These Things I’ve Learned

It is just over 2 years since I resigned from my last corporate job and 21 months since I had a regular pay check. Whilst life is far from perfect, it is infinitely better than it was when I was a slave to the machine. There is literally nothing that I miss about that old life. After enjoying some travel in the first few months post escape, life has settled into a pleasant rhythm. I feel both happier and more comfortable with who I am than at any stage in my life.

Why?

I have been reflecting on this question for the past few weeks. Here is some of what I’ve come up with:

  1. I have time for the things and people that are important to me. Before it was a case of spending most of my time doing what was important to other people and then hoping to pull together enough time-scraps in order to have an actual life.
  2. I’ve learnt more in the past year-and-a-half than I did in 15 years working in the financial services industry. After dabbling in yoga and meditation for the previous decade, at the start of last year I made a commitment to devote energy towards making it a permanent part of my routine. This has proven to be the single best decision that I’ve made for myself…ever.
  3. I spend my days working on projects and involved with people that are both interesting and matter to me. All this takes place in an environment where I am made to feel appreciated for who I am and not measured by how much money I can generate for somebody else.

…and to think that all this only took me 40 years to find. I wonder what I’m going to learn in the next 40?

Life-can-only-be-understood-backwards-but-it-must-be-lived-forwards.-Søren-Kierkegaard

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More than just a race

A mighty impressive effort from my friend Michelle! Read a little about her adventures running across the Sahara Desert…

One step at a time

Marathon des Sables was more than just a race. It was incredible. There is so much I could tell you about it, but here is an overview!

During a six hour coach ride from Ouarzazate airport in Morocco to the start point of the race we were presented with ‘the roadbook’. The coach avidly scanned the book, I think many to see how long the longest day in the history of the race would actually be (92km)!

Eventually we pulled off the road, into the darkness……with head torches on we made for the bivouac to find our home for the week. Tent 115 ‘Yorkshire tent’ turned out to be a very happy place. The eight of us shared highs and lows and made fantastic memories – some painful – together.

So, these are the distances which we tackled and a few of the high and low points of each day.
Stage…

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All My New Friends Are Goats

I was once told that the word goat can be broken down to go-at. This word was traditionally used to describe a common male behavioural characteristic. Men are compelled by circumstance, biology and psychology to be out in the world having a go-at something.

With that in mind, yesterday afternoon this goat decided to brave the wind and rain and have a go-at running some trails in the You Yangs (approx. 60km southwest of Melbourne). During a break in the rain as I climbed towards the ‘Saddle’ on the backside of Flinders Peak, my attention was caught by a noise in the undergrowth a few metres to my right.

It was a first for me….wild goats! A group of five were making their way through the scrub. Three of them paused atop some rocks and looked back my way, resulting in this photo opportunity:

YY Goats

Added all together we were six happy goats. You never know who you’re going to bump into when exploring some trails.

The Tale of Two Wolves

Which wolf will you feed? Think carefully. Choose wisely.

Technotox

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life… 

”A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. 
”It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. 

”One is evil – he is anger, envy,  sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

 “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. 

”This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.” 

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked, “Which wolf will win Grandfather?”

 The old chief simply replied, 
”The one you feed.”

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Writing For Startup Hook

It has been a while since I’ve penned anything for this site. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been writing!

In early February I picked up a freelance gig writing for a new Startup blog called Startup Hook – http://www.startuphook.com. It’s a startup about startups! What the team does is share profiles of startup companies that have the potential to disrupt entire global industries. With writers in Athens, Boston, Seattle and Melbourne we have a pretty good geographical spread, as well as a diverse range of personal interests.

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Time will tell if this venture becomes a success, but the early growth in readership has been really good. It has also been beneficial for me to establish a writing discipline, given the need to produce 2-3 quality articles every week.

Whilst Startup Hook is not the only thing that I’ve been working on, it has generated a lot of fun learning about new and innovative businesses. I may also share some news regarding another project, but for now will leave you with the text from my most recent contribution for Startup Hook. It’s about an Argentinean company with plans to deploy a network of nano-satellites in low earth orbit and use the real time data stream that it generates to monitor a range of globally important issues.

If you like what you read please visit the site at the url above, ‘like’ us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Enjoy!

SATELLOGIC: BRINGING SPACE DOWN TO EARTH

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Elon Musk’s private space flight company SpaceX is not the only company with its sights set on space. The current revolution in space technology development is increasingly driven by startups. One such company is Satellogic, an Argentinean startup that is working hard to bring space down to earth so that we can better understand our planet.

Satellogic has plans to democratise global access to space based services by reducing current barriers to accessing satellite data in real time. It is hoped that this will launch a new era of planetary awareness and transform existing approaches to global problems by creating a constellation of nano-satellites that can deliver commercial grade imaging and data at a tiny fraction of the present cost.

Constellation of Satellites

The vision that Satellogic has involves deploying a network of compact, cost-effective satellites with the capacity to image any spot on earth every few minutes. These units incorporate the latest technology and are the size of “a desktop computer hard drive”, according to founder and CEO Emiliano Kargieman. It is estimated that it currently takes up to three days to take two consecutive photos of the same spot on the planet. This network, which will consist of up to 300 satellites talking to each other in low earth orbit, will then be used to stream unprecedented real time data regarding the planet. It is envisaged that this will include social conflict, natural disasters, commercial and shipping activity and various planetary health metrics. This is seen as having the potential to revolutionise the way that decisions are currently made at all levels – governments, businesses, NGO’s and individuals.

satellogic

The possible applications for this technology are almost limitless. A central aim is to help better address the management and distribution of scarce natural resources. Areas of interest that have already been identified include:

– Agriculture – Food Production & Security –  Energy Production & Pipeline Monitoring
–  Disaster Response –  Illegal Logging
–  Border Patrol –  Port Security
–  Critical Infrastructure Monitoring –  Business Intelligence

After originally planning to provide image resolution at a level of sub two metres, customer feedback resulted in Satellogic increasing the resolution to one metre. For those concerned about privacy, it is understood that the satellites will have the ability to photograph cars, but not individual license plates.

Making Progress

In 2013 Satellogic successfully deployed two satellites to help test key components of their proprietary technology. Those first two units – CubeBug1 and CubeBug2 – were followed in the middle of last year by BugSat-1. All three provided invaluable data to the company as it refined its design. Highlighting the risks inherent in a venture of this kind, Satellogic experienced a setback on October 28 2014 when the failure of an Antares rocket launch resulted in the loss of 26 satellites.

Undaunted, the plan for 2015 includes the launch of the next generation of prototypes. With approximately 15 satellites scheduled to be in orbit by the end of this year, enabling the delivery of the first commercial services, Satellogic’s nano-satellite constellation will be keenly watched.