Wednesday What’s Up (Thursday edition)

I wrote this yesterday but inflight WiFi wasn’t let me connect to many sites. Here we go!

NB – I freely admit that I stretch the relevance and meaning of my headings below. I just like the format and it is fun to come up with categories and ways of talking about these categories.

How I’m Thinking About Money

  • Julie and I (mostly I… Julie is pretty much always frugal) are experimenting with a frugal month in August. The timing is good because we are apart for the month (less temptation to eat out, engage in bar trivia, etc.) plus I’m heads down with football season starting. One goal we have is to see if we can dial our expenses to the coveted 4% / 12 of portfolio withdrawal rule I talked about in my letter.
  • Welcome To The Wish Farm! – Julie and I use YNAB to track and plan our expenses, and this little hack is brilliant. We are experimenting with this presently, and I even used the wish list to buy a 4 pack of much needed underwear. Discretionary? You bet!
  • The Betterment Experiment – Results – Jacob and I had a conversation last weekend about the merits of a robo-investment service like Betterment or Wealthfront. I’m doing a small experiment with now with Wealthfront and I’m pretty happy so far. I still think a low cost Vanguard or Schwab ETF strategy makes more sense, but he’s in a no-fee zone for quite a while with Wealthfront and there are some cool services built in.
  • Valuable Lessons from My First Year of Freedom – Loved, loved this article. I almost wrote an entire post as a response, but I’ll summarize with this: I’ve felt mostly the same was he did during that first year, but I had one big advantage. I was fully engaged in finishing my first football book and nearly ready to actively promote it. So I had a big lingering project dangling in front just as I walked out the door at WebMD and that made the transition so much better. His description of coming back from his extended travel without having to go back to work was spot on:

Have you ever woke up thinking it was Sunday morning but it was actually Saturday instead?
It was like that but 1,000 times better because it wasn’t just an extra day off that you didn’t expect but the rest of your life!

How I’m Leading

Or, rather, stuff I’ve read that helps me get better at the coaching and training I do for technology leaders (and my undergrad students).

  • How we pay people at Basecamp – Always a company I pay attention to.
  • How to Decide Which Tasks to Delegate – Eh, I thought this article was self serving for the manager. I suppose the focus of this article may be more on the freelance or solo entrepreneur crowd, but when I coach folks on delegation the primary beneficiary of the delegatee should be their own development (and increasing organizational capacity). Not taking work away from the manager.
  • The Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Become a Manager – TL;DR: If you are unsure whether you should pursue a career in management, ask yourself certain questions: Do you truly care about your co-workers? Can you enjoy working with people? Can you listen? Can you spot talent? Do you feel fully comfortable in your technical field?

What I’m Reading

What I’m Drinking

  • Tried the beer Maui Waui 3X at Salinas City BBQ on July 30 2017. Gave it a rating of 4. Just what I needed after hiking Big Sur and visiting aquarium with Jacob and Kaitlin. Chewy and tart.
  • Soon, I’ll be drinking more red wine and less beer. Part of some experimentation I’m doing in August on both the health side of things and the money side (we are doing a frugal month, remember?). I was able to use this Amex offer on two different cards and select six bottles of what look like decent dry red wines from Martha Stewart and get them all for about $21, shipping included.

How I’m Teaching

  • Medical school without the ‘sage on a stage’ – Very interesting ideas here, and though I’m not ready to ditch lectures this coming term, it does bring to mind some creative things I can consider in one of my classes to improve engagement and retention.

Goodbye Keuka

Today I leave Keuka Lake for my return west and start of football season. Always bittersweet leaving here (mostly on the bitter side this year), though a nice bonus is I get to spend a full day with Jacob in California this weekend. Within a year or two I expect to be able to stay through mid to late September and not be apart from Julie for 6 weeks.

We had some new visitors this summer, plus spent a lot more time with our neighbors in the cóvè. Here are some photos of our latest guests and antics with neighbors, such as birthday parties when there aren’t birthdays.

What’s Up Wednesday

What I’m Reading

What I’m Contemplating

What I’m Playing

  • Ninety-nine – We have three people here at Keuka Lake right now, and this is the game to play with three.

What I’m Drinking

We had guests in town last weekend that were eager to try local breweries around Keuka Lake. I’ve, ahem, “had them all” so I zeroed in on a pint at each location instead of sampling.

  • Tried the beer Hopyard IPA at Steuben Brewing Company on July 21 2017. Gave it a rating of 3.5. Better than average IPA.
  • Tried the beer Coconut Brown Ale at Finger Lakes Beer Company on July 22 2017. Gave it a rating of 3.75.
  • Tried the beer Bee Side at The Brewery of Broken Dreams on July 22 2017. Gave it a rating of 4. Sweet and strong

Chris and I running the Keuka Outlet Trail

Had a fantastic Sunday morning 12 mile run on the Keuka outlet trail with my friend Chris. He is a die-hard marathoner, having logged well over 200 in his lifetime. This is about the flattest 12 miles you can imagine, climbing just 250 ft over the six mile ascent.

Wednesday What’s Up

How I Get My News

  • I’ve put myself on a fairly significant news diet a month or two ago, even turning off my NY Times daily emails. I’m down to just two emails that I get, one in the morning and one at night. I generally don’t check Google News anymore, and I haven’t watched TV news in many years.
    • Axios AM – If I keep just one feed, this will be it. I love the bullet-style organization and the bold “why it matters” and “be smart” calls to action.
    • NextDraft – Unlike Axios, this isn’t coming from a think-tank group of analysts but rather the mind of Dave Pell. The humor that accompanies this afternoon email helps keep things a bit lighter. Warning: strong liberal bent.

What I’m Prepping For

What I’m Playing

What I’m Reading

  • Academ’s Fury (Codex Alera, #2) – Almost perfect light fantasy and great for a summer read. Looking forward to the rest of the series, though I’m taking a break to finish the Unhewn Throne series.
  • The Cubs Way – How can I not like this book, right? But here’s the thing: this is just a great book on organizational development and leadership and even raises my level of admiration for the team and its leadership in 2016.
  • Chapter Detection/Table of Contents Tutorial – Because I mostly read my books on my iPad and iPhone, I end up doing a lot of conversion from Amazon formats to EPUB. Some books just don’t look right when converted, so I’ve gotten smarter about cleaning them up (thanks Jim) and have even started using the Sigil tool for deeper fixing.

What I’m Listening To

  • 1967 – Sunshine Tomorrow – I did not like how this new collection started, but the middle half is exceptionally good. Not Pet Sounds good, but better I think than Smile. Needs a few more listens.

What I’m Contemplating

  • Money, financial independence, and how to make the numbers work! Follow on research after my letter to Jacob and Matthew.
    • Portfolio Success Rates: Where to Draw the Line – This is the place to go if you want to see the research and math behind the “4%” or “25x” equation for preparing for financial independence. One great thing about being FI early: you have more time to adjust other variables (like spending, income from side hustles) when portfolio returns aren’t awesome.
    • The Milestones of FI – I’m a spectrum thinker, not a binary thinker and this is a great characterization of how you might think of different stages along an FI journey.