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I joined LinkedIn back in 2004.
Facebook in 2005.
Twitter in 2006.
I also joined probably a dozen other platforms since then. Most of which never really went anywhere. And there was a moment when I was kinda a thing on MySpace before all of this. And yes, I do even remember Friendster!

I’ve gone through times when I was super-active on each platform, and most of the last 15-years I’ve been active on all of them at once. Usually with multiple accounts for me personally, various businesses I was running, and communities I was helping lead. For a time I focused my business on creating multi-platform marketing campaigns, advising, engineering, and reporting on everything to show value on all that social activity.

Well, trying to show value anyway…
I’ve tried to make something of all the socials for two decades now.
And I’ve largely failed.
But I don’t think it’s me.
You’ll notice there are no social media share links here. That’s on purpose.

In case you missed it here, here, or here, I’m pretty opinionated about all the socials. But I’m not the ranty “there outta be a law!” or “why don’t they just…” type. Because in addition to having direct experience working with social media since its beginnings, I’ve also worked on the inside for Silicon Valley tech companies and hobnobbed in the San Francisco startup scene. I’ve talked with people leading the charge and building the backend, and can empathize with the choices they’ve had to make (even if I would have chosen differently).

So I’m not a hater.
And I do know what I’m talking about.

In case you haven’t tried to do a social media fast lately, I’d like to encourage you to do this for a month or two and see how you feel. See how everyone else in your life feels about it too. Especially the people that matter to you most. (Hint: those are generally not the people who use all caps on your feed!)

Later today I’m ending my own fast of two months off LinkedIn, the first and last of the surviving social media giants. It’s the last one I’ve stayed on. While that platform has certainly evolved over time, it has also deteriorated in many of the same ways as all the others. Here’s what I’m asking this question of my nearly 3000 connections and additional thousand followers there (or as many as LinkedIn will allow me to reach):

I’ve not posted here for a couple months.
What could I post here that would help you do what you do better or see things more clearly?

It’s an honest question.
Because if there isn’t anything, I’m not sure why I’d ever post here again?

Btw, in case you’ve missed me, I have continued posting to my blog 2-3 times per week as I have for many years now.

Though I’m open to what happens next, I don’t expect much of consequence in response.

Of course I will still be posting here more, as I have since before the word “blog” was a word at all.
Because this is worth it. At least for me.

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This year I’m cutting my annual 100 days of Health drive in half. Not because I’m twice as healthy, but simply because that’s what fits between my travels this year. I’ve found that a health drive like this really helps me keep the rigorous container needed to get to a sustainable level that I can keep more easily for months afterward.

I share the details of this year’s adventure in part to keep myself honest about it, and mostly to help inspire you to do something similar if it works for you. Whatever container you decide to keep, and for whatever duration you decide to keep it, I want for you to start it smarter than ever before, and stay on it until you’re done! That’s always the tough part, isn’t it?

With practice, it does get easier! Here’s what I’m practicing this time:
  • daily Tai Chi (morning)
  • daily walk 2 miles (morning)
  • 3x week strength training, alternating muscle groups (afternoon/evening)
  • 16/8 intermittent fasting (eat 10:30am-6:30pm daily only)
  • full 40hr fast/week (water, tea, coffee permitted)
  • 1 pre-scheduled binge meal per week that breaks all the rules!
  • water within arms reach at least every 30min
  • screens off by 9pm, lights out by 10pm, Sunday through Thursday

Though I’m usually a Polite Vegan, for this year I will be adding animals & eggs to my diet for most of the next 50 days. So basically, it’s a modified Keto diet, focusing on plants & fats. That means sugar free (no fruits or added sugars or alcohol), gluten free (no wheat, rice, corn), lactose free (no cow cheese, milk), and slow-carb (raw vegetable carbs ok in moderation, nothing processed or > 20% of any meal).

Of course all bets are off for my once-a-week binge meal, which is when I eat enough of whatever I’ve been craving in the prior week to make myself not want to even look at it again for a while. Aside from the psychological benefits, this also creates a caloric spike that keeps the body from going into famine-mode and working against me. While the binge thing doesn’t work for everyone’s body, after doing stuff like this for over a decade, I’ve tested and proven that it does work for me — if it’s only one meal per week. I typically do my biggest workout of the week directly beforehand, which also helps both psychologically and physiologically.

Food-wise, my next 50-days generally look like this:
7am = coffee/tea
10:30am or later = large green/protein shake, vitamins, maybe half an avocado or other keto-snack if still hungry
2pm-ish = lunch, largest meal of the day
6pm = salad or soup, finished by 6:30
water any ol’ time, and lots of it…but not too much

Most of the diet & exercise parts of these 50 days originated in Tim Ferriss’s book The Four Hour Body that I read and began experimenting with myself back in 2011. Since then I’ve also incorporated elements of The Wahl Protocol, Bill Phillips’ Body for Life, James Clear’s Atomic Habits, and a few other things I’ve come across that I got results from.

The main key that I’ve learned over time is to focus on habits over outcomes.

I’m no longer weighing myself to see if I shed a pound, measuring the circumference of my biceps to see if I’ve gained muscle, or attempting to track the volumes of food I consume. For me, these were never really the point anyway. I want to be healthy, and these habits are ones that I know actively generate my health. Along the way, I don’t expect to that I will always be comfortable — building muscle often means being sore, making time for this means taking time away from other things I’d rather be doing. But I do expect that by the time these 50 days are done, my body will be stronger, my clothes will fit better, I’ll be less prone to injury and illness, and I’ll feel healthier and have more energy than I do now. To get there is not a sprint or even a marathon. It’s as simple and as challenging as a daily routine of carefully constructed and proven habits.

This is in many ways its own reward too! I don’t know about you, but I’m nicer when I get enough rest and eat well. I also tend to have a better attitude when I walk and listen to music/podcasts/audiobooks to start my day. And it does actually feel good in my body to go without sugar/carbs/alcohol, though it can be hard to really remember this until after I’ve gone a few days without any of them.

Day 1 is today and Day 50 is September 24th, the day before my two-week vacation when I return to Panama!

So that’s me, what about you? What have you found works well for your body, that I might consider as well? Comment as you please.

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Here is my Now page for August 3rd 2022 and what I’m planning to be up to this month.

  1. Employment Exit Strategizing
    Last month I passed the 2-year mark working in the first full-time employment jobby-job I’ve ever had. I searched for months to find this role and company, and I’m really glad I did! And now…I’m just about done. There’s one more thing I’d like to launch, and aside from that I’ve either done what I came to do or found out it isn’t possible (at least where I am today). Though I have no idea what’s next in life for me, over the next few months and before the end of the year, I am looking seriously at how best to make an exit. I’ve not announced anything yet, and I’m not lining other work up yet either. What I’m doing this month is actively searching for ways empower the team of awesome people that I work with, and to make the company even stronger in my departure. It’s a creative challenge, but one I’ve met before with all my contract work, and that I think I can meet again? Frankly, I wish they’d just lay me off and make it easy for me ;)
  2. Expert Witness work
    I’ve been an expert witness on a few cases involving the YouTube platform, based on the expertise I amassed helping create the first YouTube Certified Online training program for them a few years back. So far, that’s meant working with high-powered lawyers and writing up a fancy report that they then use to settle out of court. This time looks to be different. I’m preparing to be deposed this month, and likely eventually to testify in a case. I can’t say much more than that as it’s actively in litigation, but it’s pretty interesting stuff that I’m oddly well-qualified for and I’m happy to provide my independent analysis and opinions.
  3. Network & Infrastructure
    I’ve got my new Ubiquiti Dream Machine up and running great! Except that it doesn’t play nicely with my NAS, and I’m going to have to manually configure both to work with each other. So I’ll be learning a lot more about how to do that, and hopefully getting things stable by months’ end.
  4. Medical, Dental, Vision, & Volunteer catchups
    It’s time for my annual physical, dentist visit, vision check, and all that good stuff. Plus, I may well soon be done with the Invisalign braces I got last year, as I’ve been blowing through that process in record time with my accelerated plan. I’m considering starting a 50-day version of my annual 100-days of health drive if I can line it all up well enough with my calendar. Also, my though my employer generously offers two days per year to volunteer for a local or international group, I didn’t manage to take them up on it last year. This month I’m taking one day to volunteer for Pax Natura and another for my local preparedness group. What a cool work perk!
  5. Panama trip prep
    Denise and I had originally planned to visit Panama this month to keep my residency visa current, get one for her, finally obtain my Panamanian driver’s license, and start looking at rental properties there. But due to a variety of factors — including how long it takes to get all the paperwork lined up for us both — that trip is getting pushed into September/October now. We’re still really looking forward to it! And there is much to do.

PPL & Airplane purchase plan update
I got all excited about buying a plane a few months ago, but then…it got complicated. I’m not sure if the seller is actually willing to sell me 100% of the plane at the agreed price or not? Time will tell, and luckily I’m not in a hurry. In the meantime I’m also looking at my finances differently, and might not be as enthusiastic as I was before either, based on other potential expenditures (such as a rental in Panama) and life changes. While my Private Pilot License (PPL) isn’t directly dependent on having an airplane of my own, it certainly does make the right to fly one a lot more economical and fun. This month I hope to clear through what’s been stuck around all this, but it’s kind of hard to plan on.

From what I see from here, that’s August for me! How about you? How you doin’?

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We tend to talk about the strength of currencies against other ones. “Weakening against the US Dollar” or “Because the US Dollar is gaining strength” or “USD is at a 20-year high”. Statements like this are certainly true, and may indeed have relevance to some economists.

But truly, nobody else cares. It doesn’t actually matter to our daily lives until the very moment we trade some of those dollars for other things.

After all, what matters in our financial lives isn’t how much money we have, it’s what we can exchange that money for when we chose to do so. Real things, as in goods and services. There is a psychological value in security, sure. But it isn’t truly real, security is a belief about the future, a projection. No one knows what’s going to happen in the time that isn’t here yet, and anyone who tells you different is just wrong. We can guess about it, and we can bond others to promises they’ve made about it, but no one can know the future with certainty.

It’s good to remember that words like trades and securities and bonds and futures and currencies and exchanges all have their linguistic roots in real things that we each can easily understand and relate to. The more derivations each financial instrument makes from that original meaning, the more deviations the wealth itself makes. The more middlemen in the process, the more people need to be paid off before we can claim what remains, and the less of that wealth there is for us to ultimately trade for the stuff and experiences we can use. In this light, simplicity often equals savings.

I heard someone use this simple analogy recently to describe relative strength of a currency. A bunch of skydivers holding different currencies jump out of a plane with different kinds of parachutes. They can all open their chutes at different times and each will slow their decent at different speeds, but they are all undeniably falling in the same direction. From the perspective of the faster-falling Peso skydiver, the slower-falling Dollar skydiver is moving up. The Dollar looks strong, and it is by comparison.

But let’s not confuse this with actual strength, or intrinsic value. The direction of travel is indisputably the same for all the skydivers: down! Our US Dollar has lost over 95% of it’s value in the last 100 years — and we just made more of those dollars in the last 2 years than in the nearly 240 year history of our Dollar before that. Down is the direction of travel, and it’s getting faster not slower, even as it appears to slow and reverse direction from the perspective of other currencies.

It’s a useful mental image as all the fiat currencies in the world are falling, and some are falling faster than others. There’s a big difference between currency and money, and one way to see it is the difference between relative strength vs. actual strength. No amount of relative strength can make us strong, just as tethering ourselves to the slowest moving falling object will not prevent us from hitting the ground.

Which kind of strength are you seeking? Now’s a great time to align your financial strategy with what you really value.

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I happened across this final interview with the great Carl Sagan by Charlie Rose recently. I actually remember watching this when it aired way back in 1996 when I was a college student.

There is much to love about this 20min interview, and the part that stuck out to me upon this viewing in 2022 comes at about 17:40. It took us 25 years, but now we’ve undeniably hit the moment he foresaw…

“There’s two kinds of dangers. One is what I just talked about. That we’ve arranged a society based on science and technology in which nobody understands anything about science and technology, and this combustible mixture of ignorance and power, sooner or later, is going to blow up in our faces. I mean, who is running the science and technology in a democracy if the people don’t know anything about it? And the second reason that I’m worried about this is that science is more than a body of knowledge. It’s a way of thinking. A way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility. If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we’re up for grabs for the next charlatan – political or religious – who comes ambling along.”

Thank you Mr. Sagan for all that you contributed to the world and how we think about it!

And now to you, dear reader. What was your favorite part of this video, and why?

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