Apr 09

UPDATE 5/17/16: this puppy is rented for the year. Thx all who applied.

So I just found out I’ll be traveling for the next year leaving June 1st returning June 1st 2017. I have a fantastic condo that I love in the heart of Arcadia Phoenix that I’m ideally looking to rent out fully-furnished and come back to in a year. Here is a high-level summary of the amenities:

  • Location: at 38th st & Campbell you’re right in the heart of arguably the best spot in Phoenix. 10min from Old Town Scottsdale, 5min from the Biltmore Fashion Square, 15min from Tempe, 20min from downtown Phoenix. 5min bike ride to LeGrande Orange and all the spots in Arcadia.
  • Stats: 2BR/2BA 900sqft brick construction
  • Huge Pool: 20k gal pool with dual barbecues to accommodate a massive grilling bonanza.
  • Cold A/C important in the AZ summer – the A/C here is freezing and best of all…
  • All utils included! Run it as cold as you like- it’s included. No other fees except optional internet @$45/mo (fast 12MBPS/3MBPS via Cox).
  • Covered parking: and only 10 steps from the front door.
  • Just remodeled: brand new counters, sinks, flooring, lighting in the kitchen. New sinks/counters in the bathrooms.
  • Tricked out A/V: 54″ smart TV + 2×8″ Rockit studio montiors and all the office gear for a young professional to have a productive home office.
  • Gear: firepit, fridge, oven, stove, dishwasher, Blue-tooth lock for keyless entry, Wifi modem/router, patio furniture, various music gear (which can be stored if necessary), camping stuff, kitchen stuff, beach cruiser, stand-up & sit-down office desks, leather couch, huge California King bed.

I’m seeking to rent this out fully-furnished on a 1-year lease commencing June 1 @ $1000/mo. This is a perfect full-solution setup for someone who just moved to Phoenix and has no furnishings. If you have no vehicle we can also discuss you leasing my 2014 Chevy Tahoe during this time as well. Interested parties please contact me via this page.

Sep 03

Yes, it’s true that after 10+ years of various entrepreneurial endeavors and solo consulting I once again have a job. It’s just that it doesn’t feel like a job.


I’ve been unofficially working with Pagely since mid-July assisting with their sales and marketing efforts. Pagely pioneered the space of scalable managed WordPress hosting and developed a PaaS offering that allows any business ability to defer IT concerns and focus on using WordPress. It’s similar to how a service like Heroku enables developers to be free of IT worries and focus on the application. Anyways I’m happy to announce today that I’m officially on board with them as their new Director of Sales & Marketing.

At PressNomics 2013 I heard the founder of iThemes speak and give a simple bit of advice from the stage. It was so seemingly inert and obvious that I’m guessing it went right by many people. But it’s something that has stayed with me. The advice he gave was this:

Do something you enjoy
for people you like
with people you love.

That’s it. That was his grand wisdom for finding happiness in daily work. And while it sounds obvious to the point of being silly, it’s proved to be a profoundly-useful lens through which to evaluate decisions.

I have no less than one metric crapton of things I’m planning to write about over the coming months. I have knotted feelings and lessons from the rise & fall (and resurrection) of JumpBox and then slogging it out as a lone wolf consulting as Grid7. I’ll leave all that for later. For now I’ll try to relay wisdom I’ve come to in the past months.

Like that famous MC Escher painting where the hand is sketching the hand, that sketches itself, we are all in this recursive dance of authoring our own story while simultaneously becoming a character in that story who can become captive to the role and feel compelled to live up to the character. I didn’t know if I was employable after having worked for myself for so many years. I consider entrepreneurship to be core to my identity and as an entrepreneur admittedly had internal strife about the notion of going back to work and having a boss again. But like just about every fear, this has proven to be completely unfounded. We get knotted up by our fears and crises of identity but in the end growth comes from leaning in and unraveling the knot.

Anyways, I’m stoked to be working with Josh, Sally and the rest of the elite Pagely team. Going to battle for someone requires ultimate faith that he/she has your back. When your General & CEO thinks (and more importantly acts) this way I’m all in.

As Grammie would say, “more anon.”

Jun 22

I just got back from hiking the Grand Canyon with five friends. We did 30mi in 3 days leaving from the South Rim with full packs, camping out at Bright Angel campground, visiting Ribbon Falls and hiking back out via Indian Springs. Here are some photos:

Friday was one of the most physically demanding days I’ve ever had (2nd only to hiking Cotopaxi back in ’95). Before I jump back into the grind I want to take a few moments and preserve some of the “afterglow” of this experience. I don’t have a structured post in mind here but there were a handful of little things that stood out that I want to jot down for posterity:

  • It’s mind-blowing. Pictures (even amazing ones) don’t do justice to the sheer hugeness of the Canyon. I know that sounds cliche but it literally robs you of your breath when you first step to the edge of the Canyon from above. Hiking into it yields a whole next level of appreciation of how huge this thing is. I had just watched Episode 8 of “The Cosmos” where they talk about how the Canyon offers scientists “chapters of an open book” for being able to look back to the formation of the Earth. It’s one thing to watch this on Netflix and hear it academically but to put your hands on rock that’s been around for over 1 billion years is just surreal.
  • Bullfrogs at night sound like crying newborns. We stayed a stone’s throw away from a running creek and at night on the walk back from Phantom Ranch you hear all the night sounds of the creek. The bullfrogs have this eerie cry they make that messes with you because nowhere at the bottom will you see a newborn baby yet at night there’s this constant sound of like 20 crying infants. It’s weird.
  • Speaking of the creek: both days we were there we would just lie in the creek and let the water rush over us. Zoning out with friends just staring up through the cottonwoods at the high walls of the Canyon was one of my favorite moments of the trip.
  • Appreciation for mornings: I am not (and never have been) a morning person but due to the extreme heat there (113F deg the day we left) we had to wake up at 3:45am. As jarring as that was, once you get over the grogginess it’s absolutely gorgeous in the early morning. I’m planning to try and morph my sleeping habits to become more of a morning person. I feel like after dark I gravitate to time-wasting activities while in the early morning it’s just more geared towards time-appreciating activities.
  • We went when it was a new moon so it was pitch black at night. I was the only one who didn’t have a tent (I had a hammock instead) so I slept in the open under some of the brightest clearest stars I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if it was satellites or UFO’s or whatever but there’s a lot going on up there we don’t normally see. I wish I had a better camera that could have captured the night skies down there. It was amazing.
  • You’re capable of far more than you think- physical limitations are largely mental. It took us 3hr30min to hike down and 6hr15min to hike back out. On the way out I was out of gas shortly after the halfway mark so for another three hours I was running on some alternate fuel source. Chris, Tyler and I hiked as a unit most of the way and I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t have made it on my own. But that’s weird if you think about it. Hiking as a unit you become part of a larger organism that has more energy – you cannot underestimate the power of others to help summon this elusive “mental fuel source” that is always there buried within you.
  • I forgot how much Motley Crue kicks ass. Chris had thought ahead and brought a little bluetooth-enabled boombox. At one point after some particularly grueling switchbacks we were all exhausted but he fires up “Kickstart My Heart” and instantly we all get our mojo back. Crazy how music (like friends) can summon that alternate fuel source.
  • Hiking poles are essential. I (stupidly) thought I’d save the $20 rental fee and just go without them. That was a mistake. I’m 6’7″ and my height makes my knees extra-susceptible to impact – they were blown about 75% of the way down. We then had a 12mi hike the next day and still had to get back out. Fortunately Chris loaned me one of his poles on the way back out but the damage by that point had already been done. Ace bandages and Ibuprofen helped but if you’re considering doing it just spend the money and get hiking poles for reducing the impact on your knees. Also, don’t buy new hiking boots the day before the trip. That was just idiocy on my part and I’m paying for it with a blister the size of a 3rd big toe right now.
  • Social media fasting feels good. I’m too wired-in and slave to the dopamine hits of checking my phone for useless stuff in situations where I should just look up. Man it was nice to not even have the capability to use the Internet down there. I slept for 17hrs straight when I got back home. Granted, most of that was paying off a sleep deficit and physical exhaustion but I think some component was also the reduction in ADD from being unwired for a few days. I need to make a more concerted effort to ditch my phone in daily life above the ground.

That’s the gist of it. If you’re considering hiking the Canyon I highly encourage it. You can hike down to whatever depth you’re comfortable with. If you do though please respect the people coming up with full packs who are running on fumes. Towards the top we encountered a lot of day tourists who were oblivious and didn’t respect the right of way to the people coming up. That was pretty infuriating given how zapped we were. Also if you go, do it with friends and be conscious of ensuring constant water consumption and add electrolytes. Apparently someone died down at Indian Springs this Thursday. Your decision making becomes cloudy as you get dehydrated so it’s a vicious spiral once you hit that point (I know because on the way out I failed to fill at the last water stop although I stopped to wet my hat, stupid). Anyways the Canyon is amazing. Go experience it.

Oh and lastly, go check out the band The Lone Bellow. We were fortunate to catch them at the Tilted Earth Festival in Cottonwood this weekend after the hike. Magical performance. Just check out these harmonies. Rarely do songs give me goosebumps but this one did:

UPDATE 7/16/15: Chris from our group had a GoPro going most of the time in the Canyon and just published an _awesome_ montage video from our hike. Check it out:

Aug 07

This weekend the Startup Weekend tradition continues in Northern Arizona at SWNAZ. Not that you should need any excuse to leave Hades, ahem, I mean Phoenix right now but here are five reasons you should make the trip.

  1. Avoid spontaneous combustion.

    ‘Nuff said.
  2. Meet cool people The people that attend Startup Weekends are the do’ers. Talkers stay home for these events. The participants here are the folks who make stuff happen and from experience, these people are the ones worth knowing. This will be my 5th Startup Weekend and each one has hands-down had some of the awesomest people I’ve met. Oh and the guy who invented Startup Weekend is flying all the way from Zurich coming out of retirement to facilitate this event. No big deal.
  3. Learn while building There is simply no better way to learn than by doing. You will be exposed to folks from all disciplines including business folk, engineers, designers, SEO experts, social media gurus, investors. Startup Weekend is basically a cauldron that forges friendships and skills at an impossible pace. The first one I went to in San Francisco blew my mind, as did the subsequent one in Chandler and then once again in Los Angeles.
  4. Put some wheels to your idea This is probably the single best chance to take that business idea you’ve had collecting dust and finally get it built. You’ll have the opportunity to convince a room full of people with the talents and drive to make your concept a reality. More than a handful of companies have launched at these events and gone on to raise funding as venture-backed startups. Not only is this an opportunity to get your idea developed but it’s a stage to get attention and get that initial PR to get it noticed.
  5. Have fun on the cheap. Seriously, for the price of a modest dinner date in Old Town Scottsdale you’ll get transportation up on a bus with the fun folks from CO+Hoots, meals throughout the weekend, free stuff like a copy of Andrew Hyde’s Travel Book plus rumor has it we’re taking this bad biscuit out on the town Saturday night. I guarantee that nowhere in AZ this weekend will people be having as much fun as the attendees at Startup Weekend.

There’s still a handful of seats left and when they sell out attendance is capped. If you’re ready to lock in your seat, escape the heat and have one of the most memorable weekends of the summer, register here and we’ll see you up in Flag.

Jun 13

Big thanks to the folks at NACET for inviting me to present to their people on the basics of outsourcing. Here’s the Ustream of that talk:

You can get the slide deck here. Many of the graphics in the deck are linked to their corresponding remote resources. NACET is a great resource for entrepreneurs in AZ and at 75deg the temp is right especially this time in AZ. We just carved out a new cowork space at their facility and it’s now open for folks who want to beat the heat and work up there for the day. Also put the weekend of Aug 11th on your calendar as they’re hosting Startup Weekend Flagstaff. Should be a great time to get out of Phx and build stuff up in the pines. Rumor has it they’re sponsoring a shuttle up there leaving from CO+Hoots and they’re mixing in fun night activities like a guided tour of the famous local breweries – stay tuned.

Feb 15

I went paintballing with a group of 11 guys this past weekend in the desert north of Phoenix. It was the third time I had ever been and we all had a blast. It was surprising how many people were up there – probably close to 100 when I was expecting about 10… Anyways, while the experience was killer, there’s a simple tweak they could make to take it to the next level.
Gallery is empty!

This particular operation (or any other savvy paintballing outfit) should add a premium feature to their game play. They should learn from skydiving and offer helmet cams and then sell the footage back to the players. I don’t know what the exact economics would need to be but quick googling shows there are sub-$100 waterproof cameras that could easily be mounted on the players masks. Take it a step further and put a close-circuit TV in the deadman box (place where people accumulate after getting shot) , have the helmet cams transmit wirelessly in real-time and broadcast gameplay live from multiple angles. Affix helmet cams on all referees and make it truly cinematic with the ability to see the final firefight showdown after you’ve been shot.

Once you’re knocked out it’s still fun to come back and debrief with other folks in that area but you know you’re missing a crazy final battle that’s happening out of sight. It would incredibly badass for them to add this real-time window into that action without too much cost or extra effort required. The other benefit is that they’s then capture all that footage to a hard drive daily and have the ability to burn you a DVD at the end for $20 ($50?, $100?).

This paintball place doesn’t need more players – it needs a way of extracting more money from their existing player base and making the game more memorable to drive repeat business.

There is an absolute opportunity here to offer something extra that makes the experience more engaging while simultaneously giving the paintball company a high-margin new product to sell for essentially no cost. And the byproduct is footage they can not only sell on-site, impulse-purchase to the players but also to build up a knowledgebase or have fodder for educational DVD’s, to acquire highlight reel film for their promo collateral or best yet: post it to FB on players’ behalf and offload all their marketing costs to them. All of that drives more repeat business and higher-margin business. We used Groupons for this outing but if this place builds up their organic crowd they can cease the Groupons and keep the full price for themselves…

Anyways below is some point-of-view footage I took from my iPhone on one of the rounds we played if you want a flavor of what it’s like. In 3min I managed to run into a cactus, jam my gun, cap some guy in the head and then take a barrage of cross-fire myself. Good times.

POV of Paintballing in the AZ Desert from Sean Tierney on Vimeo.

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