Friday, July 28, 2023

Announcing: Thumbtack Home Repair Estimates

I'm thrilled to share that Majordomo's Domoreport is becoming 
Thumbtack Home Repair Estimates.

Six years ago, my co-founder and I set out to help homeowners take better care of their homes (hence the name "Majordomo," which is the chief steward of a large household). We road the typical start-up roller coaster with big wins, tough trials, plenty of pivots, and now, handing off this project to new owners.

The Path To Providing Repair Estimates

Our first product evaluated the condition of a home. The idea was to help you create a maintenance and project plan. It had two problems: 1) creating the report is labor intensive, and 2) it left a "now what" feeling because it didn't include the next steps. Furthermore, people who already cared about the home's condition didn't learn anything. And people who didn't care about their home's condition... didn't care about this report.

So, we focused on the one time when everyone cared about the condition: when buying a home. And great news! Someone else - the inspector - already did the hard work of evaluating the condition of the major and minor systems. Plus, to help answer the "now what" question, we included ZIP Code specific repair estimates.

We had a product that people found valuable. Yes!

Implementing AI

The first time a customer uploaded an inspection, it took us 6 hours(!) to create the report (we promised a 24-hour turnaround). We created tools that got it down to just under an hour on average. It was good, but it still wasn't scalable. The haunting question was, "If we experienced an avalanche of success tomorrow, could we handle it?" If we received 1,000 inspections, we'd be in trouble.

So, we created an AI to read the reports, identify defects, and recommend repairs. People still reviewed the results, but the processing time dropped dramatically. And, this is cool, as new inspections were processed, we kept retraining the AI to get smarter and smarter, requiring fewer and fewer corrections. It's kind of amazing to watch an AI learn from the very beginning.

The Remaining Question... But Who Can Help?

People loved their repair estimates, but it naturally led to the next question: who can help me do these repairs? This is kind of tricky to answer because, typically, when you receive your estimates (24 hours after getting the inspection report), you don't own the house yet. So, if you want repairs done, the seller does them. We created a slick tool to help buyers generate a repair addendum in minutes, it was helpful, but people still wanted contractors after closing.

Enter Thumbtack, which helps you find local professionals for any home project. I used them multiple times for a painting project, a new fence, a roof repair, and electrical work. It's fun to post a job and get multiple quotes.

We started talking with them about integrating with their API, which would allow us to suggest contractors within the report. And through those conversations, we got to know their team and our shared vision.

So, instead of only doing the integration, they bought our technology and hired our people to do a much deeper integration in the future.

Plus, because of their business model, they can offer repair estimates for free!

So now, you can upload your inspection at for free, get prioritized repair estimates, and find locally-based professionals. How cool is that?!

As I said, we're thrilled about taking this product to the next level with Thumbtack because we believe it'll help even more homeowners care for their homes.

My Next Adventure

I'm continuing to focus on multifamily syndications. Given the economic volatility, the lack of housing supply with increasing demand, and technological improvements in automation, there will be some incredible multifamily deals in the next couple of years.

Furthermore, I believe multifamilies are the best investment on the planet because of their consistent above-average returns (10%+), extraordinary tax benefits, inflation hedge, and creative financing. And it's providing something that everyone needs: housing.

My focus is two-fold:

  1. Analyze multifamily properties in the $2M -$10M range that needs some TLC.
  2. Invite people to invest passively with us who want to diversify from the stock market but don't have the time or knowledge to do so.

Thank You

I want to say thank you to everyone who helped us with Majordomo: Lee, Matthew, Isaac, Graham, Zach, Lance, Daniel, Scott, Linda, Noah, Ken, Anthony, Ben, Josh P, Jenny, Kevin, Mike, Moshe, Josh A, Tony, Dan, and Corey. I learned a lot, had a ton of fun, and am excited to see where Thumbtack takes it.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Riding Motorcycles Through the Himalayas in Northern India

Type 1 fun applies to activities you enjoy in the moment, such as eating a delicious meal or walking on the beach. Type 2 fun pursuits are challenging and may not be pleasant in the moment, but they become gratifying when you look back on them (like taking challenging classes or bouldering). Type 3 fun endeavors are unpleasant during and after the fact, but they can become a good story for some people (like an injury or accident).

Our 15th wedding anniversary vacation hit all three types of fun.

A little over a year ago, we learned how to ride motorcycles so we could ride motorcycles through the Himalayas in Northern India. We spent a day in New Delhi before heading north to Leh, Ladakh.

Our guide, Trevor, lived in Corvallis before moving to India, and my friend, Greg, with whom I hang out weekly, joined us.

New Delhi & Leh Ladakh

We spent the day in a part of the city called Old Delhi, which was hot and humid.

And then we flew to Leh in Ladakh, which is at 11,500 ft. I instantly felt the high elevation when the plane doors opened, but Jessi felt totally normal. You must relax for a day to let your blood oxygen levels catch up, so we did. Here's what it looked like from the plane:

Breathing is a little like when you have a semi-stuffed nose which restricts your breathing, so every 4th or 5th breath, you have to open your mouth to "catch up." It was like that almost the entire time.

I was fine when sitting still, but I felt sluggish with ANY movement, including walking up the three floors to our hotel room. My watch tracks my heart rate, which jumped up 20% at high altitude!

The view from our hotel.

Every time we had a break, we ate food and drank chai tea. We drank so much chai tea... up to 5 cups a day. It was so much tea!

Let's Ride

We got our motorcycles and headed for our first destination. Jessi decided it would be best for her to ride on the back of the bike or in the support vehicle instead of riding her own bike. It turned out to be a wise decision when we hit bad weather, and it allowed her to enjoy all the fantastic views.

Here we are, all clean and ready.

And we found a cool bridge.

The hotel was right on a river and super fancy.

A Proper Adventure

We headed over two tall passes (15K & 17K feet). Along the way, we saw some epic views.

And then the weather turned... It started raining, which turned to snow as we approached 17K feet. My helmet's mask totally froze over as we hit the top of the pass.

Eventually, I entered mild (stage 1) hypothermia and took a break from riding. I captured the moment after I got some feeling back in my hands:

That night we huddled around the stove at a family's home during the few hours they had electricity. The heat felt great, and there were only a few water leaks. We drank butter tea (it's tea with... butter) and ate warm soup. 

The next day we geared up to keep going. In our attempts to stay dry, we put bags over our hands. We looked goofy, and the host family wanted a picture of our ridiculousness.

But shortly after we left, we encountered a block in the road - rocks falling from the storm. When that happens, we need to clear it. But while doing that, we saw a small (but life-threatening) rock slide.

And so we decided it was too dangerous to continue. We headed back to the family's house to wait out the storm. But it gave me a chance during a moment of sunshine to get a drone shot of the village.

And we tried to chase down a group of yaks. Those guys can move! Here's as close as we got.

The next day, we headed back out, but this time came across a considerable road problem:

And since that's the only road into the next village - with a repair timeline of 3 to 7 days - we decided to re-tackle the two previous passes and ride in the opposite direction. It was still snowy, but at least we were dry.

Here's what riding in slushy snow looks like.

And there were sections of big mud puddles.

It was unbelievably tiring keeping the bike upright in the snow, on dirt, doing tight switchbacks, and at high altitudes. Classic type-2 fun. Also, the views were amazing.

And we saw more yaks.

Here was the whole crew.

I dropped the bike multiple times while riding and was grateful for everyone's support. I ended the trip sore, but I should be able to recover from all my injuries.

Buddhist Monasteries

We also visited multiple Buddhist monasteries. One allowed us to take pictures, so here's what they look like inside.

We had some good spiritual conversations, and I learned much more about - and experienced - the spiritual climate there.

And back in New Delhi, we experienced a hood-to-coast-like experience. But in this case, relay teams carry water ~150 miles as part of a spiritual ritual. And when they weren't running, they chilled on a big truck blasting music. There were hundreds of trucks! It was quite the sight!

The City of Leh

We ended in Leh and explored the city. Not only was the market fun, but the views were amazing.

We met up with Trevor's family on the final night in New Delhi for dinner. Watching a family reconnect after a couple of weeks of adventuring was so encouraging.

Thanks for letting me share our proper adventure.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

A 172-Mile Motorcycle Ride Mid-Week Date

Jessi had a mid-week day off, the kids were in school, and the weather was perfect. So, Jessi and I enjoyed a 172-mile motorcycle ride date.

It was as epic as you'd want it to be.

Map of our motorcycle ride

  • We started off taking a bunch of curvy roads Southwest out to the cost.
  • We then saw a Farmers market in Waldorf and visited all the vendors.
  • Riding along the coast and seeing waves break is blast!
  • Around halfway along the coast, in Newport, we stopped for clam chowder and salt water taffy. Delicious! We ate with a view of bay and watched the seals swim.
  • After the coast, we made our way back on another remote curvy road. 229 between Kernville and Siletz is spectacular. I highly recommend it.
  • 411 from Siltez to Blodgett is also pretty, plus there's a mile section of dirt road - a pleasant surprise.

Overall, it was a great adventure. I'm thankful for days like that when we can unplug and have fun together.

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

The Illusion of Progress: Striking an AI Balance in the Age of Automation

My prompt: "Anthropomorphic AI chatbot, perfect composition, beautiful detailed intricate insanely detailed octane render trending on artstation, 8 k artistic photography, photorealistic concept art, soft natural volumetric cinematic perfect light, chiaroscuro, award-winning photograph, masterpiece, oil on canvas"

Does there come the point where "everything" becomes AI-driven, and so it loses its value?

It feels like AI has exploded on the scene in the same way the blockchain did a few years ago. At least once a week, I receive an email where a company breathlessly exclaims their excitement for a new AI-driven feature.

It'll automate my business!

My customers will love the life-like responses!

Yes! Yes! Yes!
  • Do you need ideas for your social media posts? Use our AI copy editor!
  • Do you need to schedule meetings? Use our AI assistant!
  • Do you want to provide 24/7 chat support? Use our AI chatbot!
  • Want to set rent rates intelligently? Use our AI leasing agent!
  • Need to create legal documents? Use our AI paralegal!
  • Want to add automations to spreadsheets and databases? Use our AI analyst!
OK. OK. I get it. Computer science turned the corner to make AI models easier to implement.

To be clear, each of these are super cool from a tech standpoint. (Also, I have a company that uses AI to analyze home inspections. So this is a little bit of the pot calling the kettle black... 😬 )

I understand companies wanting to capitalize on the trend. When I bought a small storage facility, I figured out how to onboard new customers 100% remotely. I did it because I didn't want to drive 30 minutes to sign lease agreements, and I certainly didn't want to pay someone to be on-site!

But you better believe that when COVID hit, I touted our "contactless solution" as much as possible.

This feels the same. Of course companies are working on ways to automate tools. That's the name of the game, which The Innovator's Dilemma mentions. But, let's be honest, it's not quite as good as a non-automated version. Like my "contactless solution," these new AI tools aren't as good as having someone in an office (yet?). It's good enough, but not the best possible solution.

Is there where we're headed? Good enough?

Are we headed into a world of blah? Blah social posts. Blah customer service. Even more blah customer service lines.

The real problem is that we're still in the AI uncanny valley. It's the unsettling feeling we experience from a not-quite-human AI result. It's close... but something doesn't feel right. How long do we need to slog through this period until we can't tell? Do we even want that?

The customer in me doesn't. But the business person in me does! Mainly because it means I can automate low-value activities and focus on delivering an exceptional, genuinely personalized (bespoke!) experience on high-value services. Or maybe I'm thinking too hard. If I continue writing articles and social media posts myself, that'll set me apart from all the AI-created content.

Maybe? Let's see how I do against an AI. Here's my chatGPT prompt:

Act as an expert business coach that speaks and writes fluent English. Write a 300-500 word educational article about the problems of turning all services into AI-driven services. Provide 3 examples of how an AI-driven world isn't as good. Use a thought-provoking tone of voice to communicate the message. The goal is to convince people that AI is good, but shouldn't be the ultimate goal. Make sure to avoid generic advice.

As an expert business coach, I have witnessed the growing trend of businesses turning all their services into AI-driven services. While there are undeniable benefits to this technology, such as increased efficiency and cost savings, relying solely on AI can cause significant problems. In this article, I want to explore some of the downsides of an AI-driven world and provide three examples of how it can fall short.

Firstly, one of the most significant problems with an AI-driven world is the potential for dehumanization. While AI can automate many tasks, it cannot replace the human touch. Services that require empathy, compassion, and creativity may suffer in an AI-driven world. For example, a chatbot may provide quick answers to frequently asked questions, but it cannot replace the personal touch of a human customer service representative who can listen to a customer's concerns and offer personalized solutions.

Secondly, AI-driven services are only as good as the data they are trained on. In other words, if the data used to train the AI is biased or incomplete, the AI will make biased or incomplete decisions. This can have far-reaching consequences, such as perpetuating discrimination or making inaccurate medical diagnoses. For example, a healthcare provider that relies solely on AI-driven diagnostic tools may miss vital information that a human doctor could pick up.

Thirdly, an over-reliance on AI can lead to a loss of jobs and skills. As more services become automated, there is a risk that humans will be left with fewer job opportunities. Additionally, there is a risk that skills required to perform tasks that are now automated will be lost over time. This can have significant economic and social consequences, such as increased unemployment and a lack of diversity in the job market.

In conclusion, while AI has many benefits, it should not be the ultimate goal for businesses. An AI-driven world can lead to dehumanization, biased decision-making, and a loss of jobs and skills. Instead, businesses should strive to find a balance between AI and human-led services, where AI is used to augment human decision-making rather than replace it. This approach can ensure that businesses continue to deliver high-quality services that meet the needs of their customers while also protecting the interests of their employees and society as a whole.

We're in trouble.

In my honest opinion, the content is fantastic, but the delivery is predictable and boring. I hope that companies focus on using AI as a starting point and not the final product. I know they won't - its too cost-effective to automate everything - but a customer and hope.

BTW, I also used AI to come up with 10 "very click-enticing" titles. Here are the results:
  1. Is AI Taking Over the World? The Dark Side of AI-Driven Services
  2. The Real Cost of Convenience: Why AI-Driven Services Aren't Always the Answer
  3. Are You Ready for an AI-Only Future? The Risks and Rewards of Automated Services
  4. The Perils of Dehumanization: Why AI Can't Replace the Human Touch
  5. The Biased AI Trap: How AI-Driven Services Can Perpetuate Discrimination
  6. The Job Apocalypse: Will AI-Driven Services Take Over Your Job?
  7. The Human Advantage: Why AI Needs Humans to Succeed
  8. AI vs. Humanity: Striking a Balance in the Age of Automation
  9. The Illusion of Progress: The Hidden Dangers of Over-Reliance on AI
  10. A Wake-Up Call for Businesses: Why AI Shouldn't Be the Ultimate Goal.
These are indeed click-enticing. In fact, these are good enough that I combined a couple to create my title. And you clicked, right?

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

2023 Annual Letter: Exciting!

2023 Annual Letter

2022 was a good year for us. Jessi felt more comfortable in her job, and both kids are in school (Elinor is in second grade, and Samson is in kindergarten). And I reduced my business' biggest bottleneck from 4-6 hours a month to 30 minutes. So, if 2021 was all about significant change, 2022 was about learning to thrive in our new normal.

It was also a year of experimenting, learning, and traveling.

Experimenting and Learning

Going into the year, I felt like I needed a new challenge. Life was great, but I also felt like I was coasting. So, I set out to find that challenge. I couldn't articulate it so clearly at the beginning of the year, but that's what was happening.

It reminds me of the advice from Angela Duckworth in her book Grit: "interests are not discovered through introspection. Instead, interests are triggered by interactions with the outside world. The process of interest discovery can be messy, serendipitous, and inefficient." (Grit, p. 104). With that in mind, in addition to reading 25 books, I tried some new things.

Love INC Board Member

Love INC mobilizes local churches to transform lives and communities in the name of Christ. It's a wonderful non-profit, so I started volunteering there twice a month at reception. And then, I was invited to join the board of directors. Now THAT'S been a learning experience! It's teaching me to slow down, look at decisions from all angles, and much more. I'm working with intelligent, dedicated, and faithful servants.

MyBodyTutor Health Coach

Going into 2022, I weighed 25 lbs more than my ideal weight. And more disturbingly, I would extreme diet for a few weeks and then yo-yo back to a higher weight! I wasn't obese, but I was not too fond of the trend. I had a classic "dad bod" and felt myself starting to struggle physically to do things I knew should be effortless.

So, I hired a health coach at MyBodyTutor. I log my meals, water, exercise, and daily thoughts. It's all about sustainability, which is what I needed to learn. Interestingly, I was told not to change my eating habits during my first week. My coach got a baseline and then suggested one small change: pay attention to my hunger level. When I hit a 3 (out of 5) stop. Then, a couple of weeks later, he suggested eating a salad with dinner. And so on. The talks transitioned to body composition (i.e., getting stronger) as I got closer to my goal weight. There was nothing extreme, which is what makes it sustainable.

As the company's name suggests, it's about teaching me how to eat well and change my relationship with food. It's been more successful than I imagined. And yes, like a normal person, my weight went up after all the travel (see below) and the holiday season. But, unlike previous times, it wasn't nearly as much, and I have a doable plan to get back and a coach to encourage and redirect me each day.

And now, when my kids see me eating a treat, they sometimes harass me: "Are you going to tell your coach about that one?" Yes. I will. You little stinkers.

It's also made me a believer in coaching again. I forgot how powerful it is to have someone encouraging and holding you accountable to a higher standard. I also l like having someone who's been there and can answer my specific questions. It isn't cheap, but it works. I'm grateful to be in a place where I can afford to get expert help to achieve my goals.

React Web Development

At the end of 2021, I was frustrated with my accounting software. So, I designed my own and started coding it with my brother. Then, about midway through the year, I discovered DoorLoop, which had 85% of the features I wanted - close enough. So, I put my project on the self and switched to DoorLoop. My time spent on accounting dropped from 4-6 hours a month to 30 minutes. Woohoo!

I suppose I could feel upset about "wasting" 6 months on coding, but I figured out exactly what features I wanted, and I learned a new skill - React - in the process. I'm not hirable, but I learned enough to update my website. It's built using Next.js, with Tailwind CSS for styling, Sanity for the CMS, and it's hosted on Netlify (with GitHub managing all the files). homepage

With this challenge winding down, I moved on.


There are two types of learning: just-in-time and just-in-case. Just-in-time is when you have a specific reason for learning something. For example, I learned React because I needed it to make a website. Just-in-case is when you don't have a particular need... yet. It's incredible how often I learn a skill "just because" and then quickly find I "need" it later. I like to think that happens because I now have the willingness to tackle new types of problems because, in the back of my head, I know I have the skills.

Welding is a just-in-case skill. I bought the equipment, learned the basics, and made a couple of items, like a stand for my chair (pictured below). It's fun. Time-consuming! But fun. I wouldn't be surprised if I find myself needing to fix something metal in the future. Or, maybe I'll make a bench for the front yard. 🤷‍♂️

Welded chair stand

Two other just-in-case skills on my wishlist list that also sound like fun:

  1. 3D CAD design/printing. Then I'd be able to work with wood, metal, and plastic. Who knows what crazy projects I could take on!
  2. The other skill is drone flying. I don't own or require a drone, but that seems like a good skill to have... just in case...

Video Making

Being a YouTube Star sounds cool. Maybe I could become one? Plus, I like the idea of building a digital asset. So, I took an online course, set up a simple studio in my garage, and made some videos. Here's the before and after of my studio.

New studio compared to old

Pretty cool, right? It's much better, but I still need to work on my color grading.

I want to keep making videos, but I don't see myself getting into the weekly content-creation game. In the class, I learned about the importance of titles + thumbnails. I also learned about creating hooks and holding attention. Oh yeah. And I learned it takes around ~100 videos of practice to get good at it. So... if you want to get good at it fast, publish as many videos as possible.

I also learned most (not all, but most) weekly creators don't edit their own videos, which frees them up to focus on the content. For me, a 5-ish minute video takes an hour of brainstorming/outlining. Then, an hour to set up, practice, and record the video. Then 2.5 hours to edit it and 30 minutes to create the thumbnail.

Here's the business case: It would cost me ~$100 to pay someone to edit that 5-minute video (though, to be honest, they can do it better and faster than I can, but we'll roll with the number for now). Plus, I want to make at least $100 per video myself. At first, I wouldn't make anything because Youtube has minimum requirements to join their Partner Program, but once I qualify, it's estimated I'd make $3-$5 per 1,000 video views. Assuming it's $3, the breakeven point is 67K views per video. That's a lot, but not impossible. I made a video about a garden fence (of all things) that has 232K views. That would be a $700 video if I was in the Partner Program.

Good Mythical Morning averages 1M views per video. That's $3,000-$5,000 per video. And they seem to upload ~15 videos a month. That's $45K-$75K a month and doesn't include sponsorships, subscriptions, or store sales. No wonder they can afford a team of 28 people.

It seems like every kid wants to become a YouTube or TikTok star, and I get it, given the potential revenue. Not only does the distribution channel - via the algorithm - already exist, but the logistics of product fulfillment and creation are much easier than a traditional product. Plus, being "famous" sounds attractive - at least, according to the curated/edited version of life we see online. In a culture where being genuinely known is harder - no thanks to said platforms - I get the misguided attraction. I don't love the trajectory of a society where most young people pursue a career on TikTok instead of math or science, but I get the logic.

Yikes! That went dark fast. Let's pull back to the business of finding monetary success on Youtube.

So... how many videos do you need to make to start breaking even (assuming it's a normal niche topic)? The rule of thumb is still 100 videos. It's mainly for practice and finding your voice/style/niche, but Youtube also values fresh content. So if you're regularly uploading new videos, Youtube's algorithm rewards that.

But wait! You say. Making 100 videos that cost $100 each is $10,000, plus my own time! Yep. That's why most people suggest you start from a place of passion and edit your own videos first. See if you'll stick to it and see if you can reach the minimum Partner Program requirements. Then hire someone.

Another objection is that you don't have 100 video ideas on a single topic. Me neither. But here's what I've learned: start with the ideas you do have and commit to a schedule. You'll find that you'll start viewing your ordinary everyday experiences through a creator's lens and develop more content ideas than you can create. For example, when someone else only sees a beautiful flower, you also see a metaphor for making your rental ad listing stand out in a crowded market.

Oh, man! I'm getting myself excited to make another video!


After experimenting with web development, welding, and video making, I returned to my first love: real estate. I thought about pursuing the BRRRR strategy (Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat) but ultimately landed on syndications. It fits my skills and interests, plus I think it'll be the best investment on the planet in 2023.

So, this year, I'll bring together a group of people to pool our resources to purchase apartment buildings that would otherwise be difficult or impossible for any of us to buy on our own. My team will find the property, secure financing, and manage the property. The other investors will provide the cash and receive an equity share along with cash flow distributions and profits in returns for their investment.

Like my health, I hired a coach to help me learn the ins and outs of syndications. I learned about finding deals, raising capital, the legal side of private placement memorandums, and managing larger projects. It's what I love doing at a higher level. It's great!

It reminds me of another finding in Grit: "novelty for the beginner comes in one form, and novelty for the expert in another. For the beginner, novelty is anything that hasn't been encountered before. For the expert, novelty is nuance." (Grit, p. 114). 

One new skill I'm learning is raising capital. I used my own money on all my previous projects, so I never had the need. But, again, larger multifamilies require much more capital. And I want to buy 200 additional units, which is a little over $24M worth of real estate (using Oregon values). Assuming I finance 70% of each purchase, that's still $7.3M for down payments!

So, I'm learning how to structure the purchase so that it's attractive for other people to invest with me. And I'm learning how to ask people to join me. I'm enjoying the process and am attending a conference in Kentucky later in January to learn even more.

This is my main focus in 2023. It feels right. And I get to do other fun things, like making videos and building a React website in the process. 

Additional Learning in 2023

Compared to last year, this might sound non-ambitious, but I want to learn how to solve a Rubik's Cube. When other Cubers (I just learned the term "Cuber") solve one, it looks like magic, and I want to be part of that magical club. Combine this with juggling and Sudoku, and who knows what I can accomplish! I don't have a specific completion time, but under a minute feels possible.

Three other fun skills on my future wishlist are:

  1. Improving my chess game. I know the basic rules but know zero strategies.
  2. Taking better photos. Specifically, I want to improve my composition & editing skills.
  3. I want to learn a handful of close-up magic tricks (see what I did there? 😂).

I know it sounds goofy, but each of them sounds like so much fun!

But seriously, I spent 2022 experimenting, which was what I needed to do. This year feels like a year of effortful, deliberate practice to raise capital and syndicate multifamily properties. This comes from another piece of advice from Grit:

"First, they set a stretch goal, zeroing in on just one narrow aspect of their overall performance. Rather than focus on what they already do well, experts strive to improve specific weaknesses. They intentionally seek out challenges they can't yet meet." (Grit, p. 121)

"Then, with undivided attention and great effort, experts strive to reach their stretch goal. Interestingly, many choose to do so while nobody's watching." (Grit, p. 121)

"As soon as possible, experts hungrily seek feedback on how they did. Necessarily, much of that feedback is negative. This means that experts are more interested in what they did wrong—so they can fix it—than what they did right." (Grit, p. 122)

"And after feedback, then what? Then experts do it all over again, and again, and again. Until they have finally mastered what they set out to do. Until what was a struggle before is now fluent and flawless. Until conscious incompetence becomes unconscious competence." (Grit, p. 123)

2022 Travel

In 2021 we canceled all our travel while Jessi started her new job. It feels like we made up for it this year.

St Thomas

We planned to go somewhere in January but canceled at the last minute (2 hours before going to the airport). Since we already had childcare and work covered, we decided to get away with a couple of friends. So, that same morning we booked a flight to St Thomas, which was warm and beautiful. We swam, snorkeled, paddle-boarded, and drove on the "wrong" side of the street. It was great getting away.

Train Ride To Portland

For my birthday, we rode the train to Portland, spent the night, and rode the train back. Trains are super fun, and the kids loved it. We mostly hung out in the dome car, watching the world go by. Two hours of travel seemed about right for the kids. Trains still don't run on time, but that's part of the experience.

Walt Disney World

After pushing this trip out a few times, we made it to the Happiest Place On Earth (TM) in November with my extended family - 13 in all. Our kids were the perfect age, and I couldn't have imagined it going better. Also, it turns out that Elinor is my rollercoaster buddy - she loved Space Mountain and Everest. Samson loved Hollywood Studios, especially the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.

Saudi Arabia

Jessi and I ditched the kids and visited Saudi with a couple of friends in November (yeah, you read that right: two big trips in November. We're crazy, I know). We had a couple of safety concerns at first, but they quickly faded. In fact, we felt safer walking around in Riyadh than we did in Portland! Saudi's goal is to create a new trade income to reduce its dependence on oil (which is smart). So, they're getting into tourism, which means making it more comfortable for tourists, like us, to visit. It was hot, dry, and oh-so-nice. I highly recommend visiting.

Family Christmas Party

To round out a year of travel, I drove the kids down to California for a family Christmas party. It was great seeing my mom's extended family.

Motorcycle Training

Next year Jessi and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. For some reason, Jessi keeps agreeing to my crazy travel ideas, like running a marathon on the Great Wall. To prepare for our 15-year trip, we're learning how to ride motorcycles. It's been a lot of fun so far, and we'll kick off the year practicing longer off-road riding. I like trips that require preparation because it helps me get excited about them, and this fits perfectly. I'll share more as our plans come together.

Looking Ahead to 2023

One of my favorite questions from Tim Ferriss' book The 4-Hour Workweek is, "The question you should be asking isn't, "What do I want?" or "What are my goals?" but "What would excite me?" There's a lot I'm excited about. I'm excited to continue developing as a board member, improve my body composition, become a Cuber, and syndicate an apartment building. It's going to be a wild ride.

I also want to share more of what I'm doing and learning. I purposely shared less online last few years. But a book I read last year called Oversubscribed challenged me:

"Maybe you don't think of yourself as a media or technology business with a daily focus on content creation, media distribution, software, data and automation. However, that's a foolish position to take these days. No matter what your business is, you are also a media and technology business." (Oversubscribed p. 171)

Plus, I listened to a podcast episode about writing a book that suggested writing (or making videos/podcasts/art/etc.) was a way to share myself with future generations. Man. That got me. To think that there's a chance my kids, or grandkids, will read this someday... That's pretty cool. That's worth taking the time to write or record a video. And if it also helps me grow my business, that's a bonus.

I wish you an exciting year!