Sunset at DoubleM Systems (, Del Mar, California

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Just Say No


This whole idea that every single person on this planet should quit their job & invest their savings in their dreams of becoming a millionaire is preposterous and needs to stop.

Entrepreneurship is hardcore, it's blood and sweat and piss and repeat. Most people are not capable of even comprehending the level of stress and responsibility that comes with it. 

And having a decent job that pays your bills and gives you stability really shouldn't be such a cliche. You have a job, it's okay. Just because you're a nail tech doesn't mean you can say BOSS BABE CEO in your ig bio. 

And that's okay. Ffs

Sunday, March 12, 2023

The Meaning of Life

 This is what chatGPT says about the meaning of life:

So, based on that, it is unproductive to ask the question that way, rather it should be asked "What meaning I will give to my life today?"

See also: Intention

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Living with Intention

You may have heard that old aphorism "The road to hell is paved with good intentions!" but on the other hand, what success had not been energized without some good intention?  So, while Intention alone is not enough, for surely taking Action must follow it, Intention is the foundation.

Benjamin Franklin's daily journal always started with the question "What Good will I do today?" The answer, of course, was his Intention for the day.

Check this video for more on setting a daily Intention:

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Questions an Executive Coach might ask a new CEO client

I would typically ask many of the following questions, and others:

- What has led you to seek out executive coaching at this time?

- What do you view as your most important professional and personal objectives?

- What do you feel are your strongest and weakest leadership qualities?

- How would you define success in regards to your current role?

- What do you believe is the biggest obstacle preventing you from achieving your goals?

- What areas do you feel you need to develop in order to reach the next level of success?

- What strategies have proven successful for you in the past, and which ones have not?

- How do you prefer to receive feedback and information?

- What type of environment enables you to be most productive? 

- What do you think could be improved/changed in your current work environment?

- What expectations and attitudes do you have for yourself and your team? 

Questions a VC will ask a Startup CEO

 As a startup CEO, you must be prepared for these questions when fundraising:

1. What is the size and scale of the market opportunity? 

A venture capitalist will want to understand how great the potential of the venture is, including how big the sector is and the projected growth opportunities available. 

2. How will you achieve rapid market share growth? 

As venture capitalists need to see a return on investment, they'll want to know how the venture will gain traction quickly, potentially through market penetration, competitive pricing or customer loyalty initiatives. 

3. What is the competitive landscape like? 

To understand how the venture can succeed, VCs need to understand the competitive environment, what the customers' alternatives are, and what the current market leaders are doing. 

4. How will the product/service stand out from the competition? 

Investing in a start-up venture requires conviction that the venture has unique features or advantages compared to existing competitors. VCs will want to know what sets the venture apart and why customers will choose it over other options. 

5. Who are the key partners and how will they support the venture? 

VCs will want to understand who the key partners are, such as suppliers, subcontractors, and industry players, so they can assess how these relationships may support the success of the venture. 

6. How do you plan to attract and retain customers? 

Successful start-ups typically have customer acquisition strategies built into their business plans. VCs will want to understand how the venture will bring in customers and keep them coming back. 

7. How will you monetize the venture and what are the associated risks? 

VCs will want to understand how the venture will generate revenue and how the associated risks may impact the venture’s ability to meet financial goals. 

8. What are the expected profits and costs associated with scaling the business? 

VCs must have a good understanding of the start-up's profit and cost structure in order to make an informed investment decision. 

9. Will the venture require additional capital rounds, and why? 

VCs will want to understand if the venture will require additional capital rounds, and why, in order to ensure the venture can achieve its objectives.

10. What measures of success will you use to track progress? 

Most venture capitalists look for entrepreneurs that have a good set of indicators to measure success, such as market share, revenue, customer conversion rates, and other metrics. VCs will want to understand how the venture will track progress against these metrics.

Other Questions:

1. What is your experience in the industry? 

2. How have you achieved success in previous roles?

3. What is the long-term vision for the company?

4. What is your strategy for scaling the business?

5. What is the competitive advantage of the product/service?

6. What is the expected timeline and budget for executing the plan?

7. How will the venture capitalize on market trends?

8. What is the revenue model?

9. How will the employee base develop over time?

10. What are the key risks associated with the venture?

Questions a Startup CEO should ask when Hiring a Programmer

1. What programming languages are you most familiar with and have the most experience in? 

2. Do you have any experience working with databases or other backend technologies? 

3. Are you comfortable with developing software applications for different platforms - web, mobile, etc.? 

4. Are you familiar with common design patterns and coding conventions?  Discuss.

5. How do you handle debugging when discovering and solving problems? 

6. How would you go about testing a feature or a bug fix? 

7. Are you comfortable working with code versioning tools such as Git? 

8. How do you stay up to date with the latest technologies and trends in software development? 

9. What strategies do you use to ensure that code quality is maintained across the entire project? 

10. Are you comfortable working both autonomously and collaboratively with a team?

11. What sets you apart from other programmers you have worked with?

Here is a list of things to consider when creating a hiring checklist:

-Define the job role and responsibilities.

-Compile a list of essential technical and soft skills required.

-Set reasonable expectations for the position.

-Develop a timeline for the recruitment process.

-Choose an appropriate platform for sourcing candidates.

-Conduct initial interviews and assess resumes.

-Check references and perform background checks.

-Assess candidates’ expertise in coding languages, databases, and other relevant technologies.

-Evaluate their knowledge of design patterns, coding conventions, and code versioning tools such as Git.

-Ask questions about their strategy for maintaining high-quality code throughout the entire project.

-Look for real-world examples of the candidate's software development experience and abilities.

-Create an effective onboarding program that facilitates rapid learning and adoption.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Asking the Right Questions, General

It is said that if you ask a question in just the right way, the answer will be obvious. Maybe that's why I love questions so much. 

I've done some research on great questions, and here are a few of my favorites:

From the book "The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever" by Michael Bungay Stanier

The Kickstart Question:
     What's on your mind?

The AWE Question?
     And What Else?  (Tell me more...)

The Focus Question:
     What's the real challenge here for you?

The Foundation Question:
     What do you want?

The Lazy Question:
     How can I help?  What do you want from me?

The Strategic Question:
     If you're saying 'Yes' to this, what are you saying 'No' to?

The Learning Question:
     What was most useful for you?



The Devil's Advocate
     Why will it Not Work?  (some reasons, conditions)

     Who can get this done?  (not How can I do this?)

     ‘What does the business need from you right now?’”

     What am I missing? What more should I know? What question should I be asking?

10 Questions to Spark Stimulating Conversations

1. What's your story?
This open-ended question is bound to trigger something interesting after the other person gets over the initial shock that you asked it. By opening up a conversation in this manner, you've given them access to speak from their hearts and share their life's journeys, dreams, and goals.
2. What absolutely excites you right now?
3. What was the highlight of your day (or week)?
4. What gets you up in the morning?
5. What is your whole reason for existing--your "why" (ikigai)?
6. What's the most important thing I should know about you?
7. Why did you choose your career or line of business?
8. What is one of your most defining moments in life?
9. What's the best thing that's happened to you this year?
10. When's the last time you failed spectacularly at something?


-What inspires you? 

-What have you learned from a mistake? 

-What do you like to do for fun? 

-What is your proudest accomplishment? 

-What have you learned from a difficult experience? 

-What do you think is the most important lesson you can teach others? 

-How do you measure success? 

-What advice would you give someone going through a difficult time? 

-What does it mean to you to be successful? 

-What experiences in your life have shaped who you are today? 

-If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why? 

-If you could master any skill, what would it be? 

-What do you do to stay creative or inspired? 

-What’s something that you want to learn more about?

- If you could have any superpower, what would it be?


Tuesday, February 28, 2023

CEO School: First Principles

Elon Musk

Miyamoto Musashi
Elon Musk credits his success to "First Principles Thinking".

Here's the main idea:

“It is important to view knowledge as a sort of semantic tree. Make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.”   - Elon Musk

He credits this thinking methodology to his success in his technology businesses, based on his study of Physics. Elon isn't revealing anything new here, just saying that the fundamentals of Physics have been known for a long time and he's just focusing on executing based on these principles.

What about Life? Are there First Principles that govern Life? And if we could know such principles, and apply them consistently, would they serve us well in our drive for Success in Life? And if we were successful in Life would these same principles also apply to Business?

My answer is Yes, and I think Elon would agree that the Scientific Method, Cause and Effect, applies to all of human endeavor, not just Physics. 

OK, so what are the First Principles of Life?

Allow me to introduce my favorite philosopher, Miyamoto Musashi, a most revered man in Japanese culture who wrote an extraordinary book almost 400 years ago. The Book of Five Rings is his analysis of sword fighting based on his life as an undefeated samurai warrior.  The book says nothing about business, and yet it is a fundamental training manual for people in modern business in Japan. They take business seriously!

In his advanced age, just before he died, as he was preparing to leave this life, he wrote a very short piece called Dokkodo (The Way of Walking Alone). After having mastered the life of a Warrior, and as his parting gift to all, he left us 21 lines of his best thinking of success in Life.

Here they are:

  1. Miyamoto MusashiAccept everything just the way it is.
  2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
  3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
  4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
  5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.
  6. Do not regret what you have done.
  7. Never be jealous.
  8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
  9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself or others.
  10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.
  11. In all things have no preferences.
  12. Be indifferent to where you live.
  13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.
  14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.
  15. Do not act following customary beliefs.
  16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.
  17. Do not fear death.
  18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.
  19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.
  20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honour.
  21. Never stray from the way.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

How To Build And Sell A Successful Software Company

This is the two part story of TeleMagic, the first CRM software product, first released in early 1985. These videos were recorded in a 2002 presentation to the IEEE, Orange County chapter about the 7-year adventure building TeleMagic, the first CRM software product, and the ultimate successful sale to Sage Group Plc.

Part 1.

Part 2.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

TeleMagic DOS in continuous use for 38 years, and counting

Gary Small, the founder/CEO of XTC Tours in Mammoth, California has been using the same DOS version of TeleMagic since 1985.  Amazing! 

Recently (January 25, 2023), I called him to get it on the record about how he runs his ski tour business and his real estate business with a copy of the original DOS version. Here's the scoop:

MM: Your name and company name and the kind of business you run.

GS:  Gary Small. I use it for my ski business, XTC Tours, my rental properties, and basically every day for all parts of my life to help stay organized.   

MM: When did you start using TeleMagic?

GS: Almost 40 years ago - the summer of 1985.

MM: How did you learn about TeleMagic?

GS: My good friend Sean Curtis from Coffee Ambassador* told me about it.

MM: How do you use TeleMagic in your business?

GS: To keep notes on everything. Sales leads, suppliers, banking, tenants, family, EVERYTHING!

MM: What you like/don't like about TeleMagic?

GS: I love how easy it is to find a record, record a note, and then forget about it. But easily find the information days, months, years after.  Don't like? Don't like what?

MM: Any problems with it?

GS: The DOS version is not easy to set up on windows machines

MM: What version of TeleMagic?

GS: DOS version - I love it. I'm a key guy, not a mouse guy.

MM: What do you do for support for TeleMagic?

GS: Call Michael! Support is very rarely needed.

MM: Where can you be reached?


XTC Tours 
World Class Winter Experiences 
for Skiers and Boarders! 

XTC Tours 
P.O. Box 100, PMB 341 
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546-0100  



*Coffee Ambassador was the very first user of TeleMagic, starting in early 1985. They used the DOS version for many years, then moved to the Windows version, but about 10 years ago started using a different product for reasons that are still a mystery. I'm sure they regret that decision!

I sent a link to this post to Rich Bohn "The oldest living independent #CRM analyst" to get his reaction.  He posted this on twitter on 2/15/23: