three product suggestions to outfit yourself for “working remote”

Guest post from Darin, a Senior Millennial, well versed in the field of finding good places to work outside of his house in Southwest Minneapolis. Enter Darin:

A couple years ago I was faced with this challenge: how can I effectively work on the go outside of an office setting? 

For me, this challenge presented itself when I moved to a full time work-from-home position and I discovered the need to get out the house for sanity sake. However, as the work force adapts and changes to smaller, more nimble office environments, a growing number professionals are also faced with this challenge.

I ended up investing in a few gadgets to better enable myself to work from any environment; my backpack became my mobile office. And by the way, I am in no way afflicted with any of these products:

The “Big Three” for working remote:

  • Noise canceling headphones: Jabra Evolve 75 MS/UC Stereo – ~$290
    • Wireless, Bluetooth adaptor with dual connectivity
    • Mute/unmute when the mic is moved up and down – no more “sorry, I was on mute” excuses
    • 14 hour battery life, charge by USB
  • Laptop stand: Roost Laptop Stand  ~$75
    • Collapsible, lightweight, easy to carry
    • Adjustable height; use as a bar top standing or for sitting – this one is key for me as stand as much as 80% of the day (a topic for a different day)
  • Wireless keyboard and mouse:  Dell KM714 – ~$80
    • Full keyboard and number pad, yet fits fine into a backpack
    • Reliable wireless connectivity – other brands tend to cut in and out which is obviously frustrating

Outfitting myself with this gear enabled me to work from almost anywhere; airports, music-bumping coffee shops, the gym lobby, or the pavilion next to a windy lake.

What gear have you found improve remote work productively?

Darin’s “big three” components for working remote. All can fit easily into a backpack

With your brand, are you faking it or applying tribal empathy?

People are so smart these days. Because we have been marketed to everywhere and aggressively, our bullshit detectors have switched from “stun” to “acute.”

Every post, Craigslist listing, email, or piece of mail is met with “is this on the square?”

Instead of being numb to the bullshit, we are acutely aware of the bullshit.

The good news is that authenticity wins. And now more than ever.

Trying to make a difference? Try this:

  1. Identify something that when you are doing it, you “hear the angels sing.” This is your Zone of Genius, Stephen Pressfield, The War of Art.
  2. Keep doing that thing.
  3. Build your tribe, people who also enjoy that thing. Maybe it’s 1,000 true fans.
  4. Listen to the angels and come up with something that adds value to your tribe.
  5. Bring that thing to the tribe.

Critical: Apply Tribal Empathy (vs. ethnographic SEO optimization)

Are you applying tribal empathy or just trying to monetize?

We can tell the difference.

Mixing the communication cocktail for effective results

Whether we are faced with asking a professor for an extension on a paper, pitching a liquor company to license a drinking glasses made entirely out of ice, or reviewing an email blast before we hit send, it is important to be sensitive to the communication options at our disposal. Let’s consider the rainbow of options for communication:

  1. Eyeball to eyeball
  2. Phone call
  3. Text (including Messenger)
  4. Email
  5. Letter
  6. Telepathy
  7. Other (not yet discovered or defined).

There is no perfect method, but we want to be cognizant and critical of when and how we communicate. No matter where we are or what stage in our lives, whether we are in college, working in the marketplace, or having coffee with our spouse or loved one, we constantly are learning how to mix our communication.

Some ideas include:

Email: A great tool when there is a call to action. Good chance that the receiver of the email will be at their desk, on their computer, and able to respond with more thought and organization. Lots of people hide behind email. They hit send and falsely believe that the task is complete. Careful with that.

Letter: Most underutilized. Consider getting out a pen and paper and write someone a letter, right now. Think it’ll have an impact? Try it!

Text: when there is a need for quick, collaborative communication.

Eyeball to eyeball: crucial, but takes logistics at worst, and spontaneity, at best.

Phone: Great for catching up and ideating*, or when wires need a bit of untangling. Younger people entering the work force have been criticized for being afraid to talk on the phone. Don’t be one of those. Get a voicemail? Keep it short. Ask for one thing. “Hi Sara, i’m calling about the three fabric options. Can you give me a quick call ?” Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone!

Telepathy. The ultimate. Some business partners have it. Some family members have it. When you find it, don’t overuse it, and hold it dearly. Cherish it.

Sales professionals, generally, have become good at mixing the communication cocktail. Just like bears know where and when to get in the water to grab for salmon, sales professionals have learned how to customize their communication methods to fish how and when the fish are running. It takes practice. It takes patience. Ask any bear.

BONUS: By mixing the communication cocktail, sales people can tune the “peacock effect.” Mixing a finely tuned recipe of 1-7 above allows salespeople to work effectively, without being a pain in the ass (over communicating) and without appearing vacant (“what’s my reps. name again?”).

Is eyeball to eyeball the alcohol in the drink? Is email the ice? Each communication method has its importance to make a great communication cocktail.

it’s up to you to mix your own communication cocktail. It’s a life long learning lesson with great rewards.

*ideating. best to use this word sparingly. Much like optimize, robust, disruption.

Is it time to start a two person media production team?

In this age where activated events are so easily reported on social media, there is an increasing need for companies big and small to be able to share really good content with their fans, followers, and prospects.  Rolling Thunder Review is looking to help a small team (two people to start) build their own media production company.  

We have instant work available.

We don’t want to hire an existing media company to capture our activations.  Why?

  1.  Many of our projects are just getting off the ground (ie, we are bootstrapping).
  2.  We love supporting college students (resume building, career building).
  3.  We believe (and have been proven) that college students are often more creative and capable than they may realize.
  4.  This is potentially a lot of fun.

So, here’s what we need.  TODAY.

  1.  Someone with really good video skills.  And this person has some decent equipment.
  2.  Someone with really good video editing skills.  Editing, compiling, capturing a story.  Extracting still shots from video, etc.
  3.  Their enthusiasm to work closely together, possibly starting their own media production company. 
  4.  A cool company name, logo, and mission statement (we will help you with this).

These two people will produce awesome content, and present it to our marketing team as well as our product innovators and brand developers.

College student with access to good equipment, capturing events for Rolling Thunder projects
College student editing content captured from activation events, ready to present to Rolling Thunder clients.
A little editing by a budding college student can go a long way towards producing a compelling 30 second shareable video via many media channels and outlets in the marketplace (without using terms like robust or optimize or disrupt).

Steve Case’s The Third Wave makes a case for the power of 3

There’s something powerful about the number 3.

Reading Steve Case’s (AOL) The third Wave, I’m struck by how clearly we can explain things and connect things by 3. In the case of this book, Case is able to break down the evolution of the Internet as three phases:
1. Building the Internet
2. Connecting to the Internet
3. The Internet of Things.

Case gives credit to his thesis with a clear acknowledgment of Alvin Toffler’s book (of the same title!). Written in 19 , Toffler clearly outlines and accurately predicts human kinds technological revolutions as:

Agricultural age

Industrial age

Information age.

You don’t have to read either of these two books to get a grasp and understanding of what each are trying to explain. Yet, as you plow through each of these books, you can’t help but stay on track and, if not agree, completely understand their arguments. Each of the three relate to the other two. Each one is a clear, chronological set up to the next. Each one is clearly explained and supported.

Where we’ve been.

Where we are.

Where we are going.

Thinking in 3’s is a great way to encapsulate and grasp what may otherwise be something confusing and hard to grasp.

Holy Ghost.


It’s great to collaborate with three people. There is always a consensus. Two can work together while the third goes off and tackles a new challenge. Three founders can outnumber two VC’s in a conference room..

3 sauna rounds are a preference shared by myself and countless guests to my saunas, as well as what I later learned to be common in Finland and also as with the centuries old Mayan Temescal tradition.

Three is not absolute. Marriages, except maybe in San Francisco, don’t work with 3. Same, currently, with internet protocols, which are based on switches of “1.s and 0’s.” But what about a new internet protocol, instead of “1’s and o’s” could we make more powerful microprocessors with switches of “1’s and 0s and 2’s?” Why not?

How to get unblocked: see freshly for yourself

Excerpt from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig:

“He’d been innovating extensively. He’d been having trouble with students who had nothing to say. At first he thought it was laziness but later it became apparent that it wasn’t. They just couldn’t think of anything to say.

One of them, a girl with strong-lensed glasses, wanted to write a five-hundred word essay about the United States. He was used to the sinking feeling that comes from statements like this, and suggested without disparagement that she narrow it down to just Bozeman.

When the paper came due she didn’t have it and was quite upset. She had tried and tried but she just couldn’t think of anything to say.

He had already discussed her with her previous instructors and they’d confirmed his impressions of her. She was very serious, disciplined and hardworking, but extremely dull. Not a spark of creativity in her anywhere. Her eyes, behind the thick-lensed glasses, were the eyes of a drudge. She wasn’t bluffing him, she really couldn’t think of anything to say, and was upset by her inability to do as she was told.

It just stumped him. Now he couldn’t think of anything to say. A silence occurred, and then a peculiar answer: “Narrow it down to the main street of Bozeman.” It was a stroke of insight.

She nodded dutifully and went out. But just before her next class she came back in real distress, tears this time, distress that had obviously been there for a long time. She still couldn’t think of anything to say, and couldn’t understand why, if she couldn’t think of anything about all of Bozeman, she should be able to think of something about just one street.

He was furious. “You’re not looking!” he said. A memory came back of his own dismissal from the University for having too much to say. For every fact there is an infinity of hypotheses. The more you look the more you see. She really wasn’t looking and yet somehow didn’t understand this.

He told her angrily, “Narrow it down to the front of one building on the main street of Bozeman. The Opera House. Start with the upper left-hand brick.”

Her eyes, behind the thick-lensed glasses, opened wide. She came in the next class with a puzzled look and handed him a five- thousand-word essay on the front of the Opera House on the main street of Bozeman, Montana. “I sat in the hamburger stand across the street,” she said, “and started writing about the first brick, and the second brick, and then by the third brick it all started to come and I couldn’t stop. They thought I was crazy, and they kept kidding me, but here it all is. I don’t understand it.”

Neither did he, but on long walks through the streets of town he thought about it and concluded she was evidently stopped with the same kind of blockage that had paralyzed him on his first day of teaching. She was blocked because she was trying to repeat, in her writing, things she had already heard, just as on the first day he had tried to repeat things he had already decided to say. She couldn’t think of anything to write about Bozeman because she couldn’t recall anything she had heard worth repeating. She was strangely unaware that she could look and see freshly for herself, as she wrote, without primary regard for what had been said before. The narrowing down to one brick destroyed the blockage because it was so obvious she had to do some original and direct seeing.

He experimented further. In one class he had everyone write all hour about the back of his thumb. Everyone gave him funny looks at the beginning of the hour, but everyone did it, and there wasn’t a single complaint about “nothing to say.” In another class he changed the subject from the thumb to a coin, and got a full hour’s writing from every student. In other classes it was the same. Some asked, “Do you have to write about both sides?” Once they got into the idea of seeing directly for themselves they also saw there was no limit to the amount they could say.”

HELP WANTED:  IOS/Android App and WordPress Web Developer.

HELP WANTED:  IOS/Android App and WordPress Web Developer.

Looking front end and back end web/app developer for a user-facing budgeting and savings tool.  The tool involves a basic calculator function, similar to a mortgage calculator app/website, such as:

Successful completion of the app will include certification and release to the Apple and Google App Stores.  Qualified candidate will have knowledge of multiple code languages and technologies. Experience with social network account creation APIs a plus but not required.

The second element to the project is to be able to have user registration and tracking, with login, such as:

The purpose of the project is to service anybody with a “DIY Ethos”, people who may do their own repairs or home improvements, by helping and encouraging them keep a log of their projects and “reward” themselves for saving money.  

“Minimum Variable Product” for the project is here:


I have worked for a Fortune 500 company for 18 years.  On the side, I am founder and key contributor to, the go to site for information about authentic sauna.  I also build authentic Finnish saunas. I wrote a book on how to build a sauna, which has sold several thousand copies. I have helped several hundred people build their own sauna.  I have over 3,000 email addresses of like minded DIY enthusiasts who will represent a good target representation for this product.

I enjoy doing a lot of my own home maintenance and improvements but never treat myself for saving money vs. hiring. This project keeps track of my DIY projects and gives me permission to treat myself once and awhile.  

Ideal candidate will have their hand in a project that will go to market.  In addition to this resume builder, with successful deliverables, I will be a solid reference for candidate as they pursue their career objective.  We can arrange for a fair “pay for project rate” or hourly based on deliverables, whichever works best.

Web Developers making something for the marketplace (vs. just doing theory stuff).

Processing some of Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger

In no particular order, and some of my  free form responses to Charlie Munger’s seminal work.  He’s the right hand man with Warren Buffett.  This publication is sighted by many as a great source of influence and knowledge for business.  Running a business, investing, and in the larger context: some great life lessons on its own.  (outside of business).  His stuff is in bold.  my comments are [between these things].

 1. “Any year that you don’t destroy one of your best-loved ideas is probably a wasted year.”  [Boom! Right off the bat I wholeheartedly disagree with one of his claims.  Why can’t a best loved idea just be that?  Maybe the idea isn’t ready to bring forward yet.  Or maybe we are not ready for the idea yet.  To force oneself to have to move or destroy a best loved idea within a year is an awful way to go.  I gravitate to fellow entrepreneurs because we think openly, free from shackles of time (and other elements).  Why can’t we love our ideas?  Why do we have to destroy them.  We can execute or destroy a best loved idea on our own time.  Yuck!  -1 for Charlie Munger.]

2. “Never fool yourself, and remember that you are the easiest person to fool.” – Richard Feynman.  [Absolutely.  Ego is the Enemy.  We are easily prone to drink too much of our own Kool-Aid.  Travel, being open to meeting and dialoguing with strangers, especially people very different from ourselves.  These things help us to be less prone to fool ourselves.  They help keep us in the real world, vs. an idealistic self absorbed bubble.]

3. [Charlie Munger thinks social proof causes humans to think like sheep, so contrary thinking invites new ideas that are possibly more objectively correct.  +1 for Charlie Munger.]

4. “Invert, always invert. Many hard problems are best solved only when they are addressed backwards.”   [I’d like to read more examples on this, and in the context of innovation.  He mentions this one: “If you want to help India, the question you should consider asking is not: “How can I help India?” Instead, you should ask: “How can I hurt India?” You find what will do the worst damage, and then try to avoid it.”]

5. “It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows.” – Epictetus.  [OK, fine, but why do we have to be so hard on ourselves?  At some point, we have to believe in things that we think we already know.  If not, won’t we be walking around like kindergarteners, questioning everything?  This is a beautiful way to live if we just want to play and look at the world in wonderment, smelling flowers all day.  But successful, happy people I know appear to me to have built a foundation of knowledge and principles as a base line for growth.  They are never afraid to learn.  But they’re not afraid to have a bit of confidence and momentum for figuring out some shit along the way.  -1 for Charlie Munger.]

6. “I could improve your ultimate financial welfare by giving you a ticket with only twenty slots in it so that you had twenty punches— representing all the investments that you get to make in a lifetime. And once you’d punched through the card you couldn’t make any more investments at all. Under those rules, you’d really think carefully about what you did and you’d be forced to load up on what you’d really thought about. So you’d do so much better.” – Warren Buffett.  [Love this.  It summarizes Buffett’s long term investment strategy.  More than this, it reminds me of Cuba for some reason.  In Cuba, they don’t throw away much, because they have to make what they have work.  In the US, cars from the 1950s got crunched for new cars.  In Cuba, no new cars were coming in, so they kept repairing what they have.  It’s great to work with constraints.  Constraints are blessings in disguise.  They get us to think creatively.  +1 for Charlie Munger.]

7. Psychology Mental Models.

Hammer-and-nail bias.

Appealing to person’s self-interest

Consistency principle

Social proof

Sunk cost

Deprival super-reaction

First conclusion bias

Crowd folly


Five Ws – Who, What, Where, When, Why

[Wait a minute.  This seems oddly familiar to Robert Caldini’s 6 Principles of Persuasion.  Whichever came first, it’s ok, because I like and agree with these.]

8. Autocatalysis: “Disney is an amazing example of autocatalysis. They had all those movies in the can. They owned the copyright. And just as Coke could prosper when refrigeration came, when the videoeassette was invented, Disney didn’t have to invent anything or do anything except take the thing out of the can and stick it on the cassette. And every parent and grandparent wanted his descendants to sit around and watch that stuff at home on videocassette. So Disney got this enormous tail wind from life. And it was billions of dollars worth of tail wind. Obviously, that’s a marvelous model if you can find it. You don’t have to invent anything. All you have to do is to sit there while the world carries you forward…”  [Note to brain: remember this word: autocatalysis.  Very good.  Everybody with a smart phone in their pocket is a MASSIVE foundation for autocatalysis.  There’d be no Uber without smart phone.  The list is long.]

9.  Remember: “Only twenty percent of the people can be in the top fifth“.  [Totally.  I saw this when I saw people going into Starbucks for the first time.  All high end fancy car consumer types.  Then, about a year later, I saw a couple construction workers going into the same Starbucks.  That hit home with me.  My friend Tom: “Chicago is a city of 10 million people.  900,000 are poor and destitute.  100,000 are rich and affluent.  The other 9 million are trying to be like the 100,000.”  +1 Charlie Munger (and Tom!)]

10. “I have a clipping from the 1911 Buffalo Evening News that lists the fifty most important stocks then actively traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Today only one, General Electric, remains in business as a large, independent company. That’s how powerful the forces of competitive destruction are. Over the very long term, history shows that the chances of any business surviving in a manner agreeable to a company’s owners are slim at best.  [This is sobering.  But also exciting.  I was looking at investing some coin in these stocks that continue to go up and up and up.  Apple, Amazon, Google.  But in the big scheme of life, maybe the party is already over for these guys (from an investment standpoint).  My nature is such that I’m more into finding the next Apple, Amazon, Google.  I like to think that i’m a forward thinker, but when a company that looks promising goes public, I get scared away: “ah, these guys are overhyped.”  Shame on me, it’s no win thinking.  TY for minimal fee mutual funds. Buy and forget.   But beyond investing, this story above is a great testament to business.  Important companies today can be insignificant or non existent tomorrow.  This is refreshing. The little guy can win, and often does win.  We can create and invent and make something remarkable.  We live in a pretty good world!  +1 Charlie Munger.]

11.  “And when these new businesses come in, there are huge advantages for the early birds. And when you’re an early bird, there’s a model that I call “surfing”— when a surfer gets up and catches the wave and just stays there, he can go a long, long time. But if he gets off the wave, he becomes mired in shallows.” o [Hence why Berkshire tends not to invest in technology.] Love this.  +1 Charlie Munger.]

12.  “There’s always been a market for people who pretend to know the future. Listening to today’s forecasters is just as crazy as when the king hired the guy to look at the sheep guts.”  [Forecasters? Agreed, crazy.  But future thinkers?  Different story.  I love being around people who are thinking about the future (but are living in the present moment).  I think it’s great to talk about what’s coming down the road.  It keeps me young and fresh. -1 Charlie Munger]

13.  “febezzlement” —the functional equivalent of embezzlement—to explain how wealth is stripped away by layers of unnecessary investment managers and consultants.

14.  Use math to size the problem: o By 2034, there will be 8 billion consumers. Each consumer must drink 64oz of water per day. If you capture half the market, and each person drinks 16oz of Coca-Cola a day, we can sell 2.92 trillion eight ounce servings in 2034.  Then, if you net 4 cents per serving, you’ll earn $117 billion.  [love the aphorism, but have fault with the assumption.  I think people will be drinking different things than 16oz of Coke a day.  Yuck product. But Coke is in the bottled water business.  I’d like to invest in THE compostable plastic (bottle) solution.  That’s my math. -1 Charlie Munger]

15. Mimicking the herd invites regression to the mean (merely average performance).  [What an interesting guy.  Conservative in so many ways but alternative thinking in others.]

16. The only way to win is to work, work, work, and hope to have a few insights.  Develop into a lifelong self-learner through voracious reading; cultivate curiosity and strive to become a little wiser every day  More important than the will to win is the will to prepare  Develop fluency in mental models from the major academic disciplines  If you want to get smart, the question you have to keep asking is “why, why, why?”

17. Remember that reputation and integrity are your most valuable assets – and can be lost in a heartbeat.  [A lot of younger people may not know this yet.]

18.  “Self-pity is always counterproductive. It’s the wrong way to think. And when you avoid it, you get a great advantage over everybody else, or almost everybody else, because self-pity is a standard response.”

19.  “Assiduity. I like that word because to me it means: “Sit down on your ass until you do it.””  [Do it now.  Execution.  I am obsessed with getting the ball out of my court.  A ‘to do’ list is a great thing.  I love to get it done and cross things off my list.  If an email sits in my inbox too long, or something sits on my “to do” list too long, I get irritated.  I love this irritation. It keeps me in check.  It allows me to be productive and clear headed.]

20.  “I think that, every time you see the word EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, you should substitute the words “bullshit earnings.”  [amen.]

21.  “I would argue passion is more important than brain power.”  [Grit and passion are two words that will continue to be revered (because they are becoming more scarce.]

22.  There are always people who will be better at something than you. You have to learn to be a follower before you become a leader.”

23. “The ‘silly’ question is the first intimation of some totally new development.” – Alferd Whitehead

24.  “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.” – Robert Woodruff

25.  On Buffett’s teachings: “his words are often made more acceptable through use of insightful humor.”  [We always welcome an opportunity for more humor in our lives.  If you can get someone to laugh with you, they are your friend.  If you can get someone to gut wrench laugh with you, they are your friend for life.]

Career development, fulfillment, and happiness explained via the barbell strategy of “and” not “or”

It was around 2001 or 2002 when an office coffee customer took me into the back room to show me a Keurig machine.  “This is going to change the coffee business” he claimed.  No more glass pots and “who left the coffee maker on?” burnt smell.  What’s more, people can now make a fresh cup to their own choosing, opening up all kinds of premium blends for the consumer.

I got it immediately.  Like my customer, I knew I was staring at innovation right in front of me.  We were both excited.  I could feel his energy like a shot in the arm.  As a dutiful corporate soldier, I reported this information up my flag pole.  My boss deflected me over to Marketing.  Marketing’s response: “what’s a K cup?” sent me back to them with more enthusiasm of how this innovation was going to change the game.  But over time, and declining interest in anything new or emerging, I realized that our company wasn’t in the innovation game.  I was still young and naive.  I thought big companies had big resources to invest in new ideas.  Maybe some companies are driven this way, but not the company I was working for.  Innovation for us is line extension.  A new flavor.  Maybe a new pack size.

My wife was not working, choosing to stay home with our two young children at the time.  My corporate job was a good job.  A company car, 401k, and lots of stability.  What a foolish consideration to leave all this to chase rainbows.  The grass is not always greener, as they say.

So I trudged on.  Marching as a corporate foot soldier.

I saw the gradual decline of products and categories I was selling in the food business.  I saw the rise of emerging, more healthy products (Kind Bar) and more functional products (Red Bull) and, of course, more convenient products (K cups).  I learned how to navigate within a big company, and how to produce results, without rocking boats.

But I was desperate for a shot in the arm, the energy that comes from creativity and innovation.  Every once in a while I would try to fulfill it within my day job, developing a promotion or a nice looking flyer with a compelling tag line, but mainly these efforts were little recognized (at best), or ended up giving me more work with no more pay or accolades (at worst).

The corporate job wore down my innovative spirit to a dull axe.  It became not even worth trying to swing for change within my company.  I sought knowledge and guidance.

I read The Long Tail, by Chris Anderson.

I read Free, by Chris Anderson.

I read A Whole New Mind, by Daniel Pink.

I read The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield.

I read The 4 Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss.

I read The Purple Cow, by Seth Godin (and then every other thing he’s written).

I began to understand that my employer does not owe me fulfillment.  I would perform the duties of my “day job” while maintaining enough energy and free time to actualize fulfillment with things I love “on the side.”  Hobbies, they call them.

But I didn’t want to go bowling or collect stamps.  I had the entrepreneurship bug.  How can I be an entrepreneur and be a corporate soldier at the same time?

I got a personal laptop.  It would sit on my desk next to my company laptop.  I took the advice of the books I was reading and started a website about something I love and believe in.  A friend framed up the site and helped me think clearly about focus areas within the subject.  I would perform the duties of my corporate job while at the same time, researching, posting, “giving away” free relevant content about my interest.

I figured out that I could invent something, something not too close to my day job.  And I did that.

I figured out that I love building wood burning saunas, so I started building saunas for others.

I figured I could write an ebook about building saunas, to help others, and I did that too.

I realized that the more fulfillment I got from my side gig, the better corporate soldier I became.

Then I read Antifragile, by Nissam Taleb:

Some of Taleb’s advice is solidly practical. If you’re interested in a high-risk career such as acting, he suggests using “the barbell strategy” by pursuing acting along with another stable career, like accounting, thereby exposing yourself to maximum positive risk. In the worst-case scenario, you’re a respectable accountant engaged in the local theater scene; at best, a superstar actor who never had to starve.

My advice for people with an entrepreneurial itch is to apply the barbell strategy.

  • On the left side is your day job, your stable career, that which puts food on your table.
  • On the right side is your side hustle, your muse, your entrepreneurial endeavors.  Your passion.

Before Taleb, I would challenge my oldest son: “it’s about AND not OR.”  We don’t have to make sacrifices to spend time doing what we want to do (or “make the angels sing,” as Pressfield calls it).


Contrary to popular belief, time is not fixed. Parkinson’s Law: “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” is in step with the axiom “if you want to get something done, give it to someone who is busy.”  Saying that “I don’t have enough time” means that we are simply afraid to make time to do what we are set out to do (very Godin-esque).  It also means that we haven’t figured out systems to be more effective (4 Hour Work Week).


Doing what we love seems to take very little energy.  Spending time doing what we love actually fuels us, and gives us energy.  We can spend all day doing what we love and have tons of energy, or we can spend hours doing what we hate and be exhausted.  But it’s not always easy to make money doing what we love.  Those with tons of energy have carved out the time to do what they love.


And there’s an argument that trying to make money doing what we love can turn what we love into a job.  (I believe this!).  Someone may love surfing but they may easily start to loathe surfing by trying to become a professional surfer.  There are all kinds of statistics that indicate that after about $100,000 in annual income (after needs are met), most people are not any happier with more money. Once we rationalize this, we can start to accept that making a ton of money may very well not make our lives any better.  Once we accept this, we can pursue our endeavors “without dollar signs in our eyes” and without the pressure of turning our side gig into the next big thing.

Those with enough money have enough freedom of time and energy to do what they love.

Like a hike in the woods, the journey is its own reward.

“If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Decisions we make should be about AND not OR.