« August 2004 | Main | October 2004 »

September 30, 2004

Rotate and Balance Regularly

It has been a while since I read this post Financial Fitness for Entrepreneurs by friend Brad Feld.

Just by reading the title and before reading the post, I thought it might be something regarding physical fitness for entrepreneurs. Brad has become what I would call an accomplished runner and as I'm always interested in advice on the sport, I was disappointed when I realized I missed the word "Financial". Doh!

I guess my thought was that anybody, but especially entrepreuners and start-up types, should take great care to have physical and mental balance in their lives. As any entrepreneur or start-up venture participant can vouch, it can easily consume too much of your life.

As a Speech Communications major at Colorado State, I studied some classic discourse on rhetoric, argumentation and eloquence. I enjoyed samplings of Plato, Socrates, Cicero, Quintillian among others.

One professor lectured on the Greek concept of "arete". As I loosely recall, this is the idea of living your life with a balanced mind and body. The analogy was that of a chariot - this was you/your life. Your chariot is guided by two horses - one represeting physical the other emotional/mental elements. In order to most efficiently move your chariot through life, one would make sure each horse was evenly paced. Simple and makes sense. Probably other analogies from other cultures as well.

Of course this is no epiphany for many but for me it proved useful. It took several years, but I actually had reason to apply the concept to better my life.

At one point after we had taken Email Publishing from startup and through several mergers and acquisitions, becoming MessageMedia and then DoubleClick, I had definitely become much to focused on work. I had seriously lost any sense of work/life, physical/emotional balance. I was stressed all the time, eating the rest of the time, not exercising at all and going no where fast. It is amazing how when you spiral down, momentum carries you further away from achieving any success. No matter how much you "work", if you are out of balance, your "quality" of output probably sucks pretty bad. Mine was probably hurting.

Finally an encounter with my good friend Andrew Currie set me straight. After a friendly visit, Andrew finally looked at me and said simply, "You should really get some exercise". I think the comment referred to my chubby shape as well as my overly stressed demeanor. Andrew actually coached me at that point about managing stress, etc... It may be the best advice I ever received.

I took to the treadmill and found a wonderful way to relax (yes, while running), exercise, think, disconnect, reconnect, tune in, tune out, get in balance - all told vastly improving the quality of my life. Work output improves, home life improves, lifespan improves. How many other ways can you possibly win?

The difficult part, as with anything is maintaining. Since then I've found several other things to keep my life balanced. I have three wonderful children, AJ, Max and Jesse, ages 6, 4 and 2. They alone give me countless "todo's" that help separate work from home. I play pickup basketball in my church (pretty low competitive level, but good exercise value). Friends and colleagues George Bilbrey and Paul Buster got me into Ice Hockey. What a blast! I read for business and for personal pleasure, and so much more. The folks at ReturnPath are a well-balanced, optimized bunch that make it easy to keep on your balance game.

It helps to have friends who will tell you when you need help. You can't fix any problem you are not aware of. It is not like I have this mastered - I'm an extremely busy person, and I go up and down with things. But, as I said, knowledge is power - and the people you know can help make you accountable to yourself. Balance in and out of the office is ongoing, and you need good friends and family to help keep you in tune.

You should always look for ways to optimize your entire life - not just your business todo list. Yes, as Brad blogged, there is Financial Fitness for Entrepreneurs. And there is also Life Fitness as well. Practice them both.

Posted by gcrgcr at 7:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 20, 2004

Bloggers don't do it for the money

No kidding...

Read this in my Schwab Internet Daily email alert last week:

Few of the writers of the estimated 3.8 million Web logs on the Internet are making money. Sreenath Sreenivasan, professor of
new media at Columbia University, said that while bloggers' visibility has increased this summer, their incomes have not. "There's a very tiny percentage of people who are making anywhere close to a living from blogs," he said, according to an Associated Press report. Henry Copeland, whose Blogads.com places advertising on a network of Web logs, said some of his publishers make $120,000 a year from ads, but he did not identify them for the news service. "Dozens" he said make $1,000 a month. But Andrew Sullivan, whose politically oriented Web log is among the most popular, said freelance writing and speaking engagements pay his bills. "I couldn't live off the blog alone, and I see no prospect of that happening in the near future," he said.

So why do we blog? I find it interesting to think about. I took to blogging mostly because I'm the type of person that would, given ample time, likely keep a paper journal of some sort. I have at various times in my life - my journal from high school and college eventually migrated from paper form to electronic. As computers became more and more a part of daily life, I looked for opportunities to "journal" with the computer. I never went so far as to use "diary software" or some such thing - I kept a large running text file.

Back in 1999, friends Derek Scruggs and Tim Thiessen separately had turned me on to Blogger. This seemed like the way to go, though not for totally private journaling. In an obvious way "blogging" is a very public diary. Because it is public, we don't necessarily write about all the intimate and personal things which a private journal would keep - but instead we write about things in between.

Bloggers are simply writers, looking for an opportunity to muse - present their thoughts on minutiae in their lives. It fills a desire for communicating - fitting somewhere in between writing a sentence and an essay. Not all your thoughts can be novels, in fact very few of them can. At best, one day we may in fact see published works based upon a collection of blog entries. Then, maybe one can imagine being "paid" ultimately for blogging.

How cool would that be?

Posted by gcrgcr at 10:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 14, 2004

Colorado State: Top 50 plays #1

I spent Saturday night watching my alum get plastered by the #1 team in the country - the USC Trojans. The final score: 49-0, or 0-49 depending on who you were rooting for.

My thoughts around the game I can summarize reasonably well. Colorado State looked like they belonged on the field. Neither the offensive or defensive lines looked like they gave too much to USC. Colorado State made most of the mistakes in the ball game. Seven turnover for starters, five of which USC scored on. No one here is delusional enough to think that without that CSU could have won - but it definitely could have been a better game. Despite two significant mistakes and turnovers, CSU should have atleast scored.

The post-game chatter over at RamNation had a lot of posts on what an embarrassment it was (it was in many ways) and how it was dumb to schedule the likes of USC, Colorado, Minnesota (up next for CSU) etc...

I disagree - I think it is important for Teams on any given year that are outside the Top 25 but within say the Top 50, to play teams better than they are. Back in high school, my Tennis coach used to say, "you can't get better unless you play someone better than you are" or something to that effect. I was a marginal player by the way, but I've found that the advice in general is sound. Schools with football (or any sport) programs that have had even a modicum of success, in order to get to the next level, should play those who are already AT the next level.

Those Rams learned a lot on that field. They lined up against a team that is much more athletic and skilled overall, position by position, mostly because California has a wealth of high school talent that lines up to play for the likes of USC, UCLA, etc...

This team is the defending national co-champion, with a good chance to repeat (this is not done often and not recently) and is coached by a smart and successful Coach from the NFL. Playing USC I think may be practically like playing an NFL team! For Colorado State, if they are smart, they will hal recount how Matt Leinert led his teeam with poise and intelligence. They'll recall how after establishing a 28-0 lead at half, USC came out at half time and, despite a few mental errors and breakdowns, never let up, adding another 21 points to the board - and not doing it just to rub it in. Displaying what a well coached, well executed team can and should do.

I applaud USC for their effort and give them good chances this season to compete for a chance to defend their title. I applaud CSU for scheduling and playing the Trojans. Onward and upward!

Posted by gcrgcr at 6:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack