Being intentional about finding family time

Brain dump:
Note to self that with all the things I am working to get done, I must not neglect to find time for family. Looking at my day to day, I have about 2 hours during dinner available for quality family time. The plan is to make the most of these 2 hours to have good quality conversation and family bonding. Plan on expanding that time and find more opportunity to make optimal use of what we have.

Hey, if things are going to work, you have to make sure the family is taken cared of.

Learning to validate a business for newbie entrepreneur

Brain dump of things learned today

Listened to Noah Kagan (Appsumo) as he coaches his students on the Monthly1k course how to validate their business. I have spent a lot of time making a product and not knowing earlier if the business was valid or not. With his videos I am understanding how to validate first, before spending much time on a product.

Here is a link to one of their sessions:

Also, kind of explain why I keep blabbering about how I am starting a business, when the blog is supposed to be all about having a resilient family. Basically, because the future needs us to be all entrepreneurs. I need to get out of a 9 to 5 job so I can work on the things that really matter.

Cold call results = 2+1 restaurants to test

So this week I have been trying to get back on the urban farm, trying to get it back up and going. (A couple of months ago I lost my last restaurant account and so it has been totally nonprofitable). I think I listed about 15 or so restaurants and just kept calling in the last few weeks. Luckily I got 2 of them to pick up and express interest. I am scheduled to bring them samples next week. I am going to work on those this weekend-actually Friday night. I need to get seeds into the soil. Also, I got a separate email from a previous chef who also used my microgreens. She told me she wanted to get some samples for this new restaurant where she is working at-awesome! That is a potential 3 restaurants in the next 2 weeks. Hopefully one or two of them push thru and sign up for weekly orders.
Cold calling:
A quick thing on how this process works for me. Basically I run a search online for restaurants and check their price range and sometimes their menus. I have been using Yelp, because the reviews there are helpful and the pricing is already shown in one app. It also shows a map of the restaurants so I can sort the calls via area and hit that area in one shot.
So I get a list of restos and then plug them in to Evernote. This lets me run out during office breaks to make my quick calls and not need any notebook/paper or pen to make notes. I do not have a lot of time to fuss, so I have to be efficient. I have all my real time updates on my phone right after I am done with the call. Here is a sample of the list with my notes on it:
resto-calls
So from the screenshot above, I had my original contact info. Sometimes menu notes. Then I do my calls during office breaks. Right afterwards, the notes I add are highlighted. I can schedule follow up calls on my calendar and keep track of progress. It is very light on my workload done this way, but I do need to transfer notes to a more permanent location when I have enough. Usually this is a spreadsheet on my Google drive.
Anyway, so tonight I will be planting my crops and soaking my seeds.
Also, this weekend I will be changing the oil in our jeep. I know it’s a tiny thing, but I am building knowledge on how to fix/maintain my own vehicle. One of the first things I learned was oil change.
Will also be redoing our living room coffee table. We have been scheming on what to do with this old piece of furniture that my wife got at the local thrift store. We thought we would change the glass top of it to planks of wood and try something different with it. It’s pretty cool, these types of projects have gotten my wife working with tools. She has learned a bunch of new things on her own. I try to just be there to consult and let her find her own initiative.
Update: Saturday 7am
I got up early and planted the microgreen samples. I wasted some time cleaning up the work table I have to do this in. The last few weeks of inactivity for the farm resulted in us dumping crap from other projects onto my farm work table. A ton of stuff there was from the scavenge trip we did at that end of the garage sale. I did a tray of each crop I have. I am done planting now & will be working on the blog for a bit.
micros-in-tray

A branding question

Today, a branding question, a business question. If you are also interested in building your own business, this may be a useful question to ask yourself.

As part of my path to building a resilient future for me and my family, I have been scheming to build a business. This blog is my latest project in fact. Having my own businesses will let me spend more time with my family, and will let me be more adaptable to the changes I am anticipating in the years ahead-with society and with the economy.

Tonight I was doing research on what to name the site, how to brand what I am building. I know it has a name for wordpress and youtube. If I had to change it, I could. It is really early and if it helps me in any way I can afford the change now. I had planned on running an ad and see which received more hits. I read about this from Tim Ferris’ 4 hour Work Week. He used Google ads to test hits on 3 or so other names for the book. (I read the other options, he picked the right one). Tonight I was reviewing what useful keywords should I have for the book. It was a very short list.

Apparently not a lot of people search for resilient + dad. Pretty much there was not a lot of hits for resilient at all-at least not in the context I was expecting. Most of it was related to recovery and therapy. Further down the 1.9Million hits, there were also results for how to raise resilient kids. It also linked to Peak Prosperity’s page but the forum was not very active. Another indication perhaps that the keywords were not great for the context we both thought of. At least at some point there was a connection. It just seemed there was not a strong enough word association to it.

After some time I realized I was going around in circles. What I found was pretty much definitive. Resilient, as of today, is not very highly associated to self reliant, being adaptable and…resilient living. I just could not think of any better word-sorry for the circular reasoning bit.

The question I had then was this:

Being that I know that my goals and context are best defined as resilience and considering that the rest of the internet world does not think of it that way, do I stick to it? Or do I change my words so that they better associate to what the current society is looking at right now?

Do you change the core value that is part of the name, so that you can reach the market-and then maybe return them back to the core value you started with? Or do you assume that at some point, people will realize that your definition of the word, and the context you offer, actually is what they were looking for. And then find that market thru other actions and words instead of just the original keywords:resilient?

Limitations on understanding

…passed to you through your DNA. All those abstract things and attributes -some of which we do not even have words for – lumped into things encoded in this DNA that you got from your ancestors.It so conveniently simplifies how they were passed on to you. These are things difficult to capture in words: habits and preferences in food, clothes, activities; love for nature, outdoors, arts, sciences; hard skills, soft skills; disdain for things; fears; passions

[side note: this is kind of off the topic but I decided to write it regardless. I feel it is important to me, and maybe one day it will make better sense and will be easier to explain. These are random thoughts of an overworked dad]

I was putting my children to sleep a few moments ago and I was wondering in amazement how our kids are showing us amazing things that prove how we are connected. When I was growing up, we always called it “he/she is just like you”, or “he/she takes after you” referring to how our characteristics, attitudes and talents are the same. My folks always called these things as just stuff you inherited from your family.

It puzzles me how today we always say it was passed to you through your DNA. All those abstract things and attributes -some of which we do not even have words for – lumped into things encoded in this DNA that you got from your ancestors.It so conveniently simplifies how they were passed on to you. These are things difficult to capture in words: habits and preferences in food, clothes, activities; love for nature, outdoors, arts, sciences; hard skills, soft skills; disdain for things; fears; passions. These occur even when a child is not raised by their biological parent. Some of them are learned, some were just always there.

I call this incomplete. I believe we refer to these things as being in our DNA only because it is something we can quantify by our modern sciences. We can see it using empirical data- data we can measure by the machines, technology, charts and photos that we have under our toolbox. It results in circular reasoning, believing in data that is only achievable by methods designed to find a specific form of data.

There are things we do not understand yet-we know of their occurrences by personal experiences or documented experiences by many others. They are all fairly common. However, we do not have scientific methods and equipment suited to converting them to said empirical data which we are trained to rely on.

I believe in the supernatural. By that I mean things that are beyond what we can sense and perceive in the “natural”world. I believe there is more to the physical things around us-and in this regard I believe the nebulous things we get from our ancestors/grandparents/nationalities are inherited thru means beyond what our modern sciences can interpret. It is pretty difficult to measure something if we do not know what we are looking for.

My profession is dying

For quite some time I have been tracking all the automation trends: Uber with their automated Volvos, Farmbot with their CNC gardening bot, automated tractors, farming equipment , tools and devices to improve previously heavy labor.

I was wondering how this would affect my profession (architecture). I kept thinking that even the current software we use still requires the designer to provide input. To coordinate issues, to solve problems-on paper and on the field, to communicate with the bureaucrats and to explain the massive building code requirements.

I mean yes the use of BIM software would eliminate a lot of the conflicts and simplify a lot of the construction process. Still, with all the variables and conflicts that come up-owner requests, field conditions, errors in fabrication, compensations for schedule-I could not come up with how mere software can replace my job.

Until I chanced upon this article today. It was all by chance. I learned of a new job description yesterday so I thought I would try it. Basically, the name of the job is (blank) automation (blank), or automation (blank). Whatever the job was, add automation to it, and something would come up.

I ran a search for automation design by mistake. I ended up with  a great article from TechCrunch from June 2016 by Karl Brunner. Here is a link. His article summed it up for me in one word: AI. It is not some kind of mechanical automation, advances in fabrication. It was not the design software we used to make the building plans. It was the actual design software that the end users will use. With AI, the computer can interact with the end user in their preferred method and let them conceive of the environment they want to build. Myself and most designers would cease being the gatekeepers. It hit me in the gut pretty hard (it was a Tuesday morning right after my annual employee review, so this article had to be pretty strong to hit me after the fact).

Think about it, how many products can you currently acquire using AI? I was recently trying to find branding info for this urban farm I am running, and I used AI to come up with some logo and website concepts. Websites are designed with AI. The designers have been sucked of their creativity and their skills now reproduced and scaled by technology.

On the other hand, realizing that I was working as a gatekeeper also sucked. I do not want to be someone who profits by restricting access to something of benefit. I always wanted architecture to improve lives, and always thought there were a lot of flaws in our current system. A few days ago I was pondering on some kind of Uber approach to the industry, that it may be the only way to force change on it. Maybe this is that.

Rather than being a quick relay of info on that TechCrunch article this post actually going somewhere. There is no conclusion here. Only that I need to go and review this direction further. How can I be a part of this evolution, where it holds the potential of truly opening up architecture for the benefit of the end user?

Inspired to continue the vlogs

 

I have been hesitating on continuing the vlogs, but with some inspiration today from another fella doing the same format I thought I would just do it.

Justin Rhodes was on an interview today on The Survival Podcast and he described how he was in the same predicament I am in:blogging takes to much time so vlogging is an alternative to making the long form content.

I understand the viability of the approach, and I still need to make sense of what I am really doing with the vlogs on my commute home. It needs to give some value other than just a rundown of my thoughts for the day. I may change the frequency of it so that I can prepare the content and make it worth watching.

Here is a link to the podcast. I have learned a lot from The Survival Podcast and a lot of the information comes from great folks like Justin just do

http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/episode-1865-justin-rhodes-on-the-10-hour-homestead-and-new-media

Now my new dilemma is making the actual written blogs out of all the ideas I am summarizing in these vlogs 🙂

Vlog 16.08.31 – What we are looking for in a house

 

A quick rundown on what we are looking for in a house. The goal is to find a home that can fit my plans for a resilient lifestyle. We are not looking for a house in a good school district with good comps for neighbors (at least I am not)
3bed 2 bath typically
not a bighouse, approx 1200 sf (low maintenance)
big yard(1/4 acre0
multiple road access (required)
no HOA (requirement)
garage + car port for hail protection (required)

ideally out of city limits (preferred)
brick exterior (preferred)
2 story (preferred)
no flood zone
easy to insulate (preferred)
good solar orientation (preferred)
fireplace (preferred)
buy something that looks poor so we can improve it (Dad’s list)
no pool, burden to property taxes (Dad’s list)
low property tax (requirement)
proximity to good developments, but not in it (preferred)