Fight the Power(lessness)

Why I love these 2 merged photos from this morning: The humans (myself on right) are feeling powerless over the raccoon’s situation. We got back into my car after concluding that we could not rescue her effectively and safely. Although we could almost touch her from the street, we failed to coax her down and knew forcing her down could create a worse scenario. By telephone, no specialized help could come (and we could not blame them) from any of the Toronto Wildlife Centre, the Toronto Humane Society, the City of Toronto, or 3 private pest removal companies. Our intentions were good, and we hope that the raccoon will safely remove herself from the traffic-laden street when it becomes darker. Other people’s reactions on the street as they saw the raccoon included joy, disgust, fear, interest. What I will learn from this: It’s OK when you cannot improve a situation or a somebody — the universe is a chaos where we have only glimpses of control.
Raccoon and Humans

Eat That Frog

Today I did a couple of things first that normally I would prefer to do last (or not at all) on my list of to-do’s. This is a simple concept, best summarized (IMHO) by Brian Tracy in his book, “Eat That Frog.” The short story is: Eat the biggest and ugliest (most difficult) task(s) first each day. This is one of many usable keys to personal and professional success. It sometimes may not even feel good to decide to take the first bite of your biggest/ugliest frog, but when it has been completed, you feel great. This is what I did today, and will constantly improve myself by increasing the frequency. P.S. No actual frogs were harmed or consumed during this process — I am vegetarian after all! 😉


“Frog” by Paris Neto via Flickr Creative Commons

Soon Time to Test

As part of following the Lean Startup method, I’m letting you know that I am 2 weeks away from testing something new in front of a live audience. The attached thingy came in the mail today and is part of the cruelty-free test.

iguana plush

He’s almost cute.



I’ve been doing this for awhile now and want to share. Instead of just working out at the gym, at the same time I listen to success / motivation recordings. Instead of just driving my car from A to B, I in parallel listen to singing lessons and practice while driving. I try to take this sort of approach with more mundane things too. I am quite sure this approach will pay off.

Endless Audio Preparation

I have been surprised by an invite to go overseas. Flight and accommodation are basically taken care of and I am incredibly grateful. However this will be a trip less scenic, brief or relaxing than Sedona recently and I’ll probably have to park my “official” business work. Therefore, I have been preparing for DAYS to record some of my songs while I’m there. I want to do the work on my little MacBook Air. For all you audio geeks, I planned to use my ULN-2, AT4050 and upgrade to Logic Pro X. As part of the Logic upgrade, I had to also upgrade all of my plug-ins to 64-bit versions. What a cumulative set of headaches. For example, did you know that a legacy ULN-2 won’t receive enough Firewire power from a MacBook Air through a Thunderbolt-to-Firewire adapter? Extra DC power as recommended by the manufacturer wasn’t helping, either. So after several days of installations and troubleshooting, I have shocked myself by deciding to DOWNGRADE my fancy equipment to one little Apogee USB microphone. Me — audiophile — recording on significantly cheaper gear than I already own. Oh well. The convenience in the end in my mind outweighs the technical hardware and software issues which I couldn’t tackle in time for my departure. Will the compromise be worth it?
Trusted AT4050 (left) vs new wee Apogee Mic

Networking Challenges

Although I believe I’ve properly scripted my cold calls to the folks I want to survey, they usually aren’t in and they aren’t returning my messages. This must be what salespeople are used to. I shall try a wee strategy — up the ante by giving my prospects something for free that they likely desire. It’s also important to play the numbers game — making a few phone calls and waiting for responses won’t cut it — need VOLUME.Go to 11

Brain Refresh

It’s sometimes tough to justify doing something other than work when one is under pressure to work hard for results. But that’s what I did, taking a week to fly (almost for free) and stay (almost for free) in Sedona, AZ, USA. It was a beautiful visit with one friend, filled with day hikes. Like a business opportunity, “almost for free” made this trip something that could not be missed. I have returned home — re-charged and ready to rock. SAM_7409

Tiny savings

Today I cancelled a few things that weren’t “musts” to pay for monthly: A monthly charge for a Reverbnation EPK (an Electronic Press Kit for artists), a monthly charge for Skype that allowed me to have multiple video feeds at the same time, and finally 4 different charities that I have been contributing to monthly.

One of my charities.

One of my charities.

That last group — the charities — hurts by far the most to stop contributing to. I worked so hard to get myself into a place where I could contribute back to the world with raw cash. But I mean to re-launch the charity contributions when I am generating revenue. Part of me believes these tiny savings are irrelevant in the big picture, but I want to be prudent. C’mon universe — I’m working on you!

Administrative schtuff

Today I did just a handful of administrative schtuff. Truly I should have been working on interviewing other folks but that’s not where my head was at. One of my goals was to put calendar pages on the wall to give me a sense of urgency about my business (i.e. how much time and savings remain) and Getting Things Done (cool book, by the way).

On my wall all ghetto-like with tape.  Each page is 8.5"x11".

On my wall all ghetto-like with tape. Each page is 8.5″x11″.

I was blown away today re-calculating all of my savings — they might last longer than I originally calculated. Without ANY surprises or special expenditures or investments, I can last until August 2014. Hence the final calendar page indicated on my wall. I have a sneaking suspicion however that I will require some of that cash for equipment and/or software and/or travel and/or hiring other folks. Note wee tick today Jan 16 as I “begin” again in a way.

A surprising interview

I am working on my Customer Development Model. I don’t want to waste time executing something that customers don’t actually want. Today I was lucky enough to have a young fellow answer my questions via email. I was afraid that he wouldn’t answer well or with enough detail, but he blew me away with his responses.

2 things were in my favor that got the great response:

1. He was young, therefore likely eager. Note to self: Do not dismiss the potential contribution level of young folks.

2. He was recommended to me by one of his family members, therefore likely comfortable and again eager to indirectly assist a family member.

“Thank you for today, universe.”