SportsLizard Entrepreneur Blog

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The end!

After 296 posts, this is officially the last post of the SportsLizard Entrepreneur Blog. If you'd like to continue to follow my story (you damn better continue to follow my story) you can do so on Adam-McFarland.Net. Within the next hour I should have that site up and running with a few posts. As I said in the last post, if you're subscribed to the Feedburner feed you should have a seamless transition to the new blog.

See you on the other side :)

This blog is moving!

I apologize for the lack of posts the last week or so...I've been programming my brains out.

For a while I've been considering moving this blog to its own domain, and since I'm a step ahead of my partners on finishing off the DI site, I've got a week to kill and I'm taking care of a lot of little things that I've been putting off. Those subscribed to the Feedburner RSS feed (http://feeds.feedburner.com/SportsLizardEntrepreneurBlog) should have a seamless transition. Everyone else can find me at the new URL, which I'll announce next post.

Here's WHY I'm doing it:
  • Blogger sucks ass. I started this blog in 2005 as my first blog and Blogger was a simple setup. Now I use Wordpress for everything and I can't stand Blogger. The new blog will have all of the Blogger Archives, but will use Wordpress so thankfully I don't need to worry about Bloggers' crappy FTP and commenting anymore.
  • Both SportsLizard and this blog have grown considerably in the past 2 years. I want the SL domain to be 100% sports and sports collectibles, and I want the new site to be 100% young entrepreneur. It just makes sense that way (and won't confuse search engines so much about the topic/focus of the domain).
  • I started another blog on this domain about sports collectibles earlier this year, and it's confusing having 2 blogs on one domain.
  • My entrepreneurial journey has led me to do much, much more than just SL, and I don't want to have this be my primary association any more. It's just a piece of my life and Pure Adapts' overall business.
  • I think I'll be more honest. I mentioned recently that I was struggling with blogging, and I think having a separate place to vent my thoughts will be good for me. I also hope to share more detailed solutions, such as specific sample code I used to solve a problem.
As soon as the new blog is ready, I'll post one last post here and then be done with it. Being the SEO that I am, I'm going to 301 redirect every post to it's counterpart on the new site (the archives will look almost exactly the same). It'll be interesting to see how my SE rankings are hurt because of the move. Hopefully my link juice will be passed successfully...it'll sure be interesting to track how the move impacts both SL and the new domain.

To my advertisers and sponsors: I checked, and nearly all of you will expire in the next month or two. I've decided to go sans links/ads on the new site, so how about this: I'll leave your ads up on the archived version of this blog indefinitely and we'll call it even? Of course, if you want a pro-rated refund I understand...just email me and I'll take care of it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What is your PSP (no, not Sony)?

Last night I read an absolutely fascinating article in Fast Company Magazine about former YE (now 34) Adam Werbach entitled Working With The Enemy. Werbach, who was a leading environmentalist and president of the Sierra Club at the ripe old age of 23, has pulled a 180 and aligned himself with Walmart. His speech in 2004 "Is Environmentalism Dead" sent shockwaves through the community that supported him.

Werbach asked a simple question to the head of every major environmental agency: "Have you achieved your goals?" We all know that the answer is "no" and that the world today is probably in the worst shape it has ever been in.

I've never been one to call myself "green" at all - but over the past year I've been buying more and more into the philosophy that we have to do SOMETHING or else the world won't be around for our grand kids. The beauty in this disaster we've put ourselves in, is that we HAVE to rise to the occasion and that means that we're going to see great entrepreneurial efforts to try to get us there.

Back to Werbach. What has he done since being ostracized? He sided with the enemy - Walmart - and has implemented a project called PSP, or Personal Sustainability Project (read the case study).

What IS PSP? Werbach was impressed that Walmart is taking it's role in going green seriously (senior execs now have sustainability objectives built into their evaluations and bonuses). His company, Act Now, teamed with Walmart to try to get each employee to care about sustainability. Each employee is being encouraged to make one small change in their routine that supports sustainability - their own Personal Sustainability Practice. Like it or not, with 1.3 million employees spanning the country, Walmart employees have a huge influence on society. The strategy is to spread PSP practices (such as quitting smoking or walking to work) to the communities through these employees.

So far it's worked. Some accomplishments from their site:

Some noteworthy accomplishments of the Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club Associates are:

  • lost more than 60 tons of weight;

  • walked/biked/swam more than 380,000 miles

  • created over 16,000 “Idea Groups” to support one another around Personal Sustainability; and

  • quit or reduced smoking, with more than 10,000 Associates to date making a healthier change!

  • Recycled more than 5 million pounds of aluminum, plastic, and paper


Associates across the U.S. are eager to take PSP to the next level, ready to “pass it on”, to their customers and community, and feel proud to work for an organization that is committed to sustainability.


Here's why I buy in: it's impossible to completely change people. But if everyone focuses on doing a few little things, the impact will be measurable. Instead of striving for perfection (impossible anyway), try to make real and quantifiable changes that will add up over time to make a substantial difference.

So what is my PSP? I thought of a few things I've been doing or have done in the last year that help:

  • I now make a conscious effort to recycle anything that can be recycled (I threw everything out previously)
  • I've reduced my bottle water consumption by about 6 per week (I'd say I was at 1/day before and now it's 1/week) by buying purchasing a reusable bottle from Think Outside the Bottle. Bottled water wastes plastic in production and energy in transportation, and on top of that the water is sometimes bottled in areas (FIJI is a perfect example) where the citizens don't even have drinking water!
  • I programmed a system to automatically PDF and archive all invoices for Detailed Image. Previously we were printing paper copies of everything.

Don't get me wrong, I still do a lot of wasteful things. But I'm not a hypocrite. If I was operating at 100% un-sustainability before, I'm probably operating at 90% right now. Where would we be if everyone made a 10% improvement? People who criticize the simple changes and do nothing because "it won't matter" are the ones preventing us from making progress.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

No lease for Pure Adapt

Here's how our lease negotiation went:
  • Her (owner of office/warehouse park): "it costs $1,200/month to rent our mediocre space and we require a 3-year lease"
  • Us: "we'd like to move in in October, and there are a lot of improvements that need to be made...but we'll move in September 1 and overlook the improvements if the price is reduced to $900/month"
  • Her: "I'll do $1,050/month"
  • Us (knowing full well we'd be happy to do $1,050): "How about $1,000?"
  • Her (apparently insulted by our $50 reduction counter-offer): "No, and now $1,050 is off the table. I'll give you $1,000, but year 2 will be $1,100 and year 3 will be $1,300"
  • Us: f*ck off
Those might not have been the exact words, but you get the idea....

It's actually for the better. DI's slow time is the winter, and heating costs in an old warehouse like that would have been high for the winter. We're going to take a step back and weigh our options. My gut feeling is that we'll end up buying a place now, and that we'll be far better off by not signing the lease. If we buy we'll probably look to get extra space so we can rent some of it out to another business and help supplement the mortgage. A much, much better long term move.

Kind of a weird feeling, because we thought we might be moving today. But I have a question for you: who becomes so offended during a negotiation over $50 that they retract their previous offer? What a biatch.

Monday, August 20, 2007

How will your friends react?

There was an interesting article about young entrepreneurs in this months Entrepreneur Magazine (here's the web copy of the article entitled "A New Direction"). It essentially deals with the difficulties YEs face with their friendships, particularly after they have some success. Let's face it - those of us who dream about starting a business and then actually do it in our teens or early twenties are in the minority, and that can put a strain on relationships with other people our age.

I thought YE Alex Vaz put it best:

Stick with what you're doing, because once you do make money, there will be plenty of time to party. If your friends aren't happy about you excelling and making money, they're probably just jealous. Your real friends will always support you.

Every experience is different, and some people may get 100% support from everyone they encounter, but most of us have or will experience a divide amongst our friends. Personally, I've noticed that my family and good friends have eventually come around and it's to the point now where they know this is what I do and it's barely a topic of conversation. If I say I can't make a social event because of the business, they don't hold it against me. They know that as we grow and stabilize I'll be able to be more flexible with my time spent working.

The shock factor is gone for me. However, it wasn't like that initially, and anyone doing something as ballsy as starting a company has to be strong enough to use the questions and criticism as motivation and not let it crush them.

The only problems I still have with people I was friends with in my engineering career. Good friends from college or my first job seem to have a bit of that jealousy. Maybe they feel like I bailed on them because we went through so much...or maybe they are unhappy with their jobs and wish they took the leap that I did. I really don't know, but that's the only spot in my life that 2 years later that I feel there's been a strain because of the business. I'd like to keep those friendships, but at some point you stop calling and emailing and just focus on the people who want to spend time with you.

Kudos to Entrepreneur Mag for talking about such a pertinent topic.