Why They Won’t Pursue Your Idea

You’ve experienced this: you’ve been working at the company long enough to know how things work and you’re confident in your skills and contributions. It’s been long enough that you see more than just where the chinks in the armor are or opportunities than the company should be pursuing. At some point, you have the ear of one of the higher ups in your company. Maybe it’s at a company retreat or possibly a sidebar at the end of a meeting. You excitedly explain your idea and expect to have it rewarded with an enthusiastic response and possibly even an offer to lead the new project.

Instead you are greeted with a compliment sandwich of denial. “That’s a good idea but it’s not something that we can pursue right now.  Keep thinking outside the box, though. It’s appreciated.” Such a letdown, right?

It’s happened to me on more than one occasion. After a recent discussion with a colleague who had a similar experience, I started thinking about why we’re surprised at these outcomes and how to be better prepared going into these situations by considering what we’re really asking.

Business is all about relationships. Not simply the internal and external ones with our coworkers and customers/suppliers, but the ones we have with our products and processes as well. When you advocate for a new process or product, you’re asking the organization to enter into a new relationship. And relationships take work. So you asking the organization to do more work.

But your idea is special in that it will make things better, right? Who doesn’t want better relationships?

suspicious_frye
Hmmm…

Existing tools and procedures are established relationships, complete with a history of joys and disappointments.  But most importantly, established relationships have trust. They are a known entity. They may be low tech and even inefficient but there aren’t any surprises. Your new solution has potential and could well be better than any/every existing one but it’s still an unknown.

If you’re just at the idea stage, you have the added disadvantage that it’s an idealized relationship in your head, complete with a wonderful future that may excite you and make your heart flutter. Yet, in the eyes of an outsider, which at this stages is everybody but you, it’s still a fantasy .

How can you move from this place and improve your chances of others being more receptive to you?

more_than_words.gif
More than words

Provide something tangible. Give them something they can get excited about. A thing they can engage with physically and emotionally. It could be as simple as a paper design, a video demo or a prototype. Don’t think only in terms of completed products or processes. Many of the products and processes we used today started with the initial positive feedback we got from a sample.

 

Just remember, asking someone to enter a new relationship is a huge request. To paraphrase Aretha Franklin, give them something they can feel and you’ll have a better chance of winning them over.

What if you’ve done this, you think it has huge potential and they still don’t want to do it?

Consider how truly important the solution is to you. If you still think the idea has merit and pursuing it won’t conflict with the relationship you have with the company…

go_your_own_way
You can go your own way

Healthy October

This month, while in Morocco, I decided to try a few new things health wise. I haven’t trained Muay Thai or boxing since January. I’ve been toting gloves and focus mitts around but I’m not getting any benefit other that the extra weight lifting on travel days. My fitness routine has primarily consisted of doing HIIT training in my apartment and walking. My overall goal continues to be a sustainable routine that I can do anywhere in the world.

Pushing the Limits 30-Day Challenge

I spent the month with a Remote Year group (Veritas) in Marrakech. They have a monthly Pushing the Limits 30-Day Challenge and I was invited to participate. I settled on reaching 2000 reps (pushups and crunches) in addition to the steps challenge. It was a blast watching everyone get involved and pushing each other to succeed. I also made it a point to walk to the workspace when possible to increase my daily step count.

Results:

  • 2015 Pushups
  • 2165 Crunches
  • 277,147 Steps

Intermittent Fasting

During the 30-Day Challenge, I started thinking about my diet and simple ways that I could improve it to achieve additional health benefits. I started reading and watching videos about intermittent fasting and decided to give it a shot. I didn’t start until the 2nd week with no dietary changes like excluding sugar, carbs & alcohol. However, they were all restricted as a byproduct of simply reducing my feeding window. I used the Zero app  (iOS) to track my fasting.

October Results (Oct 8 – Oct 31):

  • Fasting Days: 19/24 (79%)
  • Monthly Averages
    • Fast Time: 17hr, 53 min
    • Start: 7:04 PM
    • End: 2:35 PM

Takeaways

  • I like Intermittent Fasting enough to continue doing it. It fits with my lifestyle as I was already eating only twice a day. I’ve simply shrunk the eating window. The good thing is that I haven’t sacrificed enjoying local food and drink in any country I’ve visited. I’ve restricted my indulgence of comfort foods.  I still love breakfast so I’ll probably mix in occasional 3 meal expanded eating days with corresponding  24 – 36 hour fasts.
  • Though I’m much lighter (approx. 180 lbs/ 82kg) than when I started my travels (203 lbs/92kg), my target is focused on how I look and feel rather than a specific weight.
  • I need to include more resistance training on the road and will pick up resistance bands and remove the focus mitts.
  • The Pushing the Limits 30-Day challenge was fun and I’d like to repeat it for November. I think one of the great things about it is doing something new and pushing myself out of my comfort zone but with a target for measuring progress/success.

What should I do for the November Challenge?

Nomadic Transition and Challenges

I recently participated in a survey asking about my transition to a nomadic lifestyle:

What were the challenges for you to transition into a digital nomadic life?

Before I started my journey, I owned a home and had a routine with family/friends, career and local community. Making the change from a stationary life to one of constant international travel required an adjustment in those relationships. In addition, I had the ongoing challenge of sustaining myself physically, financially and mentally in an ever changing environment.

 

How did you tackle those challenges and  make money while traveling?

When I started, I was employed full-time by a great company that fully supported remote work. While traveling, I was exposed to other people who were able to travel and make money in other ways (freelance, contract, product sales, etc.) and I began to rethink my approach. I’ve learned many methods to make money using my existing skillset. I’m still exploring which ones work best for me and the nomadic lifestyle.

What is advice that you’d share with other nomads?

Have a general plan for your nomadic journey but be flexible. Your most deeply held notions are subject to change based on new experiences. I started with the goal of traveling for one year while working full-time, returning home and opening a co-working space. That was two years ago and I’m already planning for a third year.

Also, don’t underestimate the impact of timezones when working with people around the world. Finding and protecting your most productive hours is important, especially when working on distributed teams.

And always keep a quick drying towel handy.

Answering these questions prompted my thinking on what is necessary to create a sustainable nomadic lifestyle that works, which I will discuss in an upcoming post.

Modern Work Podcast

Listen to my interview on the Modern Work podcast with host: writer, consultant and fellow nomad, Katherine Conaway. We talk about how I got into software development, my experience with Remote Year and how I work from the road.

Modern Work is a podcast about the work we do today & how we got there – featuring interviews with digital nomads, remote workers, and professionals across industries around the world, recorded from the road.

Farewell to Chiang Mai

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After almost four months in Chiang Mai, it’s time to move on. When I arrived, I thought I would just keep my head down, get some apps developed and then head on to the next place. I only had a modicum of success as I made a few missteps along the way.

  • I isolated myself too much. I assumed that if I sequestered myself, I’d be more productive and for the first few weeks I was right. In hindsight, I simply needed a break from the whirlwind of travel brought on by the previous 14 months. The cure was a brief respite to detox and decompress, not locking myself away from the world. That said, I do appreciate that this city was accommodating to that end if I desired. While it’s easy to jump into the touristy bar scene, it felt good knowing that it wasn’t expected.
  • I miss training. Getting hurt and not being able to train was probably the biggest blow to my plans. While I wasn’t planning on spending my nights doing extensive bar hopping, I did plan to spend my days training Muay Thai. Only problem was that my shoulder wasn’t getting any better. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago, that it dawned on me that the culprit had been my sleeping habits (sleeping on my side is murder on my shoulders).
  • I wasted an opportunity to learn Thai. My original plan was to stay in Vietnam for the remainder of 2017. I started learning Vietnamese via DuoLingo, but when my living plans changed, my language plans didn’t. Since I was a hermit anyway, I wasn’t focused on finding opportunities to learn the language beyond basic encounters. Living in the touristy part of town (Nimman) didn’t help either, as most people spoke enough English that I wasn’t forced out of my comfort zone.
  • I’m more of a social tourist. I don’t really have any bucket list places, so I often find myself just walking around and skipping the popular attractions. It doesn’t take much prodding to coax me out to a local landmark it usually takes an interested companion. I’ve just reached a point where I’m more interested in the daily life of a place. And one thing is for certain: I am all templed/churched out. I really don’t care if I never see another one anywhere on Earth, regardless of architecture.
  • I didn’t eat enough mango with sticky rice.

I will miss the simple life, the street food (especially at night), the freedom of anonymity and most of all the smiling people.

Khob khan krap

Working in Krabi, Thailand

This is a guest blog post by Super Villain and fellow Travel Squad member Elliott Killian. Follow more of his musings and how he uses his super villain powers for good at Elliott Killian  

Whether you are staying in Krabi for a while or just passing through and need to get some work done. Here are the best places for Digital Nomads in Krabi.

Sorry, no Co-working, but there are some great cafes.

A few days before I left, I of course looked for co-working spaces. According to Co-Worker, there are no co-working spaces in Krabi. I then asked Reddit and my friends for recommendations. No-one had a good answer. So I went on a mission to find the best cafe in Krabi for Digital Nomads.

All wifi was tested June 1st, 2017

#1. Zoo Cafe

 

Address:  Maharaj 2 Alley, Tambon Pak Nam, Amphoe Mueang Krabi, Chang Wat Krabi 81000

Hours:  Open from 7:30am-6pm, Closed Wednesday

Wifi:

  • Speed – 
  • Password – Ask the staff.

Menu:

  • The food is reasonably priced most of the dishes are 100 baht or less.
  • Drinks are around 60 Baht.
  • Meal for two might be 350 baht.
  • I am a tea drinker and Zoo Cafe has 11 different teas. This is the largest collection of teas in Krabi that I have seen. Most places only serve black tea or Lipton tea.

About the Space:

  • Air-conditioning works and is at the right temperature. 3 tables inside and 5 tables outside.
  • Drawings of cartoon animals line the wall. I am actually writing this article at Zoo Cafe right now.
  • The only con about Zoo is that it only has three tables inside. Peak season this might be full of people.

Zoo Cafe closes on Wednesday so if you go there and forget that it’s Wednesday. Which I may or may not have done. Pirate House is next door which is #3 on this list.

#2 Easy Cafe

Address: 30 Khongkha Rd, Tambon Pak Nam, Amphoe Mueang Krabi, Chang Wat Krabi 81000

Hours: Opens 7:30am-6:00pm, Kitchen closes at 5:00 pm, Closed Monday

Wifi: 

  • Speed –
  • Password – Ask the staff. It might be mythology/ fantasy related.

Menu:

  • Food prices range from 65 baht to 200 baht. Larger and more western the food was more.
  • An estimate for a meal for two (two entrees, appetizer, two drinks) would be roughly 350.
  • They serve both Thai food and a large selection of Italian food. They also have a page for vegetarian food. 7 different types of tea and a whole page for different choices of iced coffee.

About the Space:

  • There are 7 Tables inside and 5 tables outside.
  • The restaurant is across the street from the river and the night market, which is a great place to have dinner or dessert after dark.

#3 Pirate House Cafe

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Address: Tambon Pak Nam, Amphoe Mueang Krabi, Chang Wat Krabi 81000

Hours: Open everyday 9am-10pm

Wifi: 

  • Speed –
  • Password – Look on the napkin holders

Menu:

  • A meal for two would be around 450 baht
  • Food ranges from 100 baht to 200 baht. They serve Indian, Thai, and western food.
  • It is a small franchise with other locations in Koh Phi Phi and around Krabi

About the Space:

The drinks and food are pricier than the first two. If few people are there they open the windows and doors and turn off the Air conditioning.

#4 Koko Nest Coffee

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Address: Pak Nam, Mueang Krabi District, Krabi 81000

Hours: Open Everyday from 7am-10pm.

Wifi: 

  • Speed –
  • Password – Look on the wall next to the door

Menu:

  • Most expensive place meals range from 100 baht to 250 baht.
  • Price for two people might be 500 baht
  • A good breakfast place.

 

This list should help you find your spot to get work done. Hopefully one of these places becomes your favorite and go-to place.

 

Cost of Living: Chiang Mai, Thailand

I haven’t been posting Income Reports for the last few months, mainly because there hasn’t been any real income to report. I have, however, been tracking my expenses. After spending a month in Bali with my fellow Battutas, I decided to settle into a slower travel pace and focus on my pet projects while doing some contract work. I had briefly visited Chiang Mai in February for the Nomad Summit conference and felt it would make a suitable destination.

Though there are many YouTube videos discussing the cost of living here, with some people pushing the boundaries of feasibility, I’ve provided some detailed numbers on how much I’ve spent over the three months

Expenses Chiang Mai 3/15/17 – 6/15/17

Category Cost Avg Month
Lodging (3 night AirBnB -$79 and 3 month lease @ $462/mo) $1465.21

 

$488.00

 

Utilities $200.98 $66.99
Food & Drink $768.53 $256.17
Visas (from March 15 – July 10) $348.34

 

$116.00

 

Entertainment (incl. elephant park, Chiang Rai and Golden Triangle tours) $200.00 $66.78
Misc. $288.99 $96.33
Total $3261.30 $1087.10

Notes:

  • My 3-month lease of a luxury apartment (The Nimmana Condos in the hip Nimman area of Chiang Mai) was on the mid to higher end of what was available. It’s possible to find nice accommodations for up to half the price but I wasn’t price shopping. IMG_2889
  • My utilities ran a bit higher than they would for most as I ran the AC more than I should have. It’s hot and humid here but in hindsight, I should’ve purchased a fan. The electricity ran about $66/month while water was $2.81/month
  • I did 2 visa extensions locally a cost of about $70 each (including transportation to/from the immigration office at Promenade Mall). I also made a border run to Kuala Lumpur which cost about $220 for airfare/hotel.
  • I had high-speed internet service (50Mbps down/20Mbps down) installed at apartment for $21/mo plus $28 installation/deposit. With that, I stopped to going to co-working spaces or cafes.

Food & Drink Breakdown

Location Cost (# of visits) Avg. per Meal
Street Food $101.46 (39) $2.60
McDonald’s $156.70 (30) $5.22
Maya Food Court $11.44 (6) $1.91
Restaurant (meals w/ beer) $82.48 (11) $7.50
Restaurant (no beer) $207.81 (36) $5.77
$559.89 (122)
Drinks  Cost (# of purchases)  Avg. per Item
Soda $6.00 (15) $0.40
Water $32.28 (23) $1.36
Beer $93.86 (33) $2.84
Whiskey $76.50
$208.64
Total
Food and Drink: $768.53
Costs w/o alcohol: $579.14

Notes:

  • Though the best price was the food court in the basement at Maya Mall, My favorited dishes were the street vendors and sit-down restaurants in the area.
  • I ate a lot more McDonald’s than I would like to admit but in my defense, they have fried chicken here and it’s pretty tasty. Also, the food is made to order so it was consistently hot.
  • Wine is cost prohibitive for even the cheapest bottle, which is why I opted for beer and whiskey.  If you don’t drink, you can eat quite well on a modest budget. I never cooked and only kept cereal and fruit at home.

 

What’s In Your Bag?

Bag lady, you gon’ hurt your back, draggin’ all them bags like that. I guess nobody ever told you all must hold on to is you.
Erykah Badu

Remote Year ended for me in mid-March. Though the program was officially over in January, I continued to travel with my fellow Battutas, keeping the dream alive (and the cult together) for as long as we could. As I packed my bags to depart from Bali, it was apparent that I couldn’t continue to tote this much weight. My last two trips required me to remove items from my checked baggage to avoid fees. In assessing what should remain, I realized the excess baggage as much mental as it was physical.

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I thought I’d make it the entire time with these bags.

So after 14 months, what did I end up putting down?

* Two cars, a house full of possessions, and the very idea of “home”

* A ridiculous Russian nesting doll of bags starting with a 120L duffel used to carry a 90L duffel, 35L duffel, a wet bag and a tote bag.

* Ideas about who I was and my place in the world. Some were inherited, others were freely accepted over time but all were occupying the space needed to forge a new direction.

* Past hopes, mistakes, disappointments and missed opportunities. Continually beating myself up over these things was a waste of mental space.

* Relationships that didn’t work or weren’t healthy. Some of these were hard to let go of but essential to moving forward.

* Fears about changing at this point in life.

It’s important to periodically take stock and make sure that what you’re carrying is essential for your journey.

Excess baggage is costly.

So pack light (oooh, oooh)

February 2017 Earnings Report for The Cocoa Nomad

Revenue

Consulting:                        $0

Still haven’t received payment for the work in January. The additional project that was supposed to come about also didn’t materialize. I’ll turn my efforts onto freelance and check out sites like UpWork. My plan is to blog/vlog my experience with online work as well as any other income streams I attempt.

iOS App Store:                   $16.40

I just listened to the latest episode of the Under the Radar (https://www.relay.fm/radar/71) about Apps as Annuities. the primary theme is that apps afford revenue even though they may not be constantly updated. David Smith, one of the hosts, does note that in his experience unmaintained apps tend to decay in terms of sales at a rate of about 0.5% per month. While not a scientific measurement, it’s convenient way to think about the income stream from the app portfolio. My app income does not strictly adhere to this principle as it rose 50% over the previous period but the numbers are two small to try to draw any conclusions. I am confident that the next 2 months will show a change in these numbers.

Amazon:                            -$12.18

The lack of sales and mounting storage fees here means that I’m going to have to get rid of my inventory. I’ll start by deeply discounting the prices (probably 40-50%) to see if I can get any takers. I’d rather recoup some of my money than taking a complete loss. I’m not giving up on Amazon (though I am done with retail arbitrage for the foreseeable future) but I will have to change my product offering.

Total Revenue:                 $4.22

 

Expenses

Rent                                        $744
Food                                      $375
Travel                                    $305
Biz Services                          $264

Total Expenses:              $1688

I split my time in February between Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, so my travel and lodging expenses were much higher than I expect for the next three months, when I will be settled into Chiang Mai, Thailand.

“Fake it ’til you make it” is BS

“Fake it ’til you make it” is a popular and oft repeated phrase offered to people that are scared of making a significant change or embarking on something new. The statement gained traction as people began embracing the facade of success in an effort to build confidence. Popular media reinforces this approach, suggesting strategies that will help you “fake it” and evidence to support its effectiveness.

The seduction of pithy axioms like this are hard to deny. They’re sure to draw more attention than the rough, unvarnished simplicity of the truth.

The truth is that it’s you don’t need to fake it.

Confidence is gained through competence. And competence is a result of consistent action.

“Faking it” is about outward appearance, how you look to others. It’s a needless distraction.

For proof, look no further than any construction site. Whether it’s greenfield development or a rehab project, a process is followed from beginning to end.

Are the builders faking it during construction? No. They don’t have to.

When you’re laying a foundation, you’re making it.

When you’re putting up framing, you’re making it.

When you’re adding the final touches and flourishes, you’re making it.

Each day in which action is taken, you move closer to completion. “Making it” is not about the finished product. It’s about the concrete steps you take to get there.

Focus on what you are building, not on what the passersby see.

Don’t “fake it ’til you make it”.

Make it until you’re finished.