Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's been a long time.

I have not posted in some time. I justify my lack of posts by saying I am too busy, and I am quite busy. But I have decided to put some priority on writing.

So quick recap on what has been keeping me so busy - since my last post in May:
  • Emily was placed on bed rest for what felt like 2-3 months, but I guess it was 6 weeks. It was pretty tough not having Em at 100%. The best analogy I can think of is that it was like having my right hand tied.
  • We (Em, Linc and myself) moved in with Em's parent's for a couple months while Em was on bed rest and for the first couple weeks of the twins life.
  • Oh yeah and we had Twins! We welcomed Ezra and Hazel to the world on July 9th 2011.
  • We moved to Mass. I drove with my mother, father and brother Nick. While Emily and her Mom flew with Lincoln, Ezra and Hazel.
  • I started my MBA at Babson. It is a two year program, and I cannot believe I am nearly a quarter through it.
That is the shortened four bullet points of the last 6 months. I am going to try to post a bit more to give a bit more in depth picture of my fast moving life, but I will finish with some pictures. 

I have recently purchased a new phone. I went for a Samsung Galaxy s2, which I know sounds crazy since I am currently typing on my macbook pro and I thoroughly enjoy my Apple products, but I was able to get a much better discount on this phone and I like how well it works with all my google products i.e. Email, Calendar, Picasa, etc. And to get to the point I moved the pictures off my old phone and I am going to share some of my favorites, In no particular order - just the way that blogger decided. I do not have all the dates on these pictures, but if I am able to figure it out I will add the date to each.


Lincoln in his highchair

When Kaitlyn chopped her hair

An early picture of Linc modified and sent to my by my Mom

Very first picture of Linc in my phone. Taken on the day he was born by Lizzy Smith

My phone has a horrible shutter lag, so I took a lot of sleeping photos

This is a before Lincoln picture. Em and I walking through Anthony's in SLC

One of the few pictures of Lincoln with a binky

Mom just wants some more sleep

One of our favorite outfits. Ezra currently wears it.

When we were three, walking through Liberty Park

Mustache with cereal

When Katiebug got a new bedroom set

Couple free plants we picked up. Sadly they later died in our house.

Em at Anthropologie

I think this was when Em had her hair darker

Awesome day with Linc. We walked from our house and all around downtown.

We stuck him in this outfit when it just barely fit, he can almost wear it a year later.

Running in the grass

Our old stroller and Linc's making sure his golf bag is rolling too.

Just my personal shopping assistant


Helping to sort and place everything

Usually this is where Linc prefers to be at the grocery store

Linc used to love Roomba, and still recognized it even though we got rid of it when he was tiny

This was taken at the tiny (2 swings and a slide) park near our old apartment

Linc and I went here every day while I was unemployed

This was a cat we found along our way to the park


The cheesy smile

I believe he is yelling at me in the picture, but still adorable

Norwood Fire Dept had an open house. Linc would only sit in the driver seat.

Awesome pic Em once sent with the caption, "What happens when I take him to the park"

This is much more recent. Em send this when Lizzy visited us here on the east coast.

Lincoln on the balcony. He had strait hair?

This was at Discovery Gateway. Snapped by Em and sent to me.

Sleeping Linc

Yogurt beard

All ready to go!

Em sent this one. Both wearing their shades.

Trucks, trucks and trucks!

Drawing with chalk

Hanging out at the downtown SLC library

Em sent this one with the caption, "I leave the room for 1 minute"

Working on his modeling campaign

Em sent this to show off the new boots.

There is the post.
I will try to make another within the next 6 months.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Unemployed

Well it happened. I honestly did not expect it to happen for a bit longer. I do not think there was much I could do to keep it from happening, and yet it still feels odd.

For the first time in my short life, I have been laid off.

Now before you start feeling bad for me, let me run down some of the perks.

I have been able to spend all day with my son, which includes taking a nice long nap today. I get to spend a lot of time with my beautiful wife during the last couple months of carrying our twins. I get to spend a lot of time with all of my family before moving across the country. I was given severance from my company, and I will be able to collect unemployment.

So the phrase some might use for this situation is "Blessing in disguise", but it really did not disguise itself very well.

Monday, May 2, 2011

IF

Below is one of my favorite poems for many reasons but one is that Emily can recite it from memory any time I ask.


IF
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!
--Rudyard Kipling

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Success?

Success:
–noun
1. the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.
2. the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
3. a successful  performance or achievement: The play was an instant success.
Pulled from Dictionary.com

I like the first definition, it allows more flexibility. Favorable termination could mean a lot of things. When people think of a start-up company there are usually three possible outcomes - 1.The company grows quickly and gains revenues/profits and everyone is happy 2. company fails quickly and although you may not be rich, you were happy to learn from this experience 3. company just meanders along without growing or dieing and no one is happy. I would consider the first two outcomes a success. But if you use the 2nd definition of success (posted above) only growing quickly and attaining profits is a success.

The second definition of success discounts any action that does not result in wealth or honors. I think this definition of success leads people to appreciate their actions less than they should. I spent an afternoon  with my son just walking around the block and talking about the city around us. It was my favorite part of my day, and yet I did not achieve success in something measurable like wealth or position. If I use the first definition for success, I would say it was very favorable termination to that part of my day. Always remember that there are multiple definitions of success.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Take action

I had a conversation with a lady the other day. She will remain anonymous.

She was talking to me about her plans to get into real estate management. I asked a simple question that started an hour long chat about starting a business. The question was, "Why do you want to work in real estate?" She stated that she had always been interested in real estate, but that she had no experience in the industry. She thought it would be a good way to make money, and I agreed, there is money to be made in real estate. But there is money to be made in almost any idea. What I wanted her to do and what we eventually moved the conversation around to, was finding what was her real goal. Was it that she really wanted to start a real estate business, or was it that she really wanted to work for herself and saw real estate as a possible path? We talked about what she enjoys doing. Turns out she just recently helped her friend organize her house and she had a good time doing that. She really did not think that was something people would pay for. Just a basic google search and I showed her how there were multiple business out there, that do exactly what she liked.

This lady I was talking to was in a troubled financial state. She was currently working with creditors to set up payment plans. I talked about how she can start experimenting with her future business, for FREE. Just like she helped the one friend organize her home, find one more friend or family member. Then another, after she shows that she can perform that job at a high level for free with friends, start charging. So maybe she still has to keep her day job for the time being, but she can can take steps toward her goals, with very little cost. And if she really wants to start working for herself, the only thing holding her back was herself and the first step of trying.

We returned the conversation to her real estate management idea. And I talked with her about why she first started talking to me. She came to me because she thought she needed 100k to start her real estate dreams. What we decided was that she did not need 100k right now. She needed to take action at a very low cost to help make the real decisions. She had no experience with real estate. She needed to try it out at a low cost. We discussed calling a real estate management company and asking to shadow their workplace on a weekend, or get a part-time job in that industry.

I do not know if our conversation changed her life. I do not know if she will go on to fame and glory in the organizing or real estate. But I hope she starts taking action on her dreams! I talk to a lot of burgeoning and established entrepreneurs daily. And I think a lot of them are sitting back waiting for a bank or an investor to step in and push them to the next level. I hope these entrepreneurs realize they have the potential, and it is time to step up and take action.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The start of the Checklist

Here is the list of items that I started working on when I decided to pursue an MBA.

Get a new vehicle to replace the Ford Ranger - Check - We went for a bigger vehicle than I expected, mainly due to the twins' surprise. Plus Liz is now using the Ford and loving it, so double Check
Trade in desktop for Laptop - Check - Hope it is still working great Baca
Visit Boston - Check - Was a great trip and figured out some much needed information
Decide on a school - Check - Going to Babson!
Figure out finances for MBA - Check - I have figured it out as much as you can with all the unknowns

Things left to be done:
Take inventory of possessions and donate/sale what I no longer need/want
Figure out housing in MA - This will be done by the end June (difficult to lock a lease starting in Aug. currently)
Figure out what we will be moving across country and how
Find the rest of the items on this list... and start checking them off


Friday, April 8, 2011

Hopes for my children

My kids are on my mind today. This is because Emily, Linc and I were able to check out the twins in an ultrasound. They are doing great, both growing well and at the same rate. It was fun to see my daughter open her mouth. I really cannot wait to see them with my own eyes and not through a screen. I really really love Lincoln, and I think he is the coolest little boy in the world, and I have to trust my Mom when she says that a parent's love will grow with new children.

I have really only one big hope for my children. That they are happy. It is hard to understand if you are not a parent, but once you are your happiness is pretty directly correlated with your kids' happiness. So it makes sense for my own sanity and happiness that I do my best to keep my kids (and my spouse) happy. I believe that my decision to pursue my MBA and moving to Boston will serve as an example to my children that they should work towards their dreams and that they can do anything. I think the next few years will be an adventure for Em and I, but I want my kids to be unafraid to embrace adventure.

I need to acknowledge some people here because I would not be willing to take this step out into the unknown if it was not for the love and support of Emily, my mom and dad and Em's parents as well. My mother has always said that I should do what I love and the money will follow. Those are tough words to live by 100% of the time. Everyone knows the realities of bills and the cost of living. But I do try to keep that phrase in my heart, and to be working towards my goals, even when I may be working at a job that doesn't fit. And I have seen both my parents work to achieve their goals. They may not be living their dream EVERY day. But I see that they are moving in the right direction. My mother has become an incredible sculptor, and she continues to impress with her running. My father has worked his way up to a job where he is happy working, and he has starting running as well! To see more evidence of these things please visit my mom's blog--->  http://lorimetcalfdolls.blogspot.com/ -- They just ran a half marathon in Moab together!

So thank you Mom and Dad for being a great example. I hope I can be the same for my kids!

My Awesome Family

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The question

Since I am very interested in small businesses and when people ask me what I want to do my answer is usually, "I want to start a business". It is the second question that usually causes problems or confusion. Most people will then ask something along the lines of, "What's your idea for your business?"

Here is where I am stuck.

I honestly do have an idea for my business. I do not have a certain magic idea that will make millions. But furthermore I really do not care what idea starts my business. I think if you went back to the idea that started most businesses, it does not look anything like how the business ended up. And I really do not think that the success of a business is based around this ONE idea that started it all. I believe the success of a business comes down to great execution, which boils down to delivering on your promise as a business, and do so in an efficient and effective manner, with great service. As well as the ability to adapt and integrate with the changes that come along. If you go through some really great companies, they were not doing something that was a new idea. Google did not invent the search engine, but they did it better. Apple did not invent the mp3 player, but they did it better. I do not think I am going to come up with the next big thing, but I believe there are things I can do better than anyone else.

But that is a problem because there is a lot of pressure to have that idea, or plan. You see a lot of Business Plan competition that seem to emphasize the need for a great idea. Round-up of Boston Area University Competitions and yet there is also the people saying you do not want or need a business plan: why-business-plans-can-actually-hurt-business-progress

So this leads me on to my hope for the near future, and why I choose to do my MBA at Babson. My goal is that I will find another person, or persons that will be there to bounce ideas and collaborate to create something great!

There are a few industries that I am interested in. I like Green Energy/Tech, Recycling/upcycling and really anything that makes life better. I would like the make the world a better place, even if that just means making my community better, or the lives of my customers and employees.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Action in the face of uncertainty

I have recently made the decision to attend Babson College for their two year MBA program. If you were to ask me why I choose this school, I could easily spout rankings and statistics, but to be honest I cannot pin point a reason why I choose the school. I tried very hard to put into numbers all of my thoughts and feelings about the schools I was looking at. As you might have noticed from a previous post, I usually think through numbers quite a bit when assessing a situation. But choosing an MBA program is not a binary question. There is too many feelings and unknowns that cloud my thoughts. A lot of what if scenarios start running through my head and what ifs are very good at causing inaction. So I keep trying to plug all the variables into one equation and see what answer pops out. So plugging through it I find that to many variables are unknown.
Lets go through some of the major questions that matter to me.
Which MBA will give me better career opportunities? There are stats in this but I find them irrelevant to the individual.
Which MBA will better help me start a business? Unknowable... and I think this depends on an individual more than the program.
Which MBA will better prepare me for the future? I do not know how to quantify this... but I had a feeling that Babson would be best.
So after really thinking about this for I had a few feelings and I do not like making decisions on feelings.  But with a complete lack of quantifiable figures and facts
So now I am faced with a question that does not have a mathematical answer. What do you do?

I choose Babson. I was not going to get all answers I wanted. And I never will. What I decided was to act, and make the best of every situation presented. I have heard this before, and I do not know to attribute to this quote, but you are the biggest factor in your success in an MBA program not the school. So I am going to work very hard to make the best of every moment and opportunity that Babson provides.

The President of Babson has stated this sentiment in his new book here -> http://actiontrumpseverything.com/
And you can find him him describing it here --> CreAction Video

On a side note I have just started reading this book - Though it is just a digital copy and I do not own a e-reading device, so it might take longer than normal. And I plan to right a review here soon enough.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools

I have some close people who celebrate their birthday today.

My Grandma Cox is turning 85. She is a very very strong example of what staying active does for your health. Fondest memories of Grandma include: Toast with cinnamon and sugar, playing with Legos for hours upon hours, Berenstain Bears, jumping between the two beds in the basement (against her wishes... sorry Grandma), the trapdoor / laundry drop, climbing her amazing tree in the side yard, Kerplunk and puzzles in the basement, that old city playset with a connecting traffic signal between the building, all of those Chevron with techron cars, rolling down her one and two hilled backyard, picking apples, Grandma's amazing gardening skills, Thanksgiving over the years, and of course Bear Lake.

And a big shoot out to one of my best friends Johnathan "Baca" Nielsen. He may only be turning one year older, but with a new baby girl, he has grown up a whole lot in the last 6 months. He has always been one of the funniest and most loyal people I have ever known. I think he has a Dick Van Dyke type of humor, one of the few people I could see accidentally slipping on a banana peel and laughing till our sides hurt. He has always been the person who can remind me to stop taking my self and life so seriously.

So Happy Birthday to both of these amazing people, no joking around.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ode to my wife

I have been married to Emily for two years and 9 months. She has the patience and tolerance of various biblical figures combined. She finished school while taking care of our son while he grew from 6 months to 1 year old, all the while managing a household. She received little help from me during her last semester and the following 4 months while I studied for the GMAT. During the next year or so I am searching through jobs and finding a way to work for a smaller company than the massive machine that is Fidelity Investments. Once I do find a place with Lendio.com, we get comfortable with our life I bring up the idea of adding to our family. We both wanted our "2" children to be somewhat close in age. So while I am working on applications for business school which means that business school is about a year away, we bring on the challenge of another child. We find out Emily is pregnant in November and have our first appoint with the OB/GYN on January 6th, 2011. Turns out our perfect family of 4 is going to be 5. Emily had known this for the past month, due to her sickness and nausea being abnormally bad. I expected she was right, but guessing is a big difference from knowing. Twins is a huge shock, and  Emily has managed to maintain not just her sanity, but she still has the smile on her face.

When you think about what your dream spouse or significant other will be you usually have a few things in mind.
I knew that I wanted a gorgeous wife, which may sound wrong but it is honest. - Check (actually lets go with double check)
Athletic - Check
Kind - Check
Smart - Check (Not sure if I wanted someone smarter than me, but I got it)

After that my list goes pretty fuzzy. So I got everything I wanted in a spouse with Emily. And we have been married for nearly three years and I have noticed some characteristics that I did not plan for but love!

Her patience
Her faith
Her loyalty
Her principles
Her steadiness
Her honesty
Her frugality
Her competitiveness (not many people get to see that one)
Her style
Her wit
Her writing (such an amazing and useful skill)
Her sense of humor

There is much more that I could add to this list, but it still would not reflect all of Emily's great attributes. My future shows a lot of instability and chaos between the known items like having twins and a toddler, moving to MA, starting a two year MBA program. I am very thankful of Emily as my constant that I can hold on to during the rip-current of life.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Numbers

I have always been one to calculate things out. I attempt to save money on my subscription services by calling customer support.  Once off the line I calculate how much I saved, divided by the time spent, just to know how much I saved per minute. I have calculated how much I make per minute at every job I have had, all of which pale in comparison to working with my father in our family lawn-care business. So in considering all of my options for business school, I of course built out an excel spreadsheet.
Like every model built in all of my economics courses, it is based on some theoretical information. No one knows the future, so you do your best to estimate some numbers based on past results. But let's start going over some of the numbers I have been dealing with.

1 - Number of children I currently have
2 - Number of cars I will be transporting to MA
3 - Number of children I will have come July
5 - Size of my family that will be moving to MA
11 - Stress level on a scale of 1-10 I have been experiencing in this process
21 - Months that I will be studying at Babson College
2388 - Miles between my home in SLC and Babson College
$27,000 - Roughly the cost difference for year between two universities I considered
$30,000 - The amount of money per year of my Presidential Scholarship to Babson College 2 year MBA program
$xx,xxx - Salary per year I will be giving up to attend Babson
$77,865.00 - Amount I will likely borrow on student loans, each year for two years
$????? - Amount of government assistance I hope to have while living in MA
$167,952.28- Theoretical amount I believe I will owe, all in all, once I finish school
9585.5 - Number of days I have been alive
$17.52 - dollars per day this equates out to for every day I have been alive
$$$$Larger Number - Opportunity cost of the degree
7.31 - Number of years I expect it will take me to break even on this investment including opportunity cost
36 - Age I expect I will be once I hit my theoretical break even point
1 - to represent my supportive spouse, who stands by me after all these numbers

In my past I have been considered a bit of a gambler. Before I was married I had been to Vegas a couple times, Wendover a few times, and I played with stocks quite regularly. But since having my first child, I have not really left much to chance. Some of the numbers I posted above scare me a lot! I have spent the last few weeks freaking out about that entire list. One thing that I keep reminding myself is to try to balance the fear with some excitement. Although this will be the biggest bet I have ever placed, this time instead of it being on Black, or doubling down on 11 or even clicking a mouse and hoping for XYZ to move 5 points, this time the thing I am betting on is myself. I have some control of the outcome here, and I am going to bust my ass to make sure that every penny pays off.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

First Blog Post

So I am new to writing on a blog. I have been able to watch my wife, Emily, write on her blog for the past two years. She is a much better writer than I am and you should definitely check her blog out. My blog will be similar in that it will mention some of my family life, and different in it is from the perspective of a father, who does not get to spend as much time with the children. And I will probably go on about business school, what I have been learning, what I hope to do when I leave and trying to balance all the moving pieces that are my life.

Current Situation:

Working with a great company called Lendio Inc. You can check us out at www.lendio.com
I have been accepted to a great MBA program at Babson College with a Presidential Scholarship
Freaking out about living on loans and struggling to survive for the next two years without any salary -- contemplating finding work part-time or weekend while living in the suburbs of Boston
I have an amazing and supportive wife named Emily. She is pretty much the reason I can to whatever it is that I do
I have the most awesome son named Lincoln. He is brilliant and fun and great! I am most excited to see him develop so much every day
Emily, my wife, is pregnant with Twins. A girl and a boy. We are both very excited and cannot wait till July (their due date)
I am searching for some place to live that will not send us straight to the poorhouse anywhere within 15 miles of Wellesley, MA
I would love to find any low-income, subsidized housing that I could qualify for that is within 15 miles of Wellesley, MA

Future Situation:
Moving a family of 5 to Massachusetts
Launching at least one business in the next two years, more likely looking at launching two
I am very interested in green technology and energy. It is obvious to everyone there is a lot of potential in this area
I am also still interested in launching a technology company
I am interested in improving existing business and think that one option for a future career, besides entrepreneurship, could be working in a smaller M&A shop.