What time frame do you optimize for?


To optimize productivity for today, I would probably continue working on exactly what I was working on yesterday.

To optimize productivity for the next few years, I would probably continue working in exactly the same area I’ve been working on for the last few years.

To optimize productivity for 10+ years, things change. I may be better off leaving my current area of expertise, and building expertise somewhere else.

To optimize for play today, I would forget about productivity and have as much fun as possible.

To optimize for play in the next few years, I would probably work in my area of expertise to maximize my pay/hour, and use that money to buy awesome life experiences.

To optimize for play in the next 10+ years, I’m not sure what I would do. My guess is that purely playing for the sake of playing would get old. I would want some sense of purpose.

To optimize my life for the now, I would probably optimize for fun.

To optimize my life in the next few years, I would probably do a mix fun, family, and purpose.

To optimize my life for 10+ years, I would probably emphasize family and purpose.

What is interesting is that as the time period changes, my actions to optimize anything also changes. It means that for any given area in life, it is important to know what time frame you are optimizing for. If your actions match the time frame you are optimizing for, you are probably in decent shape. At the very least, you are living the life you intend to life at the moment. If your actions don’t match the time frame you would like to optimize for, then something is off, and it is worth considering whether your actions or the time frame you are optimizing for is off.

I find myself performing this thought experiment from time to time and it has significantly impacted how I view my actions. Personally, I shoot to optimize for the short-term (today) a small fraction of the time (let’s say 20%), and I shoot to optimize for the long-long-term (10+ or 20+ years) most of the time. Optimizing for the now allows me to do some crazy awesome stuff and enjoy the moment. Optimizing for the long-long-term allows me to view my life as a whole, and do what I feel is right for an entire life. I’m not convinced it is worth optimizing for the medium time frames.

Have you done this thought experiment? What time frames do you optimize for, and what have you found to work best for you?

P.S. This is post number #98 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Or, check out my current project Soulmix.


Looking back on 2014


Today is January 1st, 2014, the perfect time for New Year’s resolutions.

Personally, I’m not a plan of resolutions.

A resolution is something that you don’t do, but would like to talk about doing. That is why you hear everyone talk about them (and maybe even stick to them) for a few weeks, and then they fall off of the wagon.

A big problem with resolutions is that they look forward. Looking forward is difficult. The future is cloudy and fraught with uncertainties. How can we guarantee anything? In the face of uncertainty, at the very least, we can make a wish and hope that things pan out. That is how resolutions are. Resolutions are like making a wish.

It is always easier to look back. Once we have reached a point, we can simply turn around and see the path we took to reach that point. There is no uncertainty. There is just cause and effect.

We can use this observation to improve our resolutions. Instead of looking forward, let us take a look back on 2014.

If you were to look back on 2014, what would it be like? What would you like to be proud of in 2014? What would your personal life be like? What about career, or social life? How will you have grown in 2014?

Once you know the answers to these questions, there aren’t any more uncertainties. You can look back and figure out what you need to do.

If you need to pick up something new, do it.

If you need to quit something, do it.

If you need to stay on the same path, do it.

Sound good?

P.S. This is post number #96 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Or, check out my current project Soulmix.

Happy new year!

Blogging challenge be damned.. sometimes you’ve got to take a night easy and enjoy! If there is any night to do it, this would be it!

Hope you are having a great night y’all! Stay safe, and make sure to take some time to reflect on the old and look forward to the new 🙂

P.S. This is post number #95 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Or, check out my current project Soulmix.

Critics and creators


To me, being an entrepreneur means being a creator. Along the way, an entrepreneur is bound to come into contact with critics. Some critics are friendly and constructive. They may be stern or cutting in their criticisms, but they have your best interests in mind. Other critics aren’t as friendly. They will find reasons to call you and your work stupid, and criticize you when you fail.

No matter the type of critic, it is important for entrepreneurs not to be fazed. The world is made by the creators. Critics will always be there with their words, but the creators make the world to ’round.

I believe that Theodore Roosevelt said it best, so will just leave the rest of the post to his classic quote:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

– Theodore Roosevelt, “Man in the Arena”, April 23, 1910

P.S. This is post number #93 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Or, check out my current project Soulmix.

The fragility of life


The older I get, the more I respect life.

Have you gotten sick? A little virus or bacterial infection can wreak havoc on our bodies. I happen to be sick today. I don’t know what it is, but it is probably just a little bit of stuff in my system that has caused a days worth of nausea, headaches, fever, and vomiting. Crazy.

Have you gotten drunk? Have you ever gotten high? We pass so much stuff through our systems on a daily basis, yet a little amount of alcohol or drugs (relative to our entire body), can change everything. It changes our mindset. It changes our reality and our actions.

Have you noticed your body aging? I used to be able to hit the basketball courts, and immediately begin sprinting and jumping all over the place. Now, I’ve put some mileage on my body. The muscles are still there, and I can still get on the court and move, but the little changes from the wear and tear are very noticeable. I require stretching. I can’t run as fast. I can’t jump as high. And I get hurt more.

Life is an awesome thing. We get this one opportunity to experience all that this world has to offer. However, I’m beginning to realize that this is but a brief opportunity. Our body is a complex system and it is amazing that it functions as well as it does for as long as it does. It only requires little changes here and there for life to be different.. perhaps even end.

Again, as I get older, the more I respect life. The only takeaway I know of is that we need to seize the opportunity, and make sure to get what we can out of the life that we have. It sounds pithy, but it really the most important thing to understand in life.

P.S. This is post number #92 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Or, check out my current project Soulmix.

Your problem isn’t new

We all live our own lives starting from scratch. As we go through the different stages of life, we invariably hit challenges. As a child, it may be arguing with your parents, figuring out how to ask that girl out, or dealing with the school bully. As we grow up, it may be choosing a career, learning to achieve our goals, finding a person to marry, handling rebel children, etc. The challenges are all different, but because we start without knowing anything, each challenge seems like the biggest challenge in the world.

What often comforts me is knowing that my problem most likely isn’t a new problem. There have been generations of people that have come before me, and many (if not all) have hit the exact same challenges. Furthermore, many of them have figured out how to overcome the challenges.

What does this mean? First, most of my challenges are solvable. Second, there is much to learn from the people who have hit the challenge before I have.

People pass on lessons in various ways. They tell stories or pass on folk lore. They write books or articles on their experiences. Today, we have an even better option: publish to the Internet. Once a story is published, it is out there for all future generations, and can be immediately retrieved via a URL. This is extremely powerful, and one of the big reasons that I care so much about retrieving old content on the web. It isn’t simply accessing old content; it means helping people tap into the collective knowledge of the world when solving their life problems.

P.S. This is post number #90 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Or, check out my current project Soulmix.

Motivation for 2014

The end of the year is always a great time for contemplation. We reflect on the past year, think about our lives, and then put together a set of goals and priorities for the next year.

As this year comes to a close, I’d like to share a motivational video that I greatly enjoyed today. My favorite quote is:

The wealthiest place on the planet is the graveyard because in the graveyard we will find inventions that we never ever exposed to; ideas, dreams that never became reality; hopes and aspirations that we were never acted upon.

The video is below. I hope you enjoy it, and look forward to an awesome 2014.

Merry Christmas!

P.S. This is post number #89 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Or, check out my current project Soulmix.

Shit, why not?

I have now officially jumped into the Pacific Ocean naked. I don’t have a bucket list in life, but if I did, that would definitely be on it.

After leaving the bar tonight, some friends and I decided to close out the night with a walk to the beach. We are staying in a vacation home just a minute walk from the beach. At night, the walk is quiet and peaceful. There is no better way to end a night.. except perhaps with a beautiful sunrise.

Towards the end of our time on the beach, a friend turns to me and says, “Hey Alex, what do you think about jumping in naked?”

I immediately shoot back: “Shit, why not? Lets do this.” And then I start taking off my clothes as a sign of commitment.

One other friend commits to it, and in a few minutes we are down to our boxers.

3… 2… 1.. go! I drop our boxers and run for the waves. My feet slosh through the wet sand as I run towards a small wave coming up. I take a few steps into the water, collect myself, and then jump into the wave.

Splash!! I land jump past the wave, and hit the water, immediately getting getting my whole body wet. Luckily, the water is warm.

I look around and my two friends are in the water also. We share some laughs and then enjoy the moment. It feels so good to be in the water. We let a few waves drag us back and forth, stand up, and take it all in. The shoreline, waves, palm trees, and night sky.. they are all perfect.

A picture would be perfect for commemorating the moment. Except for the fact that we are naked, and a picture would be a horrible idea. We high five, and then walk back to our clothes.

“Shit, why not?”

Almost every time I find myself saying this, something awesome happens.

It always begins the same way. I hear a thought or challenge that sounds a bit absurd. At first, it feels slightly wrong, or even scary. And then I realize that there are almost no negative consequences. Furthermore, it passes my 80-year deathbed test. That is, I know that when I am on my deathbed, I will be glad that I did it.

When these circumstances pop up, there is only one answer.

That is why I found myself naked in the warm waters of Hawaii tonight. It is also why I quit my job to give the startup thing a try. There are no real downsides, and when I am on my deathbed, I will be glad I did it. So, “shit, why not?”

P.S. This is post number #87 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Or, check out my current project Soulmix.

The island spirit


I’m currently in vacation mode on a week-long trip to Hawaii, and its been a blast so far.

Getting away is always a good idea, but there is something special about Hawaii. Every time I visit (this is the fourth time), I come away amazed with the culture. Perhaps it is the sun, but I’m fairly sure that it is more than that. I hear it called the Aloha spirit and whatever it is, it seems to be an awesome thing.

People here seem genuinely happier and friendlier than I am used to. They seem to be less preoccupied with the shallow worldly things, and more connected with themselves, with others, and with nature. I say “seem” because that is what it is. I don’t actually know the culture, but from all observations, it seems to be true.

In any case, it is a big change from hustle in Silicon Valley. Innovation is great, but I think it is important to remember that focus should still primarily be on the important things in one’s life: family, friends, fellow human beings, and the world around us.

P.S. This is post number #86 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Or, check out my current project Soulmix.

Music and social media

Music is a wonderful thing. It can immediately evoke strong emotions, such as excitiement or feelings of nostalgia. Whatever you are doing, great music can significantly improve your experience.

I love music. The funny thing is, it has never been part of my social media experience. I have shared status updates, location, images, and videos, but I have rarely had a reason to share something with music. That is, until this week.

Recently, I’ve been coming across short videos made by the Mindie iOS app. This week, I’m on vacation on Oahu, and gave it a try myself. For those that haven’t seen them, Mindie allows a user to choose a song from the iTunes store, and then use their phone’s video camera to put together video clips totaling up to 7 seconds. 7 seconds of your chosen song plays in the background.

Mindie sounds like a simple app, but it is the first music-related social media experience that I have ever been excited about. It allows you to stitch together parts of your life, and then use the music of your choice to strengthen the moment. The addition of music is powerful. It improves the video, as well as attaches itself to your experiences within your mind. I’m sure that when I recall the experiences in the future, the songs will be part of my memory.

Want an example? Here’s an Mindie from today 🙂

Awesome, huh?

The 7 second limit is a huge design decision here. It allows the video to be short and fun, but is long enough include a significant number of shots. More importantly, the constraint forces users to use their creativity to maximize the 7 seconds of video. It essentially turns everyone into the executive producer of a short music video reflecting their lives. The result is an exciting video that you don’t mind looping over and over. And because they are only 7 seconds, you don’t mind watching other people’s Mindies also.

I’ve already made 10+ Mindies these past few days, and they have been a lot of fun. It is very exciting. The most exciting part of this, is that I believe Mindie has unlocked the key to adding music into social media. This is great for music lovers and me.. and I’m sure many others in the world.

IMHO, Mindie is the first compelling social app that makes music a core part of the experience. I don’t think it will be the last, and am excited to see what other app developers come up with.

P.S. This is post number #85 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Or, check out my current project Soulmix.