02 Jun 2009

Small Jaunt Across

Last saturday Tyler, Tyson, and myself took a short motorcycle ride behind Squaw Peak. We were expecting some fairly easy riding since the dirt road is quite broad and well-travelled. Adventure ensued due to large snowbanks and general gooniness. Below are some videos we snuck in of riding and pre/post ride interviews. Enjoy!

Pre-ride Commentary

Tyson tackling the Monster Snowbank

BJ trying the snow... again

The end of the road

Snow rally

The Long Way Round shot

Tyler destroys the Snowbank

Post-ride Interview & Commentary

28 Apr 2009

Playing for Change: Peace Through Music

Dustin sent this along today, and I have to say it is one of the coolest music projects I have ever heard of. The producers travel around the world recording tracks with various musicians, then mix it all into a great video/musical journey. SO COOL. The project/documentary can be found at playingforchange.com where their tagline is "Peace through music". Apparently you can buy their songs on iTunes as well. Absolutely fantastic idea.

24 Apr 2009

Introducing: One Simple Goal

In my recent post In a rut and tired of it, I mentioned a possible solution to some nagging issues that continue to be difficult for me to overcome. May I quote:

So, here's what I'm going to do. Set One simple goal each night before going to bed, to be completed the following day. The goal can range anywhere from spiritual to entrepreneurial. Simplicity will be favored over complexity, but I won't be shying away from possible complex issues. The point is to do SOMETHING. It is my desire that each day I will produce a favorable gain in removing some obstacle that has stood in my way recently.

That was four days ago, and I have already been getting amazing results out of accomplishing a simple daily goal. My first four goals were: Tuesday) wake up at 8 am; Wednesday) Begin building a website to track goals, pushing it to the server; Thursday) Finalize the beta features of the website and start getting feedback from people; Friday) Contact a friend I've lost contact with. I have accomplished all four goals. The first and last goals were fairly simple, though still required determination to complete. The middle two goals were much more complex and time-sensitive, requiring even more determination and willpower to complete within one day. It was a good test to see how simplicity vs. complexity affects the decisions you make while accomplishing the goal.

By setting the goal to work hard on the website to get it out, I incentivized myself to put away distractions (like email, facebook, twitter) and focus more. I continually was assessing the amount of time I had to accomplish the goal, making value judgements based on the end goal I was desiring. Several times last night I had to abandon the feature I wanted to build because it was taking too long. This was a fabulous way to learn about the power of constraints that Jason Fried was talking about.

OneSimpleGoal.com

The purpose of OneSimpleGoal.com is to provide you with an opportunity to simply set and complete daily goals. There are (and will be) very few bells and whistles to the app, I want the simplicity of the concept to shine through. As such, there isn't much color, imagery, or content. All things are focused on you setting a goal for that day (or the next), and then empowering you to get it done. Upcoming revisions to the site will address some of your initial ideas about how to improve the site. I am so excited to have this app out early and having people using it, even in an infantile or beta state.

You can get daily updates on the status of development on the app through twitter.com/onesimplegoal and the One Simple Goal group on facebook. If you have any ideas, concerns, bug reports, testimonials, or any other feedback about the app, please let me know by commenting on this post, replying @onesimplegoal on twitter, posting to the wall on the facebook group, or emailing me at bj [dot] neilsen [at] gmail [dot] com.

Now go out and start changing your life by accomplishing your simple daily goals!

21 Apr 2009

In a Rut and Tired of It

You may or may not know me very well. Truthfully, I doubt any of you really know me, except for Tyler maybe, and my wife of course. I'll just fill you in a bit since you're on the outs: I've been in a big time rut for the last few months. Any semi-regular readers of this blog will know that I have a passion for programming and design, and that I have the entrepreneurial spirit of an eagle (or mongoose?). I have an incredible desire to work on my own businesses (or with a few well qualified individuals) and to have the opportunity to do something more in my life than sit at a desk and perform the whims of an employer. The Problem

That being said, I have been at the bottom of an enormous rut, trenched largely due to my own inaction. I know, I know, here I sit on the interwebs posting things about how you can be a go-getter and build your own business, and here I am basically hypocritical in nearly every way imaginable. I've been up against a wall of sorts, and I've basically done the worst thing you can possibly do in that situation: stared up at the summit, knowing I needed to be there, knowing I could be there, but deciding to sit at the bottom for no better reason than that it seemed difficult to accomplish.

My mind is constantly restless, ever conjuring new and more grand schemes of how to achieve my lofty goals of owning several automated businesses, yet here I sit, no closer to actualizing those dreams than I was 6 months ago. There has certainly been no lack of idea generation with how to accomplish my goals, or at least, which avenue of business I should take to move forward. The dearth has been in my lacking motivation to overcome the obstacles that arise. Learning new programming languages, understanding the paradigms of business management, continuing to provide for my family (and pay the bills); all these are obstacles that have arisen which I have generally had no answering words for. A possible solution

I have always believed that we have the power in ourselves (given from God) to overcome all obstacles. At no time has this counsel been clearer to me in my mind than it is now. I have the ability to change my situation, and need only to make a conscious choice to change my state, and to then immediately take action towards the desired goal. The little engine expressed "I think I can, I think I can [etc ad nauseam]", but my mantra will be "I Know I can, I Know I can!" So, here's what I'm going to do. Set One simple goal each night before going to bed, to be completed the following day. The goal can range anywhere from spiritual to entrepreneurial. Simplicity will be favored over complexity, but I won't be shying away from possible complex issues. The point is to do SOMETHING. It is my desire that each day I will produce a favorable gain in removing some obstacle that has stood in my way recently. Some of these obstacles I wish to work on incrementally (in no particular order):

Daily, consistent action. Simple, achievable goals (one per day). Happy, well-deserved success. These are the things I strive for, and thank you for allowing me to bare a portion of my soul. I feel a bit better now. :)

What are you doing to break out of (or stay out of) your Ruts?

21 Apr 2009

Gellin' for Great Experience

Saw two really great videos from the GEL conference aimed at understanding and implementing better experience for users and customers.

Seth Godin talking about how and why things are broken (from an experience and interaction perspective).

Jason Fried of 37 Signals talking about using Less to propel your business to greater success. The beginning is a bit muddy, but it gets pretty good from the middle on. My favorite part of the talk is the very end, here's a transcript of the last minute of the talk:

Less software has less mass, and mass is a very important point, because just like in the physical world, the more mass an object has, the more energy it takes to change it's direction. The bigger a software project is and the more code it has, the harder it is to change it. And if you can't change your software, you're going to die. [...]

My suggestion to people is to keep your software small, less software, less mass, make it easier to change, and think about opportunities to embrace constraints. That's the only thing I'd recommend more of: constraints. Less money, less people, less time, less abstractions, less software. That's where you're actually truly creative, in the space where you have constraints. If you have nothing constraining you, you're not going to be creative because you simply don't have to deliver. But when you have constraints, and you have less money and less time, you have to get stuff done. And putting yourself in a position to get stuff done is the best possible thing you could ever do.