends (papering Google search results with Holocaust denier propaganda, fake hit pieces on opposing politicians, etc.) At Visible, we used ORM to build up lots of fake search results about various billionaires philanthropy in order to bury their misdeeds. I had some concerns about the ethics back then, but told myself we just were doing what any PR firm does – help tell the other side of a clients story. I am now very concerned that I am seeing outright lies and crazy manipulations being promoted on a daily basis.

What is really scary to me is seeing a lot of my own friends and people I respect here on Facebook who have been sucked in by the lies. We are living in very dangerous times now.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/07/the-great-british-brexit-robbery-hijacked-democracy

Solving Aging

Diseases like cancer, heart disease, and dementia are really just symptoms of aging. They almost entirely afflict our elders. Instead of trying to fix one disease when ten other diseases are right behind it to kill one of our elderly, I’d like to face the problem of aging itself head on.

Our society loses a huge amount of wisdom and talent to the ravages of aging – just as has happened for all of human history.

In some ways, aging and death may be beneficial and necessary. In the living body, cells are regularly programmed to die to make room for new ones. Perhaps that is important for evolutionary reasons to happen in human society too?

I would like to do an Elon Musk style massive push to try to understand what causes aging and if there is anything that can be done to stop it. If I can build Coalition large enough, that would be my next project.

Healthy & Happy Life

I have been researching and reading studies on what helps people to lead the happiest and healthiest lives for many years and have narrowed it down to 3 core areas: Physical, Mental, and Emotional. See below for how I organize my life and to see what I have found to work best:

  • Physical – this is most important to overall well-being
    • Nutrition / Diet / Food
      • Shop for food when you are not hungry and try to buy more healthy food than you will probably eat. The best way to avoid cravings for bad food is to stay full of good food. You also want to make it easy to eat something healthy – make a big batch of food early in the week, refrigerate it, and eat it over the next few days. Keep healthy snack options on hand like bananas or apples.
      • Eat as many vegetables and fruits and nuts and seeds as you can
      • If you eat meat, try to have more chicken (especially thighs) and fish. Try to have less red meats, and especially avoid processed red meats like sausage or pepperoni.
      • Never eat processed sugars, especially sugary drinks like soda or juice (juice is bad for you)
      • Don’t get on any short term diet… try to find foods you are happy eating for years. Crash diets will usually cause you to lose weight for a month or two, then you will put back on more weight than you had before.
      • Caffeine & alcohol & other drugs… remember these are short term loans that you will have to pay back with interest. Caffeine just makes you feel more productive, you are not actually more productive. Then you will have a mild caffeine hangover which makes focusing harder. Alcohol can be really fun for a short time, but the hangover is almost always much more painful than the extra joy you got from the alcohol.
    • Exercise / Sports / Activities
      • Find fun physical activities you enjoy…. Hiking, walks, bicycling, pickup basketball, rock climbing, running, frisbee, ping pong… whatever it is, and try to do it as often as you can. It’s easier to stick with a workout you like and look forward to, even if it is not as intense as lifting weights in a gym or running on a treadmill.
      • Set goals for yourself. Maybe it is just walk one more block each day than you did the day before, or do one more pushup than you did the day before.
      • While working, try to spend a minute or so looking around each hour. Every couple of hours, stand up and walk around, maybe do some pushups. At lunch, go for a walk. Use a standing desk to work part of the day.
      • Try to do at least one bigger physical activity a week… spend a few hours walking around an area or going on a hike.
  • Emotional
    • Call a loved one each day… family member or friend. I have a 10 minute daily drive to work and make a call to someone on my way to work each day and my way home (mostly my grandparents in the morning since they are the only ones that pick up that early lol).
    • Get a significant other. Humans are social / tribal creatures and we need our fellows around us. A significant other can provide significant stability and help you live a much healthier life overall. Be very careful who you pick though… if you fight often (more than once a week) or fight badly (escalation), that is a big red flag. Pick someone who is stable and supportive and nice to you.
    • Spend time with friends regularly. I rock climb with friends three times a week. Once a week I’ll have lunch with a client or friend or someone like that. If you want to have a longer lunch break once a week to meet someone, that is fine as long as you get all your hours in that day and don’t miss any meetings or anything.
    • Don’t have a long commute. The single biggest factor in quality of life according to many studies is the length of your commute. The farther you drive each day, the less happy you are. You lose many hours of productive / fun things if you commute. Remember you hang out with friends / family 2-3x a week during nontraffic times, you go to work 5 days a week when everone else is trying to do the same thing.
    • Live within your means. Make a budget and put at least 10% each month into a savings account. Pay off your credit cards in full every single month. Pay down debt as quickly as you can. Don’t take on new debt for a car.
    • Write down something you are grateful for each day. Studies show over time this practice rewires your brain to be more optimistic and happy
  • Mental
    • Try to learn something new each day. A foreign language, a programming language, read a nonfiction book,
    • Avoid television. Video games are okay because they are more engaging.
    • Find personal projects you are interested in doing… gardening, a construction project, a website, etc. and pursue these.
    • No screens (phone, television, computer, tablet) an hour before bed. Kindle or books are okay.
    • Try to go to bed early. Sleep at least 8 hours a day (or just lay in bed for that time without your phone if you cant sleep, eventually you will train your body)

Remote work secrets:

General tips:

  • Track what you do each day. Even if you don’t accomplish your goals, just write it down. I use a Google Sheet for this with a row for each day and a column for each major item I want to track, but you could use a notebook or whatever works best for you.