Outdoor adventures

Before coming out to LA, I explored Groupon for some great experiences to enjoy that would be great experiences to enjoy this coast. I settled on 3. Rappelling down waterfalls, an Italian dinner, and paddle boarding.


Paddle boarding is a relaxing workout where you can stretch some muscles, practice your posture and braiding, and explore waterways. It’s great for breathing and relaxation, some people do it for hardcore workouts out surfing too. Between paddle boarding an kayaking there isn’t a much easier way to explore cities on the coast.

Some innate balancing is useful, that hand eye coordination, but mainly realizing that each action has a reaction from the board.

Remember to take those deep breaths and stretch out. 🙂


Rappelling down waterfalls is something I’ve never experienced ( all of the rappelling and climbing I’ve done in the southeast was dry.) We got to go down 3 of them. We started with a drive up a mountain, then a hike up another 1500 ft to 6300 feet. We walked a thin trail with risks of rock slides (they don’t go when it rains) to get to our first waterfall. A goat was just chilling eating on some of the plants above us. Getting down the waterfalls was cold when the sun was hidden, but not as slippery or dangerous and you might think. Definitely a cool experience.

The Angeles National Park was beautiful, we could see the mountains around us lit up by the sun with a bit of a tree line, you could see where water runs off and where snow groups up.

Life is about experiences, make sure you seek them.

On the Groupons, this was a great way to find outfitters that I would have otherwise needed to search for and have known that I absolutely wanted to do rather than do because they were on a curated website. They were definitely steals, especially since I bought them with 20% off. Unfortunately, since I’m traveling, they won’t really convert me to being a long term customer (unless I come back to LA)

Pitch Practice

PitchPracticeOnStagePeople fear public speaking more than death. When you say it out loud or type it it sounds ludicrous, but you are standing in front of others, presenting your thoughts and ideas, and facing judgement for what you are doing and saying.

Pitch Practice is something each of the teams is doing to prepare for Tuesday, our big pitch event where we will present SidePrize to a network that the LA Dodgers and R/GA have curated for the sports technology companies. Every day we are working on getting better – working with our slide decks, working on memorization, working on interacting with the crowd (through cues and gestures, not questions).

A great way to practice public speaking has been to join a program like toastmasters (I’ve still not done this) as giving a toast requires some quick thinking and empathizing with the audience. Another way is pitch Karaoke – give a pitch for somebody else’s idea without knowing all of the details – you can invent some, but ultimately, fill the details with something that’s not wrong, but entertaining.

According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that seem right? That means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy .Jerry Seinfeld

With the accelerator, I’ve been extending normal team updates with a toast (When I first got the ESPN integration working correctly), talking with company representatives and mentors to really explain what we do, and a few days stood on stage to give the weekly update. It is good practice. I’m reminded of presentations I gave to auditoriums in college with slide decks and content that a team and I created only a few minutes ahead of time.

Are you afraid of public speaking? Can you form presentations on the spot? How do you practice to get better at this skill?

Sometimes smaller is better

Last week I laundered my wallet. I mean, I left it in my jeans pocket when I did my laundry so this led me down an experiment that some of my friends have suggested, using a money clip instead of my wallet. This has a few advantages, you’re not sitting on a big wallet to mess up your posture, it’s smaller, it’s quicker to get to.

Learning to surf on a board is a similar experience. You don’t have to try to get out to and on the 5 for waves, you can practice standing up and steering on the surf without getting knocked on the crush. (Though longer is better for the board choice, this is a long board)


Smaller projects can also be good. Get measurable results quickly. Talk to your users while your user bases is small because you will lose some of that intimacy when you get bigger. Make changes that make a difference. Don’t worry about a global brand image, get word of mouth about your new product.

Cell phones are a great case too (ironically, I’m in the middle of a switch to a Google Nexus 6). But you can do more with less when you can carry it more easily.
What are some other great cases where smaller is better?

Sometimes you have to swim in dirty water

In waterskiing or surfing you sometimes have to face water that isn’t the smoothest, doesn’t have perfect waves, that smells weird, is too cold, or had a recent sewage issue (welcome to Santa Monica Bay). It’s important to be safe, bit its also important to make the best of situations.

Maybe that means you goof around instead of getting a hardcore slalom session in, maybe it means sitting in the ocean waiting for waves, and maybe it means waiting a week for the beach to clean up – or helping clean it up yourself.

If you always wait for perfect scenarios then you’ll really miss out on life, meeting people, and breaking your personal records.

This originates from watersports, but a segue into life and startups is pretty apparent. When was the last time you swam in not the best water? Did you enjoy it anyway?

Pool Parties and Celebrities

A cool part about being in LA is that I get to be a tourist or partier and see some great LA sights and potentially celebrities.

An event that I went to last weekend was an artist’s ( Spencer Mar) presentation at the Mondrian Hotel Pool Party. This was a fun time to splash around in a pool, tell people about why I’m in LA and act casual around some celebrities.

People were really receptive and loved talking about fantasy (and loved talking to me). … And I look good in a bathing suit, so I had a little fan club of people wanting pictures with me (that or they thought I knew the NBA player that was joking back and forth with me.)

I also got to find a company party from San Francisco that had a similar concept as Doorstat (another company in the accelerator) except not thinking about it from a sports technology perspective, maybe they’ll give me a call and I can connect them.