Dec 05

Well we just broke the halfway mark of Remote Year having left Valencia, Spain and rounded out month six. Here’s my normal video recap that shows where we lived and worked there:

I was fortunate to get outside of Valencia too this past month and travel around Ireland and to Barcelona. Here is the month told in photos:


Salient things that stand out about this past month:

  • Spain spanish is very different from latin-american spanish. I learned my español in Ecuador so it was a bit of an adjustment to get the Valencian Spanish. They speak very fast and with the “theta” accent.
  • Ham, ham and more ham. Spain must do 5x average pig consumption per capita as we do in the States. Jamon was on every menu (we even went to a restaurant called “Jamon Jamon.”). If you get a chance to try Iberic ham, do it. It’s delicious. Paella too, but be prepared to take a nap after.
  • Valencia was a beautiful, quiet, walkable city with clean streets and nice parks. It was a great R&R stop after Rabat and before diving into the 2nd leg of our journey in Mexico and S. America.
  • Our Ireland trip was the highpoint of the month for me. The Cliffs of Moher were stunning and just driving the countryside was super relaxing. Driving on the left side of the road with the steering wheel on the right is a mental curveball but such a great experience.
  • Strong month for sales at Pagely and I’m engaged in two efforts now setting up our business intelligence and implementing a marketing automation framework for improved nurture and conversion.

Anyways, I’m headed back to Phoenix to see friends and family over the Christmas break. If you’re in Phoenix the evening after Christmas we’re doing a happy hour. Hit me up if you want to join and I’ll add you to the FB event. Here are some of the songs that will remind me of this month:

cliffs-of-moher

Sep 30

We’re wrapping up our time in Lisbon and are headed to Rabat, Morocco tomorrow so I took the morning to shoot some video that shows a little of the town and where we’ve lived and worked over the past month. Check it out:

A couple points of clarification to the video:

  • Lisbon, your gelato game is strong, very strong. I commend you for this. I failed to mention this in the video but it’s one of your greatest attributes.
  • Indeed my sales numbers are up 72% for Pagely since being on Remote Year. In hindsight though the calculation I used overstates the effect. I averaged my sales from the past four months vs. my 11mos at Pagely prior to RY. Some of the lift in that is attributed to other factors (for instance we raised prices back in March, we’re progressively getting larger and larger clients now so deal sizes overall are bigger than they were, I had a ramp up period when I first started, etc). I realized after shooting the video that a better computation would be to compare the past four months to the four months prior to RY. When I refactor with those numbers it’s actually only a 42% lift since being on RY… but still a 42% increase!! If you’re an employer with remote employees consider allowing them to try working abroad. Not only is it possible to match performance but as with my case employees can actually outperform their prior domestically-based selves. I have some theories as to why this is that I’ll explore in a future video.
  • This is the guy we just hired for the Growth Marketer position. So stoked to have Rod on the USS Pagely.
  • I wrote more about our Startup Weekend Lisbon experience in my last post. Worth reading if you’ve never attended one. There are some good video testimonials in that from participants.

Here’s a chronology of our time in Lisbon told in photos:

This month’s gear shout-out goes out to my REI Saturn pack. Love this thing. It fits in an overhead carry-on space on the airplane (even though I’ve been checking it since I have a laptop and guitar as carry-ons). Lots of compartments, pockets, webbing, straps, zippers and everything else you’d want in a pack. Solid gear.

Lastly, here are the tunes that were in my earbuds most of Lisbon:

Lisbon you’ve been amazing. Obrigado for everything. I will be back someday.

Sep 17

One of my best friends Benny.com happened to be in Berlin, Germany traveling on an 8wk Europe adventure and invited me to visit him for Lollapalooza. I had never been to Berlin before (nor any part of Germany for that matter) so I said yes and booked a cheap flight to meet him. Her are some quick thoughts on the city and the concert experience while they’re still fresh…

The Negatives

  • no-uberPreconceptions about cities: crazy how far off some of my preconceptions have been about the places we’ve visited (Belgrade and Germany erring in opposite directions). I had envisioned Berlin, the capital of the country which is the financial powerhouse of Europe, to be this spotless mecca of German engineering and perfection. The streets there were the dirtiest of the places I’ve been thus far out of Prague, Vienna, Belgrade, Split, London and Portugal.
  • Internet performance was 3rd-world quality in terms of speed and reliability. It wasn’t just cellular data service but the Internet itself seemed to be fundamentally broken there. Benny was explaining how a monopoly on the “last mile” of cable there by Telekom.de created a dearth of competition and set the stage for this problem. Whatever the cause, it was shocking to me how poor the connectivity was. It was to the level where I believe that factor alone would have precluded our Remote Year group planting there for a month with 70 knowledge workers reliant upon sketchy connectivity.
  • Uber isn’t there yet: How is Uber not in Berlin yet??

The Positives

  • Vibrant creative feel: it has a young, vibrant aura to it. The people all look super healthy and fit and holy cow 6′ blonde German women… zastavit. Street art was abundant and there’s a skate store on every corner (which is confusing because all the streets are cobblestoned so I’m not sure where anyone skates). But mad respect for the plethora of skate shops and vinyl record stores.
  • steps-berlinYou walk everywhere. In all we did just under 68k steps and just over 17mi in 3 days. The concert venue for Lollapalooza wasn’t that big so most of that walking was wandering around the city.
  • The food was solid: all the places we ate at were great. I had probably the best burger of my time in Europe the first night and the food every meal thereafter was on point.
  • Benny and I still have game in foosball after all these years since iTOOL.

tree-lined-venueLollapalooza was a blast. Radiohead destroyed it and that was my first exposure to a Major Lazer show (which was bananas). Odesza was a cool new find- I had never heard of them before. We got there late on Sunday so just caught the tail end of Milky Chance and all the other bands we saw just blended together. It was a really cool venue for it in a big park with massive trees and concert infrastructure was fairly solid. The one thing that was a real detractor was the level of dust kicked up by the 70,000 concert goers. I don’t know how they mitigate that short of constantly spraying down the field (but then it becomes a mud pit). But all in all very well-handled event.

This photo and video album below gives a good flavor of the weekend. I’m back in Lisbon now and just kicked off Startup Weekend Lisbon earlier tonight. I pitched an idea for an app I want to build called DiscoverPath and we have a killer team to execute this weekend. More on that soon…

Apr 09

remote-year
I’m incredibly stoked to announce that I’ve been selected as the most recent addition to the RemoteYear.com posse. This is essentially a study abroad-type program akin to “Semester at Sea” that enables young professionals with remote working arrangements to travel the world while they work. I’ve looked at planning a work-from-the-road expedition like this myself previously across the US but the overhead associated with coordinating travel & lodging made it unfeasible to do solo. This is basically “nomadic working as a service” and makes it all possible and safer as we travel as a group with lodging/travel/event logistics just handled. It will be 12 cities in 12 months (full itinerary here). I leave May 28th for Prague.

Lot’s of loose ends to resolve before I hit the road but the whole trip seems far less-intimidating knowing that I’m traveling with my friend and fellow “outdoor cat” Chris Peloquin. I want to give a public shout-out here to Josh & Sally Strebel for their faith & trust in me to take this opportunity and continue delivering the results I have been for Pagely only from abroad. I had dinner with Sally last night to get her blessing and Josh, to his credit when I asked him said, “We should all create our own reality. I just care about results. I don’t care which continent you deliver them from.” If you want to work at a company that places that level of faith & trust in its employees and has a remote-work-friendly company culture, we’re hiring for a boatload of technical positions right now at Pagely.

I started 2016 with the stated goal to double Pagely’s sales this year. I won’t divulge revenue numbers as we’re privately-held but having just completed Q1 we’re exactly 25% to that goal and I haven’t even implemented the funnel tweaks that should have compounding effects. The improvement thus far was purely from shoring up followup and sales process. The hat trick I’m intending is to not only accomplish the stated ambitious goal of doubling our revenue in one year, but simultaneously doing it while seeing the world and documenting the strategies and techniques I used so that others can do the same for their endeavors and weave their own magic carpet.

Getting deep on the Why

I’ve been very public about my endorsement of Simon Sinek’s “Why University” program. He has a whole framework for unearthing what your core “why” is and embracing it. I wanted to take a sec here and deconstruct my why on this. IMO true foreign diplomacy does not occur from the Oval Office. It occurs at the dinner tables in foreign lands when strangers break bread together and seek to understand each other’s cultures, customs, celebrations, fears, religions, philosophies, aspirations, familial ties, frustrations and goals. This type of foreign diplomacy happens one conversation at a time and is how we meaningfully dispel stereotypes, bias, hatred, racism and prejudice. I pledge to be the best possible ambassador of the US (and Arizona – go AZ!) to the places I visit. It’s my hope that I can do a small part to represent our culture well and mend unfounded misconceptions wherever possible. You can read more on my Why on my about page.

I did an exchange program in Quito, Ecuador years ago in college. When I left I took a blank journal with me which I started on the plane. Unbeknownst to me my father had taken it and written the following words on the last page of that journal:

Observe
Inquire
Reflect

I have yet to come up with a more concise prescription for fellow travelers than those three words. My Dad is a very wise man. You should read more from him here.

If you know anyone in Phoenix who is looking for a place to live, I’m looking to rent out my furnished Phoenix apartment for the next year and hopefully return to it when I come back in summer 2017.

For all my Phx peeps, I will miss you guys over the next year. Chris and I are planning to do a bon voyage sendoff end of May. I hope you will join us and see us off. More info to follow on that.

Lastly, I will be doing a rolling monthly email update as we move city to city as well as obligatory Instagram photos of all the best places we visit. I had started these periodic updates in October last year but it’s been tough to stay disciplined with regular updates. The monthly move from city to city should provide a good framework for me resuming those updates. If you want to follow along with those get my email update here and follow my Instagram here.

I’m so thrilled to have this opp. I promise to make the most of it and share as much of the experience as possible here on this blog.

May 10

I’m back from a week in Boulder, CO for their Startup Week palooza and holy shnikes was it a neat series of events. I wanted to do a braindump of my thoughts on the weekend while they’re fresh.

First, kudos to Andrew Hyde for pulling this thing together- what an amazing community they have up there. Paul Graham had written a post a few years ago that distilled the traits necessary to produce the next Silicon Valley. While Boulder is no SV (nor should it necessarily want to clone that) there is definitely something other than beer brewing in that town. And I’m not the only one this weekend that felt it – Chris from RWW (another AZ person) sensed the same thing.

What worked well

Plancast – this is an app that allows people to express their intentions of what events they’ll attend. This worked extremely well for coordinating things. It integrates w/ Twitter and FB and allows you to parachute into a situation and conveniently track what’s going on and schedule where you want to be. But it’s more because it allows you to connect w/ attendees after the fact so you don’t have to obsess over collecting people’s contact info while you’re enjoying the moment. I was skeptical of this app when I first heard about it because it has the same downside of LBS only amplified because you’re publicly projecting your intended location for the future. Well, I stand corrected: this is a kickass tool and I hope all conferences adopt it (or something like it).

Startup Crawl – I co-founded a company called Pubcrawl.net back in the day. We ran crawls in Phoenix and made a site which enabled 100+ other cities to run crawls of their own. We knew the magic interaction & serendipity that occurs when you get a group of people to travel together amongst interesting locations. This worked really well and I want to do something similar with the meetup group I run for techies in AZ. You meet the people in your group, learn about the companies that you visit and the whole thing is super-fun. The TempeNerd lunches have been somewhat anemic lately but I believe this tweak to the format will revive it and take it in a new and more social direction. Unfortunately Phoenix is so geographically disbursed it will be a challenge to find pockets of startups within walking distance but I have some ideas. I’ve put a picture set at the bottom of this post to give you a flavor for what the crawl was like.

Ignite Boulder – solid to very-solid. They rocked this event and nailed the major things you need to do:

  • venue with character
  • quality speakers
  • flawless A/V execution
  • likeable moderator
  • live-streaming for remote folks
  • intermission w/ beverages
  • legit live music
  • ice-breaker nametags
  • a pre and post party for people to socialize

You get these core things right and you’ll naturally draw interesting people. Jeff Moriarity is kicking butt w/ our Ignite event here but we can definitely learn some lessons from Boulder’s.

The bigger picture

I told Andrew the bigger picture of what’s happening here is a “unification of the tribes.” Economy 2.0 is going to operate very differently from what we know today. The facts we do know at this point:

  1. it’s unquestionably f#$%’d now and not going to fix itself.
  2. entrepreneurship will play a prominent role in the recovery.
  3. collaborative technical infrastructure has evolved to the point where people no longer need to be on-premise to participate effectively on a team.
  4. while in-person presence is not essential to render work, there is no substitute for intermittent convergence of people who can then remain in contact afterwards via digital means.

I don’t know that Boulder represents the “next Silicon Valley” but I also don’t know that we need another Silicon Valley. Whatever it is it’s stacking up to be a hub of startup activity. The quality of their community is testament that they’re doing something right up there in the mountains. I’ll definitely be searching for an excuse to get back there next snowboarding season and looking forward to staying in contact w/ some of the people I met up there in the meantime.

Props to peeps

Random shout outs in no particular order to some of the interesting people and companies I hung out with up there: Chris Hough, Suzan Bond, the Tweety Got Back girls Heather and Rachel, Lane Becker of Get Satisfaction, Micah Baldwin of Graphic.ly, Joe Stump of Simple Geo, Ari Newman of Jive (formerly Filtrbox), Ben Brikerhoff (formerly of Devver), Brandon Harper and of course Jeremy & Andrew.

If we met and I haven’t connected with you on Twitter yet hit me up.

Thanks Boulder people for welcoming us travelers into your community this past week. You guys have at least one guaranteed couch here in Phx to crash on when you need it.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Tagged with:
Dec 09

Exactly one month to the day from arriving in the Bay Area, I pulled in an hour ago to my driveway back home in Tempe. What a month! The pictures from the trip say more than I possibly could in a single blog post. I met a ton of wonderful people in the Bay and made some great connections for our company. Here’s some stats from the trip that are interesting:

  • total distance traveled = 2987 mi
  • gas consumed = 166.558 Gal
  • total trip expenses = $2078.32
  • # days on the road = 31
  • business cards collected = 32
  • unique beds/couches = 17 (including a garage floor ;-)
  • total spent on hotels = $124
  • total spent on parking fines = $170
  • # of Executive Summaries sent = 22
  • # of VC funding sources pitched = 7
  • value of the advice, visibility, contacts & goodwill generated for JumpBox = incalculable
  • All told the trip cost a hair over $2k (which was way under budget). I want to personally thank all the people that went out of their way to give me a meal, a pillow, a piece of advice or an introduction to a valuable contact – the trip would obviously not have worked without the generosity and hospitality offered by these people. In chronological order here are some people that get a shout-out:

    Christopher Birdsall – for a pit stop at the halfway point in LA
    Scott & Sarah Yancey – for their repeated hospitality and their spectacular rooftop office
    Ben Flajnik & Corey Marrs and their roommate Justin – for a comfy garage and access to do laundry ;-)
    Francine Hardaway – for a fantastic intro and access to her beautiful house in HMB
    Robert Scoble – for letting me be on his Podtech show as a guest
    Andrew Hyde – for being on our podcast and putting on a killer startup weekend in SF
    Tony Jeffries – for all the key intros and drinks at La Bodeguita
    Josh Margulies and his fiancee Liv – for an aerobed and many connections (congrats on your engagement!)
    Jen Margulies – for 2 critical intros (happy birthday!)
    Mark Fletcher – for meeting with me and sharing entrepreneurial advice and a helpful contact
    Jay Margulies – for critique on our exec summary and letting me partake in two family celebrations
    My brother Connor – for hooking me up with a place and fixing my Quickbooks issues (happy 30th!)
    The Carroll family – for allowing me to join the family on Thanksgiving away from home (RIP Pop Carroll)
    Jen Behan and her family – for round #2 of pumpkin pie and a warm home on a cold Thanksgiving night
    Tom Jackiewicz – for a thermarest and a stellar selection of connoisseur tequila
    Jasmine Antonick – a key intro to an important connector
    Debbia Landa and her crew – 2 intros to solid funding sources and a wonderful meal
    The Hamilton family in Newport Beach – for a crash pad and a family feast at the end of a long trip

    To these people my couch and home are yours anytime. More on some of the many things I learned on this trip in a later post. For now, I’m really looking forward to my own bed. Here’s a cool video I shot yesterday while driving back down the coast on Highway 1:

    And here’s what a month’s worth of receipts and business cards looks like ;-) G’night.

    SFtripgoodies.jpg

    Tagged with:
    preload preload preload