Happy Birthday, Brother!

22 years ago today, my little brother Kyle was born. We are 18 months apart and could not be better friends. We’ve made great memories, nearly killed each other several times, and had a blast over the years. Thank you, Kyle, for teaching me that random is healthy. Thank you for reminding me to have fun. And thank you for supporting me through it all. You raise me up on a pedestal, but you deserve far more praise than I. You go where your heart takes you, love everyone, and are not afraid to be yourself. I have so much more to learn.
 

Take care of yourself in South Korea, brother. If you decide to have Asian babies, please do not name one of them Tuvok.

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Mondays Should Die

You had an amazing weekend with family and friends. Parties. Activities. Errands. Rock and roll. Guess what? Back to work! It’s Monday time!

I hate Mondays. I am willing to bet you do not like them either. A great taste in your mouth soured by the burdens of a professional life. Most people have really rough starts on Mondays. Few deals get closed. Very little work gets done. Most people spend the better part of their day trying to switch into productive mode. After a short burst of personal time over the weekend, Monday rear-ends and whiplashes the hell out of you.

I say we kill Mondays. That’s right. Kill Monday. Embrace the three-day weekend. A day to be social, a day to do personal work, and a day to rest. Start the week on Tuesday and only work four days. Think you won’t get the same amount of work done? Just try it. I guarantee that you will fill the time with the same amount of work.

Worried you’ll miss customers or clients on Monday? Most people are preoccupied with their own hellish Mondays to care about your business, so no worries. And besides, if you set the expectations of outsiders by informing them that you do not operate on Mondays, they will catch on, deal with it, and not resent you. You do not want the complaining customers anyway.

But every week needs to start, right? So won’t starting the week one day later just shift the burden of hate to Tuesday? Perhaps. But have you ever heard of the work-life balance? Splitting the week nearly in half with weekend and work week will help balance the amount of time you invest in yourself and invest in your work. By the end of the long weekend, you will feel more inclined to pick up the pen again. After you are rested, caught up, and partied out, you will feel the need to get back to work. In fact, you may even WANT to go back to work.

And why not take Friday off instead? Since most employees are procrastinators by nature, Friday is valuable real estate for last minute productivity. And since other companies you do business with are probably procrastinating as well, there will be less friction if you continue to operate on Friday. While everyone else is working on Monday, you can take the time for yourself to recover from your weekend and rest up before a new week. A healthier team and a healthier life. 

Sound utopian? Maybe. But worth the experiment. When I run a business, I plan to give it a shot.

Thanks Dad!

To all the fathers out there, happy day and congratulations!

My family’s adventures at Disneyland continue. Star Tours was pretty impressive; we look forward to riding it again first thing in the morning.

My parents taught me to spend money on two things: food and travel. My mother inspired my love for food and my father my love for travel. In thanks to this, we organized a nice family vacation this weekend.

I cannot advocate enough for taking a vacation. And I cannot advocate enough for spontaneity. Five days ago, I had no idea I would be with my family, let alone be transported to a mental and physical escape. But everything fell into place, and I have had the best weekend in a long time. Everyone needs a break. Take one for yourself, and give one to others. It’s necessary.

Thanks, Dad. You rule.

To celebrate the other biggest, baddest father in the galaxy – and also to commemorate a family trip to Disneyland – please enjoy this:


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Little Girl Joins The Dark Side – Watch more Funny Videos

Newton’s Three Laws of Parenting

Isaac Newton

While the rules of physics define the physical relationship between objects, I find them particularly relevant when studying the psychological relationship between human beings. Take Newton in regards to parenting:

Law 1: Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

Every child on a chosen path with remain on that path unless an external force intervenes. Watching your son or daughter turn to the dark side? Do not trust in time to cure all evils; you may need to step in. Watching your son or daughter struggle to meet their goals? Friends, laws, cash flow, distractions, and many other “external forces” will slow your child down. Be involved and give him or her an extra push when necessary. Obvious, no?

Law 2: Acceleration is produced when a force acts on a mass. The greater the mass of the object being accelerated, the greater the amount of force needed to accelerate the object.

The greater the pressure exerted on a child, the more likely he or she will “accelerate.” Having trouble waking your child for school in the morning? Getting him or her to do homework? Stop playing video games? Avoid hard drugs? Come home before curfew? You can push harder and harder on your child to get the results you expect, but the hounding may have consequences we will explore in Law #3.

How about peer pressure? The more friends goad or tempt your child, the more likely your child will go along with it. Or what about motivation? Some children need a brighter spark to inspire them. Why would some children need a bigger nudge? Physics would tell us it’s because they have greater “mass.” Nothing to do with obesity, I think the “mass” in this equation has a lot to do with your child’s individuality. If he or she is true to him or herself – a defined individual with defined interests and characteristics – then he or she will be much less swayed by you or others. Some children may be stubborn and defiant, others down to earth and cultured. In either case, children with richer individuality are much more difficult to sell.

Law 3: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

My favorite rule of the three, and the one I think baby boomers overlooked the most: if you act on your child, expect a reaction. Discipline is difficult for every parent. Depending on how you do it, you can make things much worse. Without justifying your demands in terms your child can appreciate, be prepared for him or her to fight back or deviate further. The more force you exert on the situation (screaming, violence, etc.), the greater the reaction you should expect. Explicitly forbidding your children from doing things may be a recipe for disaster.

I have seen it a handful of times: alocoholic parents punishing their children for drinking underage. The result? The children lose respect for their parents and drink harder. For punishment to be effective, you need to hold credibility with your child. Personal experiences, stories, and statistics all help your case better than “go to your room” or “give me your car keys.”

Children usually know when they make mistakes and punishment is usually superfluous. Teaching consequence is important, but make sure consequences are related to the infraction. Eating a cookie before dinner has nothing to do with watching television. When children do not believe they did anything wrong, it is senseless to yell and accuse them of it – they will just villainize you for it and refuse to see your point of view. Find a more clever way to make your point. Or expect an equal and opposite reaction. Physics, baby.

Life Goals

Photo of an open fortune cookieBring people together.

Build a home.

Separate culture from money.

Raise children.

End the culture wars.

Spend time well.

What in life is most important to you? What are your values? Can you spin them into goals that drive your life?

Self worth stems from purpose. Purpose stems from goals. Goals stem from values.

Wrap your goals into fortune cookie-sized mission statements. If you are not willing to tattoo these statements to your body, your goals are not developed well enough.

Live the change you want to see in the world. Live the change you want to see in your own life.

But first, know thyself.

5 Reasons to Leave Your Industry Hub and Move Elsewhere

Westward Expansion

Every industry has a central hub. New York for finance and marketing, Silicon Valley for tech, Hollywood for entertainment, etc. These “capitals” boast concentrated resources invaluable to companies on every level. While centralized talent and cash may be great for growing companies, it is not always beneficial for employees or startups. Competition can be fierce, even deadly. And you may be compromising your ideal quality of life by living there.

Friends know I am not a big proponent of the Hollywood community or life in Los Angeles. In fact, I would be happy to see Los Angeles crash and burn (but that’s a post for another day). Nevertheless, I appreciate the things I’ve learned, connections I’ve made and resources I have access to here. But while I support studying in the belly of the beast (I did so through USC Film School and continued employment in Hollywood), I think it may be to your advantage to take that knowledge elsewhere.

Below are five reasons why you should consider moving away and doing your own thing in another city:

  1. Less Competition. Fewer companies competing for business. Fewer qualifiers poaching jobs. Depending on the scope of your business or skill set, it will be far less difficult and expensive to stake a claim with your great idea or robust resume. There may be a smaller talent pool to recruit from and fewer jobs to step into, but you have a greater chance of standing out.
  1. Easier Press Attention. In fresh locales with less competition, you are the cool kid on the block. Almost everything you do can be newsworthy. It is exponentially easier to promote yourself and rise above the noise outside your industry hub. Do you think the Los Angeles Times gives a damn about film shoots anymore?
  1. Quality of Living. If you are liberated to live anywhere, live where you want to. The cost of living could be cheaper, the pursuit of recreation easier, the commute shorter, the schools better, the communities safer and the environment cleaner. Way waste your life accepting surroundings or a lifestyle that fails to enrich your soul?
  1. The Local Hook. You can sell your support for the community as well or better than you can sell your products or skills themselves. Every city is packed with patriots who will gladly help you out if you promote the local angle of your ambition. You may even be able to secure local investment from financiers who simply adore their home town, even if you are situated in a sector outside their expertise. And to differentiate yourself in the national and international market, you can embrace local themes and regional advantages through your marketing, sales and products (Denver is healthy, Detroit is rebooting, Hawaii is beautiful, etc.).
  1. Room for Growth. Industry hubs are wrought with history, tradition, bureaucracy and rules. Moving elsewhere makes it possible to start anew, break rules and bend the future as you see fit. Becoming a local industry expert or thought leader is much easier with less competition and accessible press. By earning that respect, you are better situated to shape the direction of the community at large and make a name for yourself. There is less ladder climbing and more real work being done.

Mark Suster wrote an insightful post this week about building tech communities outside Silicon Valley. For anyone interested in skipping town, I encourage you to read it (even if you are not in the tech industry).

Home

On a flight to Denver this morning to see family and friends for a long weekend. Home.

How do you define “home?” A residence? Memories? Family? Friends? Your job?

Home is where the heart is. Love and cherish it.

The family you choose, the passions you follow, the place you always long to return to. But if the place you reside does not allow your dearest relationships to be near, enable the pursuit of your dreams, or warm your heart upon return, then can you truly call it home? Why are you living there? Go home. Or find another.

To complicate matters, you can never truly appreciate home until you leave it.