Why I came back
Posted: 10:01 am
September 16th, 2015
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Boss, IT Business

Earlier this summer I decided to take over two months off of work and really had the minimal contact with the office and with most of the employees. What I had to figure out is whether I am done with ExchangeDefender, Shockey Monkey and indeed with the rest of IT world.

This is a tough business. When you’re in the technology part of it, your motivation and your reward is the man triumphing over the machine and making that underlying technology work better for the business that invested in it. You know what to do. If you’re any good at that and happen to like people you’re on the business side, helping people not waste their money and productivity. Then you make money. You know why you’re doing it. Lot’s of money. Really, rather obscene amounts of money.

So there I was.

IMG_9448 (2)

When you’re making so much money that you don’t know how to spend it, but still have responsibilities, things get rather monotone and boring. It’s just a number. You go through the daily motions but the process itself kills you. You want to put the pedal to the metal and get a new feature rolled out but that takes time. New marketing agenda – needs to be researched, sold to partners on which benefits work and where, designed, tested. New business lines – ditto, starting it from scratch. I’m not going to lie, it bent me.

So I went on a vacation. Around the world. Did all the things I love to do. No, still didn’t sleep, I’ve come to peace with the fact that it’s just who I am. Ate a camel burger. Rode camels in multiple countries. Hey, it’s Wednesday! Hi Andy.

It wasn’t a soul searching expedition.
I wasn’t trying to ask myself what’s next.
I wasn’t making plans in my head or hoping and wishing.
I just enjoyed my life.

And then it hit me

All my adult life I wanted to make $100,000 a year. Then somehow that changed to wanting a million dollar business. As I got more successful the obsessions added zeros but the bank balances never really did much for me other than giving me the confidence. What I got out of ExchangeDefender, when it’s all said and done some day, won’t be the money. It’s the relationships I’ve built, people I’ve trained and made into professionals, companies we’ve helped build and seen each other (and our kids) grow up.

So I did no work this summer. But I kept on chatting with partners who are actually more my friends at this point rather than the people I work for. And that in the end is my value – in seeing that people like myself beat the odds. I founded my company on the promise that we will not screw or exploit people, staff or customers. Over the past 18 years lot’s of people worked very hard for it. Don’t get me wrong – we’ve done great – but it’s been an effort that is more than a paycheck. When someone wakes up at 3AM to deal with an issue that could be handled by someone that just got hired that’s no longer a “I need this job” mentality.

I cringe when people tell me they are building their business on top of a partnership with a giant company who is accountable to it’s shareholders and barely even to their employees, much less you. And then what do you tell your staff? Your clients – your family?

To me, Own Web Now has been and will be a company that helps small business succeed. And we have a lot of cool things we are working very hard on – with a management team that has rendered me completely useless and replaceable. I can’t tell you how liberating that feels. And just how awesome that is going to make the next 5 years that I’m mapping out for us right now.

As always, thank you for all your money and your confidence in us. I appreciate it.

Boss, IT Business | 1 Comment

This blog is made possible by Own Web Now Corp and ExchangeDefender. If you like this blog and are in the need of products we offer I hope you give us some consideration.

I feel like my job in IT is done
Posted: 10:31 am
September 8th, 2015
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Boss, IT Business

I got an interesting email (excerpt):

… so it’s just a matter of time till my job is outsourced or just dismissed.

If you were in my shoes what would you do because I like the place I work at. I just don’t see it lasting.

I hear this from a lot of people. You fall into a job where you happen to be good at a few tasks and your boss piles your plate sky high in the same task until they move on to something else and you cease to serve a purpose.

I often get criticized for writing in a brutal tone that cuts very deep and today will be no exception. I am not trying to sell you anything, I am not your buddy, I am not writing this for the sake of getting you signed up for a seminar or a book tour – I do this as repaying a debt to the community that has made me a very wealthy and successful guy. And this is an important part: I hear this very same “getting stale; I think I’m done” sob story from my MSP partners who are feeling like their days are numbered.

I’m going to say this only once and very slowly, read it as many times as you need to and chant it away until it sinks in.

People hire people.

People buy services.

Got it? Good.

When something doesn’t matter but is necessary for the operation of busines, it is handed off to a temp employee or the cheapest licensed vendor available. It’s temporary, necessary and finite.

When a business is spending money on personnel it’s not looking for a cheapest person barely capable of doing the job. Those jobs are in China now. If you were invited for an interview it was because the company felt you were capable and qualified of doing the job.  If you were offered the job it is because the employer thought you would be a valuable addition to the team and could grow to be more than what they needed right then and there. Why else would they go through the hassle, it’s so much easier to deal with a vendor than to train, manage and motivate an employee.

You are here because you are valuable

Most employees forget that. Most employers and managers forget this over time as well but that’s the truth – we fall into a rut and into a process and the longer we do the same thing the longer we don’t feel we are making progress or a difference.

It is critical for employees, and their managers, to come up with tasks and projects that staff can work on somewhat independently of their core responsibilities (and this is where most people that were gonna forward this to their employees just stopped reading because nobody wants more work) that give some meaning, purpose and independent creativity to an employee.

The best employees see what needs to be done and manage their projects on their own. The ones that just wait for stuff to be handed to them on a platter are sort of missing out because odds are you’re going to be handed stuff you really don’t want to be doing. So take some initiative, talk to your boss, point out stuff that needs to be done.

Remember, people hire people. You got hired for a reason – if you do nothing in the face of becoming obsolete then yes, you will inevitably find yourself without a job. But if you reinforce why you’re there, if you excel at your core responsibilities while proving that you’re worth and capable of more.. They’ll find something to keep you to do.

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Pimps and Sponsors:

Doing this an hour a day will drastically improve your business
Posted: 10:59 am
August 31st, 2015
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Boss, Humor

Managing a business, from people to products to process, is an enormous effort that for successful business managers becomes a matter of lifestyle where your work life and home life become indistinguishable: the more successful you become the less you’ll be able to define hours during which you work and which you won’t.

At this point you will have money but you won’t be happy – a perfect mark client for a unemployed fraud consultant to exploit assist on your way to perfectly enhancing your business. As a matter of community service I will offer you this path to solving any business problem you need to solve or any part of your business or personal life you would like to improve:

Just dedicate an hour, 30 minutes, 15 minutes every single day towards working on the problem. Here is an egg timer to keep you accountable to yourself.

eggtimerBam. Think about the compound returns – an hour a day dedicated to marketing is equivalent to spending over 9 weeks working on it full time! And who can’t find a single hour a day that will absolutely guarantee you solve your marketing issues, launch a huge sales process, implement that new tool that will transform your business and then more!

Everything in life and business that has been holding you back can be solved with this piece of advice and this egg timer. Don’t think of it as a cheap gimmick that mocks your inability to manage time and focus, think of it as an accountability supertool (note to self: Brand the said egg timer with my logo so I can give it away at my seminars) that will finally get you on track.

Life and Work Comes At You Fast

Here is what unemployed people don’t know about real work: It’s hardly a linear progression of tasks, perfectly structured periods of uninterrupted time, with clear deliverables and agendas that always work out. We all deal with the exact opposite and those challenges lead to burnout, frustration, stress and a overwhelming feeling that we’re never going to get ahead.

Congratulations. You’re just like the rest of us, like every single one of us. Quit your bitching and whining because that’s just the part of corporate work and here is the egg timer, throw it against the wall or smash it against the table, take a deep breath and a Diet Coke and get back to it because the pile is just getting bigger.

But what about stress? What about things I could do every day to move my business forward? Do work. When you feel stressed out about it close your eyes for a second, take a deep breath and thank whichever deity you believe in that you don’t have to earn a living trying to sell people business optimization tricks that involve egg timers.

Boss, Humor | Comments Off on Doing this an hour a day will drastically improve your business

In Defense of Trump
Posted: 6:01 am
August 13th, 2015
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IT Business, IT Culture

A lot of people seem to like Trump, despite or in spite of the seemingly idiotic stuff he says. As I try to explain this to my friends abroad, it has more to do with the general disgust most sane people have for the media and for the climate of political correctness that is slowly crushing our ability to say anything negative about truly insane stuff that is going on.

Here is the thing with Trump – he is direct, he is visceral, he is everything you need to actually succeed in business dominated by lawyers, committees, boards and people put in place to keep things from moving forward. We’ve all had those clients.

I don’t find Trump to be mean spirited. Someone with that much power and that much money wouldn’t stay in business or in the media long, who wants to fight all that backlash when you can buy an island?

I recently had a conversation with a friend about relating to Trump and how being an asshole is not a bad thing people always make it out to be.

Not being an asshole, not being critical, not being able to raise your head above group think is perhaps the worst thing you can do when you realize that far too many politically correct super networkers around you are perfectly polite but also working their own agenda that is actually damaging and actually mean spirited. Folks that are really out in complete self interest and screwing others do not want to have difficult things discussed because it sheds light on their behavior.

I can relate – here is a personal story without naming names. I feel like the biggest problem MSPs (who are a decent size of my client base) face today is lack of education. So I get invited to donate my time to a non-profit to help design stuff for folks to get a better handle on the cloud and how to do so profitably. Sounds like a win win right? But when that non-profit is generating 50 million a year in a certificate business and decides to waste the groups time on generating one more worthless commercial certification track who is the asshole there – the guy who doesn’t have the time for that or the guy that is pushing for it with both hands and suddenly ends up with a part time job with the non-profit?

When activity like that goes without comment and without criticism, many people get actually hurt. Not in sense of hurt feelings, which people get over with quickly, but actual value destruction. And folks like that want an environment where nobody ever says anything stupid or offensive or critical – because negativity is a bad thing and we need to focus on good and positive and forward and up (and let them get away with it)? Bullshit.

This is why guys like Trump are always called out for the stupid, ignorant, negative and critical stuff they say – somewhat because it’s easy to get the people to think you’re an asshole with snippets and sound bites and be angry about it (so you tune in more often) – and it’s far more difficult to get the people to rationally consider all the fuckery and swindling going on. People overreact when they are confronted by such crude or honest behavior because they have become disaffected and sterilized by the cordial, polite and friendly interactions that they deep down know do nothing but screw them. And it’s easy to point to it and say “My god, what is wrong with them!!!” because that shifts the conversation away from the ACTUAL problem. 

So every now and then I work with people who after a while feel comfortable saying “Man, I heard you’re such an asshole” and I look at them wondering why they thought that was such a bad thing. Sometimes being an asshole is a good thing, particularly when the “normal” is the insanity we’ve given up to take for granted because that’s just the way things are.

For the record, as many of you may have been offended by this blog (and if you haven’t been yet, stick around), keep in mind that none of it was mean spirited to tear something down. Visceral as it may be, you can probably count on your fingers the number of folks that have been hurt by me – wish I could say the same for those that live to criticize it as they fail from one job to the next.

IT Business, IT Culture | Comments Off on In Defense of Trump

Travel Murse
Posted: 10:09 am
July 20th, 2015
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I always often get picked on about my murse (“male purse”), being gay, whether I’m keeping my testicles in it and so forth. But all jokes aside, which are quite warranted, there just aren’t enough belts, holsters, pockets and hands to hold and carry all the junk I typically use when I’m away from the desk for a few hours.

Skinny jeans are getting tighter and glocks are getting bigger. Gotta compromise.


So I had an interesting conversation while traveling with folks that are carrying around backpacks about the contents of the murse so here is what I have in mine when I’m traveling:

  • Paper copy of all my travel documents – drivers license, passport, one or two credit cards. I don’t like lugging around original documents because they are both bulky and I don’t want to lose them so they stay in the hotel safe.
  • Address and map of the hotel I’m staying at. Cause Google Maps will kill your iPhone battery faster than you can drop the phone on the ground.
  • Backup iPhone… or two. See above comment about dropping it.
  • Portable battery, cables.
  • iPod Shuffle and headphones. Because sometimes it gets boring.
  • Snack ziplock bag. For change. Because if you keep your iPhone and your change in the pocket you may as well just put your screen into a blender.
  • Foreign language cheat sheet. Emergency contact information.
  • Baby wipes. Cause third world.
  • Tic tacs.
  • Tickets, passes, etc. Nothing will get you robbed faster than fumbling around with your wallet full of cash while trying to find a ticket, bus pass, etc. I keep my $ in a belt and ID/tickets/passes in my wallet.

It deters pickpockets more than walking out of an all you can eat buffet in skinny jeans – when you have stuff in front and back pockets and go into a crowded bus/line/market you’ve got a lot of places someone can hit. With a murse, you just need to keep a good grip on one thing. Cause you no longer have to worry about your manhood. If you’re really paranoid, you can just loop it into your shirt.

To a life well traveled.

Leisure | Comments Off on Travel Murse

Timehop Getting Things Done
Posted: 10:15 am
June 3rd, 2015
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Boss, GTD

vanillaFor the record, I hate the posts where someone successful tries to lecture people on how things should be done when you haven’t reached your potential yet, it’s condescending and I hope this isn’t seen in such a way.

I was asked recently how my work habits have changed over the years, how does getting stuff done evolve (or does it) – so here are just 3 tips that I wish I had back in the day.

1. Manage Your Agenda, Delegate Away

As many of you have seen here, I have a physical paper agenda. It never leaves my sight. It will never, ever, ever be digital – I like the idea of writing things out because for the most part I stops me from thinking of anything else – while computer activity is prone to multitasking.

I only deal with one thing a day. Everything else I get done in a day is an awesome bonus but as a human, I can seemingly only give my full and undivided attention to one thing at a time. I also tend to do so away from the PC. There is a joke around the office that you don’t open the door to my office if you see me sitting at the desk with a pen in my hand or going over a pile of papers.

The biggest change over the years.. is that I have a lot of great people around me. And I can’t be involved in everything or participate in everything. So some ideas just go to others for implementation.

Do this: Find out what you shouldn’t be doing. Even if you have 0 employees, there are many things you may be doing that could be outsourced. Yes, even if they cost money. If you can focus on more revenue generating things that only you can do and give up things that anyone else can do you’re taking the first step in independence from your business.

2. Eliminate Distractions

When you’re trying to make it in business your attitude has to be never say no. This inevitably leads to you being taken advantage of, dragged into endless meetings and focus groups and non-profit action committees, dinners, events, fundraisers, conferences, Facebook groups, mailing lists, even usenet for some of you dinosaurs.

Then you have internal and external “drama” that others like to bring to you as a matter of small talk that will drown your productivity – nothing like grown ass men and women gossiping like teenagers at lunch break. I had an employee where every meeting seemingly started with wasted time discussing people and topics that don’t matter – and I’d find myself repeatedly saying “Focus! What are we working on?”

The most significant bit of relief for me was the day I simply deleted v@vladville.com email account that received thousands of messages each day. Think of your Twitter on steroids – long discussion threads, even longer messages, even more at stake – for everyone except me. I didn’t bother unsubscribing, I just nuked the mailbox.

Do this: Track yourself throughout the day. How much time do you spend on actual work that matters? How much of what you do is actually getting you to (quantifiably) move forward – and start chopping.

3. Compress The Clock, Find Another Challenge

I don’t want to mince words, people that own companies and talk about work life balance should be shot. Dead. If you don’t have passion for your business or live to fulfill your vision and enrich not just your life but that of your employees and your clients – without compromise – you should get the fuck out of the way any let someone else do it. Believed it than, believe it now, anything less than the best is a felony. Hat tip to Vanilla Ice.

But what I wish I knew back then, and the way my life has changed significantly, is in finding other sources of passion and excitement in my life that compress the clock and allow me to get things done faster. Because I have other shit to do. I can’t spend 22 hours working on a project today, going over it a million times and looking at it a thousand different ways because today is my kids last day of first grade and I promised I’d take him somewhere special for dinner to celebrate. I also want to get a run in today because it’s National Run Day. I have inlaws staying with us tonight, we ran out of ovaltine, I have a few phone calls – you get the idea, I can’t stay at work till 11PM to move us one inch closer to the finish line.

If you think work life balance is about trading one thing for another you’re buying pipe dreams from people that failed at life. Unless you’re a sadistic bastard that likes to feel like he is failing one group of folks after another. That’s not what it’s about, you will NEVER be happy if you’re constantly feeling unhappy about striking a harmony between your career and your life. Your career is your life. Your life is your career.

You just need to have your career feed your life and have your life make you more productive in your career.

For me, it’s the realization that things just aren’t going to be perfect. There will never be enough Vlad to go around to please everyone but whatever mode I’m in CEO/dad/husband… I’m at it 100%. And I feel absolutely fantastic while I’m in one role after another because I get the ultimate satisfaction in each moment. There isn’t “fuck, I don’t want to go to work” day or “Wish I never had kids” day in my life.

As my wife recently remarked… “You don’t do anything small. You wanted to ride a bike so you bought a Ducati. Fine. But now you have 5. Wanted to do a triathlon – you’re now doing 9 of them this year and we have such a thing as a spare triathlon bike? You don’t do things modestly”

Do this: Find things that you love to do. Appreciate every moment you get to do things that make you happy. If they don’t make you happy, change them. Live to fill your life with things you want to do so no one thing ends up sucking the life out of you. When you’ve got other fun shit to do you’ll find yourself getting things done a LOT faster than when you’ve got the whole day to willow in the misery of a problem that won’t solve itself.

Boss, GTD | Comments Off on Timehop Getting Things Done

Making Money From IT Providers
Posted: 10:08 am
June 2nd, 2015
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IT Business

Before I get out of here for my summer vacation I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the phone with my partners and we’re chatting about the usual stuff that’s required for growth. If you’d like to chat please call me – if you’re waiting for me to call that’s a 5 figure queue and my schedule gets set by demand… unless you’ve got something fun going on then I’m there.

Making money from IT Solution Providers

I should first offer a disclaimer that the word VAR is a four letter word in my business. So for the purposes of this discussion (and our business model in general) the following doesn’t include businesses that aren’t first and foremost about service.

There are four successful business models for making money off SPs:

1. Overpriced, high touch, we-do-it-all solution.

2. Free solution that sells something else on the side.

3. Reasonably priced but widely distributed thing everyone buys.

If you are considering going into a business that provides any sort of a solution to the SP base you need to pick a horse and stick with it. Here are brief descriptions:

Overpriced, high touch, we-do-it-all solution. This works if your solution requires quite a bit of skill to put together and maintain. Here you’re actually providing more of a service and consulting/implementation than an actual product. Think of it like Mark Zuck – “If they were going to build Facebook, they would have built Facebook” – if your solution was both easy and simple most companies that have a lot of money would have already built it – so good luck trying to sell them something if they already have middleware in place. Ditto on the low end, they want it but can’t afford it and you’re not going to make money by selling things at a loss.

Free solution that sells something else on the side. If you don’t have a large sales force and a support team then you likely also have a weak marketing budget – good luck getting in front of the client and harassing them into buying your stuff. But if they are already using some of your stuff it’s infinitely easier to get them to pay a little for some other stuff. And eventually they’ll end up in the product #1 where they are actually paying a lot for something very personalized and custom. Yes, Shockey Monkey.

Reasonably priced but widely distributed thing everyone buys. Think things like antivirus and backup software – expensive to develop, expensive to support, difficult to build out, requires track record and increasingly higher costs as audits and certifications are required for even the most elementary stuff.

Game Plan

Pick one and stick with it. As every failed IT business will tell you, once you give into the temptation of a “big client” that soon becomes a major part of your revenue and then bends your profit margins over.. it’s far less risky to get a ton of clients that contribute a little than to kill yourself over that “whale” client. But that requires hard work and vision and strategy and…

Service business is about relationships. But what do relationships look like when you’re likely never going to meet most of your clients in person? The key is availability and responsibility. I wish I had a dollar for every time an existing client has told me that I come off like a total dick on my blog and Facebook. No shit, why do you think you’re reading this horseshit in the first place? When you’re actually working with us things are obviously quite a bit different – and the persona that you will play on the Internet to people that will never see you better make it seem like they can approach you and rip you a new one when you fail. Your clients need to know that they can come to you at any time, for any reason and that someone will take care of them.

Long term strategy. Some stuff will work and some stuff will not, that’s the nature of business. But working with solution providers isn’t like working a transactional retail cash business – solution providers will see you as a part of their business. When you do good, they don’t notice. When you mess up, you make them look bad. It’s the instant Office Space moment where you get to be kicked by their client, their clients rep, their low end IT guy that took abuse on the ticket and likely the manager/owner that now has to apologize for you. So if you don’t have the mindset of “I will not fuck up” then this is a non-starter. When you sell them something don’t ever expect them to cancel. Communicate as such, lead up as such, explain as such.

Beware of hobbyists. This is the most important thing and most valuable piece of advice I can give you: Money talks. If your client comes to you with more problems, questions, inquiries and requests they are likely very diligent and thoughtful people. And in my experience, they don’t have a lot of clients that will make this a good business venture for you both because they spend more time tinkering than selling and managing. Unfortunately for me, I was that fucker that spend most time trying to make things perfect early in my career and I advise you to avoid that type of a person like a plague. Ditto for coaches (I still get daily emails and calls from one expert after another promising to bring me business if I hire them on to help my clients with business, newsletters, web sites, sales strategies, marketing, cold calling, etc), ditto for prominent personalities that you can’t pinpoint a revenue stream (professional conference attendees, vendor shills), people you can’t reach on the phone (if you can’t get to them how do their clients?), professional networkers and dealers (we can connect you with a person that can connect you with 5,000 leads) and other common sense scum of every business line.


If you build it… they will come. But will they come in an adequate volume to make you profitable? Remember that folks that have a lot of money to spend may already have some sort of a solution in place and those less fortunate probably don’t have the time, resources or willingness to put the solution in so you’ll have to do it for them. Whatever you do, be nimble and test multiple models until you start building up a base from which you can hire, replicate and grow your enterprise.

IT Business | Comments Off on Making Money From IT Providers

Two weeks with my Apple Watch
Posted: 10:25 am
May 29th, 2015
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Boss, Gadgets

The following is my opinion of the Apple Watch after wearing it for two weeks.


Before you read any of this please understand that what works for me likely will not work for me – wearables are personal and as such tend to reflect not just your style but also your needs. With that in mind, my motivation to purchase the Apple Watch were two-fold:

1. Replace my dying Nike Watch. Comparable TomTom or Garmin device would have cost just as much, been very bulky and otherwise useless. The Apple Watch replaces Nike Watch, Nike/Fitbit fitness/activity tracking band and isn’t something I need to think about charging, syncing or updating separately the night before a marathon.

2. Reduce interruption-driven environment that a smartphone fuels.

For me, that second point is huge enough to strap a bulky, ugly, digital leash across the arm from my beautiful gold and diamond Rolex. It’s as far as it gets from style and straight into functionality. This is where I might be slightly different from you but hear me out:

Ever since my first smartphone I’ve never been able to glance at it and just move on with my day. As a CEO I get a ton of email, ton of requests for meetings, tons of notices, text messages, etc. So every time I look at my phone it doesn’t end with me just knocking something out and moving on – I end up replying to a few emails, review some notes, listen to the voicemails and notifications.. and hey, while I’m at it let me see what’s going on with my Twitter and Facebook. And crap just keeps on streaming in while I’m hopping from one thing to another. By the time I look up again it’s lunch time. Or my favorite – I pull over to reply to an important item and 30 minutes later I’m still on the side of the road working out of my car.

This is the recipe for the least productive executive ever. I’ve fired people who couldn’t stay on point and now I’ve become the same distraction driven guy who needs to strain to get barely anything done.

Apple Watch – The Bad

The onboarding experience feels very much like it was designed by Microsoft. It’s clunky. It doesn’t work. It makes no sense in many ways and there are far too many holes that immediately make you look for the box and figure out a way to return it.

In my experience, the watch took forever to patch itself and become useful. Except it wasn’t. Without downloading the first update, which didn’t show up initially, none of the third party apps would actually show up on the watch. So I wasted about an hour on Google trying to figure out why my brand new watch couldn’t install a single third party app due to “Insufficient Storage, delete some songs and photos and try again”

After I got the apps I got started with personalizing “the most personal device Apple has ever made” – which is the biggest load of crap ever. Watch faces are highly inflexible, navigating around different ways you can customize them is annoying, different faces have only certain stuff you can put on the face and there is no way to mix and match them (for example, certain widgets like battery info are available only on some faces).

Then you get to the point of customizing your apps so when you tap the watch you can get to everything you want – this is sort of like trying to solve the rubik’s cube. Every time you move one icon it moves 4 others in seemingly random ones. Trying to get Apple supplied apps to move is significantly harder than moving third party ones and there is no way to remove Apple apps at all. But it’s an annoyance that you quickly forget once you get the stuff where you want it to.

My initial experience with the watch was anything but positive. And for a while it certainly went straight downhill as one app after another was either disappointing, annoying or just plain slow.

Apple Watch – The Good

The longevity is much better than I expected it to be. I got the 42mm model which supposedly has a better battery life so ymmv.

The weight balance is quite nice, even though the device itself is bulky you don’t feel it when you’re walking around. It doesn’t make you feel like you’re about to clip the wall at every opportunity and so far… no scratches.

Apps… work. They give you some basic information and for the most part make looking at the watch as opposed to pulling out your phone far better. And quite intuitive.

Apple Watch – The Best

The best part of the watch is the reduction of interruptions. Hear me out:

Watch vibrates or beeps for txt messages, emails, tasks and so on. When it does, turning the phone towards your face makes the screen come on and notification is displayed. It takes a fraction of a second to “glance” at it and decide if you need to deal with it immediately or not.

Responding to stuff is ridiculously easy. You tap it and you get a ton of options to automatically respond to the note. I have a few things ready to rock right away which are my typical responses. Get something I need to act on but I’m in a middle of something else – tap respond and select “OK, I’m in a middle of something I’ll get back to you in a sec.”

The other thing is that Siri on the device is absolutely flawless. Even with my broken accent and slurred speech. Siri gets me. And when I say “fuck” it doesn’t type “duck” – it’s fucking brilliant.

My verdict

I hope the third party apps improve and that the watch customization improves. I won’t hold my breath for that, it’s Apple and they don’t care what you want. The Nike watch has already been put in the drawer right next to the Fitbit and the Band and all the other stuff I used for training.

The amount of my life I get back as a result of it makes this thing worth it’s weight in gold. Except you’re a f’n moron if you buy the gold one. Also, buying bands from Apple is insane – check out the stuff Chinese are selling on eBay – I already got a crocodile band and a stainless steel one on their way and as soon as it’s back in stock, carbon fiber. The default sport band is exceptionally ugly and definitely has the look of a sex toy (not that I’d know) so you’ll definitely be getting something else.

Notifications and glances are absolutely brilliant. I’ve discovered that my wife is actually pretty awesome in the process, as our time together is no longer sucked up with me taking a quick look at my phone and being mentally gone for 5 minutes at a time.

Siri and txt apps are great and they are integrated absolutely flawlessly. I can look down and respond while driving without taking my eye on the road.

Interruptions and distractions are removed by the fact that the watch isn’t very useful. Think of it how certain functionality was always something you went to your laptop after you got your smartphone? Same thing here – watch is the notification/leash device, need to actually get something done.. well the phone or laptop aren’t that far away.

Note: My wife feels quite differently about her watch. She sees it as a leash, something that I can get in touch with her at any time. But so does everyone else, so it interrupts her at work (she is a scientist with a real job and does quite a bit of math so beeping and pulsing things aren’t quite helpful in that environment). Her battery doesn’t last for 2 days. Using the built in fitness functionality annoys her and MyFitnessPal app leaves a lot to be desired. Getting the info from the Apple app is kind of annoying, you need 3 taps and 3 swipes just to find out how many steps you’ve taken. So like I said, your mileage may vary.

Boss, Gadgets | Comments Off on Two weeks with my Apple Watch

The Lies I Tell Myself To Keep Going
Posted: 10:11 am
May 11th, 2015
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dubaiwealthI love big cities. I love Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, London, Sydney.. most of all Dubai. I love the energy and I love the outlandish displays of wealth and luxury. Not just because I’m a hater.. cause fuck those rich people.. But because it’s a concrete, observable, proof that if you work hard you can make it far in life.

I’ve met enough brilliant people in my life to know that on any given day I’m average.. at best. Being brilliant, charismatic, well connected and a dedicated psychopath being able to believe every lie still isn’t a guaranteed way to success. No matter what, you still have to hustle.

So as I’m walking by these, rather insanely overpriced, things.. generally holding a $3 hot dog or kebab.. I know I’m probably not going to be launching a rocket to Mars or curing a disease – but neither did 99.999% of these people either.

Bottom line is.. it comes down to how hard you are willing to work. How much you’re willing to sacrifice. How much frustration you’re able to put up with.

How many times you’re willing to fail and head to bed beaten.. just to jump out a few hours again and go at it one more time.

Over and over and over again.

As unfairly as things are stacked against people with low income, they are equally or more overcompensating those that overachieve.

So when I look at wealth, I don’t see it with a grain of cynicism. They aren’t all African war lords, Wall Street bankers, Russian oil tycoons or scam artists. Sure, there are some – but for the most part there are few people that are willing to work a lot harder than the many others who just wanted to relax.

So I put in insane hours. I also put in crazy hours running, biking and swimming that beats that desire to “quit” and slow down.

Until I meet a lot of people that made it without working hard.. it’s the only way. And it’s my way and I like it.

Love, -Vlad.

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Dust Leadership
Posted: 11:09 am
April 21st, 2015
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It seems like everyone I talk to on Facebook is in a process of writing a book these days. It’s a noble pursuit, one that will have you eating well above the dollar menu at McDonalds one day. But I’m also asked for an opinion or worse, contribution, and I hate to be discouraging. I also hate to to sugarcoat what I’d like to say so here is my take on it, my experience with it and hopefully something useful:

Y’all is wasting your time.

ebookThere are high points. I know, I know – you get to call yourself an author, just the fact that you got an ISBN number will impress people who know what that means, gaming Amazon sales ranking will get you a ton of social media cred, you’ll be able to leverage this into a speaking opportunity that will pay above minimum wage, you’ll rake in credibility left and right…

Except you’re writing junk very few will buy, far less will read and almost none will implement.

But clearly you have time to piss away so here is something I would like to challenge you to do.

Start A Blog

Unless your name is Karl, you’re not going to be making money selling home décor tips to the homeless. Or technology advice to people with complete contempt for it. Karl has already done it. And from 20 different angles complete with seminars, webinars, worksheets and even Mad Libs for MSPs. Game over as far as trying to help people goes.

So if you’re writing for prestige, writing to open conversations, writing to engage people on your level (or above) in a meaningful exchange of ideas.. the book isn’t going to cut it. I’ve got a pile of books, that explore ideas that could have been summed up in a blog post, that I know I’ll never get to. Yet I’m on top of blogs every single week.

There is a reason why blogs (or for attention challenged Twitter and Facebook) and social media are so popular – they help connect people and start the conversation. And, it turns out, you can learn a lot from others.

Vladville, written in a crude street language, is such not because I dropped out of middle school – but because that’s what keeps people reading and commenting. Offer a polarizing idea and you will get feedback not just from people that agree but also from people that disagree and will take the time to educate you on their point of view.

You don’t have to write either – if you have the knowledge you can record videos and podcasts too – all of which will bring you an audience far wider than your book, all of which will be consumed by more people than you’ll ever imagine, all of which ultimately generate more interactions than you’ll know what to do with.

You will earn much more from a conversation than you will from a lecture. Unless you’re serious about committing to a business of writing books, you’re infinitely better off starting conversations that help fuel your existing business.

Rant | Comments Off on Dust Leadership







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