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The Power of Your Own Advice

Ever notice how it is easy to give great advice to someone else yet difficult to take those same actions in your own life?

Why is that?

What would it be like if you followed your own advice? Consider that by following your own advice you’d be the person you always wanted to be.

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Listen to your own advice like it is coming from a paid coach. Any doubts that creep in are not coaching. Ignore them. Take the actions even if they scare you. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

The Honeymoon Phase

“The moment you sign a client is the moment you start losing them.”

Before the ink dries on a contract you’ve gone from the hope and promise of what’s possible (sales) to the world of performance (partnership).

There is no more talk, it’s now time to deliver.

This is when the real work begins. This is when you discover what it takes to be your word in delivering on your promise. This is where you discover the breakdowns between what you thought you communicated and what the client heard.

And you are 100% accountable for all of it. They are yours to lose. Who are you going to be when there are breakdowns? Someone who fights for their position or someone who makes it work?

It’s the same in relationships. The honeymoon phase eventually ends. Then you have to deal with your significant other leaving their wet towel on the bed…or worse. Often much worse. So who are you going to be in that moment?

Remember, they are yours to lose.

Recover vs Reboot

There are times in a person’s life when a sudden shift occurs. Like a rug being pulled out from underneath you. What was solid and known yesterday is suddenly gone or irrecoverable. It’s unsettling and uncomfortable. Everything comes into question.

This shift can come in many forms: sudden death, loss of a relationship, being fired, loss of community.

These are the times people consider getting a “fresh start” as it appears easier to Reboot your life than it is to Recover from the event. The phenomenon is so common that The Onion wrote a parody piece on it.

The Onion article is funny because it hits home. We can relate. If we could only change our circumstances life would be good. The reboot seems like a quick fix! And it’s not that easy. In a reboot our circumstances change but we have not, and that’s the problem.

In the series Mad Men Don Draper is offered an opportunity to begin leading a whole new life under a very unusual circumstance and he makes his decision quickly. He chooses to reboot. He steps into a new life and leaves his old life and his circumstances behind. Or so it seems. We are unaware of this for the first couple of seasons, but it comes back to haunt him eventually. His seemingly perfect life was built on top of a false pretense. He rebooted, and then he spends years recovering.


A reboot may seem like the ideal scenario, but it’s not. It’s just a change of scenery. Standing tall and dealing with life is what provides growth.

In the debate of Recover vs Reboot, Recover wins every time. It’s a renewal, it’s growth, it’s progress and it’s necessary. There is no such thing as a reboot in life. There is only recovery.

Goodbye Android. And Google, you may be next.

I have been a Google Fan since the very beginning. I’ve owned Google Glass ($1500!), Chromebooks, Chromebox, Android Watch, phones etc. If Google released it I bought it.

No more. You could say I’ve lost that loving feeling.

Years ago I chose Android because it was made by Google. Therefore it had to be good. I dumped my iPhone and became a convert. Android was up and coming and iOS was old news. “I am cutting edge, here let me show you my cutting edge phone!” However, years later, I have to admit in my opinion Android never reached it’s potential. It was always a promise and pursuit of the next release: Froyo, Gingerbread etc.

I was excited for Material Design and then realized it committed the cardinal sin of User Experience: the notifications steal focus. It’s like pop ups in your browser circa 2005… but on your phone. Uggggh.

Another reason I chose Android is because I am in the technology field and I refused to be in Apple’s walled garden. I had to have raw power and an open system. I rooted a few phones so I could be master of my mobile domain. Looking back, what a complete waste of time.

I’ve referred to iPhones as Fisher Price phones. So simple it’s only suitable for a child. Well, to tell the truth, kids have more fun. I’d rather enjoy my phone than ever drop to a command prompt to install an application, troubleshoot or do a debug. Again, ugggh.

And there’s Google in general. What a mess. Let’s review a few other things:

Google Reader (RSS): Wow Google, you had to kill Reader? Was it really a drag on development resources to categorize RSS feeds? There was a big push from dedicated users to spare it and it was summarily dispatched. Maybe minor in the grand scheme but foreshadowed how out of sync Google has become.

Gmail: I am a Gmail wizard. I use every feature and it’s all customized to my workflow. And I realized recently Gmail hasn’t evolved in …forever. I prefer usability over interface but neither have improved in Gmail in a very long time. I used to think you’d have to pry my Gmail web UI from my cold dead hands. I am not so sure anymore.

Google Inbox: LOL

Google Voice to Hangouts: Hangouts is awful. Really. I fought the good fight to adapt and as a lifelong techie I couldn’t make the leap. If I wanted to send a new SMS to someone via the browser I often couldn’t find my contact but I’d have dozens of options for people I don’t know from G+. I could never figure it out…and I tried! Someone should be fired for that mess. So I finally caved and ported my Google Voice number to my carrier. It’s a shame because Google Voice was a great service and Hangouts is awful. I would have even paid for Google Voice if it meant Google improved the service vs clumsily lumping it into Hangouts for some grandiose “Unified Messaging” system that sounds good in the boardroom but never works in the real world.

YouTube: So many ads. I rarely bother clicking on links anymore.

AndroidWear: This started out OK. The software update on the Moto360 was such a huge step back simple actions were now a challenge to execute and my desire to reverse engineer the new revision so that I could use voice commands again resulted in me being frustrated and yelling at my watch. Which is really embarrassing, especially in public.

G+: Well, for the two people who read this article, you already know about the problems with G+. =)

Then today… I received an email announcing new phones are available on Google’s Project Fi. I am a fan of the concept. But here’s where Google missed a HUGE opportunity. That email came after the iPhone 6S was available. Had Google announced these phones just last week I believe many people would have held out just a little while longer rather than going iPhone 6S. It’s inconceivable that a company like Google would make that kind of strategic error. It’s just another sign of how Google is always playing catch up.

Now, I am fully in the Apple ecosystem (except for my Amazon FireTV) Well, all I can say is that “it’s better”. Things work. I am not left scratching my head why a certain feature has this limit or works only this way. I don’t feel strung out between multiple product cycles (looking at you Hangouts). Apple may be a walled garden but it’s nice in here. The flowers are pretty, the sprinklers run on time, the walkways are always clean and I don’t ever have to yell at my watch in frustration.

I hope Google turns things around. They lost what made them great; incredible focus on speed and usability. I’ll keep an eye on what’s available from Google but there is now a track record to overcome. In the meantime I’ll be enjoying the simple usability of products that just work, even if the products remind me of Fisher Price toys from time to time. It’s a good reminder that technology should be fun and that it’s good to be a kid!

Weekend Motorcycle Ride

Did my first three runs of Lyon’s Valley Road outside San Diego this weekend.

This was my second run. Very fun road and only 15 minutes from downtown.

15 days in Argentina

I recently spent 15 days traveling in Argentina with two friends. In 15 days we visited two Countries, four different areas of Argentina and several cities (Buenos Aires, Colonia, Salta, Mendoza, Cafayate, Tupungato, Iguazu Falls). We also spent a night at an Estancia (ranch) tucked away in the Andes. Big thanks to Dana for being our amazing travel planner.

Argentina is a big place. To see everything we wanted to see required taking several flights inside in the Country. This is a high level overview of our stops. We did not get to the Southern half of Argentina, which includes Patagonia and Tierre del Fuego which I consider two excellent reasons to go back someday.

Day 1 Buenos Aires:
Our first day we landed in Buenos Aires at 10AM after a 14 hour flight. We could not check in to our hotel until 2PM so despite the long flight we hit the streets. We were staying in the Retiro barrio of Buenos Aires so we set out to the nearby Recoleta Cemetery for sight seeing. Then we proceeded on an urban hike as we passed the Dr. Seuss looking University Library, had a drink at Dada (very cool place), then walked through the Puerto Madero area. They call Buenos Aires the Paris of South America. The city feels European and the Porteños are very well dressed. Buenos Aires shows strong Italian and Spanish influence.

Day 2 Buenos Aires:
After Day 1’s walking marathon we took a bus tour of the city which introduced us to several new neighborhoods. Locals recommended the “Yellow Bus”. We jumped aboard and jumped off about halfway through the tour to check out the Japanese Gardens (recommended by a friend). Rather than catch the bus again we decided to walk back to the hotel, soaking up the city vibe…and a lot of bus fumes (the traffic and exhaust can be overwhelming at times). That night we ate at a place called Milions that was recommended by a local we talked to at Dada’s the night before. Milions food was good, but it was really about the space. Milions is in a French style house from the early 1900’s with 20 foot ceilings. It was groovy without being hipster.

Day 3 Colonia, Uruguay:
Time to get out of Buenos Aires for a break! We took the ferry across the bay to visit Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. Colonia was one of my favorite stops of our entire trip. Founded in 1680 Colonia has worn cobblestone streets and a ton of charm. Colonia is funky, in a old world way. We ate at El Drugstore. The meal was incredible, rivaled only by the meals at the Estancia El Puesto on day 8. If you go to Buenos Aires, spend the money to ferry over to Colonia. Ferry tickets are not cheap, but you get an extra Country stamp in your passport!

Day 4 Salta:
Goodbye Buenos Aires, Hello Salta! We expected Salta to be like Colonia, but we were wrong. Salta is much busier. Although the streets in Salta are always teeming with traffic and pedestrians, Salta retained it’s own charm. Our cab driver assured us that Salta had everything you could want except the Ocean. We arrive and head out to the main square. I visited the Momias de Llullaillaco, which are three Incan children that were sacrificed 500 years ago high up in the Andes Mountains. Due to cold and lack of bacteria they are almost perfectly preserved. I couldn’t take pictures and only spent 15 minutes looking at the display, but it’s a fascinating story and I wish I had more time there. After some food at the city’s central square we headed off to the cable cars to take us a nearby mountain overlooking Salta. That evening we ate a traditional Argentinian rabbit stew recipe used by Gauchos when out on the plains.


Day 5 Cafayate:
Road trip! We headed out from Salta to Cafayate. It’s a scenic drive which I will leave to the pictures to describe. That evening we hit the nightlife in Salta. There was a surprisingly active nightclub scene for a city the size of Salta. Dozens of restaurants and clubs in a three block radius, unfortunately I took one picture then my camera battery died. It was cool, trust me. =) When we left after 2AM, places were just starting to fill up. Argentinians start late with dinner at Midnight, hit the clubs about 2AM and finish partying at 6AM. Whenever we ate dinner before 1030PM we were usually the only people in the restaurant.

Day 6 Mendoza:
Day 6 was the redheaded stepchild of our trip. We were out late the night before, had to catch a plane the next morning and the hotel room we had in Mendoza was not great (we were switched out the next day to a very nice room in the same hotel). We did some walking sight seeing but this day was very low key.

Day 7 Portrerillos:
Road trip! Jumped in a rental car and drove from Mendoza to Portrerillos, a small community by the Andes and a large lake. We had a fantastic meal at a roadside cafe. The blackened bread bowl had meat and stew inside. Their version of pizza was a thin crust with thick layer of cheese. Everything was cooked in outdoor stone ovens. This was one of my favorite meals of the entire trip. That night we strolled around Mendoza and took more pictures…of food!

Day 8 Estancia El Puesto:
Ah, the Estancia. This was special. We drove to Tupungato, a small remote town outside of Mendoza and then kept driving another 15 minutes. We were picked up by Danielle in a Toyota 4×4 for the last 30 minute drive over rough terrain to the Estancia El Puesto, nestled in a valley at the base of the Andes. Danielle is the Italian son-in-law of Raul, who owns the Estancia (and ~60,000 surrounding acres). Danielle, Raul and Manuel spent the evening with us, telling jokes, stories, teaching us a magic trick and sharing traditional Argentinian Tea made from the Yerba root called Mate. Even though there was a bit of language barrier, it was a great time and they were perfect hosts. The food and the company was outstanding. After a fantastic lunch we took the horses out for an hour ride to a nearby goat farm. Having not been on a horse for 30 years the first 10 minutes when we went straight up a narrow and steep trail was quite nerve racking, but overall horseback riding in the Andes was definitely a highlight of the trip. (The Estancia was powered by two solar panels hooked up to a car battery. It was remote to say the least, yet the twentysomething ranch hand Paolo who lives there full time was still seen texting his friends on his mobile phone.)

Day 9 Mendoza:
Heading back to Mendoza from the Estancia we stopped over at Salentein Winery. This is a 10 year old Dutch owned winery. Argentina is quickly becoming a global supplier of wines, competing with Napa and France. The facilities were amazing. As part of the tour we were shown a brief film which had the basic message of “God wants you to drink wine.” Clever marketing in a mostly Catholic Country. That afternoon and evening we spent in Chacras de Coria, a pleasant suburb of Mendoza.

Day 10 Iguazu Falls:
Due to a mid day flight and travel fatigue this day consisted of us catching up on some sleep and hitting the town late night for a meal and entertaining people watching. Not many opportunities for pictures.

Day 11 Iguazu Falls:
The reason you come to Iguazu is to see the waterfalls, and to take pictures of the waterfalls. We did both, especially the picture taking part, as evidenced below. We also met a few other travelers. Three separate girls, two Brits and an American, who were traveling solo through South America. They shared part of their day with us and were very entertaining.

Day 12 Iguazu Falls:
Having seen the Falls we headed out for a urban hike of Iguazu Falls, stopping at a point on the river where we are standing in Argentina but can see Brazil and Paraguay. That afternoon we met up with some guides for hiking, rapelling and ziplining through the Rain Forest. That evening we found the nightclub district and adopted a stray dog (one of many) for a few hours.

Day 13 Buenos Aires:
Back to Buenos Aires for our last couple of days in Argentina. This time we stayed in the Palermo district, specifically Palermo Villejo. Palermo is a large and very diverse section of Buenos Aires. Less busy than Retiro or Recoleta, Palermo quickly became my favorite Buenos Aires neighborhood. We stumbled upon an open market and enjoyed a pleasant meal in a central square with fantastic people watching. That night we found an Indian restaurant and ate our meal sitting on the floor.

Day 14 Buenos Aires:
If you are in Buenos Aires on a Sunday you are almost required to visit San Telmo for their farmer’s market. Unfortunately, after having great luck our entire trip we finally experienced our first rainy day. We made our way through the streets and had a great time, but knew that the crowd was light and many stands were empty due to weather. Still, San Telmo was worth effort and taking the Subway was definitely a new experience in personal space (very crowded but almost free at 25 cents US).

Day 15 Buenos Aires:
Our last day of vacation! Luckily our flight is not till 9PM so we made plans for a bicycle tour. Meeting in the Federal District we jump on the train and ride to Tigre with our bikes. We tour San Isidro and Tigre, stopping for a meal then head back to Buenos Aires. It was a long trip, but as always it seemed to end too soon. Argentina was a blast, I would definitely go back.

Revised book review: 4 Hour Workweek

On March 3rd I reviewed the book The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss.

I was not very kind to the author. I’ve been following his blog and now that I know who he is it seems like he pops everywhere.

Now that I’ve had some time to let the book sink in I can definitely say that Tim has won me over as a fan of his philosophy and, if given the opportunity and despite my earlier comments, I’d buy him a beer.

Hanging out

Friend and I hanging out at Altitude during a Padres game.

Posted via email from stuarthall’s posterous

Places to See

I like it when places I’ve been show up in my “Places to See”. Sometimes it’s the little things in life.

Bali, Indonesia

New Hampshire

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