Independence Day

While you’re sipping beer and watching things blow up today, take a moment to appreciate what it’s all about. You have the freedom, as an American, to sip beer and blow things up. Unless of course you’re under 21 years of age or live in the state of Colorado with a fire ban.

A good day to you and yours. Happy 4th of July.

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The New Age Snow Day

I love the snow. I really do. I always have. On days like today where several brisk inches cause commute times to quadruple and Google Maps to flash black & red, I side with the general public against the nuisance. I don’t condemn the snow for that nuisance, however. I challenge the expectation that people try to tackle it and show up as usual anyway.

Not all jobs or educations can be accessed remotely. For retailers, you need bodies in the store. Most classrooms are not equipped to transmit lessons online. But for many new age companies, working remotely is completely feasible. You can sign in to instant messenger, transplant meetings into Google+ Hangouts, and plug yourself in. Stay warm, stay safe, stay home. And get more work done.

Sound like an unreasonable dream? Far less unreasonable to me than wasting three or four hours in your car without a shred of real work. Employers should see the productivity and time lost to snow. They should call a snow day and unveil a plan to continue operating internally. Far better to do that than expect a troop of soggy, frozen, and demotivated employees to walk through your door.

Bringing People Together

I left Los Angeles because it was too difficult to get around and randomly run into people. When your world is not colliding with the worlds of others, it’s exceedingly difficult to coordinate, collaborate, and compete. If you want to accomplish a lot in this lifetime, it makes a big difference living in an environment where you can always find someone to share ideas with. If you are not in that environment, then you need to consider leaving or find a way to build that environment where you’re at. Many groups in San Francisco and New York have taken the coffee shop to the next level by organizing co-working spaces where like-minded thinkers gather at their own pace and immerse themselves in the productivity of mutual togetherness. Surround yourself with people. It makes a huge difference – not only for your productivity, but also for your social and spiritual life.

At every opportunity, sound the horn and bring people together. Throw a party, call a conference, organize a lunch – whatever it takes. Host an event, get people in the door, and thrive.

6 Outsider Misconceptions About Denver

While living in Los Angeles for five years, I was asked many (really dumb) questions about my hometown. Below are the most common misconceptions outsiders shared with me about Denver, Colorado (and yes, these are all real and recurring assumptions):

1. Denver is perpetually buried in several feet of snow.
Hardly. We have over 300 sunny days annually (just short of Miami and more than San Diego). The average annual snowfall in the metro area is 57.5 inches, it lands sporadically six months out of the year, and only 40-50% of it sticks. With the average winter temperature above freezing (between 34 and 51 degrees, depending on the month), the snow that sticks melts in a few days.

2. Most people in Denver are cowboys and dress accordingly.
I can think of five people who wear cowboy boots and zero people who wear cowboy hats casually. Yes, Colorado maintains a lot of agriculture and has rich cow-town history. But the large majority of people do not dress or act the part.

3. Everyone skis.
I don’t. I know many people who never have. It’s really expensive.

4. Columbine High School is the main high school in Littleton.
Jefferson County, Columbine’s home district, has 22 high schools, serves nearly 85,000 students, and blankets a 700 square-mile area with half of a million people. Columbine isn’t even in the Littleton Public School District. Just because the school was televised 12 years ago doesn’t make it the masthead for an entire town.

5. Denver is a violent city.
Two high school students and a few scruffy wildlife hunters do not make an entire city “violent.” The funny part? These assumptions were made by people living in South Central Los Angeles. Denver had 33 murders last year. Los Angeles? 291.

6. Denver is in the mountains.
Seriously? Look at a map. Denver is easily 20 miles away from the nearest hill, let alone the depths of the Rocky Mountains. Do Southern Californians take geography?

On the Road Again

I’ve packed for 12 hours today and will leave at midnight to make the 1,033 mile journey back to Denver for the last time (at least for a while, if not forever). A nasty snow storm awaits my return; it will be an interesting journey.

The next time you move, I encourage you to do as I have done: lighten the load. Sifting through the things I accumulated over the years was a nostalgic experience, but it was equally relieving to leave a lot behind. It’s time for me to move on, optimize, and focus. Donating, recycling, and gifting the unnecessaries will help you move forward.

Wish me a safe trip. With any luck, the next post will declare my arrival.

A Skinnier Colorado

Trust for America’s Health ran a report on obesity rates in the United States.  With little surprise, Colorado ranked the lowest in the nation with a 19.1% obesity rate (Mississippi being the highest at 33.8%).  While this average does not hold for the Black and Latino population, it is a pretty strong representation of Colorado’s health values and qualities.

Read:  Colorado Ranks Least Obese State in the Nation

Strict state-wide public nutritional standards and the preservation of recreational open spaces no doubt contribute to a better Colorado.  But I find this ranking even more notable considering that Colorado has not mandated body mass index (BMI) screenings or Complete Streets legislation like many other states trying to cut down on obesity – Colorado predominantly trusts Coloradans to be healthy.  Perhaps a lesson in parenting?

All pride behind me, 19.1% is one out of every five people!  Thankfully not a third of our population like Mississippi, but a huge slice nonetheless!  We still have work to do.