Project:NOMAD

Project:NOMAD

One Man’s Attempt at Lifestyle Design and the Quest for the Perfect Virtual Company

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Getting Down and Dirty…

I have been getting into more and more mud runs since I ran the Tough Mudder in March… I ran the Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run 5K this morning…had a great time! I recommend giving the race a try, if you get the chance.

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The Idea…

I have come up with a pretty cool idea in my personal idea generator this morning (aka my shower :o ) ) I am going to brainstorm it with some friends and see if it is feasible, but I think it has potential…I love this part of the process!

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On Turning 50


Today is my 50th birthday!


I tell my wife that, mentally I still feel I’m about 28, and physically, about 35.


I have done a lot in my lifetime so far, but the really cool thing is the feeling I have that I can accomplish so much more in the next decade of my life than I have in the prior half-century.


Sweet…..

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Quicksand…


As I am typing this, I am watching “The Replacements” on TNT. One of my favorite scenes of the movie deals with Fear, and it is something that can stop entrepreneurs dead in their tracks.

Here is the scene, it starts out funny, but gets very deep.


The Replacements – Quicksand


Say you’re just starting out with your new business, or maybe you already have an established business and things are going well; you found your rhythm. Then something happens, not a big thing, but something breaks the rhythm. As you are recovering, something else happens, then something else, and before you know it your stuck in quicksand…

The secret to dealing with fear is to face it head-on, not avoiding it, or thinking that as an entrepreneur you need to feel no fear.

What I have found, is that writing down my fears helps a lot. Once they are down on paper and clearly stated, it makes it easier for me to deal with them.

After that I can focus on what’s really important and take action!

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Four Important Lessons…

Something happened yesterday that illustrates four important lessons that I have learned and lived by for a good portion of my life, and I wanted to write about it.

First the story, then the lessons…

A friend that I follow on twitter is a writer of erotic short stories. Late one night a couple of days ago, I saw her post something on twitter, and because I hadn’t talked with her in a while, I asked how she was doing. Turns out, not good. She had a blog that was part of a larger site that was owned by someone else. A few days ago she tried to get on to the site, only to find the site was gone and so was all her work, including three stories she considered her best work to date. The pain of the loss was apparent and I felt I could do something to help her out. I told her that nothing truly goes away on the Internet, and that I would do what I can to recover them.

The first thing I did was to go to the Wayback Machine at Archive.org. This is a great site for finding older versions of other sites; it states that it has 150 billion archived web pages. There are many ways to use WayBack machine, but I just wanted to see if it had crawled her site sometime in the past.

It had not; her pages were not there..

The next thing I did was enter the site in Google search. What I got back was a list of pages for her site, which of course, when you clicked on them, got you to the default page of the web host.

But that’s not what I was after. What I was hoping for, and indeed what I did see was that Google had cached the pages. I clicked on the “Cached” link and immediately the text version of the main page of her blog came up. Success! I DM’d her and explained to her how to pull the rest of her pages from the cache. She was happy, and so was I that I could help her out. I logged off and went to bed.

The next day I DM’d her in the afternoon and asked her if she was able to get all her work back. She told me that she got everything except those three stories that she wanted the most. I went back in and was able to find one of the missing stories, but the other two where nowhere to be found. I told her to try posting to her Twitter followers to see if anyone of them had downloaded the stories while the site was up. In the meantime, I would try to find the missing stories by other means.

I honestly tried everything I could think of, other search engines, deep web searches, other relate blog sites, everything I knew to try. No luck.

So then I thought, why not just ask the web host if they keep archives? Duh!

I got on the host’s site at around 9 in the evening and opened up a support ticket explaining the situation, and asked if they keep archives. I sent the ticket, closed everything down and shut off my computer. I figured I would not get anything back from them until the morning. Later on, I went to sleep hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.

The next morning I checked my email. Chris, a support tech from ATCIHosting (the hosting company) responded to my email an hour after I sent it, the night before.

He wrote:

That account is set to be removed tomorrow.
It is currently suspended due to non-payment.
I can enable the site for a short time before deleting the data.
I suppose if you can find the blog posts then you can try and copy and paste the posts.

I read the last two sentences twice…I was floored.

I also freaked because the email was written the night before and the site was scheduled to be removed TODAY! I fired off a quick response thanking them profusely and asking if I was still able to access the site today. He responded:

The account has been enabled.
It will probably be up for 6 hours or so before being removed for good.
Please let us know if you area able to find the posts within the next 6 hours.

Freaking Awesome! I immediately entered the site address and sure enough, I was able to see it, and the missing stories. I immediately DM’d my friend and told her the good news. I also pulled the pages from the site just in case she was not able to access it herself for some reason. It turned out not to be a problem because Chris emailed me later telling me they were running behind and the site would probably be up overnight. It was a good thing because my friend was offline most of the day, but came online later in the evening and was still able to get her stories. She was, to say the least, ecstatic.

This story illustrates the following four important lessons:

Lesson #1: There is always a way…

No matter what it is you are trying to accomplish, I assure you that 99.99% of the time there is a way to do it. It may not always be pretty, it may not always be easy, and it may not always be obvious, but I assure you, there is always a way to do it, just be patient, and persistent, and it will come to you.

Lesson #2: Ask…

I have blogged about this before because this lesson has server me so well in the past; If you need something, ask for it. What is the very worst that can happen, the person says “no”. Knowing this in advance and understanding that this may happen, what’s stopping you from asking? Pride? Fear? Get over it. If I let that get in my way I wouldn’t have asked the bank to accept the short sale that eventually got me a very nice rental property, or my wife of 21 years for her hand in marriage.

Ask…

Lesson #3: If It’s Important…Back it up….

This goes without saying, but I assure you, many of you reading this don’t have backups of your important information. There are a lot of excellent free programs for every computer platform out there. There is no excuse not to have backups of your important files.

Lesson #4: Be Kind…

I have saved the best for last. I have told my daughters countless of times, if you learn just one thing from me, learn this…”Be Kind”. Kindness is the grease that lubricates the gears of human interaction. (…you may quote me on this… :o )

Picture yourself in Chris’ shoes. Some guy, who is not even a customer, sends him an email and tells him that a friend who was technically also not a customer, lost all her work when the true owner didn’t pay their bill and oh by the way is it possible to recover said work?

He could easily have said no, sorry, the data is lost, you are out of luck and my friend and I would have been truly out of luck

But he didn’t.

He kindly offered to bring the site back up so that the lost work could be retrieved before the site was permanently removed. (My eyes are welling up as I type this) (and now also as I proof this). He has truly earned any and all good karma that comes his way. I sincerely hope that if your are reading this, and if you are in need of a hosting service, that you give ATCI Hosting a look. Customer service like this is truly hard to find. It was this one act of kindness that prompted me to write this post.

So there you have it, Four Lessons that should help you through life. I welcome any comments, and any important Life Lessons you have learned.

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Pride and Joy

Family

Please forgive the detour I took on my blog with this post.

Those of you who follow me regularly on Twitter may have noticed my absence for the last few days. The picture above explains it quite nicely (Not a great one of me, but the wife and kids look fantastic).

The last couple of weeks leading up to my daughters graduation from High School have been hectic to say the least (didn’t even have time for a desperately needed haircut as you can see above :o ) ). The day after her graduation we held an open house for friends and family. I am only now recovering.

Out of 533 students in her graduating class, Samantha was ranked at 19; she graduated Summa Cum Laude. To say we are proud of her would be an understatement. She is a smart, witty, and well rounded young woman (okay…this is her father saying this, so yes I am slightly biased, but others have told us this time after time). I blogged about her a couple of years ago in my post “Reflection” when I was teaching her how to drive (It seemed like only yesterday). Very soon, she’ll be leaving us for college; the tether, fully cut…

We were over at our next door neighbors house last night. They have an only son, Lewis, who also graduated, and who basically grew up with our daughter. They considered Sam the daughter they never had and we have always said Lewis was the son we never had. Lewis’ father, Rick, showed us a video he made which was a compilation of video footage and pictures of their son growing up. There was a section in the video of Sam and Lewis; watching them grow up together in the span of minutes, it took a lot for me to hold it together; my wife, of course, lost it – it was a good thing they had a box of tissues nearby.

This is a tough time for a parent. All the late nights, the sacrifices, the joys, the tears, and now your child is about to be launched into the world, in a kind of second birth, a rebirth. All we can do is sit back and watch it happen, and be there if she ever needs us.

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A Million to Five…

A man walks into a crowded diner one morning and sits at the counter. After about a minute or two, someone shouts out “127″, and everyone in the diner bursts into laughter. A few minutes later, someone shouts out “46″, and again, everyone bursts into laughter. After the third time, the guy turns to the man next to him ans asks, “what’s going on?, why the numbers and why is everyone laughing?” The man said to him, “Ah…everyone here is pretty much a regular. We have been coming here every morning for years to just hang out, catch up on each others lives, and tell jokes.  In fact, he laughed, we have been telling the same jokes for so long, that we have just given them numbers.”

The guy thought this amusing, so he decided to try it out. He yelled out “54″…but nothing happened…so he yelled out “23″ and again…silence. He turned to the man and asked “What’s going on? Why aren’t they laughing?”

The man said “Guess you just gotta know how to tell a joke”…

I have been thinking a lot about language lately.  Language is basically just a grouping of words and symbols with a universally accepted syntax and meaning. What I find fascinating is that we are assigning meaning and concepts to strings of characters that are getting smaller and smaller every day.  Before the advent of text messaging, who would have seen and understood what “LOL” and “OMG” meant? In the beginning it was Email…then Blogging…then Twitter introduced us to “Micro-blogging” and Slate jokes about “Nano-blogging” in their spoof of Twitter with service called Flutter.  Little by little language is being reduced so that the meaning of complex concepts can be conveyed in as few characters as possible.

The question is, are we loosing the richness of our language for the sake of expediency?   How it will effect the exchange of ideas and culture? When I write, I try to paint as vivid a picture with words as I can;  is this possible in 140 characters or less? In a way,  it kind of forces you to get creative with words and wordplay, but I wonder what the long term consequences will be.

Seriously… I can see a future where “pico-blogging” is all the rage…someone will enter a five character string of symbols and everyone on the planet will understand, and get the joke…if it was told right.

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On Tradition and Accomplishments…

I have often though that certain traditions can be a destructive force to productivity. The engineer in me cringes whenever I hear the phrase “Well…that’s they way we’ve always done it…”; blindly following the traditional way of doing things, without questioning why, should always raise a red flag.

Something happened to me recently that caused me to reflect on this; I encountered a tradition that I believe actually enhances productivity, and I wanted to share this with you.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have noticed that I was silent  most of Sunday and all of Monday.  My eldest daughter was recently accepted to the University of Georgia, and she was invited to their “Out and About” open house. For the open house, Samantha shadowed a student as the student attended her classes for that day while my wife, youngest daughter, and I went on a tour of the campus.

It was a nice day, a little cold, but the sun and the walk kept us from freezing. Our tour guide was a  very entertaining senior named “Barrett”. After walking  a little on our tour, we stopped in front of the school’s Chapel. Barrett explained a little about the history of the Chapel, and then he took us around to the back of the building;  there we found the Bell Tower. As you can see from the presentation in the link, the Bell Tower is huge; the 173 year old bell weighs over 800 pounds. The bell has a long rope that (though you can’t really see it in the presentation)  extends all the way to the ground. Usually, when Georgia wins a major sporting event,  students flock to ring the bell in celebration.

Here is the really cool part…anyone can ring the bell at any time to celebrate any major achievement or accomplishment; get an “A” on that really hard paper on “The Use of Metaphor in Hamlet”, ring the bell; ace your Chemistry Final, ring the bell; overcome your shyness and ask that cute girl out, ring the bell (and then tell her why, that should put a smile on her face).  Barrett said that he lived close to campus, and he can hear the bell being rung periodically at all hours of the night.  How amazing is that! Of course, you can run out of your dorm and scream at the top of your lungs “I DID IT!”, but this, to me, is a fantastic tradition that promotes achievement. I actually found myself thinking that in the near future,  I would have accomplished something so “Bell Worthy” that when I visit my daughter, I will run to the tower and ring the bell myself.

So now I ask you…What would it take to make you “Ring the Bell”?  What way will you celebrate your major accomplishment? What tradition(s) will you start or do you follow that enhances your productivity and promotes achievement? Let me know…


 

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Project Nomad 2.0

When I was in college, a good friend told me a quote that has stayed with me most of my life. He said “Man proposes, God disposes…” (I heard a variation on this later on in my life “Men plan, God laughs…”) I don’t remember what the situation was that caused him to say it, but I have always lived by it. Basically, no matter how focused or how driven you are in life, no matter how clear your goals are,  no matter how confident you are of reaching those goals, stuff happens. It could be good stuff, it could be bad stuff, it could be totally out of left field stuff that you never saw coming.

When I started this blog, my intention was to create a business that I can run from anywhere in the world. Although I am not quite there yet, I have made a lot of headway. Recently though, I have been facinated by social media and the Facebook and Twitter phenomina I find that I have been spending more of my time trying to understand this avenue and less to my real estate ventures.

To that end, I have decided to change the focus of this blog away from real estate and more towards internet marketing and social media.  I see more potential here to meet my goals.

I will still post about real estate issues, just not as frequently (as if I post frequently at all). I am also hoping that because of my strong interest in the medium, it will dicipline me to post more content. We’ll see.

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…with a little help from my friends…Part 1.

So…you have decided that you want to try your hand at investing in Real Estate, and you are not sure where to begin.

You bought a bunch of Real Estate investment books, then started going to seminars and buying courses (even some courses off of eBay) that pretty much collect dust on your bookcase…

Don’t get me wrong, learning as much as you can about a subject is a good thing, but there comes a time when you realize you are avoiding action; you know a lot of stuff, but you don’t know how to, or are afraid of actually applying that knowledge. “Paralysis of Analysis” sets in and you become a seminar groupie…

Been there…done that…

So what do you do?

You find yourself a mentor to kick your ass…How?

Here is how you take your first offical step as a Real Estate Investor…join your local REIA – Real Estate Investor Association. Here’s why:

  1. You want to be a Real Estate Professional…Act Like One!  (Also known as “fake it until you make it”)…Becoming a member of a professional organization adds a lot of credibility, which you will need closing your first deal.
  2. You have a network of investors who are all in pretty much the same boat as you are, each with varying degrees of experience – the opportunity to learn from them cannot be overstated.
  3. deal that one investor in your network may reject, might fit your criteria perfectly. (Remember to pay them a referral fee if you close!)
  4. There is a great chance that you will find that one person from your network, a mentor, someone you admire, who you want to emulate; someone to kick your ass when it needs to be kicked. Someone to bounce ideas off…someone to cheer you on…

I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Georgia Real Estate Investment Associations Mentorship Program when it existed; through it, I had the great fortune of meeting my mentor, Joyce Bone.

Had I not, I would still be attending seminars, buying courses that collect dust on my bookcase in my den.

In Part 2. I will discuss building the rest of your team…

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