Life Under Quarantine

As of yesterday, the “stay home” quarantine period due to COVID-19 will mark the longest (two-months) I have stayed in one place since graduating from college back in 2006. in that time, I have logged more than 100K airline miles per year and not fewer than 100 nights (and more often closer to 200) nights in hotels annually.

Working from home has been a very interesting experience. Prior to quarantine at the beginning of 2020, I took at least 2 flights per week often traveling by plane for several hours to attend a 1-hour meeting and getting back on a plane to be off to the next event. The new reality has been quite a welcome change. Waking up in the same bed, at home, with my wife every day has been amazing. Helping this experience is the fact that we’re “stuck” at our house in Costa Rica. About the only negative is that we bought this house not intending for both of us to work virtually out of the house. It is a small (under 1000 sq ft) space. Packing two desks into the house has been challenging. But all things considered, having access to our gym, the trails around Nosara, and all the amazing food the area has to offer has been amazing. In two months, I have only registered one red day on WHOOP, a fitness and recovery tracking wearable, and my average recovery is 30% higher than when I was regularly traveling.

The long-term implications of this quarantine are both exciting and potentially challenging. First, and most importantly, customers are embracing virtual meetings and the reality has forced customer organizations to provide better tools for virtual collaboration. This is not temporary. It’s going to stick and usher in an entirely new paradigm that will result in few trips, lower business travel costs, and much less time wasted traveling. Instead of traveling cross-country for 5 hours for a one-hour meeting, and back again on a red-eye, I can now just hop on Teams, utilize video, and have 85% of the interaction/experience I could have had in person. In the DoD, this is a monumental shift. There will certainly be times where I will find face-to-face valuable and critical, but I believe I will be able to reduce my travel by more than 50%. One potential downside: as a United Global Services member, I was considered part of the backbone of United’s operations, spending more than $50K annually. If many of my GS compatriots are like me, there will be a lot less profitable fliers which means airlines will likely reduce service. Instead of having a flight almost every hour from DC to LA, the new reality could make travel less flexible. Perhaps it won’t matter but it will be interesting to see how limited travel options become.

All in all, the past two months have marked quite the dramatic shift in business operations, travel, and virtual collaboration and mark the beginning the “new normal.” Exciting and interesting times ahead as the world quickly evolves into a new paradigm.

Optimizing Your Health

The CrossFit Open is now over and what a year it was been. In one year I went from the 70th percentile to the 99th. How was this possible? Certainly hard work, but our bodies are only capable of so much without the tools to empower excellence.

For years I walked around feeling pretty good. At Virginia Military Institute I ran nearly every day, played rugby, lifted weights several times a week, and towards the end of my cadetship logged around 150-200 miles a week on a road bike. I was by all measures healthy and fit. I could run a 5:30 mile and regularly scored a perfect 300 on the USMC Physical Fitness test. But physically and mentally it was a struggle. I never really felt energized. My food choices sucked, I never got more than 4 hours of sleep a night, and the stress was a lot to handle.

Fast forward a decade and it was much the same story. I was doing CrossFit 4-5 days a week, running regularly, and by all definitions “healthy.” However, there was still an ever-present fog. I made reasonably healthy food choices; I had a CSA that provided lots of veggies, organic meat and cheese, etc and I never drank soda. I consumed a fair amount of alcohol but always made it to the gym to “burn off” whatever bad choices I may have made on a weekend.

In my mind I was doing everything right. Maybe drinking a little too much, but for the average Washington DC professional, well below the median. I was exercising regularly, I was eating good food. For 4 straight years I had competed in the CrossFit Open. For four straight years I was in the upper middle of the pack. No where near elite, but no where near the bottom. At the gym, I was regularly near the top performance wise. However, I just didn’t feel amazing. I felt sluggish a lot, especially after meals and in the middle of the day.  I thought I knew a lot about nutrition but I really had no idea what was in all these powders and what effect they had on me, nor how much my body would actually process and absorb. I now know I was definitely uneducated about exactly what these powders were doing, but they had a gigantic ripped spokesperson so they had to be exactly what I needed right? Spoiler alert, they’re not…

12 months ago, I decided to get serious about my health. I started eating cleaner than I ever had, cut out bread, started taking a multivitamin and quality supplements. I certainly saw some benefits but I quickly plateaued. I was still missing something but I had no idea what. I was following all of the traditional nutritional advice. It turns out my dietary needs were a little unique because of my genetics. Elise  (the brains behind OptiGenetix) analyzed my genetic profile and used this information to custom tailor a nutritional supplementation plan to my individual needs. The genetic analysis showed me where I had unique mutations in my body’s DNA and how I could alter my lifestyle and supplementation regiment to give my body extra support to override the mutations and free up energy for recovery. One example: I apparently have a “double homozygous MTRR mutation causing an upregulation of the gene.” Which sounds terrifying. But apparently it’s an easy fix. Because of this mutation my B12 (and major energy source) was being depleted from my body faster than normal. I have now taken the steps to add lithium to help utilize B12 and take a specific type of B12 (there are 4 types) as part of my supplementation plan every day.

Within 3 weeks the daily fog was gone. Within 6 months I had noticed significant improvements in “engine” workouts, those that require significant periods of extended anaerobic effort to the point where I was almost always the top finisher in daily workouts. In the 2018 CrossFit Open I finished the prescribed workouts in top 1% of global finishers. It is important to note, I didn’t change anything about the way I workout. I was just able to do the same workout routine faster, more completely, more effectively, and with more energy than I ever had in my life.

My body was simply missing or unable to process and absorb many of the things it needed to function optimally. The solutions are remarkably simple. I went from feeling “fine” to feeling amazing, with more energy and focus than I have ever had. The transformation has been unbelievable, and it’s all thanks to the analysis from Optigenetix. Next year I turn 35. And I’m happy to say that I am the best shape I have ever been in with more still to come.

Another Year in the Books


207,438 flight miles, 13 countries, 220 nights in hotels, 14 nights on airplanes, and 9 nights in the office. That’s a little more than 26 times around the globe. 2017 was a big year travel wise. We have been fortunate in that our travels have taken us to to some magnificent locations. We’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing people, expand our worldview  significantly, and experience the world in a way I wouldn’t have imagined possible not too long ago. Our business has grown, partnerships matured, and we’re finally in a place after all these years where it doesn’t feel like the rug will get ripped out from under us every day. We’re competing with and beating “the big guys.”

For me 2017 was a fantastic year and we’ve laid the groundwork for an even more exciting 2018 both professionally and personally. Happy New Year!

Pros and Cons of AirBnB for Business Travel

Last year Airbnb raised $1.5 billion in funds that brought the value of the company to about $25.5 billion. This made it worth more than the Chicago, Ill.-based Hyatt Hotels Corp and the Parsippany-Troy Hills, N.J.-based Wyndham Worldwide Corp, respectively. This must have Marriott (my go-to brand) and the other big guys worried. It’s not once a year vacationers that float a hotel’s bottom line. It’s people like me who basically live out of a suitcase and book full rate rooms. There’s pros and cons to each.

Over the past four years I have slowly ramped up the amount of time I spend in AirBnB vs a traditional hotel. It started back in 2014 during one of the quarterly trips to Stockholm, a notoriously bad European city for hotel availability. Pre-Marriott/Starwood merger, there was a single Marriott property in the city and it wasn’t in a central location (Starwood added an additional points generating option). In desperation, and instead of spending over $500/night on a subpar, tiny room I ventured for the first time into a random stranger’s home for the week. This particular apartment had everything you could hope for. It was about 3x the size of a standard hotel room, had a full kitchen and was centrally located (not as important, it was also much cheaper). Subsequent trips to Stockholm have relied almost exclusively on AirBnB mostly due to their lack of Marriott properties.

In 2014, ’15 and ’16 I averaged more than 200 nights in Marriott properties and slowly increased my AirBnB nights from 10 in 2014 to around 30 in 2016. While a 300% increase, still not on par with Marriott nights. Largely, my lack of enthusiasm for using AirBnB for business travel has centered on the unknown. While a quirky place that photographs well but is lacking amenities and strong internet might be fine for a short vacation, the certainty of Marriott (albeit other drawbacks) made it perfect for a late-night arrival knowing I wouldn’t have to worry about anything. With the addition of the “business travel friendly” icon in AirBnB this has gotten better but it’s just not quite there yet. While Airbnb has grown from appealing to couch-surfing budget-conscious tourists to business travelers seeking a more memorable experience (and in my case, a kitchen to cook some healthy meals in) there’s definitely room for improvement. Because there isn’t a “corporate” oversight of individual listings there is definitely a problem with listings that photograph well and really underwhelm you (or lack the amenities listed) and consistent issue at more than half the properties I have stayed in has been internet. It would be great if there was a way for guest ratings to include an auto-generated speed test result for the host internet connectivity in business verified listings.

In 2017, so far, I have spent 160 nights in Marriott and 40 nights in AirBnB. Looking forward to the end of the year, it will be about a 50/50 split with around 180 nights in Marriott and 60 nights in AirBnB. So there are pros and cons. To summarize, for me, the biggest pro is having an entire apartment or house. For trips over three days, this is critical. Having some extra space, the ability to cook a meal, and have a feeling of “home” can take some of the drudgery out of business travel. For short trips, the certainty and familiarity of established hotel brands like Marriott win out. I’m sure as AirBnB continues to grow they will explore more ways to capture business revenue. Finding ways to establish this certainty in listings will be key. On my travel alone we’re talking total revenue close to $40K per year that’s up for grabs and I’m no where near the top of the business travel game.

Interested in trying out AirBnB for your next business trip? Sign up for Airbnb and get $40 off your trip at

Eating on The Road: Making Conscious Decisions

According to MyFitnessPal my “optimal” level of carbohydrate intake is 294 g per day. I can tell you that number is ridiculously high and reflects many of things that are grossly wrong with diets today.

As I write this I am sitting on an airplane in first class surrounded by relatively successful people most of whom travel as much if not more than I do. Of the 15 other people sharing the cabin with me, all but one is severely overweight. This problem is seen time and time again in any airline lounges and aircraft around the world that I happen to be in. There is a significant correlation between number of miles flown (or traveled period) in a year and BMI. It’s just damn hard to eat well on the road and there are many pitfalls that we as frequent travelers should be aware of and avoid.

Urged by my wife, I read “Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It” and took many of the lessons in this book to heart. First, eliminate sugar. Don’t get me wrong, this is incredibly hard. United might have a pretty poor success rate getting me to my destination on time but they can always be counted on to serve piping hot cookies. Want to grab a quick salad prior to a flight? That dressing almost assuredly has sugar (and soy…seriously there are so many unnecessary ingredients in airport food) in it, as does the dressing served with the salad on board. Fruit? Not any more. As you’ll learn when you read the book, fruit isn’t actually much better for you than raw sugar itself. Honey, sugar, fructose, whatever….It’s all basically treated by our bodies the same, it’s killing us, and it has no place in our lives.

The second lesson I’ve grasped ahold of in my daily life is not just limiting sugar but all carbohydrates. My goal is under 20 but realistically, especially on the road it’s closer to 30 net carbs per day. This has been incredibly eye opening. Seemingly healthy foods like hummus, green beans, quinoa, gluten free bread, etc are carb loaded and aren’t helping your expanding waistline. Serving sizes are also absurd making what you are typically served 4-5 actual servings per the nutrition information. Many foods marketed as healthy, natural, organic, etc are anything but good for you. It may be part of the reason why vegetarians in the United States aren’t typically healthier than their meat eating counterparts. They’re replacing meat with well marketed but ultimately crap food.

So what do I eat? First, I haven’t decreased the amount of exercise I do. That means I’m still burning ~4000 calories per day. It’s a lot of food when you’ve cut out calorie bomb, carbohydrate and sugar loaded foods like fruit, energy bars, and cookies.

The answer is fats and greens. Lots of them. The majority of my net carbs come from leafy greens, broccoli, etc. Breakfast starts with a “smoothie” made with spinach, almond milk, water, green superfood powder, tumeric, ginger, lysine, vitamin c powder, MCT oil and topped with low carb nuts like pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and pecans. My wife and I travel with our blender (you can actually carry this model in your carry on) and this meal to start the day is a godsend. Perhaps around midday I’ll cook some greens with a couple eggs in some duck fat (with a fat goal close to 200 grams per day, adding fat is vital). Lunch might consist of lettuce wraps, while dinner is usually a small portion of meat such as lamb or buffalo and more greens or veggies like brussels or cabbage and a side salad. At no point am I hungry. That’s part of the key to success. Being hungry encourages cheating which becomes habit which becomes the standard.

So how can I do this on the road? Step one: Save your meals out for client dinners and be that guy in a restaurant. Something on the menu not in line with your desires? Substitute it. You are paying for a meal. Get it the way you want. Order the steak, pass on the bread and substitute extra spinach or broccoli for the loaded potato. Want dessert? Have a cheese plate. Obviously there are limits to this and picking the right restaurant is critical. Steak and seafood houses are great. Perfect for client dinners and you won’t leave hungry. Step two: cook for yourself. Go to your local organic grocery store upon landing and pick up the essential items and cook for yourself, picking hotels like the Residence Inn by Marriott. Step three: have willpower. Served an airplane meal of a “Southwest” chicken salad with a side of fruit and a cookie? Don’t eat the fruit or the cookie, and take a minute to pick out the tomatoes, corn and black beans. Don’t even think about the dressing. The second ingredient is soybean oil, the third is sugar. Want dressing? Carry a small squeeze bottle of olive oil and apple cider vinegar. It’s low carb and tastes better than the syrupy crap served most places. There are tons of resources online and the real secret is just to take a moment and be conscious of the choices you make.

So what about results: in 2015 I was 18% body fat. I was basically eating what I wanted and using the “I worked out today so I deserve this” mentality toward crap eating. Lots of beer, the entire bread basket, and whatever else I could scavenge. By mid 2016, with careful calorie control and insane exercise programming I was able to lose around 20lbs and get down to just under 10% body fat, relatively healthy and fit by most standards, but I had flatlined and calorie control/binge eating was a problem and although I was lighter I also lost quite a bit of strength. I could run a mile faster but couldn’t lift as much. Changing to this ultra low carb/ketogenic diet had almost two immediate impacts. First, in the period of 4 weeks I dropped to just under 7% body fat and actually increased my overall strength (bench press, squat, and clean) by almost 10% getting back to my strength level prior to beginning to diet in 2015 without any reduction in endurance abilities.

Truthfully, when I started this diet protocol it was to be a good partner in my relationship with my wife. I was a bit skeptical as I had always adhered to the “calories in/calories out” mantra and strive to control portions, eating “healthy” foods and abiding by traditional nutrition guidelines that emphasize carbohydrates in our diet. Fact is, it would appear traditional nutrition guidelines are bullshit. I’m living proof, but I’m just one person. If you’re traveling as much as I am, look down. What do you have to lose besides a few pants sizes? Added bonus: You get to buy new suits. Check out Gary Taubes books and try it out for yourself.

Being Selfish With Your Time

img_20161219_133336Wherever life takes me on the next journey, one thing I learned in running a startup is that more is not always better. This is applicable in many areas. Top line revenue at the expense of profitability, contracts and projects that you can’t deliver on (better to say no than do a crap job) are both things that are typically in every management textbook as examples of “more is not better.” What I have come to realize is that time is probably the best example there is.

Running a startup, it is an understatement to say that time is a precious thing. If there was a way to add three or four hours to a day I would have taken this over many, many tangible goods. Over the past five years there have been more than a few times where I felt I was able to exercise little control over my time. Meetings were set by others, my schedule was not a priority and I wore many hats owing to lack of steady funding to support additional staff. The reality of this may not have been quite to out of my control. I definitely have a hard time saying no. Over time, like any successful startup, the day-to-day operations slowly shifted to operations staff and I am now almost fully committed to strategic operations and growth initiatives. There is still plenty of work to be done and I could theoretically continue to put in 20 hour days 7 days a week, sleep at the office, and continue the toil.

However in 2016 I committed to being selfish with my time. I have come to realize I don’t need more time. I just need to take back that time which is wasted by others. I needed to be selfish. No more attending meetings that could be handled with an email. No more travel for pointless conferences and events. And, most importantly, prioritizing and planning my days to focus on what really matters, ensuring I have built in time to appreciate life and take care of myself physically and mentally. Long gone are the days of priding myself on getting as little sleep as possible. It turns out I am far more productive calling it quits and going to bed and getting 6-7 hours of sleep. Waking up, enjoying a cup of coffee in bed, reading, going to the gym, then getting rolling and focusing on the day. In 7-8 hours I am accomplishing more than I was working almost three times as long. Productivity aside there are a number of other benefits. First, my life no longer revolves solely around work. Secondly, while I have always eaten pretty healthy, the lack of sleep, irregular eating patterns, and irregular exercise patterns took it’s toll. In the last year I have lost 20 lbs, and more importantly, my body fat percentage is down from 14% to just under 7%. This commitment to be selfish with my time has also allowed me to focus and slow down. In Dec 2016 I took the first vacation (With my wife to Chilean Patagonia, where the above picture was taken) I have had in 10 years where I didn’t bring (and use nearly full time) a work laptop. While I am on my 9th year as a United 1K and have had the privilege to visit 23 countries, I have rarely explored these locations due to short trips, back to back meetings and quick departures to fly to another meeting. I’ve committed to taking some time when I travel to explore, to use the downtime to decompress, focus and reflect on the best ways to proceed. Being selfish doesn’t mean doing less. Quite the contrary, I have found I can do more just much more efficiently and be exponentially happier.

Staying Fit On The Road

img_20161031_094853As you may have read about in a previous entry I travel a relatively large amount. In looking at upcoming trips and my year-to-date travel I will have flown 160,000 miles on United and 55,000 miles on American, spent 156 nights in Marriott/SPG properties and about 30 in AirBnB and smaller boutique hotels by the end of 2016.

Staying healthy on the road is going to be a multi-entry storytelling adventure on my part. I’d like to start with exploring fitness related aspects of being healthy. A future post (probably at will explore the food aspects of staying healthy (particularly breakfasts). Another will explore a relatively new aspect of health, my mental health, and ways in which Kundalini yoga (introduced to me by my wife, a Kundalini instructor and certified PTSD yoga therapy healer) has helped me stay centered and focused in a sometimes-hectic routine.

A critical part of my daily routine is exercise. I will go out of my way to schedule meetings, stay in certain hotels, and plan travel around finding appropriate locations to work out. Back in 2008 I discovered CrossFit which provides a highly variable and intense mix of weightlifting and cardio. There has been plenty of praise and scorn directed at CrossFit and both camps are right in some ways. Certainly, with poor form and poor coaching you can injure yourself as you can in any activity. Personally, I am seeking to maintain a fitness level/body type that incorporates weightlifting and cardio so CrossFit has been perfect for me.

There are some drawbacks, primarily associated with bad coaching and bad programming. For those not familiar with the concept, CrossFit consists of coach-led small group classes where everyone performs the same (or a scaled version of the same) workout. The potential downside is that if the coach programs an easy or mundane workout you often don’t have the flexibility to do your own thing. Having travelled around the world and worked out at more than 85 different CrossFit affiliates in 19 states and 8 countries, I have only had issues at a handful of locations. The group fitness aspect is critical to me. If I take a red-eye flight across the country from SFO-BOS and land at 530AM, I can make the 6AM class at CrossFit Lando Charlestown where the other 10-12 people provide the motivation I need to get that workout in and not succumb to the “I’m tired…I’ll workout later” voice that would otherwise win out.

Nothing beats jet-lag into submission on my quarterly trips to Stockholm Sweden like a morning workout at Crossfit Solid nor provides a better avenue for my fidgetiness after a 16-hour flight to Sydney Australia like CrossFit Athletic City. Adding CrossFit as a key part of my day provides a solid routine that I can find in 99.9% of the places in which I travel. This is important. Most hotel gyms suck and running/bodyweight exercises on my own only goes so far. The further from major metro areas you are, the worse hotel gyms tend to be. This tends to be inversely true of CrossFit gyms (although not totally true, looking at you DC & Potomac CrossFit). Some of the best gyms were in converted RV garages, barns, etc. such as Appleton CrossFit. Every CrossFit gym provides a certain level of equipment (weights, rowers, rings, oh-my!) that I can usually count on to get a good workout. Note: CrossFit is not enough by itself (nor is one hour of daily exercise of any type) to be fit and healthy. Instilling a personal goal of near constant movement throughout the day is definitely a goal and as important if not more so is nutrition (more on that in the future).

In addition to CrossFit I still run (especially when I’m in a new place I want to explore) and break up my day with walks, probably do some pushups and sit-ups in the hotel room, and if I’m in lucky enough to get a per-diem rate room at the Marriott Marquis in DC, might grab a hotel-gym-workout after dinner just to keep the blood flowing. My wife and I have both been obsessed with tracking our movement, distance traveled, and calorie burn with our Garmin-235 watches. We will definitely post more about our praises and frustrations with this device in the future.

What do you do to stay fit on the road?

The Importance of Rest

img_20160918_073304-effectsThere have been times over the past 5 years where I’ve struggled to stay connected to my team, had difficulty performing simple tasks and generally had times where there wasn’t enough coffee to keep me going. There really isn’t a stranger feeling than downing a quad espresso fully intending to hack out some work on a long flight only to wake up three hours later at your destination (was that decaf?!?!). I’ve read quite extensively on the topic to include the highly popular “4 Hour Work Week” and a number of similar publications. They certainly offer some great advice but where our business currently is some of the advice is relevant, but much of it, while applicable to Warren Buffet, Hedge Fund managers, and Venture Capitalists, it just isn’t practical where our business currently is (still in the hustle phase; I don’t have an admin).

I’ve found that to get reconnected with both my technical and sales teams and unleash my creativity, hitting the pause button is the only real solution. I can’t completely devoid myself of the tactical day-to-day operations yet so a temporary break is the best method. I’m a big fan of surfing, hiking, running and a multitude of other outdoor activities to burn off some steam and stay in shape but what I’m talking about is something entirely different. This doesn’t mean not working (or maybe it does). I’m talking about just relaxing and seeing how the day (or weekend) evolves. Maybe you’ll work, maybe you’ll catch up on sleep, maybe you’ll read a good book. Regardless of this evolution I find that simply changing my scenery, allowing myself to get out of “firefighting” mode and allowing for the opportunity to think more abstractly, great things can be done.


The primary method for finding seclusion is to do just that. Disappear. Don’t plan anything. Go somewhere that’s relaxing but doesn’t allow you to do anything (i.e. hiking in Yosemite for 14 hours). For me the answer is the Outer Banks. My girlfriend recommended the Sanderling Resort in Duck, NC which turned out to be the perfect location to take a step back from the tactical and focus on the strategic aspects of my business and my life and recover from the day-to-day cramming of three jobs into a 24 hour day. Nothing beats the sound of the ocean, great customer service, relatively healthy dining options and generally a healthy dose of peace and quiet.

img_20160916_202321So what did I do?

Day One: Deleted, responded to, and filed more than 1000 emails. Worked on the company website, and built marketing material for some New-New customers. Planned out the next six months of travels (#permavacation). Kundalini yoga. Really wanted to rent a paddleboard. Resisted that urge in order to force myself to remain in “chill” mode.

Day Two: Collaborated on and wrote a Beta version of a Life Hacking App with my GF that takes my health data from my Garmin Connect and combine sit with other information (more to follow on this). Ate more seafood. Read John Muir’s memoirs. Kundalini yoga under the full moon. Never traveled more than 100 feet from the hotel room.

Day Three: Finally felt that brain was clear. Got a spa treatment. More Kundalini. Some Exercise. Much Seafood.

So there you have it. It only took three days to get organized, work on future business concepts, relax and center myself. I got more than 8 hours of sleep each night. Was actually able to develop a clear vision for the company for the next 12 months. The feelings of burnout had all but disappeared. Stress had melted away and an overall feeling of being centered was predominant. I try to repeat this monthly but a minimum quarterly. You? Would be interested in hearing how other entrepreneurial young execs deal find ways to unplug and focus on the strategic and combat burnout…

What’s in my bag?

IMG_20160818_181550I’ve done a fair amount of traveling since starting Systecon, and in my jobs prior. In about a decade of work experience I’ve logged a little over 1M miles on United and close to 100K on American. This year I’ll hit 200K miles and likely log another 180 nights in hotels. Over the years I’ve refined, transformed, and completely started over several times with various carry on concepts.

With the amount of Coast-to-Coast travel I’m doing, I was forced to abandon the beautiful green leather briefcase I was using in favor of something a bit larger and a bit more utilitarian. After trying out a half dozen options (some of which were quite expensive) I settled on a very affordable and very highly rated eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack.

With the number of software demos we do on random projectors I carry a lot of adapters, chargers and cables. There’s a pocket or mesh compartment for everything keeping it all nicely organized.

Keeping connected on the road is a Lenovo Yoga 900. I have a love/hate relationship with this laptop. It’s damn light, runs our software, and looks professional. But I’m on my third motherboard in two years and I despise the charger. The two prong plug folds out directly from the converter brick which means it covers both outlets on a traditional wall socket and won’t plug into most conference room table outlets. So I have a 1 foot extension cord that also comes along in my bag. All in all the charger/extension cord weighs about as much as the laptop.

The laptop primary output is USB-C. So I carry around a USB-C to HDMI and an HDMI to VGA converter that I can daisy chain together for those customers who still don’t have HDMI input. Often times there is just a TV in the conference room with no connector, so I also carry an HDMI cable that I can just plug into the TV as well.

I carry two Anker backup battery packs to ensure my phone (a quick charging and quick draining Nexus 6P) stays charged. A pair of beats and an REI sleep mask make long transcontinental red-eye flights more manageable. I also have a pair on in-ear headphones for conference calls as the beats just aren’t practical for this purpose.

I also carry a notebook, two pens (a Sharpie ultra fine point, and a Pilot Varsity fountain pen) as I still prefer jotting down notes to typing list on my phone. The GPS watch and sunglasses make a post-flight hike possible.

I’m currently reading Guru Singh’s book “Levity,” an excellent collection of short parables. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for short chapters of highly spiritual and intellectual content.

I also carry a water bottle (to fill a the airport lounge) and an insulated coffee mug (to make the home espresso go as far as possible). Lastly, I have a collection bars, teas, and Bulletproof coffee Instamix to start the day. Nothing takes the edge off a red-eye like a Bulletproof quad espresso.


Cathedral Peak

IMG_20160814_141756Sunday brought a hot day in Southern California. With temps in the mid 80s and a breeze that felt like a hair dryer what better weather than for a hike on one of the steepest trails in Santa Barbara? I had a red eye flight out of Santa Barbara that evening so we decided to brave the heat and stick with the afternoon hiking plans.

The Cathedral Peak trail is a relatively short 4.8 mile round trip hike that picks up 2400 feet of vertical climbing in 2 miles. It’s easy to find the trail head (think Inspiration Point trail head) with parking along Tunnel Road. Cathedral is one of my favorite trails with lots of boulder hopping, climbing and general fun.

We began heading up a bit later in the afternoon and a pair of downward hikers confirmed what we already knew: “It’s awfully hot, are you all really heading to the top?” Yup we sure were.

After a 1:45 hike to the top and two stops in the limited shade of a couple of the bigger boulders, and consuming most of the three liters of water we had brought we finally reached the top. The views are worth it. Between the limited trail traffic, fun full-body hiking requirements, and the views this trail is definitely one of my favorite local trails.

Screenshot_20160814-184113IMG_20160814_142332I’ve been playing with my new Garmin GPS watch and while the elevation and distance seem to be quite accurate I just don’t know about the calorie estimates. I burn 1600 calories an hour on a rower and I’m pretty sure I burn 275 calories just sitting in the sun for three hours so I don’t know about that.

Definitely more investigation is needed and I didn’t wear the heart rate strap so perhaps there is something to that.

After making it back to the car it was off to find a shower, a quick dinner, and catch an overnight flight. No better way to start the week than with a hard hike, a lot of sweat, and the greatest lady in the world.