Jeremy Person's 2018 Resolutions
Blogging has taken a back seat to so many things, but I still try and take time each year to create a year-end post. Like the last few years, instead of doing a WordPress page, I've opted to do a custom page which makes the process a lot more fun because I can express myself creatively. I love sharing what I learn with others, but as of late I have been doing more creating than sharing. This is my tenth annual New Year's Resolution post which is hard to believe. Most of this post is a year in review which provides for an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned. 2017 was another big year with lots of milestones for Christina, Tyler, Lizzy, and I. I hope you enjoy this year's post!
I Turned 40
You spend your adolescence wanting to grow up so you can do grown-up things. You spend your teens wanting to grow up so you can stop going to school and be in control of your own destiny. You spend your twenties broke but life hasn't given you too many responsibilities yet. You spend your thirties with more money but a lot less time and oh man do the responsibilities kick in. It will be interesting to reflect on what my forties bring and what lessons will be learned. The good news is I haven't had a mid-life crisis yet which might be due to the fact that I try and tackle lots of challenges. I've opened and closed so many doors in my forty years so I have some lessons learned I wanted to share with you.
Some of Jeremy's Lessons Learned
If you know me, you know I love giving out advice and sharing what I've learned from others. I've affectionately coined the term as "not being a life leech" or to those who only consume on social media, a "content leech." I don't always know best, but I'm someone who loves hearing advice from those I respect. I also wanted to "not be a leech" and publish my lessons learned so my kids and frankly, whoever wants to read them, could benefit. Sharing is caring. I should have learned at least a few good life lessons in my forty years, right? Hope you enjoy them.
- Before following any advice from me, follow the advice of this guy. Remember this coming out years ago? It still applies.
- Share your life lessons with others, especially to those of you who have children. Teach them your life lessons. Stories have been carried down for many generations for a reason. It aids in survival for those willing to listen.
- Be mindful of money, try not to compare yourself with others. Some will have more, some less. It is essential but don't let it consume your dreams. Look at the money you have and ask what are you trying to do with it. What I have gleaned thus far in life is it should simply be respected.
- Whenever possible, choose to purchase the best quality product you can afford. Buy things that are built to last. For instance, I'll never regret not buying IKEA furniture again. My Honda Civic is an example of something built to last and thus one of the best purchases I have made (184,000 miles and going).
- The world is moving fast. If you are looking to make money, finding a way to solve something for others quickly will make you rich. In your personal life, however, find things that will slow you down instead of speed you up. Life is about the quality of experience, not the breakneck pace to speed through it.
- Be flexible. Success won’t always look like you think it will, and neither will opportunities. Be open to moving from where you live, taking some chances, and being uncomfortable. The more I have tried to control life's decisions, the more unhappy I tend to be. Think deeply about important decisions and then let go. Be Water.
- Be confident and learn to love yourself. There will be times in life when it seems you are the only person who believes in you. Just like an oxygen mask on an airplane, help yourself first. You often can't grow and love others until you love yourself first. In today's society, people really struggle with this.
- More times than not, as you grow older and wiser, people and things are not what you originally thought them to be.
- Live within your means. Nothing impacts net worth faster than debt.
- Early in life, you will have boundless energy. Learn by taking calculated risks and find investments that will afford you income when you no longer have the energy or the ability to pursue risk.
- Although not perfect by any stretch, like many personality tests, I tend to fall back on three litmus tests for who best to trust in life. One is to trust those who care for animals. Two is to trust those who respect wait staff, especially when things go wrong. Three, trust those who stick up for underdogs, especially when it is unpopular to do so.
- With respect to relationships, most of life's conflict stems from fear and respect. Identifying your fears, as well as your partner's and having vulnerable conversations about them is essential to truly grow any relationship. Don't hold fears against someone and learn to respect who they are without changing them.
- Walk. If you can't walk, move. One of the first things doctors will have you do after surgery is getting out of bed. After that, they want you up and walking as soon as possible. Walking seems to be the body's innate mechanism for recovery.
- Tony Robbins: When you look at a person's stressors, most of the time their stressors are deeply rooted in their fears.
- Be relentless. There’s a great saying that “rivers don’t cut through rock because they are powerful, they cut through rock because they are persistent.” Just keep going. Tough times? This too shall pass. If something isn't working, change your approach (don't keep making the same mistakes)! Repeat.
- Giving > getting.
- Make slow decisions, especially the big ones. Life's greatest failures and successes often hinge on these decisions. Slow down and think it through.
- Perfection is the enemy of progress. By doing 'something', chances are it is going to be far greater than having 'nothing' as you wait for it to be perfect. Note: there are exceptions to every rule such as compliance and legal issues, but it is a decent general rule to live by.
- A company is built on 10,000 small decisions, be conscious of the repercussions of your decisions.
- Don't get too good at the menial stuff, or you'll become menial.
- If you want to do anything big in life, you're going to need other people to help you. Learn to get along with others. "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." - African proverb
- In a meeting, if a topic can't be resolved in 15 minutes, table it and have a dedicated meeting on that topic with a formalized agenda.
- Empower your employees. If your employee is asking permission you have not properly empowered them.
- Having something that needs to be improved? Innovation begins when people start asking themselves "wouldn't it be cool if...".
- I reported to someone whose superpower was focus and I learned so much from him. I truly think that ruthless prioritization is essential in business. Focus is everything in business.
- Reverse engineer as much as possible. Know what you want to do? Read the people who are doing just that, and reverse engineer how to do it yourself.
- Early in your career, you advance by saying "yes." However, as you advance to management and beyond, more times than not you should be telling yourself and others no when considering whether to do something, or whether something is a priority.
- Get it in writing, like a contract, unless you have it in writing, you have nothing.
- Not following industry best practices or web standards is a way to show you are different, but thus far I haven't seen a good example where it has made sense to do so.
- “People tend to think that they need a process for everything, and once in a while you hear ‘We’re going to dummy-proof it.’ But if you dummy-proof the process, you only get dummies to work there,’’ Hastings says. “That’s why we’re so opposed to that and focused on giving people great freedom. They’ll make mistakes, of course, but you’ll get a lot of great ideas.” - Reed Hastings
- If you are in management, your job is in part to eliminate roadblocks for your employees. Disney seems to do it best by asking employees to provide their managers with three challenges that prevent the individual contributor from being as successful as they could be. Those three challenge areas are then given to the manager to resolve and they are held accountable at the end of the year for removing each obstacle.
- Often in business, being naive is an advantage because you don't yet know what is possible. Neil Hunt, the Chief Product Officer at Netflix once gave the example of Galapagos animals who aren’t afraid of humans because in the Galapagos, they don’t have predators. Try new things, the world will teach you soon enough who your competitors are and what you should rightfully be afraid of. Until then, be naive and try new things.
- More times than not, giving yourself a deadline is the best productivity tip I have found. Find constraints you can't wiggle yourself out of. Necessity is the mother of invention.
- When working on products, strive for simplicity. Simplicity almost always enables speed, user adoption, and scalability.
- Employees will act how they are treated. Treat them like adults, they will tend to act like adults.
- A manager’s output = output of their team + output of the surrounding teams that they influence.
- Use data, not opinions to make a decision.
- For a while, I considered majoring in Psychology. I love hearing about people's problems and offering solutions. The greatest topic I learned while studying Psychology is Learned Helplessness.
- I'm not a fan of a person having a problem with someone going to management without the feedback being given to the individual first so they have the opportunity to rectify the situation. If feedback has been given directly and performance is not improving is when I typically like to see management get involved.
- Be careful believing what a salesperson says a product can do for you or as Warren Buffet once put it, "don't ask a barber if you need a haircut."
- "The dark days at Alibaba": "If you don't give up, you still have a chance. And when you are small, you have to be very focused and rely on your brain, not your strength." - Jack Ma
- Don't make a product for everyone. If everyone is your market, no one is your customer. If everyone is your customer, no one is your customer. Particularly with the first version of your product. Better to have 1,000 people love you than 100,000 think you are sort of cool. Start narrow and then go broad.
- Don't promote superstar employees to management if they haven't demonstrated care for others beforehand. More times than not, promoting superstars who aren't good with managing people is the quickest way to kill a team.
- Managing people is like pushing a group of people individually on a swing. The more you have, the more difficult it is to keep all the swings moving. Hire the brightest people you can afford however and you will quickly find they don't want a push, they want to swing on their own with some minor guidance.
- People will change, but often it takes a strong catalyst to make it happen. Have they truly learned their lessons?
- I'm also a big fan of the five why's. Baking why into the culture is game-changing! Don't let your company become another Kodak. Always encourage your employees to ask "why."
- Get as close as you can to your customer. The problems they have are often hot as a fire. The further removed you are from the fire, the less intense it is to put out that fire. If you're the one on fire, you're going to put it out.
- If you are having anxiety about your boss’s problems, and not your customer’s problems, there is a bigger problem.
- Iterate and test versus overanalyze and build.
- Productivity measures how much each employee makes over a period of time. Calculated by dividing total output by the number of workers - if a factory employing 50 staff produces 1000 tables a day, then the productivity of each worker is: 1,000 tables/50 staff = 20 tables
- Chris Sacca - In life you are either playing offense or defense. Who's to do list are you working off of? Email is an open to do list, with little to none of it on your own task list.
- Change your mindset. Do you know where competition is steepest? In the middle. Very few people actually shoot for big things, they aspire to common things.
- Build Networks. Go to places and events where people are doing big and interesting things. Have conversations, soak everything in, gather a lot of cards, make yourself available, and make genuine friendships. People will tap those they like over other people when they have opportunities.
- Change management is critical but few companies give thought to it.
- Hire the best and the brightest talent your company can afford.
- When building web-based solutions, guide them through a process. My favorite has been wizard-based solutions.
- You can only go as fast as a company is capable or willing.
We Moved to Denver
I have moved a lot in my 40 years. I was born in Iowa, moved to Sacramento, CA, moved to Truckee, CA, moved to Cameron Park, CA, moved to Reno, NV, moved to Crofton, MD, moved to Portland, OR, moved to the Bay Area, and finally in 2017 moved to Denver, CO. I'm used to change, to say the least, but as I grow older I have to admit this was my most difficult move yet.
Let me first start off saying I love California and I always will. California has it all, but there is a steep price tag that comes along with living there. We were renting for a number of years and my 3-hour round-trip daily commute got to be pretty grueling. Traffic in the Bay Area is insane and it afforded me lots of podcast time, but that was all time away from the family.
Leaving California also meant I had to leave Netflix which is the most amazing company you could ever hope to work for. I learned so much and had so many great opportunities there. I can't say enough about that company and the bright minds working there. Being techy, the biggest thing I miss about the Bay Area is being around like-minded tech folks. There isn't yet a lot of tech in Denver, although there is some.
#1 - Spencer, IA
Where it all began. I think I only lived there for a little less than a year so I don't remember anything from Spencer of course.
#2 - Storm Lake, IA
I do have memories from Storm Lake, IA as a kid which is interesting because we moved away when I was three.
#3 - Truckee, CA
#3 - Truckee, CA
I attended kindergarten and first grade here.
#4 - Sacramento
I attended second grade in Sacramento.
#5 - Cameron Park
My love of basketball started here. The neighbor had a hoop across the street. I used it 1000% more than he ever did. :)
#6 - Reno, NV
Reno is where I started growing up. My longest held friendships/connections started here. (6th-9th grade)
#7 - Crofton, MD
Gave the East Coast a try. Was in Maryland for about half of the freshman year of high school. (9th - college)
#8 - Portland, OR
Learned lots of things and met some great people in Portland. Moved to Califorina for greater opportunities (and sun).
#9 - Bay Area, CA
My favorite place to live so far. Tyler and Lizzy were both born in the Bay Area.
#10 - Denver, CO
We moved to Denver! This altitude takes some getting used to!
Weather-wise Denver has been great. The summers are surprisingly warm, if not HOT. Truth be told, I'm not much of a cold weather person so the winters are beautiful but wow does it get cold here! The cold did give us our first White Christmas I can remember which was fun. I'm looking forward to thawing out and the good news is Denver has four seasons so winter won't last more than a few more months. I have heard it is more likely to snow in May than December though.
I was afraid there wouldn't be a lot of good food options but I haven't found that to be the case at all. We do miss In-N-Out but as of a few weeks ago, we heard they are opening one up in Colorado Springs with more to open thereafter. If you like a good beer, Denver is tough to beat with so many breweries and micropubs. Breckenridge Brewery thus far has been my favorite. Dessert-wise, I didn't know frozen custard was a thing, with Andy's being my favorite and man is it delicious. Little Man Ice Cream is some of the best I've ever had.
Some Random Nuggets
I listened to lots of podcasts in 2017. I probably could have hundreds of nuggets from all of the podcasts, but these were nuggets I couldn't let go of and wanted to share.Podcasts I Recommend
Extract of Kamal Ravikant on the James Altucher Podcast on learning to let go.
I'm Fascinated with Holocracy within Business
My Favorite 2017 Videos
I've been keeping a running bucket list for a few years now. To help manage it I recently imported them into a database so they can be listed and managed in the future. You may recognize some of the places, I got inspiration from many of you.
- Turks and Caicos
- Hike Wentworth Falls
- Hike the Camino de Santiago
- Hike the Appalachian Trail
- The Leaning Tower of Pisa
- Revisit Amsterdam
- Travel to London
- Own a Porsche
- See The Seven New Wonders of the World
- Mount Pilatus
- Cardada Observation Platform
- Harder Kulm - Two Lakes Bridge #1, Interlaken, Switzerland
- Glacier 3000 Peak Walk, Les Diablerets, Switzerland
- Hanging Lake Trail
- Glenwood Springs
- Worlds Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge
- Ska Brewing
- Mt. Evans
- Keyes on the Green
- Mostar, Bosnia
- Glen Eyrie Castle
- Neuschwanstein Castle
- Celestial Seasonings Factory Tour
- Hammonds Candy Factory Tour
- 1-Up Arcade
- Devils Head Fire Lookout
- Crystal Trail Lake
- Bridal Veil Falls Trail
- Trail Ridge Road
- Maroon Bells
- Great Sand Dunes
- Garden of the Gods
- Hanging Lake
- Glenwood Hot Springs
- Chautauqua Park in Boulder
- Mesa Verde
- First Cliff Walk #1
- The Bombay Frankie Company
- The Inventing Room Dessert Shop
- The Cereal Box
- Fat Sully\'s
- The Grand Place
- Egyptian Pyramids
- Great Wall of China
- Northern Lights
- Second and Charles
- Wild Animal Sanctuary
- Acorn Restaurant
- Oak at Fourteenth
- Colorado Railroad Museum
- Bear Country USA
- Huckleberry Coffee Roasters
- Pablos Coffee
- Corvus Coffee
- Avanti Food & Beverage
- Metropolis Coffee
- Denver Botanical Gardens
- Licks Ice Cream
- Washington Park
- Bonnie Brae Ice Cream
- Cherry Cricket
- Crepes n’ Crepes
- Pablo\'s Coffee
- Novo Coffee
- Corvus Coffee Roasters
- Commonwealth Coffee
- Huckleberry Roasters
- East Coast Greenway
- High Point Creamery
- Micro Center
- Giethoorn, Netherlands
- Angel\'s Landing
- The Cheese Board Collective
- Dillon Ice Castles
- The Inventing Room
- Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs
- New Belgium Brewing
- Ska Brewing
- Stanley Marketplace
- The Manitou Incline
- Bishop Castle
- Josh & John’s Ice Cream
- Walrus Ice Cream Company
- Dairy Delite
- Bonnie Brae Ice Cream
- Sweet Action Ice Cream
- Goed Zuur
- Sasquatch Outpost
- Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine
- The Rabbit Hole
- Balde Plate Inn
- Lee Maxwell Washing Machine Museum
- Pittsburgh Steps
- The Donut Man
- Dalton Highway
- Cuba Cuba Cafe & Bar.
- Close Quarters
- Pigeon Forge
- Bonnie Brae Ice Cream
- Dang Soft Serve by Little Man
- Bakery Four
- Grammy\'s Italian Goodies
- St. Mary\'s Glacier
- Comedy Works
- Unravel Coffee
- Dang Soft Serve
- O’Malley’s 1842 Pub
- Post Oak BBQ
Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge
Camino de Santiago
Here are some of my favorite purchases of 2017.
My 2017 Resolutions Review
Get Better at SEO
This was a tough one but I did find some time to try boosting my rankings for a few of my side projects I've been working on.Health
I continue eating very well but would like to find more time for exercise.Marriage
2017 has probably been our best year yet and not surprisingly, moving out to Denver together definitely made us stronger as a couple. We recently secured a nanny/babysitter so I'm looking forward to more date nights too (although I really stink at dates so I'll try and get better at that).
My 2018 Resolutions
Most of my resolutions this year are going to be about traveling. 2017 caused us to play lots of defense which meant little to no vacation time for both of us. I want to ensure I challenge myself to launching some sites as well because those of you who really know me know I love creating more than anything else. If I'm not creating, I'm not feeling fully alive.