Five Points – 9

Paying for estimates & bids —

I pay for estimates and bids.  Rob Knox first turned me on to the idea and it has proven to be an extremely valuable practice, whether doing home repairs or working toward building a new piece of software.

Contractors (plumbers to graphic designers to software developers) have to submit multiple bids before landing a gig that makes sense.  They know that every bid they submit will not be accepted.  Sometimes the ratio is pretty high (10 or 20 or more bids before finally getting hired), if the contractor doesn’t have a deep/old book of business that elicits trust.  Inasmuch, they can not afford to spend a lot of time on your estimate, because there is a good chance they will not get the job and this work is basically free.  They also don’t want to just give you all the details of what they would do, as that what they get paid to do.

Instead of inviting folks to bid for free, I suggest paying them for the time.

This does a few things:

– They treat it as work.  Regardless of whether or not they get the job, they are being compensated for their time.  This causes folks to give the task the attention a regular job would.
– You get a true estimate.  As a result of being paid a nominal fee, in my experience, a contractor will spend much more time preparing the bid and offer much more detail and color as to what they propose.
– You get to test drive working together.  A first date is requisite before getting married in my orbit.  I like to do a small project just to see if expectations are aligned and to see the way in which a contractor and I are going to get on before jumping off a cliff and awarding them the whole shebang.

An example might be to offer a $100 to a general contractor to prepare a bid for a home addition or a software developer to prepare a bid to develop an app.

Doing this with a handful of suitable providers, making them aware of the process, for each bid has yielded incredible results.

The World’s Oldest Companies –

My time horizon for work and life gets longer the older I get.  In other words, I am keen on taking longer to build things that I know will ultimately last longer.  In that spirit, much of what I do for work involves putting systems and processes in place that are perennial and not  necessarily trending and short lived.

I found this list of companies to be fascinating –

What I would give to be a fly on the wall during one of their board meetings and learn what sort of tactics they employ to build organization that last centuries.

How many boards are in that tree? –

I have lots of trees on my property and recently went down the rabbit hole to determine if I could mill enough lumber to build a few things.

Turns out there is an equation for that and its called Doyles Log Scale.

Humans are going to Mars – 

I find it completely amazing that humans have robots currently roaming the dusty surface of Mars, collecting samples and recording data, to prepare for our eventual occupation.

To be able to bring up high definition 360 degree views (in virtual reality) on my smart phone of a planet 33.9 million miles away is mind numbing.

My SciFi brain thinks of what it will be like in 300 years.  Of course, the first inhabitants will likely be scientist and astronauts and engineers.  But then they will procreate.  And their children and their children will too.  And the population will grow and cities will form.  And before long, there will be factions that aren’t scientists and astronauts and engineers, rather, folks that are interested in other things.  They might be rebels and anarchists and freedom fighters seeking independence…not so different than those brave souls of the New World (America’s) in the 1600 and 1700’s. This story could go in a lot of directions…

And I remember when my dad bought a 14.4kb modem and I was so excited a think I peed myself a little.

What’s on Netflix or Amazon Prime that is awesome? – 

A clever person created a movie database site that combines Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb, Letterboxd and Metacritic scores, with Netflix and Amazon Prime availability.  And it is awesome.

Is there anyone I should know in Nashville?

Everyday I am becoming more settled into my home and community in Nashville.  I am really enjoying it.

However, I long for a familiar face and connections with like minded folks.

If you know of anyone that is clever, entrepreneurial, wild, smart, fun, kind, and that you enjoy spending time with, I’d love to meet them.

Please do share my contact information such that we can hook up.

A friend of yours is a friend of mine.


For what it is worth, I’m having an open house pot luck dinner bon fire full moon thing next Wednesday (January 31st) that friends and friends of friends are invited to.  It should be a bunch of hippies being hippies making music.


January 31st is the full moon. It’s actually a Super Blue Blood moon, of which hasn’t been witnessed in 150 years.

3pm – folks are welcome to come round

4:30 – paper boat race in the creek.  Boats are made from a piece of paper and must carry one pebble across the finish line to win 🙂

6:30 – pot luck dinner is served

After dinner

I have lots of materials (wax, scents, wicks, and jars) for everyone to make candles.  I have horse shoes, cornhole, and badminton for a bit of yard sport fun.

Music, stories, and bon fire until 10 or is a school night 🙂

This is a leave no trace (no litter), kind, and respectful gathering of friends.  The forest around my home is a quiet and beautiful place.  I intend to keep it that way.  Your help in making sure the earth and my neighbors are honored and respected is absolutely essential.

I can’t wait to share good food and a laugh with you and yours.  Sending lots of love from the snowy forest.