Friday, January 30, 2015

Ready for the next phase...

I can't begin to describe the journey I've been on for the past 3 months from an internal learning and experience level.

The physical journey has been to take the concept I have for a mobile geolocation coupon app and make it a reality.

It has been three months of near day and night and weekends to get it completed. It goes well beyond putting a business plan and numbers together. I've had countless meetings with investors, mentors, potential customers and employees and vendors.

To say it's been an emotional roller coaster is an understatement. To say it's been a learning experience is another understatement. To say I've done the best pre-planning work of my life is an understatement. To say I wouldn't have traded this experience to this point for anything is an understatement.

And to make it a little more challenging, I did it with a broken right hand. Not easy or fast to do write emails or presentations.

As of today I'm entering into the next phase of the journey. To recap, I now have the presentation finished and the numbers finished. The numbers alone between myself and my financial guy we have spent over 350 hours pouring over the numbers and validating.

It might seem anal, but when you are going out for money to investors you better have your ducks in a row. You better know your stuff and you better be able to defend your plan and assumptions. I can say with complete confidence and without question I can.

The good news is that the numbers are great. All I need to do is execute on the plan and without sounding egotistical, executing and scaling is what I do. It's my comfort zone and I'm chomping at the bit to get there.

BUT there is one more step and it's the next part of the journey. It's now all about raising money and it's time for me to start my "dog and pony" show. I realized that today. I was so focused on getting the plan to where I felt it was 100% complete and now that it is, I realized I now need to get on the road and raise money.

I already have a commitment from a very large investor, a guy that has done over $50 billion in leveraged buyouts before he retired, and I have a number of friends that want to invest. With that said, I'm only about 30% towards my goal.

I realized finding the money in Canada is possible but a slow and arduous process. I've built every business I've had in the U.S. and this will be no different. I'm sure the money will be raised in the U.S. and my prediction is after it's all done the Canadian investors will then say they want to go to the next level and it will be too late.

So what does this mean? It means I'll be travelling down to Silicon Valley, probably the send week of February and stay as long as it takes to find investors. My goal has always been to have the money committed by the end of February.

On my run today I realized I need a video presentation. I need to take the power point and speak to it so I can send it to people in advance. In today's world it's all about time and people have so little of it and don't want to waste it, nor do I want to waste my time if they are not interested.

This week as been a very special week for me. I may be the most focused week I've had in as long as I can remember. There was days that were really intense and all I wanted to do was relax and have a beer. But I didn't.

I didn't. Instead I trained. The reason I didn't want a beer was because one leads to a few and that leads to me not being at my best or as sharp as I wanted and need to be this week. And it was worth it. I just felt I was at my best.

I also felt that I was up to my old ways by training. There was a few times I didn't want to train and I pushed myself to do it and there is no greater feeling than finishing a training session when you didn't want to do it and it was tough to get started.

This is so much starting to feel like 2009, the year I had a turning point in training for Ironman and I was a man on a mission. There was so many times this week I could have zigged when I zagged and derailed and sabotaged my efforts. I took the more difficult and rewarding path.

The mental state I'm in is much different than ever before. I'm truly living my life day-to-day and in the moment. If I find myself drifting into the future I pull myself back and tell myself to let the future unfold accordingly and then respond accordingly.

There has been a difference physically. I'm feeling very bloated and it shows. It's the tough part of getting back in the training groove. Your body needs to adjust and it does that by retaining water to repair muscle and it feels like you are taking a step backward. I do know it's feels like a step backward that is really a disguised step forward.

Although I'm trying to stay in the moment, there was one thing that I have been thinking about all week and is going to happen tomorrow. Alice and I are going to the "Fleetwood Mac" concert in Buffalo tomorrow. It's the original band and I'm pumped.

We have never went to a lot of concerts and the last one we did was about 25 years ago in Winnipeg where we saw Billy Joel. I'm so looking forward to this one. It's on a Saturday and it's a Saturday after a great week. I'm pumped.

Today I was invited to join a Google Hangout with a group of Catholic School Teachers and Administrators about 21st Century learning. It was my first Google hangout. A google hangout is when you connect via the computer and everyone in the hangout can see each other and when you talk your photo becomes the main photo.

It's cool, but I find myself looking at myself all the time. I don't like the video. I like snacking when I'm on the phone. I like walking around the house. I like getting a coffee and when you are on a google hangout you have to be on your best behaviour, no nose picking.

With all that said, it was an interesting experience. It was a cool experience. Here where about 7 or 8 people from around the U.S and they are educators who care deeply about being the best educators they could be and sincerely want to create an environment to help students fulfill there potential.

I've never liked school, even now I have a tough time sitting in any classroom setting. It's not me. But I found this inspiring. It showed me that some people, regardless of what they do, are working to make the world a better place. They had incredible passion and I think they have a tougher job than any business. They are trying to move and institutional mountain.

My hat goes off to them. They are the change agents. They are really everyday hero's.

Run - 1:12  / 11.12 km
207 lbs

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Finally...getting there...

Yesterday was a day of meetings. A couple near home and a third out in Kitchener at Communitech. Communitech is a technology accelerator and I'm a member. I've really found working with them very helpful, especially on preparing to raise seed money.

Raising money is all new to me. I can take a business from start up to exit and everything in between, but raising money is something I've never had to do in my 25 years of business. I come from the old school ways where you borrow from friends, put stuff on your credit cards and borrow from banks.

I really do like the new world reality and the concept of angel investors who help with seed financing.   It's very different than what I'm used to and it makes sense. So much as entrepreneurs are looking for money, investors are looking to invest in good businesses.

The investors I'm dealing with are super smart and see so many deals a year they can tell if they want to continue to talk within minutes after you make your presentation. In fact all the work I've done and now knowing what is required, I've had friends approach me about businesses they are thinking about and I wouldn't consider investing until I see a plan as comprehensive as I've put together.

I've come to realize that if you can't put the plan together with all the necessary detail and validation of all your numbers then it's more of a gamble to invest in that business. Based on how the plan is developed gives an insight into the mind of the entrepreneur.

I've been working near day and night for almost 3 months straight on this plan. I'm "very" proud of what I've done. I can truly say in my mind the work I've done is a major accomplishment and I'll always consider it a highlight of my life and my abilities.

I have a MBA student intern and I gave him a project. I got the work back and it was no where near what I consider acceptable. At first I was thinking, hey I thought these MBA guys are super smart and the programs teach them to be superior. I'm starting to realize that is not the case and as I got to think about it more I realized that I need to bring him under my wing and show him what I do and what my expectations are.

So today I called him and showed him how we were approaching the project that I gave him and what we were doing differently. I showed him the numbers and how we figured an ROI for our customers and what it meant to their bottom line. I then went through more of our financial projections.

At the end he said it was very helpful and "eye opening". I was pretty surprised. I was thinking if this is eye opening and helpful, what is the MBA program teaching? Hell, I didn't take my MBA, hell I didn't even go to university. I look at this as just common sense and learned it out of necessity over the years.

I was speaking to a guy who recruits for a "Student Pro Painting" company. He hires 300 - 600 per year for the summer. He said he tells them, "education means nothing anymore, no disrespect" and the only thing that matters is "learning skills and having experience". He's young himself and he said, everyone has a degree, they don't mean anything. He doesn't even care what their grades are. I totally agree with him. To me personal drive and passion to succeed is all that matters.

So yesterday was meetings and today was finishing off the sales execution plan. More than finishing it, but validating it. I had to figure out how many accounts and type of accounts are available across Canada. Then closing rates and number of people we need to hire and blah, blah, blah. Basically be able to fully justify my sales projections. It's really drilling down deep. It's not easy stuff to do, but it felt so good when I was done. It ups the level of my confidence.

Now here's the hard part. I started on this stuff at 8:30 am and finished at 5:30 pm and I was mentally done. I was oh so close to wanting to have a few beers. Then I thought about it and realized if I have one, I'll have a lot more. It will set me back on my diet. I will not be as sharp tomorrow and I have an important meeting and still want to check my plan one more time. AND I have my new motivation that kept me on track.

I don't want to underestimate how close I was to having a beer. I fought it and then the feeling went away. I had a power nap and woke up feeling a whole lot better. It's amazing how powerful a nap is to reset your energy and attitude.

Aside from being mentally exhausted today, partly because I only had 5 or 6 hours of sleep, and feeling super bloated as I had some cookies and junk food yesterday, I just felt crappy all around. I knew I'd feel better if I went for a run but as the night went on it make the run less and less likely.

Eventually I had enough. At 9:00 pm I decided I HAVE to go for a run or I'll be full of regret and I need to reverse the bloating feeling and mentally start feeling better.

This would be my first run without my hand cast. It came off on Monday. The hand is feeling pretty good, other than I look like I have arthritis with the knuckle on my right hand poking out. It will be a souvenir for life.

There is something about running at night that I like. I have the 70's tunes playing and I have so much awesome thinking time. In fact I realized I need to check something on my plan and should make a change on the plan. Something the run brought out that I wouldn't have thought of otherwise.

A true sign you need to sweat is when you start and you start feeling itchy. Your pores don't open up right away and it feels itchy and aggravating. The only time it happens is if I've eaten junk food and not trained to sweat it out. It only lasts until you start sweating. As it's bothering me I'm just thinking "please start sweating".

The run was awesome. Plain and simple. It was slow and awesome.

As I was running I realized that at this moment life is great. There is no past, no future, just now. I also like training daily as it gets me back to feeling like somewhat of an athlete and there is something really great about training like an athlete daily. It's hard to fully understand until you break through that exercising mode, into training mode. It's a great feeling to know at 49 years old you are experiencing the same feelings of a 29 year old who is training seriously for a sport.

When I got home I felt like a new man.

My day could have taken different turns today. I could have just been tired and did no training. I could have had beers and no training. Or I could have overcome the tiredness, pushed myself out the door, trained and reversed my mental mind set and finished the day feeling great.

In this case I chose door number three. There is no greater feeling that knowing that in the eye of easily selecting bad choices you fight through the gauntlet and come out on top.

It was a really winning day.

Run - 1:12:58 / 11.19 km
207 lbs

Monday, January 26, 2015

Letting go...

I got another email from my cable company, it's only the 26th of the month and I've almost used up all my Internet bandwidth. Seems like I've been getting these every month now.

Reality is I use the Internet to watch a lot of TV. Not just Netflix, but some Hulu and a whole lot of You Tube. Every night I fall asleep to You Tube using on my Apple TV in the bedroom. Now that I started riding my bike again on the trainer downstairs it will be more bandwidth.

I woke up tired today. It seems everyday I wake up tired. The reason is I wake up about 20 lbs heavier than I need to be. I also find it easy to fall asleep on the couch at 20 lbs up. When I was 185 lbs or less I never napped. It was like I went about 3 or 4 years without napping.

A sign you are over weight is you can nap on the drop of a dime. You also wake up tired.

Right after I woke up today I wanted to fall back asleep. But I didn't, I had some spreadsheet review work to do and then at 10:30 am I had to be at the hospital to have my half cast removed. Maybe. Providing the hand is healing correctly.

I had to go to the Joseph Brant hospital. It's my most unfavorite hospital. Nothing ever goes fast at that hospital. Case in point, I show up at 10:30 am and had to wait about an hour and 15 minutes until the doctor saw me. I even went to the counter to see if they forgot about me. Apparently the doctor drives in from Toronto and the snow falling slowed him down.

Thank goodness for the iPhone. It's a great distraction to make the time go by. Email, Facebook and Instagram.

When I did get in, it took all of about 7 minutes for him to look at it. Have me open the hand, close the hand, open the hand, close the hand. Push on the bone and then told me it's good to go. He said I still have to be careful with it over the next 3 weeks.

I asked the doctor if I could swim or do weights, hoping he would say "no, you can't swim or do weights". Instead he said, "YES, swimming is fine, and weights are good, just don't push heavy weight". Damn, now I have no excuse.

Before I left I gave the doctor a high five. It surprised him and put a smile on his face. He's a young guy and here's this semi-old guy high-fiving him like I'm going to go out and drink some more beer and injure it again. I sure hope not. I have this large bump on my hand that looks like the hands of an 80 year old with arthritis.

I did something I've never done, or at least can't remember doing on a weekday. I came home tired and went to the bedroom and had a nap. At one point I woke up feeling guilty as I had some sales planning work I wanted to do. Instead I told myself, "chill, when you wake up you'll be more refreshed". I was right.

When I did get into it. I got into it. It went pretty quick. It was one of those, "lets relax, let life unfold and enjoy the moment".

It's funny how life works. I've always found that when you need something it appears. It could be from the advice from someone or just the copy on bill board as you drive by.

I have a couple things going through my mind right now. One is about building my sales team and fully understanding the motivations and needs of those that work for me and creating a structure that addresses there needs. I'm not trying to force-feed anything. I don't want resistance. I want to create harmony of needs and wants between theirs and the companies.

I find myself looking much deeper than just the money. Yes of course they can make good money, that's part of the plan. On a deeper level I want to know what the money they earn will be applied to in their lives and what do they need to prove to themselves from their work, or not. I really want to get into their head, their lives and understand what they need.

Another thought that has been running through my mind is letting go. Not giving up. Not trying any less. But letting go. Working very hard to achieve the goal but letting it unfold as it unfolds. I'm getting away from worrying about it or setting up in my mind what things should look like. It's too much work and causes disappointment.

It's weird, in my mind I've never achieved what I think I am capable of in Business. Others may disagree and think I've done a lot, on some levels that is true, but in my mind I feel I've worked for every inch and didn't let life flow. It's exhausting. In every other area of my life with family, friends or hobbies I've never forced anything, I just let life flow and those are the areas that I feel I've been most successful in and have no unfinished business.

Even with Ironman I remember one time I had set the goal to get to Kona and I was so focused on it and my training was awesome. I was eating relatively healthy and put a lot of pressure on myself. I visualized myself qualifying and that's when I had the worst half season of my life.

I went to China in the best shape of my life and came down with food poisoning 36 hours before the race. Then I went into a funk and signed up for Ironman Utah 40 days after the disaster in China only to have stomach problems after eating egg Mcmuffins and chocolate bars on the run and then spending time in the porta pottie. In both cases, China and Utah, I probably would have qualified for Kona without those problems.

After I didn't qualify on those races I gave up on my dream. My next race was a couple months after Utah and it was Ironman Lake Placid. One of the most competitive fields in all Ironmans. To qualify in Lake Placid you have to have the most awesome race, you are competiting with the best in the North East out of a population of 200 million people.

I truthfully didn't care, nor thought about qualifying for Kona.

Then the strangest thing happened. I had the race of my life and came in 8 or 9th place out of over 380 guys in my age group and qualified for Kona with a 10:20. It was surreal. He I was signing up for China and Utah thinking they would be easier races to qualify for, I put extreme pressure on myself, I expected to qualify, I controlled the outcome in my mind and I disappointed myself.

Basically I tried to hard. I didn't let life unfold. It was work.

When I went to Lake Placid it was completely the opposite. I had no pressure. I let it unfold and I really enjoyed the day and it was lightening in a bottle.

This is what I hope to do with my next business venture. I plan to work hard, train hard and not focus on what the success looks like, just focus on what's in front of me and do the best I can and let the chips fall where they may.

Today's afternoon nap shows I'm actually on that path. With Ironman training I would have had a nap if I felt tired or missed a training session if I felt I was burned out.

Decent day of eating today. I don't know what it is but when I train I feel I can eat anything I want. Which I can, after I drop these 20 lbs. Today I woke up with some resolve not to eat junk food.

There is times I think about it and think that all I need to do is be serious and hunker down for 60 days and I can hit my goal. How many 60 day periods have gone by over the last year and a half. To be exact that is 9 - 60 day cycles. It's that 60 day pain, gives you a lot more days of gain. So long as you train after that that is...then snaking is not a big deal.

It's really feeling like old times. After an awesome roast dinner with gravy, I was lying on the couch and thinking I really don't want to ride my bike on the trainer downstairs. But I know that these are the moments you most want to do the workout because it will be most rewarding.

Then at one point I just got up and did it. Part of the secret is trying to find some good stuff to watch on You Tube. I ended up watching my original Ironman Song video from the year I got back into shape. Then I watched an Ironman motivation and then a Jim Carrey convocation speech. Jim Carrey's speech was really good.

It was interesting in he has the same thoughts and worries as we all do. He had a few really good lines. One of them was he wished everyone achieved their dreams of success so they would realize that you will see that it's not what you thought it was. That by achieving your dreams your real journey begins. Your priorities change.

I believe him. I know it to be true.

The ride was good, but that last 9 minutes was the longest. You either have those rides that time flies by or you have those rides that time stands still. That is why I try not to look at the time throughout the ride. The more you look at it the more slow it goes. The other key to a good ride is to find something super interesting to get into while you ride.

I was a little pissed off on today's ride. For years I've had a different set of aerobars that have clamps that break, usually when I riding down a hill in a dangerous situation outside. This year the shop said they have these super strong clamps and I'll never have that problem again.

Turns out I it didn't solve the problem. I started riding, went aero and the left on broke. Then the right. DOH....how fat am I. OR, as I'd like to think it was from the cold of the bike being stored in the garage that weekend the metal. Either way, there's about $150 to fix. Damn that pisses me off, I'm sick of spending money. If I bought a bike from Walmart it would never break. You spend a lot of money on a bike and it's always breaking or needing serving.

In the end, it didn't matter, I came off the bike feeling good. One hour done. It feels like old time. I love it.

Bike - 1:02 / 27 km
207 lbs.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sometime you just have to stop and eat the pancakes...

With my new found motivation I find myself wanting to get out of the house more.

Yesterday it was one of those Saturday mid-morning and afternoon drives. The best drives are when you get lost and see stuff you've never seen. It's a bit of an adventure and it happened, we got lost down near the Niagara wine country in the back roads.

Along the way we drove past this all day breakfast restaurant called "the pancake house". We drove by but it was like a magnate. Something told me we should stop in. It was a quick U turn and we were inside and I had a craving for pancakes. Which among some eggs, bacon and sausage I ordered.

No guilt. Lifes to short and my new motto is portion control and variety.

I'm pretty much sick of hearing about the low carb diets vs the high fat diets vs the no sugar diets vs the gluten free diets vs the paleo diet vs weight watchers vs fit for life.

I've done them all except the gluten free diets. Gluten free to me is too earthy. It's like recycling or knowing how to order those crazy sounding special coffees from Starbucks. I still have to figure out what a Venti size is when I go to starbucks and most often just tell them I want a large coffee. They look at me like I'm strange that I haven't ordered one of those fancy drinks.

The reason I know all these diets are wrong is because whenever I'm on one of them solely my athletic performance suffers, especially high fat and paleo.

There is no doubt in my mind that our bodies need ALL types of food and it benefits from ALL types of foods. Even junk foods. Chips are great for salt and everything has a benefit.

The key is portion control and variety. It's so easy to over eat. Portions that we have become used to are large.

I hear about these people that say we should eat meals 6 times a day. Basically that is another word for portion control.

There is also another key. Eat for what you doing. If you are going to be doing some long training, you need carbs. If you are tearing down muscle you need protein. If you are relaxing there is nothing like a beer. Post training you need protein and carbs.

The world has created a multi-billion dollar diet industry based on two basic principals that will never change, "eat less and exercise more".

I'm more into listening to my body. Yesterday I heard it say, eating pancakes, syrup, eggs, bacon, sausage and toast makes you retain water and get bloated. The upside is bloating is water retention and helps the body heal if you think about the positive. Some of the bloating came from the pepperoni sticks I was eating later in the day.

I was going to run, but I ran out of sunlight and then got caught up spending the night watching comedies and laughing my a$$ off. I LOVE pranks, I watch them on You Tube all the time. I just love seeing what happens during a prank. The movies we watched was Bruno (Pranks) and Bad Grampa (Pranks around a story). I can't remember how many YEARS it's been since I laughed so hard. Then it was Kingpin and half of Dumb and Dumber.

It was a fun night. It reminded me of years gone past. Something as simple as Alice and I watching a movie together is like going back in time when we were living together in our early 20's and would spend the weekend going to the video store, rent movies and spend the weekend doing nothing but watching TV. Something so simple and something all of us can do ends up becoming one of those rich experiences you remember.

Another rich experience for me is showing up to running races.  I'm talking half marathons and under. That early morning wake up, that find a parking spot, that bib pick up and that waiting until the gun goes off. BUT that isn't the most funnest part of the race memories. Nope. It's the afterwards feeling of complete giving it your all and the endorphins are flying around your body. The after effect and glow lasts all day.

So I started trying to figure out, what are the main things that are most fun and gratifying to me? Here they are in no particular order.

- Family (of course), it's my tether. Without Alice and them I'd be totally out of control and rudderless.
- Family travel anywhere.
- Going to movies and eating movie popcorn.
- Going out to eat.
- Eating at really cool places - Homestyle cooking or iconic places.
- Running and biking.
- High intensity short races (triathlon and running)
- Weekend cycling rides on a super hot and humid day.
- Post workout feeling after "pushing" myself out to train because I didn't want to. There is no greater sense of accomplishment. You can't turn back time so either you do it or you never get that moment in time back again.
- A late night long run.
- A run in the warm rain.
- Watching rental type movies
- Comedy shows
- Weighing 185 lbs or less.
- Living simple in a smaller house. (Can hardly wait to downsize)
- Car Travel from place to place and stopping randomly along the way with no plans. (Route 66 was awesome)
- Bar hopping in NYC on a warm Saturday afternoon with Alice, random stops.
- Feeling like I'm eating healthy
- A long run or bike ride with a friend and talking the entire way.
- Blogging
- Proving some people wrong
- laughing and not taking life to serious
- Stretching myself and growing personally and professionally.
- Being stuck in your house and when the city shuts down because of a snow storm.

Funny thing, when I look at my list, none of it has to do with having lots of money. Most of it is just getting out of the house.

On our drive yesterday we passed some really nice houses, some on the lake front, others in secluded areas and all of them super beautiful. The one thing I know for certain is it might seem your life would be better in a bigger house, and the romance of it is great, but the reality is a nice house don't make your life richer. Getting OUT of your house and doing stuff does.

The other thing I've noticed is the more you can live in the moment the richer life is. I used to do that everyday when I was a kid. I'd wake up on a Saturday, head out and not know how the day would unfold. There was no pre-planning. No play dates. There was just wake up and knock on a friends door and see if he wants to come out and play. If he couldn't you moved on to the next door. That's when it all unfolded. The night / day before I had no idea how the world would unfold the next day.

Again, the greatest moments of my childhood were never preplanned and I can't remember one that was not created from a random series of events. It's when you let life unfold that you have the greatest times.

It's the old finding that special someone before you met that special someone. If you go out looking to find that special someone, you never find them. You go out just to have a good time it's funny how that special someone just appears.

As I've gotten older I'm pretty certain I've gotten wiser and if not wiser I've at least gotten to he point that I have a better understanding of what is important to me.

Some of the things I don't like
- Going to business related after work functions. Strange part is I've NEVER met someone at one of these events that turned into a great long term business relationship. I always find these events like I have to be on my best behaviour and most of the time having beers gets me through it.
- Golfing. Period. I don't know how people do it.
- Having to be politically correct or at least associating myself with people that understand my political incorrectness is in good humour and nothing deeper.


What intrigues me most right now
- That there is people in this world that are truly sociopaths and psychopaths. That they truly only care about what they can get from others and don't care who they hurt during the way.

What is hard for me to do
- Not trusting or wanting to trust people out of the gate. I'm one of those people that allow all people to start in my circle of trust and then work their way out. Most are you are outside the circle of trust and you have to work your way in.
- Accept feeling out of shape or looking to fat.
- Not being brutally open and honest.
- Not having a goal and achieving that goal.

So back to training. Today I ran.

I have my regular route and I never get bored of it. Part of it is through my beautiful safe neighbourhood and then through other safe neighbourhoods. Heck, this is Burlington, it's super safe. I think this has to be the safest city in Ontario. There is definitely a reason Burlington is voted one of the top cities in Canada.

It was colder today at about -11C, but in seconds after running you warm up. I've run in -40 C and so long as you are running you stay warm and I never, even in -40C wear a face mask. Not necessary. I see it at -5C in Ontario and people are all bundled up with a face mask.

The run was awesome. Slow. Fresh air and nothing but thinking time. I solve so many problems and get so optimistic when I run. In the past I remember Alice suggesting I go for a run, she knew I'd come back a different person and in a much happier place.

Now for the rest of the day, the endorphins are pumping and I'll be back to spreadsheets and planning for the next phase of my business career with preplanning and visualization.

Run - 1:08:23 / 11.24 km
207.2 lbs












Friday, January 23, 2015

First Indoor Ride in a LONG time...

I can't begin to explain how crazy my dreams have been lately. They are the type of dreams that are so good you look forward to going to sleep and entering that other world.

It's weird, I remember them kind of when I wake up. Some I try to go back to sleep to get back into the action.

Last nights was a good one, it involved Matty O, Heather, Alice, me and many others and a full party bus that was groundhog day. It seemed that it was one party, go to bed, wake up, same party situation, go to sleep and repeat. It had something to do with work and just before I woke up the partying was so much that I was concerned that people would recognize I was wearing the same clothes and we were running out of time for me to even wet my hair so it wasn't bed head. I felt bad for Alice, she was in the same position as me.

Weird dream.

The day before was also as wacky but can't remember it now.

Last night was a late night. I was on the phone with Atul, my finance guy until 12:15 am. He finally tapped out and said he had to go, he has a real job in the morning he has to be up for. I had not clue the time I was too into the spreadsheet.

It's strange how you meet people. They somehow appear when you need them. I've met so many off twitter. In Atul's case about 4 months ago I posted on Kijiji, which is like an online ebay classifieds or  Craigslist looking for a finance guy to do budget modelling. Not accounting, but finance modelling.

I was looking for a special type of person. Basically your Anderson Consulting type guy.

Within 30 minutes of posting, I got an email and within 2 hours I was on the phone with Atul. His skills are amazing. He's only 31 years old, MBA and a whole bunch of other letters behind his name, I can't even keep track, and has done financial modelling for one of the largest telecoms in India and now a very large corporation in Canada. We laugh because he had never before looked at Kijiji for part time work and it was the first and only time. His background was the exact one I was looking for.

Since that fateful call, we have done over 300 hours of financial modelling and what ifs together. I've shown people the level of work we have done and they are blown away. Essentially I can change any business assumption and it changes the financial statement. It's amazing how incredible this is. You have no idea how much I've tried different alternatives and one that I did as a joke and was counter intuitive was actually a major home run. On gut feel you would never have thought it was even a strategy.

So here I am, I'm pretty much done the numbers. Well kind of. All day today I was pouring threw them, just to make sure they all added up. When you deal with complexity at that level it's great, but you have to make sure it's QA'd and the numbers all work. I only found one error and it had to do with printing. Something I had been in for over 25 years. What irony.

Just to put things in perspective, just by changing the model with respect to a sales approach we were able to reduce the amount of money we need to raise by $1 million USD.

It keeps me coming back to the numbers. Is there a strategy I'm missing that could work?

So now after near 3-months of working day and night and weekends on my plan for DW I'm ready to raise the money and get started. I just haven't put a plan together, I've validated it. I even have a major company ready to sign up and a number of others wanting to keep the dialogue going and get others in the organization involved. The funny thing is I don't even have an app built yet. It's just an idea. I've sold the entire concept off a presentation deck.

So here's the rub....I'm bored. I have nothing left to do, until I raise all the money. It's the most strange feeling I've ever had. Actually it's a feeling I've never had. I've always been in implementation and make things happen from an organizational level. I like building businesses from the trenches.

The upside is I have the plan ready and when all the money is raised there is no question what I'm doing. It's like having the architects drawings of a building. Follow the plan.

It's been a great experience going through the process. I got accepted into an accelerator. I've learned so much about Angel and VC investing and what is required. Reality is these guys are pretty smart and sharp and they do not separate with their money quickly. They challenge, and it only makes the plan better.

Like I said, it's been great, but now I'm ready to get back to what I do best. Make things happen and scale a business. I have the dominos lined up and I feel like a caged tiger. I just want to be let loose.

Frankly I want to grow this and not have to go back to fundraising. It's not really fun. Don't get me wrong, it's not over yet and I'm dreading it, but know it's the necessary evil. It's kind of like a presidential campaign, there is a lot of hoops to jump through. It does make the plan better, but I'm ready to get into the oval office and start working.

It's been an emotional roller coaster of sorts and I think for some, primarily Canadians, I'm a little over the top. I've always built my businesses in the US, because Canada has been to conservative and slow moving, and I feel American when it comes to business. Americans are more of risk takers and bet on people at the end of the day. An aggressive, get things done, over the top type person doesn't scare them.

I guess I could equate this to Ironman too. There is those that want to do an Ironman and they take sometimes years to pull the trigger. They read all about it. They talk to everyone about it. They analyze what is involved from every angle. If they do sign up they are the people that are in bed early, that are strict with their diets and prior to the race know everything about it and immerse themselves in it.

Me on the other hand. If I think about it. Can visualize it. I sign up immediately. No hesitation. I know that having the goal and with the pressure of race day and the goal, you naturally will just figure it out. I don't pysch myself out. I don't sweat the small stuff. I know the 20% of the stuff you NEED to do to get 80% of the results. Oh, and I can't tell you how many Ironman's I showed up to, I think ALL, and didn't know much if anything about the course. In all cases I'm at the beginning of the swim, on the beach and asking those around me if it's clockwise or counter clockwise and one loop or two.

Americans get that. Canadians are much more conservative and cautious. I guess that's why when the financial crisis hit, Canada was pretty safe because they didn't do many bad loans. For me it's a little frustrating and I'm now primary focused on raising the money I need from the U.S. Mind you the exchange rate is pretty darn good for Americans now. It's basically a 20% discount.

So instead of sweating things, I'm really trying to do something I've never done before, enjoy the moment and let things fall where they may. To cope I'm feeling great about my renewed motivation and am again looking forward to training.

Today was the first day I rode my bike indoors in I can't even remember how long ago.

It was kind of cool. It felt like old time. Other than I have the hairiest and woolliest legs I have ever had. I don't even recognize them and even if I wanted to, with my broken hand I could shave them regardless.

Got a good sweat. I forgot how much you sweat on an indoor trainer. I did remember to set up a fan which definitely helped.

I woke up this morning, down some weight. Put a smile on my face, 20 lbs to go. It will happen.

Good day.

Bike Ride - 1:02 / 28 km
205.2 lbs

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Finding your motivation...

This is an interesting post from my perspective.

In 2007 when I decided to get back into shape, in the process losing 50 lbs and eventually doing 9 Ironman's over a 6 year period, qualifying for Kona, Clearwater and representing my country at the ITU world championships I figured I made it, I'd never go back to the old.

I think the journey of sliding began in 2010. Actually I know it. It was right after I qualified for Kona at 2010 Lake Placid. I didn't say anything to anyone but I felt it then. From there it took a downward spiral and over the last 4 years hung on as much as I could to hanging on to my laurels and still doing at least one Ironman a year to retain my Ironman status.

Mind you after 12 Ironmans, I now have lifetime status in my mind.

I look back to figure out how I slowly lost my motivation and how it brought me to where I am now.

It started with qualifying for Kona. I hit the top. I reached my goal. I look back at how hard I trained from 2007 to the end of 2010 and it was insane hours. It was literally 15 - 20 plus hours a week with no stopping. I can truthfully say I deserved to make it to Kona. In my heart I knew very view people in that race my age trained as hard as I did for that long period of time.

Doing in one year 26 one hundred mile rides plus and over 30 long runs the next day in the Canadian winter says it all. I was committed beyond commitment. I was obsessed.

I know what brought me to that point back then. I needed a challenge, my life was stale. My fitness ego was bruised and I needed to prove to myself I was much more. I also was motivated to show others. Sometimes that proving others wrong is one of the strongest reasons.

Fast forward, it's now January 2015. I'm up about 21 lbs from my qualify for Kona weight. And it's even more than that as I had a lot more muscle then.

What got me here?

1. I accomplished all the goals I set for myself in Triathlon.
2. I proved the nay-sayers wrong.
3. I proved to myself I was better and fixed that wounded ego.
4. I started pursuing a different challenge.

Number 1 and 4 are the biggest things that got me to where I am.

Number one is self explanatory, number four was I started to pursue some unfinished business that I had in business. I've not yet hit the mark of where I wanted to accomplish in business that I had as a young person.

My goal has always been to grow this incredibly successful business. If you asked me at 18 years old I would have told you that in my career I'd build a billion dollar business. Yes that's with a B.

I was on track to do it too, at least by the growth numbers for the first 11 years of my first business. I just had to keep those numbers up for another 12 or so years and it was done. I didn't realize that technology would change and in no time all I created would be gone and I'd be hanging on just to survive where most of my competitors just decided to close their doors. I'm too stubborn to do that.

Instead I did everything I could to pull the plan up before it crashed into the ground, and I did. It was not easy and it was painful both physically and emotionally. I sometime look back and think maybe my competitors were right and I should have closed my doors too. There is no doubt it would have been easier to do so and start something else from scratch.

But I'm too stubborn and pig headed to do that and I hate losing or maybe a better way of saying it, is that I failed. It's like not finishing the race. I guess I felt if I closed up I would have given up.

I was able to get it to a point the company was somewhat valuable and after 20 years sold it and got out feeling that I didn't fail.

So why the detailed background?

We'll it's because after I lost the weight and achieved all my Ironman goals it rekindled a fire in my belly that I lost long ago. It reversed time and I actually felt that I had the energy to pursue my business goals once again, this time with wisdom.

I reset my goals. I didn't care about growing a billion dollar business, but I did think $100 million. I'd love to be part of growing a $100 million business and I started to feel I had the renewed sense of energy, optimism and hutszba to do it.

So this is where the physical slide of item #4 began.

I started Picaboo Yearbooks from scratch, there was just two of us and over the 28 months spent 12 - 16 hours a day, near 7 days a week, eating, sleeping and breathing Picaboo Yearbooks. I remember taking the family on a trip to Europe for the Roth Ironman and by day sightseeing and by night, at least 7 hours a day on skype talking with my team in North America and doing emails.

I remember at the peak of Picaboo between sending and receiving I handled a record 800 plus emails in one day alone.

It was my life and there was no doubt in my mind that I would have that as a $100 million company. In fact, I know in my heart of hearts if I hadn't left I would have accomplished that goal.

I had a great time at Picaboo Yearbooks, surrounded myself with awesome people, worked harder than I ever worked and had the time of my life until the end and will always look back fondly and be proud of what myself and the team did. Very few people on the planet could have accomplished what we accomplished and under the constraints and challenges we faced.

I have some regrets, but in reality they are lessons learned. I learned a lot during that period.

In the process though it put me into a downward spiral from a health and weight standpoint. It also messed up my judgement of what was important, I went down the rabbit hole.

My next phase was immersing myself into my next venture, a social discovery app, which didn't take off as I had hope. The guys I worked with were great, the team did a great job, but the sideline drama outside of working with those guys was an emotional roller coaster. I like adventure, so I was able to cope, but it was entering and learning about a world and human psychology that I didn't know existed.

Having to make the decision to shut down the effort was one of the toughest I had to make. I hate losing. But I learned from previous experiences that perhaps it's better to cut your loses and move one. Which I did. I felt bad for all the hard work and effort all of us put into the app.

With that said it was one hell of a journey and much of it was an awesome adventure.

In the process it was also tough, being away from my family for 90 days, out of my stable home environment, holed up in a Condo I hated with others and being filmed as part of a documentary.

My physical health further declined and my weight increased.

So next venture is Deal Wheel, another app. This time I know I'm onto something great. Very great. It seems like the culmination of all my learnings over the last 25 plus years is translating to a winner. All are market research and testing and customer acceptance and excitement is reaffirming.

The new journey for me is going out for investor money. Something I've never had to do before. It's been both educational and interesting. I have learned more than I can explain.

I am now getting down to the short strokes and have found a partner I respect and is a dream from an experience and strategy standpoint to work with.

Frankly though, I just want to get started. I just want to finalize funding and go for it. I'm an implementer, I make things happen and no one I know can scale a company as fast as me. I'm sure they are out there, I just don't know them. BUT even then, I'd like to see them do it with the limited resources I've had to work with in the past.

Now this all brings me back to motivation and re-igniting mine from a fitness and weight standpoint.

I think I've found it. I'm not going to say what it is. But I found it and it's come from the strangest of place. I don't think it's something anyone could guess in a million years. I've never heard it as a motivator from anyone else before and I plan never to tell anyone what it is, at least for now.

I need to first see if it works.

Today for the first time, I actually thought of maybe signing up for a race. Not an Ironman. Those days are still over. I retired. But a race, perhaps a half Ironman or a marathon or something different than I've ever done before.

The one thing I know is I can't go down the rabbit hole I went down physically, mentally and emotionally since 2011. I learned a lot. My passion is what more often than not gets me in trouble. When I commit, I'm all in. It has it's good side and it has it's bad side.

Saying I'm going to be more balance is not the answer. I've tried so many times and it's just not part of my DNA.

I'm figuring out that motivation and having the right motivation IS the answer. It will balance things out. It's really what balanced things out for me from 2007 to 2010, then I when I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish I lost my so called balance and couldn't find it, until now.

I know I found it because I feel differently about things and it happened IMMEDIATELY after I realized the motivation. I didn't ease into it and I think that's the secret, once you find that motivation you change immediately.

Since I found it, which was last night, when I think of it, I stop myself from snacking. I feel like training. In fact this morning I brought my bike in from the cold garage and moved it downstairs to put on the trainer.

If my hand wasn't broken I'd be ready to swim and do weights.

It's time to reverse the last 4 years and the goal is not to get in Ironman shape, it's to feel GREAT again, from a physical, mental and emotional standpoint. It's to become the BEST person I can be.

I also know that when I get there, I will probably have to look for a new motivation to say there, or perhaps not. What I do know is nothing lasts forever, as unfair as that is. You would think that with all the training I did over the past years that I should get a hall pass for being fit and never gaining a pound. Unfortunately life is a zero sum game. Either you use it or you lose it.

So now my phone is charged, so my music will play my entire run, so it's time to finish this post and get my butt outside for a run.

Here's to finding your motivation.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Back to the future...




So I wake up and first thing I do is head downstairs to the Pig & Whistle to work.

For those that do not know, the Pig & Whistle is the most awesome man cave on the planet. It's a world class bar with a walk out basement. Full TV, pool table, pin ball and 70 inch TV. It's every little boys dream.

So I don't go down to drink. Nope. Kegerator is broken.

I go down to work. I had research I needed to do for my business plan.

With that said, it didn't take long for me to start opening beers....from the bar fridge. As I mentioned, Kegerator is broken.

So I'm working away and making lots of progress. Then I'm thinking, "you know the guy I need to talk to is Lee Scott". Lee used to be the CEO of Walmart World and a guy I met and, well frankly, it's a long story.....but lets say the Walmart slogan, "Save Money. Live Better" is because of me.

I look on my computer and Lee's email is not there. Damn. I got his card a long time ago and I didn't put it into my database.

So I do the google search for "Lee Scott" and try to find his twitter address or something. I figure I'll get in touch with him that way.

No luck. And I'm good. I couldn't find it.

So I'm sitting thinking....where did I put his business card?

Only thing I can think of is in the "cubby hole". It's basically the crawl space under the stairs.

Last time I had Lee's business card was when he gave it to me in 2002 when I met him at a Saturday morning Walmart meeting in Arkansas.

So I go to the "cubby hole" and start looking.

Did I find the card?

Nope.

What did I find?

I found a diary that I started in 1987, it was when I was 22 years old and I had not yet found my career path and was unemployed.

I started reading it and none of it was how I remembered it.

It's amazing how much your mind twists things.

First off, not has much changed from my 49 year old self to my 22 year old self.

The similarities was that I complained about my weight worse back at 22 at 165lbs as much as I do now at 205 lbs. Actually I complained more.

I can't tell you how many posts I read that I just ate 2 litres of ice cream, or in the middle of January we went to Dairy Queen.

Then I read I ran a lot. Almost everyday. My posts would read like this, tough day, ate 2 litres of ice cream, 4 hamburgers and ran 6 miles. No joke. That's how it read.

Some of the highlights....

I went to a movie with Alice almost every second day.

I turned down two jobs, one as a Fram Filter sales person, because my dad was going to get me a job at his work which fell through because "Ken and Doug" didn't think it was a good idea.

That forced me to find a job at Color Image, which is really Image Color, which is the company that launched my career.

It was funny reading about me offering to "work for free" to hire me. Which they did and they did end up paying me, $6 per hour.

I read about punching one of my brothers in the face with 3 quick lefts. I read about my neighbour dying and insisting before he went to the hospital that I feed the birds. And much more....

All stuff I remember "nothing about".

I even wrote on one post that this meeting with Martin Bergen, a big time land developer in my home city, that I applied for a job was so awkward that I would never forget it, ever.

Guess what....I forgot it. Even reading it I was like, "I kind of vaguely remember that. Sounds funny".

Big take aways or trends.....

I ate lots of ice cream. I went to Juniors a lot for hamburgers and fries. I went to a lot of movies with Alice.

A fun part was reading about how the owners of the business that hired me saw me as management and wanting to be the president of their company.

Touching part was reading about me and Neil Mackie, my boss. We had a lot of fun and pranks together and I wrote very flattering things about him. To this day Neil is the most "get things done with no bullshit guy" I know. We had so much fun and laughs and got shit done.

What was most apparent to me is not much changed in my soul. Actually I lie.

I'm less of a whinier today.

Yes, believe it or not as I was reading my diary I was wanting to slap myself. I was winning so much about eating to much and weight. I couldn't be happy.

I was also amazed at how judgemental I was and there was at one point  that I was thinking I needed to find God.

I had to stop reading. Not because I didn't want to read more. It was just that reading is not a normal behaviour and I was getting tired after about 3 hours.

But I didn't really stop.

Instead I found a book about my family ancestry and my grand father and his father. My Grandfathers father was in WW1. To read about the war injuries and how he came back not the same as he left and put mental hardship on his family was interesting.

Yup, mental hardship. No one would bring anyone home. One guy from my Great Grandfathers work as a painter at a big Canadian Pacific Hotel came over for dinner and my GG asked him if he was enjoying his meal because after the meal my GG said he was going to beat the shit out of him. No joke.

Could you imagine being that guy. Your eating. Then you find out you are going to get the shit beat out of you after the meal.

If it was me, I'd be eating really slow. I'd try to put my GG to bed.

In the end I realized one key thing. WE DON'T CHANGE.

Don't get me wrong. I've gotten better, but my core programming has not changed.

As much as I thought I've evolved and am smarter, I kind of am, but not really.

I'm more patient. I'm not as emotional.

But I'm still that same fucked up kid at 22 as I am now at 49.

I was reading passages of the diary to my kids. Both laughing. Reid big time.

To them it was bizarre. It wasn't like I was writing supper deep. There was times I was just describing what is was like to come out of the movie Platoon for the first time and other times describing my fights with family members.

I do know my handwriting was a lot better back then. I could actually read it.

I'm also amazed that I actually did it.

I'm not going to say it was easy to read either.

It's a very different feeling reading what your younger self felt from your older self perspective.

I will say I'm much smarter now. I read this stuff and wonder what direction life could have gone knowing what I know now and being able to apply it then.

The other thing I realize was how much Alice loves me and has been a rock. I even read about the day I proposed to her... on a park bench....then we went through a Wendy's drive thru for dinner.

I also look back at all the old pictures of my grand father and his family and I see the faces of those in the family now.

Interesting Sunday. It was like time travelling.

Then I was thinking "when future generations read this they are going to laugh in disbelief".