Five Points – 30

Where The Wild Things Are Secret Forest Camp – 

I had only two contingencies in purchasing my house outside Nashville 1) ability to get internet 2) proven demand for airbnb guests to stay

The first one was easy..I just ordered internet to be connected.

The second one was satisfied by my creating a fake ad on, using photos I found on Pinterest, and writing up a clever description of what I envisioned – while using my actual address.  I used airbnb’s dynamic pricing, which will change as per demand on the site, allowing me to understand what rent it may command.

Within 3 days I had several solid inquiries…a couple celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary and wanting to get out of town for the weekend…a couple traveling from Chicago to Atlanta to visit their son at college and needing to break up the trip…and a couple moving from St. Louis to Nashville and needing a spot to crash for the 6 week gap between their previous house closing and the the new place (and my day rate $100 was ok with them)…regretfully, I had to decline them all, as I had no airbnb setup, but I certainly proved my theory.  I then removed the ad..or rather, “snoozed” it.

Next I had to go out and get an Airstream.  Get power and water to it.  Establish a sewer.  Repair all of the systems.  Build a deck.  Decorate it. And buy some of those little soaps.

Happy to report she’s now available for guests.  Tonight, the first strangers will stay.

​If friends and family are keen to stay in the camper, as opposed to the house, just let me know the dates and I’ll block out it for you.  I would only ask for $20 to pay for it to be cleaned and turned over on your departure.

Spoons –

I started carving spoons a couple months ago and I’m really enjoying the process.  One thing I really like about making this particular art is that a piece can be finished in a couple hours.​

A Matter Of Perspective – 

My dear friend Calli Beck just launched a kickstarter – Matter Of Perspective: Modern Views of Mountains // She wants to use robots to create visually stunning backlit wall hangings from steel, acrylic, and wood.

She’s already over half way to funding her project.  Please consider supporting her effort.

Quote I’m Thinking About –

In your day-to-day negotiations with clients and colleagues fight for the kings and queens and bishops but throw away the pawns. A habit of graceful surrender on trivial issues will make you difficult to resist on those rare occasions when you must stand and fight on a major issue.

David Ogilvy​

What I’m Reading – 

RAND – Autonomous Vehicle Technology – A Guide For Policy Makers

For the past hundred years, innovation within the automotive sector has created safer, cleaner, and more affordable vehicles, but progress has been incremental. The industry now appears close to substantial change, engendered by autonomous, or “self-driving,” vehicle technologies. This technology offers the possibility of significant benefits to social welfare — saving lives; reducing crashes, congestion, fuel consumption, and pollution; increasing mobility for the disabled; and ultimately improving land use. This report is intended as a guide for state and federal policymakers on the many issues that this technology raises.

After surveying the advantages and disadvantages of the technology, RAND researchers determined that the benefits of the technology likely outweigh the disadvantages. However, many of the benefits will accrue to parties other than the technology’s purchasers. These positive externalities may justify some form of subsidy. The report also explores policy issues, communications, regulation and standards, and liability issues raised by the technology; and concludes with some tentative guidance for policymakers, guided largely by the principle that the technology should be allowed and perhaps encouraged when it is superior to an average human driver.

Exploration – Control Your Data.  Collect Your Money.

​My primary job is as the CEO of Exploration.  We help media companies compile the data needed to get paid.

I wrote the YouTube Guide For The Music Business (20 min read) over a year ago.  It is the authoritative resource on the subject that exists, gets read about 50+ times a day from all over the world, and was used at two universities for curriculum in the United States this past year.  I’m proud of this.  I went on to write about 60 more chapters covering nearly every facet of the music business.  I had trouble finding the large blocks of time needed to edit them..and I’m not such a good editor anyhow…so I hired 3 brilliant Belmont students, 2 of whom have recently graduated and 1 that is still attending, to help me compile and polish the remainder of work.  So far, these are published for free on our website and a new one is published each week:

All the credit to Mamie Davis, Jacob Wunderlich, Luke Evans, and my business partner, Rene Merideth, for writing, editing, and helping me publish these guides.

Five Points – 29

Podcast Converter – 

Part of my job as the CEO of Exploration is to identify media to administer (e.g. manage the copyrights, resolve inevitable ownership conflicts, and account / pay royalties).  Until recently, our clients consisted exclusively of music publishers, record labels, and TV/Film companies.

But I’m always on the hunt for new verticals…

I got to thinking…there must be a gazillion hours of analog media on reels in the basement of Yankee Stadium…all of the world class commentary and banter, the chirps and one liners, the news that broke during the games of the greatest team…I wonder if there were any way I could digitize them to allow for distribution and ultimately monetization on YouTube or another platform.  Is there a large enough market for that stuff to make it worth while?  Is the licensing sorted out, I rhetorically asked myself.  I told myself to maybe think of another idea…seemed to be a bit too much gristle around it to really make money and a difference.

Then my mind skip traced to another idea..somewhat connected to finding bodies of work that are going un-monetized and have mass appeal – PODCASTS!!!

So, I built a free tool that turns an audio only podcast MP3 into an audio/video MP4 for distribution on YouTube and Facebook.  You just cut/paste the address of the audio from iTunes/Skitcher/SoundCloud and drag/drop an image to create a static video.  The rendering and distribution all takes place in the cloud, which is a good – it takes somewhere on the order of 4 to 10 times the length of time to render audio to video on a laptop, depending on the power of one’s machine then to upload it may double the time again…try doing this for your entire podcast library…better go get a sandwich.

I quietly made this available to a few professional podcasters about a year ago and word of mouth has powered the app’s growth ever since.  We’ve only just now added logging on the back end to be able to monitor the amount of video being produced…but I estimate the total to be in the multi-10k hours at this point.

If you or someone you know is producing podcasts, you may consider this tool for distribution on YouTube and Facebook.  It’s free.


Belt –

One hack that I recently learned is that a belt with a composite buckle doesn’t need to be removed at airport security.

A bit of experimenting led me to the Propper Tactical Duty Belt ($10).  It’s designed for Law Enforcement/Military, so its super strong and built to carry stuff on it.  It’s also pretty innocuous.  And perhaps most important, it’s infinitely adjustable…the buffet better watch out!

Battery Charger – 

This battery charger is a beast.  It’s a quite heavy, but it’ll charge my phone 8 times with one recharge.  It’ll also charge my MacBook.  I’ve travelled for a week and never plugged into the wall.

I found this charger via Matt Mullenweg’s (founder of WordPress and others) annual What’s In My Bag post last year.  Here’s this year’s –

In and Of Itself –

I had to work in New York City this past week and was lucky enough to see In and Off Itself at the Daryl Roth theatre.  It’s a small theatre, off broadway magic show.  And it is completely wonderful.  Definitely check it out if you find yourself in the City.  Many thanks, Miles Feinberg, for the ticket and good company!

What I’m Reading and Re-reading – 

Paul Graham’s Essay‘s are required reading for anyone building a startup.  He was built what became Yahoo Stores and then, more importantly, Y Combinator, the preeminent startup incubator in the world.  Learning and applying the guidance generously shared via these articles is like getting a solid head start in a hard race.  I reread a few of his essay’s this week while on the road.

Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule
Do Things That Don’t Scale
How To Make Wealth

Exploration – Control Your Data.  Collect Your Money.

​My primary job is as the CEO of Exploration.  We help media companies compile the data needed to get paid.

Exploration Weekly – Investors Respond to Spotify’s Direct Licensing Deals / NMPA Discusses DOJ Consent Decrees / Net Neutrality Officially Ends

Five Points – 28

Tim Ferriss – 

There hasn’t been an author/creator to have a larger impact on my life than Tim Ferriss.

I first found him via his first book – The Four Hour Work Week – . — where I learned how to use outsourcing and systems to free me up for more work or other things I enjoyed.

I then was afforded the opportunity to review both The Four Hour Body ( and The Four Hour Chef ( prior to their public release.

I’ve maintained my weight and lost some when I felt it to be important via The Slow Carb Diet (

  • Don’t eat things that are white or can be white…and replace them with a legume
  • eat the same thing over and over again
  • Don’t drink calories
  • Go crazy and eat what ever I want once a week
I’ve really enjoyed the multitude of characters interviewed on his podcast –  A few that stick out:

I just appreciate his approach to living and designing his life.  And I’m grateful for his generosity in sharing the methods and tricks that have made it possible.

What I’m Reading –

Mary Meeker – Kleiner Perkins – Internet Trends Report 2018 –

For folks working on and around the internetz, much of this information might not be surprising…I’m still amazed

What I’m Watching – 

Watch a Mesmerizing Flyover of New York in 12K –

Quote I’m Pondering –

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. ~ Hanlon’s Razor (

I would add “…and ignorance and incompetence” to the end.  Most folks just don’t know…they aren’t trying to hurt me…and as such, my reaction to them should have this simple fact in mind.

What I’m Watching – 

Game 4 of the NBA Finals in a few minutes!!!  Go Golden State!!!

Five Points – 27

Happiness Check List – 

I have suffered from depression for the entirety of my known life. When I was younger it caused pretty significant fall out, as I didn’t have facility to deal with it.  My only recourse was time…some amount of time would elapse and I would feel better.  This made a lot of things (jobs, relationships, sustained progress, etc.) difficult.

As adulthood began and I became consciously aware of my ‘self’ …and importantly, that I might be able to mitigate feeling poorly, I prepared a list of things that I knew would make me feel better.  It’s noteworthy that I prepared this list when I felt good, too.  As anyone with depression can attest, when in the pit of sorrow, it is often very difficult to come up with even the simplest of ideas on how to course correct.  As such, this list affords me a guide of things I know will make me feel better without having to think about it.

Important – These are things that have worked for me.  Everyone is different and you should consult a professional if you question any of these ideas.

This is a link to google doc that can be anonymously downloaded/printed – 

  • Listen to music – I love reggae, jazz, and ambient electronic (

  • Meaningful engagement with friends and family – I like to ask questions and let them tell me stories.  Light stuff, but intentional and meaningful.

  • Water – 1+ liter  At least a full glass as soon as I wake up and as often as I think about it during the day.  You can’t overdo this. Pee should be clear.

  • Sleep – 7+ hours.  Get into bed early and wake up when my body wants to wake up.  No alarm clock. I do my very best to stay away from prescription sleep aids – only Sleepy Time Tea and Melatonin.  F.lux to get rid of blue light from computer screen and “night time” mode on the phone for the same reason, if you have the phone in the bedroom at all.

  • Turn the phone off from before dinner to after breakfast.

  • Wash – Take a long shower and scrub everything more than usual.

  • Green food / smoothie – Big!  With peanut butter and protein if its available.  The infusion nutrients will contribute to my feeling better

  • Meditation – I like to focus on my breath in the shower in the morning for 3-5 minutes.  Folks often talk about how the goal is to get the mind ‘quiet’..But, I like to think about it another way.  Regretfully, I do not remember where I heard this idea, but it’s a been a good one for me. For me meditation is not about getting the mind quiet.  It’s about the ability to return to a thing without judgement of having been distracted by something else. The practice for me to is to focus on my breath…the air coming in and out of my body.  And when my mind invariably wanders into space monkey orange ladder bucket land…I smile, acknowledge that I drifted off from my focus, and then return my mind to my breath. This is a practice about returning my focus to something after being distracted, without judgement.  So, when I’m moving through the world outside the security of my meditation spot, and some muppet cuts me off in traffic or says something inappropriate to me…those hours of practice of returning to to a thing after having been distracted by something else are really valuable.

  • Small victory – Cleaning a closet or a cabinet or even a shelf does the trick.  A project that can be done in less than a hour…cleaning is often great, as I can see the progress with my eyes.

  • Help someone – strangers are the best.  Helping with groceries or just opening a door.

  • Free Flow Write – Writing forces me to collect my thoughts.  Privately in my journal or publicly on my blog.

  • Writing 3 things I am grateful for.  Just 3.

  • Say sorry and/or forgive – In an letter that is mailed or not.  On a call to the person or to another person as a proxy. The proxy one is very interesting, as it has proven to be just as effective.

  • Group exercise – Getting a sweat where I can talk to other humans. Basketball/hiking/touch rugby/group fitness class at the gym.  Two important facets 1) group: work out with other people 2) sweat: work out hard. No mall walking.

  • Yoga – close to meditation, given the breath work and mind focus, but adding a physical component.

  • Read fiction – Fiction allows my brain to travel to another place.  Non-fiction tends to make me add things to my work todo list.

  • Hug my dog – He doesn’t care at all about problems and is always eager to show me love.

  • Guard myself from takers – Energy vampires can wait 48 hours until I’m up again.  When I am wounded, sick, and/or vulnerable I’m not interested in interacting with them. I also do not owe them an explanation.

  • Do not ingest depressants – Never drink or smoke to get happy.  Only to get happier.

  • Create art – I love to paint, sculpt, and build stuff (usually with electronics or wood).

  • Send a handwritten letter – There is something magical about writing a thank you or note to let someone know you are thinking of them and then putting that physical record in the post.

  • Hire help – Call for backup to get my house in order – laundry, cleaning, cooking.

  • Intentionally smile and breathe deep – It is very self fulfilling practice.

  • Say good morning to strangers – It’s nice and they almost always say it back.  When they don’t I have a reason to laugh AT them for being so fussy

  • Ask friends for help –  Yeah, they want to know when you need them.  I’m not bothering them. That’s what friends are for.

  • Sex – Lovingly with a partner.  Leave the verbal degradation and BDSM out.  If alone, without p0rn.

  • Reread The Four Agreements – 1) Be impeccable with your word 2) Don’t take things personally 3) Don’t make assumptions 4) Always do your best

  • Return to the Up folder – When my crazy isn’t acting up I like to save interesting and inspiring tidbits from around the web (articles, posts, videos, pictures).  I save them to my ‘Up’ folder. When I’m in the pit of sorrow I have it right there to help.

  • A counselor – Seeing a professional that is paid to give me objective advice.  I dated around a bit to find a fellow that I found rapport with. When dealing with a major challenge (loss of a loved one, etc.) I saw him twice a week…when everything was on the up and up, I went 6 months between visits.  I just think its good measure.

  • Disney Movies – The hero’s journey is often told, but is engineered on so many facets to make one feel good.  From the musical score to the color shading of the characters – these movies are medicine.

  • Suicide Support – There are good people out there that want to help.

    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) Veterans press 1 to reach specialized support.
    Online Chat:
    Crisis Text Line: Text “START” to 741-741
    Youth-Specific services (voice/text/chat/email) from the Boys’ Town National Hotline:
    Spanish: 1-800-SUICIDA

    I was asked to speak about this list for a FRED Talk in January 2014

This is a link to google doc that can be anonymously downloaded/printed –


Travel Bag – 

I’m a sucker for a cool travel bag.  Part of what I loved about playing rugby was all the amazing kit.

I found my latest travel bag about a year ago and it’s completely awesome.  I’ve gone on multi-week trips with only this bag and it has performed beautifully.  It’s got loads of room inside, has lots of compartments and zipper pockets for organizing gear/paperwork/laptop, and sits low on my back (I’m tall).

5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Backpack

Snakes + First Aid +++ Sharpie – 

I’m a good clip from the nearest hospital and I’ve seen a few of our slithern friends lately, so I went to Amazon for a snake bite kit.  I found a few products that seemed reasonable – suction apparatus, tourniquet, alcohol swabs…and then went to the trusty reviews – found this – THESE ARE DANGEROUS FOR SNAKEBITES! Only effective for removing botfly larvae…Reviewed by a snakebite specialist

The long and short of it is that these kits are useless.  And to buy a Sharpie.

What is very valuable and should be standard issue in any first aid/survival kit is a Sharpie. To write down on your thigh the time, circle the bite/injury to notate swelling, description of injury, any allergies, phone number of next to kin, and anything else a doctor may need in the event you’re unconscious.  This is gold.

Birds and Bird Hunting –

This article in The Atlantic is a fascinating read on the burgeoning economy that has been created by Bird Scooters to get them charged.

But there is an element of the article that made me turn my head sideways and frown.

If you click through on the Twitter post to watch the video, you’ll hear a fellow singing Hotel California.  I’ll be the first to tell you, this is not his best performance.  But I know him.  In fact, I know him well – his name is Dale Rogers and this was recorded in front of my old house in Venice Beach, California.  And I have recorded Dale’s albums and represent him so as to get him paid.  Now, this song was written by Don Felder, Don Henley, Glenn Frey and they deserve attribution and payment for any monies generated as a result of their creative work being covered…by Dale or anyone else….in addition to Dale as the artist.

But twitter does not pay royalties to composers or artists.  This isn’t right, as twitter certainly enjoys traffic as a result of music on their platform, on which they sell advertising.   I could have blocked the video.  But I do not believe that is the way forward.  I wish I could have just put some ads on it so a peanut could have been rightfully collected.

If there are any birds our there twittering about and need to know a bit about how to manage music rights at scale, I know a guy..

What I’m Listening To – 

This Is America – Childish Gambino –
Pray For Me – The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar –