Motivation Study

December 1, 2013 — Leave a comment

Garrett Fisher and Jae Inglish, PhD are leading a study on economic motivating factors that significantly affect commerce and employment. We are looking for volunteers to complete an on-line questionnaire that will take 5 to 9 minutes to complete. Participants have the option to sign up to be notified of study results – which we expect will be quite interesting. The study can be found at http://instituteforeconomicinnovation.com/motivation-study/.

Its official! Startup Weekend is coming to Breckenridge 1/31/14 to 2/2/14. Colorado Mountain College has been gracious to host the event – it will be held at their campus on Denison Placer Rd.

Startup Weekend is one of the many events I have in mind for the area as we have tremendous entrepreneurial resources here in the Rockies: world class lifestyle, innovative thinkers, high visitor traffic, among other things. More info on what I am up to can be found at the Mountain Entrepreneurial Communities Initiative page at the Institute for Economic Innovation.

After the Boeing 747 Dreamlifter landed at the wrong airport in Wichita, an explanation was in order as to how such a thing could happen. As I flew my antique airplane into the nefarious airport in question in July 2013, the article walks non-pilots through how such a mistake could be made and includes a map and Google Earth 3D simulation of the approach path perspective. The article is entitled How a Professional Pilot Could Possibly Land a Giant Plane at the Wrong Airport.

Click on the menu item “Book” and a flowchart/visual summary of the book is displayed. Given the fact that the book dives into so many subjects and makes many significant statements, there isn’t “one” underlying conclusion the book leads to. In fact, it brings up a host of questions and thought-provoking correlations – for which I intend that readers will spend time thinking about. The book is not designed to think for the reader – rather to spur innate thinking capacity. Thus, a visual representation is the most concise way to preview the subject matter in the book. That, and for those that don’t know me, I hate flowery marketing.

I also added a diagram and chapter listing – some “flowery marketing” for those that need it.

The Human Theory of Everything is now fully published – both in print and e-book editions. It is available on the CreateSpace store (links provided on the site here) and also on Amazon.com. Many thanks goes out to all those that have supported the project.

No sooner than finally having given birth to the book, more are on the way. The startup book is over 50% completed – with some provocative, innovative and interesting perspectives on startups. I definitely look forward to giving the global startup community a giant boost. Shortly, Dr. Inglish and I will be launching a full-blown study on various motivational mechanisms and the impact its results will have on the business world will be quite interesting. Stay tuned.

Almost Ready for Launch

September 23, 2013 — Leave a comment

The print version is finally complete and is actually available now at the CreateSpace store at https://www.createspace.com/4323624. The Kindle conversion is pending – and should be available within 10-12 days at the latest. Right now, the pre-launch is underway – notifying the press, colleagues and other sources. The formal launch will take place when the e-book is ready as well. The book will be available from the CreateSpace store, Amazon.com, Amazon Europe, the Kindle library and a host of other distribution channels.

Even as the launch of the present book is in process, I am well along on my next book focusing on the startup ecosystem and am commencing a data-gathering project for an expansion of the science behind the Human Theory of Everything.

As promised, here they are.

Age 3: We were at a hotel in Minnesota on some form of family trip. I promptly exit the beginner section of the pool, walk down to the 8 foot deep end, and jump in. I can’t swim. To this day, I remember sinking to the bottom, bouncing off and coming up part way. I kind of realize this is a poor situation (being underwater and out of air), yet I find no reason to get all wound up over it. My mother retrieves me by the hair. After extensive coughing and gagging to remove water from my lungs, my mother expresses her limitless affection that I am alive by beating the crap out of me by the side of the pool. When she gets done with working her emotions out over the whole thing, I run to the shallow end and jump in.

Age 5/6: On a summer day at “Terzian’s pond” in NY, a bunch of us are swimming. There is a dock. I walk to the end and jump in. I cannot swim. I sink to the bottom, bounce off and start coming up. Much like the Minnesota incident, my eyes are open. I realize that I am running out of air and under water. Like Minnesota, it doesn’t seem to merit much emotion. My brother retrieves me by the hair. My explanation for why I did this yet again is that “I should know how to swim. This isn’t convenient to be restricted to the kiddy pool section.”

At some point, I learn how to swim.

Age 11. I am at a friend’s place in NY. They have a 40 foot waterfall in the back woods for which I am utterly intrigued. I attempt to climb DOWN it on the one side. Nefarious algae throws a monkey wrench in. Down we go. Now, it wasn’t a 40 foot drop, per se, but it does result in considerable gravity-induced speed and all of it suddenly ending landing on a giant rock. That would have been fine, except there was a beer bottle on it. Completely impervious to the pain – as in, I didn’t know it was there – we climb out of the ravine and go home. My friend’s mother, an RN, is having trouble getting the wound to hold closed with giant butterfly bandages. I look at it in the mirror and nearly puke. There were many internal and external stitches. The physician at the ER was convinced we were at risk of a punctured lung – through ribs – and from behind. My reply “If I had a punctured lung, I wouldn’t be pulling wheelies in this ridiculous wheel chair you have me in.” No punctured lung. To this day, I routinely photo waterfalls. I love them.

Age 18 – I am in Salinas Ecuador. We are at the beach – near a rocky outcropping yet on some sand. The waves are enormous. We are in knee deep surf. A giant wave comes, and takes the sandals with it. I stabilize myself and land my foot on jagged volcanic rock – effectively taking almost all of the skin under the ball of my right big toe with it. I limp like an old man for 3 weeks while it grows back.

Age 19 – Montanita, Ecuador. We are in a renowned surfing town. The waves are enormous, like really big, and far out. Most of the time, it is not possible to swim to them or in them unless you are a surfer and know what you are doing. On one day, the waves get pretty calm – maybe 4 to 5 feet. So I convince a friend to swim out to chest deep water to play in the waves. We’re nursing ourselves closer, getting comfortable with the rhythm of the waves and then it goes quiet. And the water starts pulling out to sea – and fast. “This is not good!” We’re trying to plant our feet – and we’re skidding/bouncing along the sea floor. Pretty soon, we’re staring in the face of a 12+ foot tall face of a wave in neck deep water. If I was Greek, I would think this is Poseidon’s way of expressing displeasure with me somehow. The wave is getting bigger and we’re getting sucked right into it like a vacuum machine of death. I yell “DIVE!” and we both go under just in time. The darkness and trembling force is nothing like anything I have ever felt swimming in the ocean. We come up to complete disorientation, water over 10 feet deep and foam everywhere. Once we get our bearings, we get the hell out of dodge as the next monster is brewing. What we experienced was a “sneaker wave.” Not a fun way to learn.

Age 20 – Orlando, FL – It is evident that I am still alive from all of this stupidity because I can hold my breath for 3 full minutes underwater. Timed with a clock while fully submerged.

Age 21 – Tobermory, Canada. We’re on our honeymoon. The water in the Georgian Bay, while being ice ass cold, is also as pretty as the Caribbean. It “invites” you in jump into it. Seeing that such a thing is dumb, I decide we should rent a kayak. I did so for weeks in Florida – and it was lots of fun. “Let’s get a double sit on top Ocean Kayak.”

I decide that we should kayak to Flowerpot Island. “It’s only 5 miles each way.” At the kayak rental location, there are prominent signs indicating “Kayaking to Flowerpot island not recommended.” “They’re supposed to say that.” So, we load up, add a cooler and other weight-bearing physical mass, and set off to have a picnic on a wave lashed remote island.

It is first evident that this kayak is smaller than the last double sit on top that I rented. Secondly, between the cooler and reduced buoyancy of freshwater, it is a teetering watercraft. We paddle out along the shore where the water is a stunning blue. As we round the point and head into open water, it goes from blue to black. The kayak is ready to tip over at any moment. Stupidly, I advise my extremely nervous wife that we are now over 650ft deep water. In no soft manner, she demands that we return. We do. Forget Flowerpot Island. Maybe I am getting wise in my old age. Disaster averted.

Age 21 (Two Months Later) – Niagara Falls, USA. Yeah, this can’t be good if it involves Niagara Falls. I went with two friends – one who was visiting from Ireland – to the Falls for the day. I lived 40 minutes from there – so we frequented the location. After doing all of the touristy things I had never done (Maid of the Mist, Cave of the Winds, etc), we decided to go to the lower rapids and the Whirlpool. There are a number of ways down the gorge (approx. 200ft). We opted for the cliff scramble down. The park down there is amazing – a must see for any visitors to the falls.

The rapids are Class VI – the highest classification in Eastern North America – considered deadly and “unrunnable.” In other words, people don’t white water them. Standing waves are 9 to 16 feet (this is true – it is amazing to stand next to the edge and see the water curl over your head in the middle of the river). Water in this section reaches 35mph.

Of course….. there was a rock that was near the edge that would provide a better view of the rapids. So, we collectively decided we needed to get on to it. The other two hopped over. I tried….and my foot landed on algae. Off she goes… and in I go. Fortunately, the water formed an eddy downstream of this rock – so it wasn’t moving fast. I bearhugged the rock while I could feel the intense pull on my feet (as the river, like a hungry monster, sought to pull me in). I was 15 feet from the monstrous standing wave and 35mph waters. I climbed on to the rock and successfully jumped to shore. Not doing that again……

Age 29 – St. Augustine FL. Kayaks. Again. I rented a kayak in the harbor area in St. Augustine and paddled out between Anastasia Island and Porpoise Point. The inlet isn’t very wide – enough for boats to go through and the tide to flow in and out. As I got out to Anastasia Island, I went to shore. Anastasia is uninhabited as it is a state park. To walk to this point is a few miles from the parking lot – so I was able to achieve my long-standing goal of getting away from the noise of humanity. After taking photos of the place and watching the rather amusing pelicans, the waves were calling. They were a bit out – not exactly right next to shore. Further – they were a manageable size. So I packed the camera in the waterproof bag and headed out.

Trying to time waves with a kayak can be like black magic. The goal is not to get the wave to crash on you – or to be tumbled and rolled. I failed at the first objective. A wave cleanly and perfectly set up to crash right on me and the boat. The only option (other than abandoning ship) is to build up some momentum to counter the force. So I went to full throttle paddling and the wave landed right on me in the boat. My plan worked – as opposed to being tumbled, we merely found ourselves under 3 feet of water. The boat slowly rose to the surface.

Upon my return to Anastasia island, I failed to account for the nefarious things that happen when one goes with the waves. It was a novel notion that sparked in my mind to ride the wave. Cute. As I paddled to catch it, the idea worked at first. What I failed to realize is that, by going the speed of the wave and not faster or slower, one is perfectly matched to be entirely controlled by the wave itself. As it curled, the boat commenced a hard left turn. This wouldn’t be good.

Effectively, the boat gets rolled into the wave and dumps the occupant. Then both the boat and occupant get put on the spin cycle and tumble together. The boat smashed my sunglasses into my face and we both had a few collisions. When I came up for air…. Smack! Under the capsized kayak with more waves. The thought [calmly] came to mind “If I recall correctly, people frequent the act of dying getting stuck under boats. This is cute.” Still underwater, I realized that escaping the clutches of the boat may simply result in surfacing into a crashing wave and starting all over again. So, still underwater, I timed the waves and came out in a lull. The camera survived.

Summary

So one would naturally assume that I am a dumbass devoid of any ability to learn or use common sense. I must counter such notions on a few fronts:

a) I have superior longevity under water.
b) I tend not to repeat the same kind of deadly instances.
c) I spend lots of time near water. I failed to mention the innumerable list of amazing things I have seen and photo’d and the extreme amounts of time I spend in the water. These are just the fallacies.
d) My weakness is “should.” I “should” be able to get to that rock. I “should” be able to kayak to that island……
e) I am not dead yet.

As I write, we have a friend that will be visiting that, despite my incident in Lake Dillon, wants to kayak there. She is more than welcome to go by herself.

I have had somewhat of a schizophrenic relationship with social media. On one hand, “everybody is doing it” and on the other, I think it is fundamentally retarded – being a mix of stalking, attention deficit disorder and narcissism.

Egged on by advice from successful people (and whoring my individuality), I created a Twitter account. I posted maybe 20 tweets – only to realize that those with Twitter accounts that have massive followings have no possible personal life outside of Twitter, whatsoever.

I created a Facebook account (no pages or posts, just an account) and deleted them, twice. Despite the higher follower and user counts and increased content flexibility, I just can’t bring myself to do it. Reading a company’s Facebook page has been more useful than their website maybe 0.001% of the time.

Across the board – whether promoting social media or not, whether successful on social media or not – blogs have been a mainstay. There is no better way to share reasonable amounts of information in literary functional ways – that is also Google searchable and simultaneously functions as an information archive.

Thus, this blog and my LinkedIn page are it.

So I got the second proof for my book today. It looks great. Happy and content, I decide to take a break from the 4-hour-per-day 6 to 10PM book writing grind and do something different. Anne was relaxing a bit – and we planned a golf course walk at 8PM – so I decided to go Kayaking on Lake Dillon at 6PM.

I have one of those Swedish kayaks that comes in two pieces. It slides together and there is a ratchet that holds it in place. So I load it into the truck, head over Swan Mountain Road to Snake River Inlet. It’s a short haul to the water.

After pulling the entire ensemble near the shore, I try to get the thing together. It becomes a game of whack-a-mole. 2 slots together, 3rd won’t fit. Round and round we go. Try it upside down, on its side, against a rock. Move it to the grass. Finally give it a swift kick and in she goes. Ratchet down, put on the life jacket, get my iPhone and headphones (in a ziplock bag). I nurse myself into the thing – as my entry point is a large pile of rocks.

Abandon Ship!

Off we go. I am reminded of how slick this kayak is. It’s remarkably fast. I head toward a point further out in the lake. My five minutes of bliss is interrupted with the first assumption that perhaps I am not going as fast as I was before. “Oh, it must be the distance to shore and an illusion from being so far out.” Then I notice that the middle of the kayak is bowing up at the connection point of the two pieces. “This can’t be good. Oh well, it must be the fact that it wouldn’t connect well.” 30 seconds later, it is apparent that the nose is pointing up. Shit. I look behind me – everything behind me is underwater. “Crap, we have a leak.” So, I paddle forward for 5 seconds – in denial and thinking “it’s a slow leak.” The 2×4 of sensibility smacks me on the side of the head. I turn the boat around – nearly falling in. Bad sign. I start attempting to make haste – of course, I am moving at the speed that a kayaker pulling an ocean freighter would move. Then critical mass hits – that would be when the mix of buoyancy and weight collide such that the boat loses all stability. She tips to the right and in we go.

As we are in the process of tipping, I reach for the iPhone in its bag (this happens in less than a second). This is a previously mastered skill as a result of many other capsizings with kayaks.

The water in Lake Dillon is cold. Some feet down, its in the 30s and 40s. It maxes at 63 in the peak of the hottest summers at the surface. I fell in a deep section near where snowmelt from ski resorts and 14000 foot peaks enters the water (read: very cold) and went down completely under. I was not prepared for what happens when impacting very cold water (even though I have swam in some very cold water). They call it the “torso reflex” – the person gasps for air upon hitting ice ass cold water. Some have drowned from it – by taking in water in the process. It has been described as “having all of the air sucked out of your lungs” (that is accurate, btw). I have swum in 52-degree water for rather long periods of time – and such a thing has never happened. I have quite the tolerance for cold (evidenced by my hatred for hot weather). Who knows what I fell into temperature wise? Maybe high 40s?

So, here I am at 9100 feet altitude in water possibly below 50 degrees and I can’t breathe (all of which is made worse by altitude). As I was falling in, the decision to abandon the boat was obvious. 3rd time in use and it leaks (for a $550 Swedish boat that is two years old)? I will address those grievances with the manufacturer. The boat can go to hell. $100 oar from REI took 8 seconds to part with – it floats yet provides ZERO buoyancy to a human.

In the ensuing 30 second struggle to breathe, I realize I am some distance from shore and I might drown and I am in a damn life jacket! It is as though the water up here is half buoyant compared to sea level. I am swimming and nothing is happening.

After the 30 seconds expires and I am gasping for air, I realize I need to relax. “Float damn it! That doesn’t take much effort.” So I start slowly kicking, no arms. I can breathe. At some point, I can’t. WTF! I HAVE A LIFE JACKET ON! (For some reason, if I stop swimming, I sink. The PFD must be undersized). Relax again. Ahhh… oxygen… and, at this pace, I will be dead of hypothermia by the time I get to shore. Need to swim faster. So I turn onto my stomach. That has about the same usefulness as breathing in a mouthful of water. Hypoxia in 6 seconds. Turn back over. Relax. Can breathe. Not swimming. Going to die. This sucks! WTF! Its sunny, 62 degrees out, its late July, I am an excellent swimmer, I HAVE A LIFE JACKET ON and I MIGHT DROWN. THIS IS FREAKING RETARDED!

This Captain is Not Going Down With His Ship

I then figure out that, when I swim with legs and arms, I tend to go fast (as in, I default to sea level swimming methodologies). At 9100ft and with rapid heat transfer, we can’t do that because, for some reason, I feel like I can’t breathe when I do (even though I am gasping for air and whatever I take in is not enough). I limit to leg kicking and up the rpm. Now we’re moving – and we won’t suffocate in open atmosphere. At this point, I realize there is a giant hole in the ziplock bag and my iPhone 5 is floating inside. As are my 3 week old $25 Apple ear buds – for which I replaced for having put the previous pair in the washing machine. Damn. Drain the water. Keep kicking.

After doing some research on useakayak.org (what a slap in the face!), I find that the water temperature I was in would result in loss of dexterity in 5 to 10 minutes, exhaustion within 30 to 60 minutes and death within 1 to 3 hours. Such a nice feeling that the clock started ticking the moment I fell in. It is redeeming that the water was slowly warming the closer to shore I got. Further, in retrospect, I realized that I was trying to levitate into the top 6 inches of water where it was warmer. This was resulting in abdominal muscle contraction – which makes doing anything harder at 9100ft due to less available breathing space.

Two minutes after the cold-water induced lack of respiration, I reflect on how long it has been since I took a swim. And such a “refreshing” one at that! I had been wanting to go to the water for a while now. It takes 10 to 15  minutes to get to shore – or well, 100 feet from shore. As far as I am concerned, hypothermia will not be a problem – more, if anything, to do with the fact that I think hypothermia is a state of mind, dumb and I refuse to succumb to it (Ironically, in March 2012, at 13000 feet elevation, completely soaking wet, sitting in 5 feet of snow, after sundown, waiting for search and rescue, I had a similar conversation with myself). I hit a rock and realize I am in 18 inches of water and stand up. Don’t I feel dumb.

So the two fisherman who witnessed the angry kayak assembly, subsequent kayaking, near sinking, capsizing and swimming back don’t blink an eye until I get within 10 feet of them. Their response “Was that planned?” My response: “No. I don’t routinely spend $1200 to kayak for 5 minutes followed by a kiss with hypothermia.” ($649 for iPhone, $550 for kayak). They chuckle. This is a moment where the laid back nature of Summit County pisses me off.

Dealing With the First Officer

I drove home and when I get in the door, Anne asks “How was kayaking?” “My stupid ass kayak sank.” “WHAT?!?” “It sprung a leak and sank when I was out in the lake. I had to swim to shore. Idiotic piece of crap!” Anne is convinced that I am in shock. “You’re skin is freezing cold! You’re in shock!” “I AM NOT IN SHOCK. I AM FINE. I AM HOT!” So she starts researching homeopathic remedies and starts laughing rather extensively. “WHAT?!?” “Well, the remedy for shock is someone who is restless – you’re pacing – eats though not hungry – are you hungry?” “NO!” “Well, you’re eating like mad. And…. they are convinced they are just fine and not in shock.” “Well, that is just fine for you. I, for one, am hot. I drove home with the windows open. I am taking a shower to wash off 150 years of unregulated mining tailing residue and giardia from beaver crap.”

As I am taking a shower, Anne asks “Are you taking a hot shower?” “NO! I am hot already!” At this moment, I recall that hypothermic people, before they die, think they are boiling hot, strip off all their clothes, and roll around in the snow. Their corpses are later found frozen in the snow with a dumb look of drugged happiness frozen on their dead faces. Here I am, naked, standing in a stream of cold water, convinced I am hot after falling into a torso reflex-inducing cold lake. Fine. Maybe I am in some form of “shock.”

So after the cold shower, I go downstairs. “Fine. I might need this “remedy.” Here is the problem. I am 32 years old – and as far as I am concerned, I am 15, never going to age, impervious to trauma and a short swim across a cold lake should not be a near death experience. This is all drama and I DON’T DO VULNERABILITY.” Anne’s reply: “Well, vulnerability seems to do you.” “FINE! GIVE ME THE REMEDY.”

Inland Equivalent to the Coast Guard

Anne then mentions that we probably should call the rescue people and tell them that the capsized boat in the lake is not connected to a hypothetical corpse at the bottom of the lake. “You should call the Dillon police.” “I’m not calling the Dillon police! The Sheriff handles Search and Rescue.” (this being something I am intimately familiar with due to my little mountain adventure in March of 2012). Since she is the only one with a working phone, she dials Dillon Police and hands me the phone. No answer. I dial Summit County Sheriff and advise them of the stupidity of manufacture of my kayak – and then have to back into the practical point that there is a possibly still floating kayak with no associated corpse. They thank us profusely – as they advised that “many guys would have spent the night looking for you. Thank you so much for calling.” I told him I’ll poke around for the piece du merde tomorrow morning – wherever it washes up. Within 2 hours, the Sheriff’s office had dispatched Marine One and retrieved the boat. We have an appointment for 10:30AM tomorrow.

We contemplated “perhaps they have nothing to do” and later realized that a capsized boat would probably yield more drama than just fetching it – with passersby fantasizing about apparent corpses in the lake (though fishermen seem to not care about people becoming corpses right in front of them). That, and they are some very nice people. Stupidity reigns and yet again the Sheriff’s Office makes it all better.

So Maybe I’m Not a Black Ops Commando

So I take the remedy. I then realize that life-imperiling events suck. I don’t like being vulnerable – and for the first time in recorded history, a moronic outcome was not the result of moronic thinking. I took reasonable precautions and my damn nearly new, Scandinavian shrine to nautical engineering was, in fact, a piece of shit. Stupid mega corporations! What am I, a 90-year-old woman? I can’t even take a swim in a cold lake with out some form of “recovery period.” This is retarded.

I then, in my introspective, remedy-induced reflections on the meaning of life realize that I have a very poor success ratio with kayaks. Maybe one out of four events ends poorly. “But I am really good around the water. It’s the kayaks that suck.” Then my aquatic life flashes before my eyes. Hmm… I have nearly drowned many times. Like many times. In a future post, I will enumerate my amusingly retarded experiences with water.