Let Go

I’m reading the Bhagavad Gita. I haven’t read this since college. That’s a long time ago.

The Gita is around a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna. I won’t go into the details.

Near the beginning Lord Krishna talks about the importance of action without setting expectations around the outcome. Let go of expectations. When I first read this many years ago, I thought this seemed a bit empty. No expectations? But the more I read it the more it releases one from trying to control the unknown.

Trying to control the uncontrollable is like making a ball with dry sand. It’s fruitless.

Most things don’t live up to your expectations. You learn this with age. It’s painful. Over time I realized this is what makes life interesting. I thought I’d be be worth tens of millions of dollars by age 30. That didn’t happen. That hasn’t happened by 40 either.

Or growing up I always wanted certain girls to like me. That usually didn’t work out to well for me. That often blinded me from all the other opportunities. Letting go opens my eyes.

So many things happen in life. Setting hard clear expectations around vague goals just sets you for pain.

You can set up goals for things that are more concrete like a revenue goal (assuming you have enough data to estimate) or calling a friend each day. But saying that when I start this company it’s going to sell in 4 years for $40 million is a recipe for stress and burnout.

You have to set these revenue goals when you start a company. You have to lovingly push yourself to make them happen. But let go of the expectation that it will happen. It might not. It probably won’t. Even your investors know that.

Let go of expectations. Breathe with those expectations feel them drift away over and over again. When you do that the world breathes sigh of relief with you. And often more opportunities come to you. Let go and the world wants to work with you. Push and stress and the world pushes back.

So yeah, Let go.

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Startup Post: Slydes

This is the first in the series of startup posts. These are startups that we’re actively working on in different stages. Sometimes the stage will just be an idea phase. Other times it’ll be a post about a product that’s been launched.

This post is on Slydes (www.slydes.co). We created Slydes because through a typical sales cycle we’re hoping Slydes can reduce the number of calls by 1-2.

We’re partners with Jason Weaver on it. Jason has a lot of experience with digital marketing companies including the founder of Shoutlet. We are providing these services: software development; content creation; product vision (although Jason is the ultimate product visionary for Slydes). Once launched we hope we can also help with lead generation.

Slydes is looking to change how presentations are delivered and consumed. The initial target user will be sales people. Slydes should make them more productive by handling more sales presentations. This is because Slydes is designed so that a generic presentation can easily become a custom, heart felt presentation.

Slydes is similar to Clearslide but with some important nuances. Slydes let’s you add audio on just one slide. It also allows for you to insert a video slide of yourself. Bam. There is Dave in your face. We also provide analytics on who’s viewed the presentation and when. We have a host of other features coming out but I’ll hold onto those now.

Slydes will not change the world. We have some projects like that. But it could change how presentations are shared and consumed. That would be fun.

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How Much Can You Work in a Day?

So how much do I work each day? Generally I work from 630am-745am. Then I help get the kids ready for 30 minutes. Then I work from 815am until 430pm.

Do I work continuously? No way. I’m not a robot. I wish I could work 8 hours straight. Instead I’ve found I need a ton of breaks in there. The efficiency experts recommend relaxing for 30 minutes for every 90 minutes of work. That would be wonderful. But also hard to do consistently.

I try to take at least a 30 minute break in the morning and a 30-45 minute in the afternoon. I meditate during these times. I’m pretty useless in the afternoon for anything that needs a high degree of concentration. That’s why I try to take most of my meetings in the afternoon. They re-energize me a bit. I also take other mini breaks to jump around, go outside, write a note to a friend.

I work from home so all of this is easier. I could go into our office more but only do for meetings. We have a distributed team. That’s how we like it.

I try to put in another 30 minutes after dinner. After 8pm I’m super useless for work.

I also try to work each Saturday and Sunday morning for about four hours. I can’t waste those precious morning hours. This is the time where I push ahead more creative or interesting projects as well. So it’s more fun work, usually.

And I only take off a few days each year like Thanksgiving, Christmas, maybe 4th of July. I feel better when I work less each day but more days. That’s how I roll, yo. I can maintain this pace for decades. I have. And I will.

I’m always wondering if people maintain 70 hour weeks for decades without burn out. That would be amazing to me.

Last thought. I know there has been a lot on how amazing the Chinese work ethic is. I like those motivating stories. But for each individual it’s probably not sustainable more then a couple of years. VCs love it though because you often only have a couple of years to prove out an idea. I wonder how effective they are in hours 90-100 at the end of the week. Sleep and relaxation might help for better results. Who knows.

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Does Meditation Help?

Why does meditation help me be more productive?

I like talking about my experience. I’ll do that often on this blog. I can only guess about others people’s experiences. My experiences might not apply to you but maybe they do.

I’m about 5x more productive until 11am than the rest of the day. I can crank out emails, proposals and briefings until 11am. After that my productivity starts to drop rapidly.

Our brains are not machines. Productivity experts recommend taking a 30 minute break for every 90 minutes of works. It works. But man is it painful taking that break. It’s hard to force yourself to take a break.

So after 11am it’s a good time for me to meditate. It relaxes my mind. You know that. You can feel the energy just moving all the gunk that’s stuck up there. That’s the technical terminology, “gunk”.

But for me meditation brings a lot more for productivity. Let’s say it’s 1pm and my brain is beat. What took me 5 minutes to do will now take me 20 minutes. One reason it takes me longer is I’m tired.

The other main reason is that I’m working with my fear based mind. What will this person think of this. I’m worried they’ll think less of me. And on and on…

Meditation centers me and now I can work with love and not fear. So before I’m worried about every little thing, after meditation I can work with love. There is always the risk you might upset or offend someone. That’s hard to take. But if you’re sending and working with love, you’ll feel confident you’re trying your best to produce strong work and help others.

It’s still tough when you offend or upset people. Super tough. That’s another post or 10.

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Am I Even Qualified?

Am I even qualified to write about this stuff?

Probably not. I’ve meditated for 19 years every day, multiple times per day. But I’ve never studied under a master. I’m still often a mess, as you’ll learn. I have studied many religions. They’re all beautiful in their own way. I’m always learning more about centering, relaxing. I hope I can share some of what I’ve learned.

No one is forcing you to read this:)

What about business? Are you qualified to write about how to make things happen? I don’t know. Some moments I feel like kind of the world, other times not so much. I’m pretty good at the early stage phase, forming a team, putting and executing the plan for the first 1-2 years. That’s my wheelhouse.

For scaling up after that, we need help. Big time.

I’ve tried to start many many things as you’ll learn. Most don’t get out of ideation. Some I’ve tried have been disasters. Flatt Cola, www.flattcola.com, was fun but should’ve never been started. I’ll tell you about other disasters too, fashdax, 4 Guys (not a disaster because of the market and my partners).

I’ve never gotten close to a major success. Now that I’m 41 and have really focused on the early stage aspect, I’m starting to see how things are put together. I still have much to learn.

And I’m hungry. Hungry to have an idea really work out. I know the steps and players to help make things happen. I’m hungry for results. Peaceful results. Why Peaceful? I’ve found that if you push so hard, the world pushes back. That’s bad for the venture and my health. So peaceful results are a constant pressing, but with a lightness, filled with breaths and smiles.

That’s me. We’ll see what happens over the next ten years. I’m hoping it’ll be a trip.

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SuperSonic, Welcome

SuperSonic’s blog is combining two of my favorite things in life, business/innovation and centering (meditation in many ways). I know that’s a weird combo. For me, besides family, those are the two things I spend my days on.

What in the world is SuperSonic? It’s a commercialization studio. That means we take ideas and turn them into revenue generating products. Many of the ideas will be software focused. But with my interest in wide ranging areas like robotics, medicine, healthcare, AI and hardware, we’ll work across many areas with our network or partners. I think it’ll be fun.

And why connect innovation to centering? Practically, staying centered allows me to be much more creative and my output is multiples of when I’m not centered. I also find business and innovation and life become empty without appreciating each moment of the day, staying centered. It’s a constant struggle for me to relax my mind and enjoy each moment. Just relax, Dave. One of these posts I’ll give you my stream of consciousness. Insanity sometimes.

I figured if I combine business with centering I could write about both things, and that will help me and maybe others.

And to be honest, there are so many resources for building a sales team, developing products, recruiting, etc. These are wonderful resources. I’m not sure how much more needs to be said by me. I’ll stick to centeredness around innovation, living and loving.

And what is centering? It can mean many things to people. It can mean spirituality. It can mean meditation. It can mean mindfulness. It can mean relaxing in the now. It can also take a more religious tone. I love many religions (not always the dogma) but will keep this blog away from religion.

That’s it. I hope you enjoy.

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