Are You Humble Enough for MAF?

As a runner I have a big ego. I love comparing myself to others on Strava and I love getting kudos and giving kudos. I enjoy seeing the paces my peers produce on their runs and comparing their paces and heart rates to mine. It’s a lot of fun and I’m so pleased I can do this with like-minded people who care about fitness and tracking data and performance. Strava is awesome for this. Also, being a data geek from the analytics software world I love tracking numbers and watching the metrics evolve over time.

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Notice I got 8 kudos on this run

Over the last year I transformed my body from sugar burning to fat burning as a source of fuel for endurance running. I lost nearly twenty pounds or close to 10kg in the process and have body fat somewhere between 7-9%. This was mostly achieved by reducing sugars from my diet. You can read more about my transition to reducing sugars in this post.

In the last few months I’ve gone through another transition based on Dr. Phil Maffetone’s MAF technique. His program is based on his 180-formula where you subtract your age from 180 and use that as your target heart rate zone for training. You can add or subtract 5 beats per minute depending on years of athletic experience, injury, or medical condition. Being in my mid forties and a long time runner/athlete my MAF rate is 140. I also used the MAF beta iPhone application to answer MAF’s surveys that recommended a target heart rate of 140bpm.

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Defend the Vision

Without a vision, any direction is valid…

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 10.08.24 PMFor years I managed product direction, strategy, and delivery. I developed two simple rules to product management. Rule #2 for any product manager is to defend the vision. Rule #1 is to build the best product for the market opportunity (vision). Often rule #2 is more difficult to adhere to than rule #1.

Every day customers, partners, sellers, managers, and competitors add additional requirements to your product direction. This causes stress, anxiety, and churn… but only if you have no vision to evaluate each new request. For example, one customer will commit to a $500K deal this quarter if you add two arbitrary features. However, no other customer needs these features. If you agree you have an instant $500K in the bank, but to accept these two features you need to drop another feature that once released in the market will net you $20M. What do you do? When you are true to your vision, and your vision can be executed and brought to market in time (meaning not arriving late to the party to discover all the beer and snacks are gone), the answer is pretty simple: “No, we are not going to do these two features.” Continue reading

Why Do You Go To Work?

About five years ago I was on a solo date with my eldest daughter who was four at the time. We were at our favourite fusion Mexican restaurant sitting on the upstairs patio. It was a warm spring evening, the sky was blue, and the sun’s rays casted a beautiful warm light. I cherished the moment alone with my daughter.

I said to her. “I really enjoy spending time with you.”
She responded. “Then why do you go to work?”

I can’t recall how I answered, but I know it wasn’t deep or profoundly insightful. I recall smiling and being stunned at her wisdom. She has always had an old soul.

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The old soul

I wished I’d answered. “Because I love my job, I work with great people, am constantly learning, and we are building and selling enduring products that deliver real value for our customers.” I’m not sure a four year old would have understood this answer. The point is that I haven’t always loved what I do and I wonder how this impacts my family.

I can understand why she would pose this question. I could see her brain working. “You love me. I love you. We have fun together. Why would you want to leave me?” Continue reading

Undivided Generosity

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 5.57.27 PMSimone Weil, a French philosopher, once said “attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” 

How often do you have your smartphone in your hand, checking a text or an email and you say to the person you are with, “Keep speaking, I’m listening”?

Our modern world constantly distracts us with instant messaging, Facebook messaging, Twitter, email, texting, Instagram, and so many other forms of distraction. We’ve become addicted to multi-tasking. Work, family, and personal time is no longer divided instead it is integrated, constantly connected, setting expectations that you are always “on” and ready to engage with whomever and whenever. Even the new connected watches allow you to read your messages while on a run, checking time, or waking in the middle of the night to quickly check your messages. Continue reading

The Metro Equalizer

Public transportation is the great equalizer. On a metro, bus, or subway we are all the same; humans going from one place to the next; going to work, school, a friend’s place, coming home, looking for work, or going shopping. It doesn’t matter if you have a six-figure income or are homeless, public transportation levels us all. It serves as a reminder that we are all the same… amazingly human each with our own stories.

The world is comprised of beautiful diversity. Every day I see a full spectrum of our city’s inhabitants from the rich, to the every day worker, to the homeless, to the retired, to the vibrant students, and to the very young. The full colours of the human race tossed together. Each soul alive with ideas, doubts, dreams, anxieties, fears, histories, and futures. Continue reading

Just Start!

Just StartI recall a long road trip with a friend back in university. I was at the wheel while he read a self-help or business book. At one point he looked up from the book, gazed at the horizon and said, “I really need to be nicer to people if I am going to influence them and get ahead.” I thought this was a good reflection as he was sharp with his words and critical of his friends and colleagues. Hours later we arrived at our destination to discover the hotel had messed up our reservations. He was frustrated, immediately raised his force and started giving the hotel staff a miserable time. I laughed and reflected back at his thoughts in the car. Later I raised the subject with him and he was embarrassed and laughed at himself. It’s not easy to read these books and immediately think you’ll be successful. It takes personal reflection and an ability to be candidly honest with yourself. And sometimes you just need to stop reflecting, dreaming, and thinking… and just start. Continue reading

Scalable Income

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My biggest investing mistake was not learning about creating scalable income sooner in life. In my twenties and most of my thirties I believed the right thing to do was maniacally save and invest in mutual and bond funds. By my late thirties I began doing the calculations and realized that other than my real estate investments, my savings had not really grown. Any real gains came form stock options with my employers and from joining a start-up that was acquired. I was embarrassed and frustrated with myself and with the financial investment industry.

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The School of Podcast!

Getting an iPhone transformed my life. Up until mid 2014 I was a loyal Blackberry user very wed to the keyboard. Via work and other circumstances I had to switch to an iPhone. While my work productivity declined my insatiable curiosity was being fed daily with podcasts. And podcasts are changing my life!

Over the last eighteen months I’ve listened to at least five to seven hours a week of podcasts. It is like going to school part-time on my own schedule. I listen to them while walking, running, on trains, on planes, on the metro, during a solo lunch, or while lying in bed before I fall asleep. Being a voracious reader and with a huge appetite for knowledge, great stories, and inspiration I’ve discovered a number of podcasts that are not only quenching that thirst for knowledge but have influenced my outlook on life from career management, to being a father and husband, to health and exercise, and to my philosophy on management. Continue reading

Thank You Teenager

A sharp tug on my right arm pulled me back on to the sidewalk. A moment later a bus rolled up behind me to a sudden stop on the road where I was walking only a few seconds ago.

My mind was on other thoughts and getting to my next meeting. A group of teenagers gathered at a bus stop crowding the sidewalk from the buildings to the road. I was running late and without a thought I stepped out on to the road to get around them. A few steps on the road were followed by sharp tug on my arm by a young teenage boy. His split second reaction saved me. Had he not pulled me back into the crowd I may not be alive today. Continue reading

When Customer Meetings Literally Explode…

Weeks went into planning this morning’s customer meeting in Madrid. We had people fly in from North America. I flew in from Paris along with several other colleagues from various locations across Europe. Timing of the meeting was built around the availability of this customer’s CIO. We had 11 people from our business and the customer showed up with 12. It was a big meeting meant to solidify the foundation to sign a large deal in Q1. Being in Spain, many customers don’t speak English so a decision was made to unfold the meeting in Spanish with small interludes of translation for the non-Spanish speakers. Continue reading

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