Tag - life

In praise of networking (or … WOW, this has been a crazy week)

My company recently shut down, effectively making me a free agent.

I was the senior manager, online media, for Canpages. I joined to reinvent Canpages.ca, a local search site that, despite looking like state-of-the-web-1997, was still pulling in 2.8M unique monthly visitors when I joined. I helped push that to 3.5M within 6 months, but the real reason I joined was a massive reinvention of the site and the service: device agnostic, mobile from the ground up, social baked into the DNA, gamification, you name it. Totally buzzword compliant 🙂

That’ll never happen now.

There had been some oddities, budgets not confirmed, contracts not signed. We were meeting on Monday last week and chatting about it. One of my colleagues had just said that we were probably being paranoid, when DING, into our mailboxes comes the dreaded all-hands-on-deck early-next-morning meeting announcement. On Tuesday the game was up and the dream was dead.

That afternoon I went home and started telling my network. Not everyone, just a hundred or so people in the Vancouver area. By Wednesday mid-day, I had 5 meetings set up for the rest of the week.

On Friday, I had calls from 2 others, asking for interviews in the following week. Keeping Monday for some blue-sky time, prep time for interviews, and one call with a recruiter, I had a killer Tuesday, with breakfast, lunch, and dinner meetings, plus a number of calls interspersed. And on Wednesday, yesterday, I had a call with the HR director of a very interesting company in the mobile space, and a *great* initial interview with a mobile gaming/social company, with a follow-up scheduled for next week.

In other words, I’m avalanched. All this without checking job boards, without putting resumes up at Monster, Workopolis, and so on, without actually applying anywhere, and without ever once printing out a resume and carrying it, cap in hand, to a company.

A couple of things are obvious from this:

  • networking works
  • networking rocks
  • job-hunting has fundamentally changed
  • you have to network BEFORE you need the network
  • having a good online reputation is UNBELIEVABLY important
  • there is actually a pretty hot job marketing here in Vancouver for web/mobile/social talent

My biggest challenge now is ensuring that I take the right opportunity … not just one that presents itself to me early in my job search. I’m fairly blessed in that I have runway to take some time to choose correctly.

The role I take has to be one that …

  • I am passionate about
  • I’m eager to get up and do every day
  • has a great vision
  • is in a hot space
  • has good future prospects
  • allows me to use my talents and interests fully

I don’t need a job. I need a mission. There’s a couple possibilities to do this in the startup space, a few with others and a couple by myself, and that’s an option I’m also considering. As always, I’m open to input and advice 🙂

And for those of you who I’m connected with already: let me know what I can do for you. Always happy to oblige!

If your iPhone 4 battery life sucks, here's how to fix it

I recently upgraded from my iPhone 3GS to an iPhone 4.

Usually, I’m the first of all my friends and relatives to get the new tech, but this was a work phone … and it took some time. However, the wait only sharpened the anticipation – and one of the things I was looking forward to was better battery life.

With my 3GS, I got maybe a day and a half of battery life – less if I used my phone a lot. I was hoping for much better from the iPhone 4. It was a huge disappointment, therefore, when my new iPhone 4 seemed to lose all battery charge daily.

The loss of charge was so bad I suspected getting a lemon. Even overnight, when I put my phone in airplane mode, I’d lose about 10% or more. The 3GS had never lost more than 1 or 2% of battery charge overnight. I seriously had to recharge my iPhone4 daily. So I did some investigation.

It turns out that if you set up your new iPhone 4 from a backup of your old iPhone, some old settings which relate to battery life get installed on your new iPhone … and your battery use is totally de-optimized.

The solution: set up your iPhone 4 as an entirely new phone.

Here’s how:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer
  2. When iTunes opens and your iPhone is active in the source list, select the Summary tab at the top
  3. Click the Restore button
    (this will delete everything off of your phone, so be sure you’ve done a recent sync and no important information is only on your phone

  4. After your phone is restored, set it up as a new phone in iTunes
  5. Re-sync all your data, email, songs, apps, etc. over to your new phone
  6. Enjoy your new much longer lasting battery life!

After doing this, my iPhone 4 battery life is MUCH longer. Currently, I’m at about 2 days with reasonable usage … and my battery is still at 34%.

Now that’s what I expected from my new iPhone!

Big rocks life

At work last week I overheard someone chatting in the lunchroom about a friend she admired. He had held down a job while finishing a master’s degree and still found time to maintain a few other impressive commitments … and she couldn’t figure out how he did it.

I was almost about to answer, but it would have been both rude and intrusive … not to mention presumptuous, since I don’t know her friend at all. However, here’s how I think he did it.

1. Big rocks first
Having worked for the Franklin Covey Company for a few years, I’m certainly familiar with the big rocks hypothesis: in life you fit the big things in first, and the small things second. It’s intuitively correct, but it’s something we all lose sight of. Putting the big things in our schedules first ensures that they happen … and the little things will fall where they may. If they don’t happen, it’s no huge loss … as long as the most important parts of our life have been attended to.

The real challenge here, of course, is ruthless prioritization. Dropping things we somewhat want but are not passionate about can be difficult, especially when they involve expectations from others. But without prioritization, everything seems important, and the urgent things that demand your attention will drive out the important things.

2. Consequences second
Once you’ve set your priorities: go for it. One of the things that the woman I briefly overheard said is that she always spent so long considering all the pros and cons of a decision that she never actually made one.

Make a decision – most of them are not ones that will impact your life for years and decades – and move on. Endless deliberation generally does not improve the quality of the decision, plus it often has a negative impact on your subsequent satisfaction with the results of your choice. Decide and move, and keep making course corrections as you go.

. . .
. . .

Now, of course, I’m trying to apply that to my life as well. That’s the real trick: advice is easy to give and hard to take.

Even your own!

Choices at the crossroads of life

There’s a great quote about life choices by Smoke Robinson, the wonderful author, mountain man, hiker, mountain climber, and all-round adventurer:

Most choices at the crossroads of life are made under weak starlight with a feeble lantern that illuminates poorly the farther stretches of trail.

I was going through some old posts today, and saw this one which I wrote after reading his book, Walking Up and Down in the World. I’d already posted it, but it’s so good I just had to repost it.

Smoke was up, Smoke was down. He was dirt-poor, he was fairly well-off. But he always seized his chances for adventure with both hands.

7 spiritual laws of success

Tina at ThinkSimpleNow posted recently on 7 spiritual laws of success. I responded, and as I sometimes do, am cross-posting my response here …

Nice post. A couple of thoughts that struck me as I saw a few things:

“Success is the ability to fulfill your desires with effortless ease.“
– Deepak Chopra

This really strongly contrasts with John Wooden’s definition of success:

“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”

Personally, I think the effortless ease part is shallow nonsense. I acknowledge that we too often needlessly complicate our lives, our relationships, and many other things … but things that are worth having are not easy. Anyone over the age of 35 who has done some hard thinking in life can attest to that. And in fact in your case it took a fairly intense study series and commitment of time, energy, and focus.

. . .
. . .

One thing that I wonder about:

“Part of writing this post serves as a reminder to myself, of what’s most important: my wellbeing. … and how I need to create the time to work on me. Only when I’m well, can I be of service and help to others.”

I’m glad you added the second sentence. But what’s most important is very often NOT my own wellbeing, but the wellbeing of others or doing what is right, not just what is best for me. That’s the hard part about doing the right thing … it’s not always in your own immediate best interest.

The funny thing is that doing what is right, and putting others first at least part of the time is much more likely to result in wellbeing for yourself than an internal “me” focus.

That’s the “secret” of success … it’s a byproduct, not a goal in itself.

Unbelievably busy

Well, I haven’t gotten around to doing anything at all on my new combined blog in the past week or so.  Part of the problem is the new job and the tremendous workload as I transition out of the old and squeeze into the new. Another part is the two courses I’m taking for my masters program. (That was a huge mistake: two courses plus a full-time demanding job plus a family plus some friends equals absolutely no time for numero uno.) I’m looking forward to December, because on December 1 I will have (God willing) completely all my papers and assignments for my courses, and I’ll be able to slow down a bit. I just submitted my last assignment for ETEC 522 – a education venture capital course – last night at midnight … and I have one last paper due for my ETEC 511.

It’s a 3000-word paper, though, so it’s not a minor project. Such is life: intentional imbalance for short periods of time to accomplish set goals. But I hope to regain some semblance of balance soon! 

Passion in work and life

I had lunch with a colleague today. He’s young, smart, and creative … and in a job where he cannot possibly exercise all his talents.

(Kind of the way I like to think of myself!)

But he has a good-paying job. And a mortgage. And 3 kids. And a wife.

So it’s hard. Hard to take the plunge. Hard to take the risk. Hard to not settle. After all, if he has a hard landing, it’s not just him at risk.

And yet, a good-paying job doing often-interesting work is not enough. It’s not enough for him, and it’s not enough for me. There are some people who won’t settle – can’t settle.

Settling means dying, even if just a little. To settle, you have to kill your dreams, or at least shut them off, wall them up.

The colleague I had lunch with is not willing to do that. I’m not willing to do that. Someone, I think Eleanor Roosevelt, said that the biggest risk is not taking any risks at all.

The challenge is risk management.

In other words, if you’re going to take a risk outside the cozy corporate womb, have your ducks in a row. Plan it for some time in advance. Have a fairly large sum of money (12 months worth of living expenses, I think) in reserve. Then go for it.


You might as well ask why we live. Life is risk. Doing the same thing over and over, always staying within the lines, always doing the safe thing, is not life.

Life is experimentation. Life is change – without change there is no life. Literally, when you stop changing, you’ll be dead.

I want to live.

[ update ]

I just saw this article on risk-taking. It gives the following three reasons why people take risks:

  1. the drive to transform the tension of unresolved emotional conflicts from childhood into individual expression, vindication and mastery,
  2. the drive of a “lonely crusader” determined to challenge the group’s or the organization’s need to preserve the status quo, and
  3. the drive of profound self-awareness and alienation: “the person (must) construct a framework of meaning that is personal rather than imposed externally.”