Book Review: Gary Vaynerchuk's "Crush It"

22 March 2011

I recently finished reading Gary Vaynerchuk's "Crush It: Why Now Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion." I realize the book is a bit dated considering how fast the online environment changes - it came out in late 2009. However, I think the book has some great points that can apply to any industry or passion. The book can pretty much be summed up as follows:

  1. discover and define what your passion is.
  2. put out good, high quality, consistent, and compelling content regarding your passion.
  3. keep generating more and more content.
  4. begin marketing yourself and your content via numerous social media platforms.
  5. once you've found your audience, engage them in conversation.
  6. keep the conversation going.
  7. once you've begun kicking out quality content and you've got an active, engaged audience figure out a way to monetize your platform.
  8. keep going!

I feel like the above checklist is applicable to any person trying to do anything. Define your passion, engage yourself in your passion, market yourself, engage others, continue the conversation, and monetize. Just all around good life advice. I like it.

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Groupon - IPO and Valuation

21 March 2011

I’m hesitant to back an investment in Groupon. Sure, it’s a great company with a great product. I’ve even used the product before. Not much, mind you. I’ve been a Groupon subscriber and customer for about a year but have only made purchases a grand total of three times. That’s right, one, two, three. That’s it. Believe me, I love getting a deal. However, Groupon is incredibly hit or miss. Maybe I’ll want the deals of the day, maybe I won’t. And, so far, it looks like they miss more often than they hit. Also, Groupon is still so new it’s unclear whether they ultimately benefit retailers. There was a recent article discussing faculty research at the Harvard Business School focusing on whether Groupon is good or bad for retailers. Many retailers actually lose money through the issuance of a Groupon. Furthermore, the group buying and deals space is quickly becoming overly crowded (you’ve got Living Social, Dealster, BuyWithMe, SocialBuy, Sharing Spree, and tons of others). Groupon has a great lead, but it’s still very early to declare a winner.

About a week ago investment bankers advised Groupon that they may IPO with a valuation close to $25 billion. That’s bigger than Google at their IPO. Google has an unbelievable history of being innovative and racing to meet the needs of their customers. So too does Apple. And Facebook. As soon as Groupon has shown that they are nimble and innovative (beyond the product they currently have), I may be able to support a sky-high valuation like $25 billion. Until then, I hesitate to make an investment recommendation.

I’d rather see them succeed than fail. A successful, innovative Groupon will mean more deals for me. Hopefully, more relevant deals. Good luck, Groupon!

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March 19, 2011 - Super Perigee Moon

20 March 2011

Today was an awesome day. And, to top it off, I had an awesome night. Today we experienced a super perigee moon. Super perigee moon basically means a close approaching full moon. And, even simpler, it means the moon appears bigger and brighter in the night sky. Here are a couple pictures I took about an hour after moonrise. The night sky was definitely putting on a show here in Tennessee.

I took this first picture as we were leaving the Red Door Saloon in East Nashville. You can even see the street lamps just above the moon as it was rising.

2011 03-19 Super Perigee Moon

Here’s a map of where we were:

Here are a few more super-zoomed in shots of the moon. Enjoy!

2011 03-19 Super Perigee Moon

2011 03-19 Super Perigee Moon

2011 03-19 Super Perigee Moon

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March 13, 2011 - Rock Climbing at Foster Falls, Tennessee

17 March 2011

This past Sunday Laura and I joined some friends for a rock climbing adventure. I’m not exactly an expert at rock climbing. Ok, you got me, I’ve never been rock climbing and the thought of it kinda freaks me out. But, that didn’t stop me from at least accepting the adventurous invitation. Plus, it was a great opportunity to bring the dogs and enjoy some quality time with mother nature.

We went to a place called Foster Falls, which is about 40 miles northwest of Chattanooga. The park is named for the 60 foot waterfall where the Little Gizzard Creek falls over the edge of the Cumberland Plateau. I’ll include a couple pictures I took with my iPhone - it was beautiful.

Here’s a Google Map of exactly where we were. The trail starts where we parked the car and includes our 1.8 mile hike to our climbing location. If you zoom in near the very beginning, you can see a large pool of water where the falls are.


View 2011 03-13 Hike to Foster Falls in a larger map
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February 25, 2011 - Storm Damage in Nashville, Tennessee

02 March 2011

The night of February 24, 2011 brought some very intense weather to Nashville, Tennessee. We live in East Nashville and could swear we just missed getting hit by a tornado. The wind was incredibly powerful, the storm sounded like a freight train, and the rain was whipping everywhere. The next morning we went exploring in our neighborhood to see the damage. Here’s what we found.

To view the entire photo album, please visit the set on Flickr: 2011 02-25 Storm Damage in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Invictus

02 March 2011

Laura and I watched the movie “Invictus” the other day. The story of Nelson Mandela, South Africa, and the 1995 Rubgy World Cup is much, much better than the movie. That said, we still very much enjoyed the film. While watching the film I realized that the events portrayed had only happened five years prior to my visit to Cape Town, South Africa. I visited Cape Town in the Fall of 2000 while on my Semester at Sea voyage.

There is a particular scene in the movie that struck a chord with me. In an effort to help inspire and unite South Africa the Springbok rugby team was encouraged to run rugby clinics in various townships. In the movie they show the team rolling in to a poverty stricken township to the delight of several children playing games in an open field. The scene instantly transported me to a trip I took to the townships around Cape Town. Here are some pictures from Cape Town, with an emphasis on my trip to the townships.

2000 11 Adam Thede - Cape Town, South Africa

2000 11 Adam Thede - Cape Town, South Africa

2000 11 Adam Thede - Cape Town, South Africa

2000 11 Adam Thede - Cape Town, South Africa

2000 11 Adam Thede - Cape Town, South Africa

2000 11 Adam Thede - Cape Town, South Africa

2000 11 Adam Thede - Cape Town, South Africa

2000 11 Adam Thede - Cape Town, South Africa

2000 11 Adam Thede - Cape Town, South Africa

2000 11 Adam Thede - Cape Town, South Africa

2000 11 Adam Thede - Cape Town, South Africa

2000 11 Adam Thede - Cape Town, South Africa

Nikon 9000 ED Color 35mm Negative Scan, 4000 dpi.

And, just for a good time, here’s the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

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December 1949 - Cathie Ekwall

02 March 2011

Today I’m featuring a picture of my C.A. Cathie. The C.A. stands for “Crazy Aunt.” That’s how she refers to herself, and she pretty much lives up to the name. I’m not sure she was as crazy in 1949 as she is today. Either way, here she is in December 1949 right before Christmas. I’m particularly fond of the dog in the picture. Maybe it’s because the little fella looks remarkably like one of my young gentlemen (Vincent and Carmine).

1949 12 Ekwall - Cathie Lee Ekwall at Christmas

Nikon 9000 ED Kodak Kodachrome Scan, 4000 dpi.

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1920s Frances Irene Spencer

24 February 2011

Today we’ve got another picture of my grandmother, Frances Spencer, as a child. Here she is in the 1920s. I love her scooter. Laura and I bought scooters when we lived in New York and let me tell you, they were nothing like this one. Ours are electric :) I think I would really enjoy a throwback vintage scooter. And, let’s face it, she’s rocking a pretty amazing outfit - check out that hat and those socks! Go grams!

1920s Frances Irene Spencer

Nikon 9000 ED b/w negative scan, 4000 dpi.

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The Universe

24 February 2011

The universe is such an interesting place to call home. These past few days my mind has taken a bit of a trip. The thing I find so interesting is that when my mind wanders it seems to attract everything it is seeking into my life. This might be a bit of a tough one to explain. Well, here’s the deal. Yesterday I woke up feeling melancholy. For no particular reason I was just in a somber mood. I like to take those experiences and amplify them if possible. So, I went to Pandora and fired up a particularly melancholy channel. Sitting in my melancholy surrounded by somber sounds I started to explore the web. What’s the first thing I want to find? A quote. Something succinct to define my mood. What do I find? The following:

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