Day 25: The Joyous Lake


I was going to title this post “Suicide” but then I saw this picture when I went looking for a photo. This is Helen! She’s very much alive! 😀 This photo is relavant because it’s taken on Bitan “Lake” (it’s a river). It’s also the location of the collective space I’m building called… “The Joyous Lake” 🙂


“Thoughtless Journaling”

Thoughtless journaling is a little harder digitally. It’s too easy to go back and make corrections! That said I’ve been pretty good about trying to keep the same kind of flow that I would if I was journaling with pen and paper. I didn’t mention it yesterday but has an area of the website which walks you through their entire “Lean Startup Machine” process. What I like about the process the most is how much it focuses on getting feedback from customers as quickly as possible and doing it in a systematic way. It also stresses the importance of NOT building something, even when you get to the point of trying to sell to early adopters. At that point it focuses on figuring out ways to deliver service with as little coding as possible. Essentially manually by using the team (reminds me… I’ll need a team at some point… lol)

I’m going to stay focused on building out the Trello Business Canvas today. Get at least a rough draft of it done. I think I finally have the concept of the Business Canvas and Riskiest Assumption Testing understood well enough to focus on doing some work!

Ah! Speaking of Trello… I need to clear up the notifications that I get. I was (am) getting tons of notifications from the job that I was working part-time. I need to unsubscribe myself from some boards so I can keep the notifications work friendly.

The Joyous Lake

I had this idea over the summer of creating a business collective that would be able to do large and small projects by having a team of people who can do task-based work. The idea would be to grow the collective to the point where there was full-time staff and where people could begin with task-based work and work their way into full and part-time positions. Something special about the collective, for me, is designing it such that a person with mental health issues would be able to work from home and, when necessary, take as many mental health days off as needed at any moment’s notice. If project managed properly the collective would be able to organically take care of any work that needs to get done.

Woah… I wasn’t planning on articulating all of that! What I was going to say is that I had a meeting today that might turn into the first gig for the collective! Actually… I’ve had one gig already but it didn’t fully pan out. Actually… it kind of did pan out. I got people paid and learned a lot! 😀

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development

While working on my Business Canvas I decided to copy and paste all of the different template ideas for writing value propositions into Trello. While doing this I ran into “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development: A Cheat Sheet to The Four Steps to the Epiphany”. Testimonials sell me on stuff all of the time. When I went over to the testimonials page, three of them leaped off the page. This one in particular (since I was so impressed with the website).

“Before you can participate in a Lean Startup Machine event, you get a copy of the CustDev book. ”

— Trevor Owens, founder & ceo, Lean Startup Machine

This is the second day that I’ve be “stuck” on the unique value proposition. 😛


I don’t know if I’ll clean up all of the links below but… suicide. Suicide keeps being on my mind. Simon Sinek says “Start with Why”.

I have a video I made when my cousin Mandy committed suicide. I haven’t been able to watch it since making it. I made it to “capture the moment” but… I haven’t been able to watch it again. I remember being pretty upset. Like… I wished she had said something or that I knew more. I felt like even I messed up somehow. Like… if I had had my stuff sorted out more at that time she could have been hanging out with me and we could have worked through whatever she was going through together.

And then there’s me… my level of “suicidal thoughts” seem pretty mild since I’ve never attempted anything. There have been times when I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel that I wanted to “swim across the ocean”. I suppose I’d make suicide plans too but they were always so long-term (me and my long-term planning… lol) I also seemed to intuitively know some things about suicide I suppose. I feel like no matter how depressed I was if I tried to swim across the ocean I’d either make across (not likely), REALLY want to kill myself and actually try to make it across (not likely) or ”puss out” when the waves got too high (although I might have accidentally been successful. >.< )

What I’m getting at is that the “why” I tend to tell myself revolves things I’ve struggled with (sleep, habit-forming, etc.) If I dig deep I really want to eliminate unnecessary suffering. Unnecessary suffering for the one with mental health issues and unnecessary suffering for family, friends and loved ones. I see so many “simple” things that can be done to either put someone on the path to successful management or to prevent unnecessary hospitalization or, god forbid, suicide.

I want to prevent those two polar opposites. Suicide and hospitalization due to a manic episode or severe depression. Everything I’m reading and everything I’ve experienced tells me all the needs to be is “connection”. I want to create the systems to facilitate that “connection” on and offline. Connection to prevent extremes (suicide and hospitalization) and the required increase in quality of life.

Heh… all I wanted to say is that I think my “why” is suicide prevention. Not the kind of prevention that talks a person off of the ledge. The kind of prevention that has them never consider getting on that ledge. This kind of “prevention” requires a “village”. There needs to be a systematic distribution of responsibilities over time instead of action only being taken place during “peak” events (manic episodes). Manic episodes are costly! Not only have they taken a toll on my psychological well being but I ended up getting the bill for one of my hospitalizations due to an accounting error and it was over $30,000US. That’s not including the loss of work, the cost of care afterwards (from my family), etc. Tens of thousands of dollars and unquantifiable emotional distress which all could have been avoided with… a “village”.

Talking to Humans

I love clicking around through book suggestions on Amazon. It’s a really good way to discover new things. (Note: I actually look forward to owning a bookstore one day. While I love Amazon, nothing beats a curated physical collection.) The full title is “Talking to Humans: Success starts with understanding your customers”. A testimonial from the website got me again!

“Talking to Humans is the perfect complement to the existing body of work on customer development. If you are teaching entrepreneurship or running a startup accelerator, you need to make it required reading for your students and teams. I have. ”

Steve Blank, Entrepreneur, educator and author of The Startup Owner’s Manual

I’m actually a little embarrassed to say that I didn’t know who Steve Blank was until today… it’s like… I’ve been all about startups and not about them at all for my whole life… I suppose it’s because my focus has really been on master marketing and selling all this time and not starting a business… well… not a “startup” business anyhow.

I’ll be devouring this book over the next day or so. I’ve actually already devoured quite a bit of it. I’m about to get SILLY with interviewing people and collecting and analyzing data… excitements!

“Wrap Up”

I actually just wrote that whole “talking to humans” section just now… that took a lot of my wrap up time! I’m really enjoying discovering all of the new principles and tools that I’m discovering right now. I’m going to share a thought that… I’ll just share it. 🙂

The majority of my life (20+ years) was focused on mastering martial arts. I, of course, did a lot of other things, but the bulk of my focus was reading philosophical texts, practicing martial arts, going to seminars, etc. I was also messing with really esoteric stuff which made finding good teachers and teaching hard. There was so much sifting through BS that needed to be done! Anyhow… last year my focus switched to “work”. Entrepreneurism, gaining marketable skills (taichi is not a very marketable skill… not to the level I want it to be) and startups. What’s so fun about studying this discipline, at this moment in time, is that… the “masters” are just… out there. Giving away everything for pennies on the dollar! It’s really easy to validate their knowledge (based on testimonials, reviews, etc.) and it’s really easy to test their knowledge somewhere (out on the streets, online, etc.) it took me 15 years of dedicated studying and practice to get to a level of taichi mastery that made me comfortable enough to make space for another discipline. I feel as though the speed in which I’ll be able to master business will be much faster because I can practice practically every day (taichi I needed to have a partner and a space) and I can consume knowledge from masters of many different styles and look for the underlying principles which are true for any discipline (much like with martial arts)…

Anyhow… that’s enough for today! 🙂

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