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I’m sitting here Friday evening overlooking the ocean in Fortaleza in my last night in Brazil before heading back to AZ for the holidays. you had subscribed to receive my biannual recap of notable events over the past six months. This is that recap.

Nearly a year ago I moved to Lisbon, Portugal and have been living there since. After having done nearly two years of constant nomadic travel it’s been nice to finally plant in one place for awhile. I had done a travel program called Remote Year which allowed me to work remotely and took me to a total of 18 countries over the course of a year. I’ve been continuing my role for Pagely as Director of Sales working out of the RY workspace in Lisbon for the past nine months. This has allowed me to meet nine other Remote Year groups that have come through Lisbon and I’ve gotten to be a steward of Lisbon to those people.

The best analogy I can give is that previously I was in a stream of people flowing through a bunch of interesting places. Now I am the rock in the city of Lisbon with a stream of interesting people constantly flowing past me in the workspace. People who sell everything and commit to a year on the road are inherently interesting people to me and it’s been a unique privilege to meet over 400 of these folks since February.

Over the holiday break last year I created the Nomad Prep eCourse with the goal of demystifying the transition to a nomadic lifestyle and thereby making it more accessible to others who want to make this leap. The course has to date served 90+ students and helped many people prepare to take their job on the road. I realized early this year though that I had committed a typical entrepreneurial mistake in building a product before I had built an audience. To solve that issue in April I launched Nomad Podcast as a platform to interview nomads, founders and domain experts to both disseminate useful info while simultaneously creating a fountain of prospective students into the course.

The podcast has had a total of fourteen guests so far and I’m proud of the high-caliber content there. I paused the effort however last month because it requires a significant time investment and is not yet delivering the results in terms of paying students to justify that investment. I intend to "reboot" it eventually but with limited spare cycles I believe my time for the nomad stuff is better spent figuring out a different way to drive enrollments. My last interview inadvertently sold me on a program for solo-preneurs as a methodology for "building the audience before building the product" and I’m currently taking that course and implementing ideas there towards building and serving the prospective nomad audience.

You might ask, "why spend so much of your spare time encouraging the nomadic lifestyle?" I have two motives:
  1. The Remote Year experience was probably the single most-transformative thing I’ve ever done. I have a theory/hallucination that helping to usher more people into that lifestyle transition could unlock & awaken others and recover a few of the Lost Einsteins as it did for me. You can read more here about that theory but that’s motive #1.
  2. I have a goal to have all my living expenses covered entirely by passive-recurring income by end of 2019. This podcast episode struck a nerve with me and my takeaway was that the most high-leverage thing we can do is not to marginally optimize our retirement investments but rather to set up a side hustle that produces income on auto-pilot and requires low-maintenance. There are undoubtedly other side businesses which could be easier and more lucrative to start but this is the effort I’m most passionate about so I’m taking the hard road here to try and figure out a profitable model that also accomplishes motive #1.

Speaking of podcasts… I’ve rediscovered this medium in the course of building my own and I’ve become a big fan of ingesting new ideas in this way. This is my OPML file of the shows I currently listen to. Podcasts are great as a medium (especially for runners) as they allows you to consume all kinds of current, interesting, themed content in audio form.  

In October I did a 30-day plant-based challenge based on this interview on my podcast. Since then I’ve become what I would call a "fair-weathered pescatarian" having added fish and seafood back into the mix but keeping beef, poultry and pork out of the diet. That said, if you put a Christmas ham or Kobe beef serving in front of me, I have zero issues with taking that down ;-) Overall the decision to go pescatarian was largely a function of seeing this talk by the Dr. behind NutritionFacts.org. His talk, titled "How Not to Die," presents compelling evidence-based arguments for switching to a completely plant-based diet. I’ll report back after more track record. If you’re considering testing out this switch yourself I highly recommend the 30-day challenge from my podcast guest (linked in her interview above).

As far as my work for Pagely, I just finished writing up my annual "State of the Union" summary for our sales department recapping everything we’ve accomplished over the past year. In all it was a lukewarm year revenue growth-wise compared to last year but our team executed a number of important strategic projects which should set us up for success in 2019. I appeared as a guest on a few podcasts, did this talk in Lisbon and received some good press for the novel approach I developed and deployed applying the concept of "scaling personal attention" via interactive video. I’ve been with Pagely now for 3.5 years and intend to see us through an acquisition before transitioning to whatever is next.

On the topic of what’s next: I feel drawn to a project I had started and dabbled with called Charity Makeover. Our Remote Year group executed this event and it was one of the most satisfying things we did. After Pagely I foresee working at least part-time to turn that into a movement similar to Startup Weekend. I’m now reaching out to some people I believe could be linchpins in making that happen and putting a revenue model around it that would enable it to be a self-sustainable effort.  More to follow but a small group of us are intending to finish what we started for Caraya.org and treat that as a pilot of this initiative.

Learning-wise I’m taking a few different eCourses as time permits. I’ve been doing this Udemy course to learn the music DAW Ableton that I see as enabling incredible possibilities for live improv. My hope there is to become proficient enough and to secure a resident monthly gig in Lisbon at one of the live music places for fun and to scratch the musical performance itch. I’ve done the Headspace Meditation program for nearly three years now and feel like I capped out in terms of advancing my practice via that app. I trialed the Calm.com app for meditation but found the narrator to be too annoying and ultimately went in search of another program for guided meditation. I ultimately settled on this program after having listened to a bunch of his free guided meditation podcasts. Jury is still out on whether this helps take that practice to the next level but so far so good.  I’ve been devoting more time to developing my chess game. Chess.com has some pretty fantastic tutorials and gives you personalized analysis of your past games (pretty slick you load in the chess notation of your past games and it steps through your game and offers advice). I picked up this snazzy robotic chess board which allows me to play with physical pieces against the AI and then analyze my chess game after the fact to learn from mistakes (yea I’m a huge nerd). I also got one for my friend Benny for his 40th b-day which in theory allows us to play each other remotely over the internet although I’m now mobile for the next few months so that will have to wait until March.

In terms of recs for various books/music/gear:
  • This is my Spotify playlist of music that’s resonated ever since I finished Remote Year. It’s a smattering of very different music but there are some gems in there.
  • For books, Principles, Power of Habit & Man’s Search for Meaning would be my top picks. I just finished one called Shadow Divers too which is a fascinating nonfiction account of a dive team’s efforts in discovering and identifying a missing German U-boat from WWII. You can find my Goodreads profile here with all my reading recommendations.
  • Gear-wise the item that’s hands-down had the most ROI for me this past year has been the TRX suspension trainer. I’ve used this in place of a gym membership ever since my gym in Lisboa pulled some shady stuff in June and it’s been a great way to stay in shape. It works great in conjunction with this app for getting an exercise regiment complete with videos showing how to do each exercise and it tracks your progress through the 12-week program. Highly recommend.

In the relationship department I am still single having had a short-lived but intense relationship with one of the participants of the RY Kanyini program. The blessing and curse of this nomadic lifestyle is that while it exposes you to a bunch of amazing people, you’re perpetually saying goodbye to everyone and relationships are destined to be short-lived. I tried my first "life coaching" session which yielded the assessment that love is the one "broken spoke on my life wheel." Maybe so but I couldn't bring myself to continuing the life coaching thing after the initial session because it just seems like the people who become life coaches are the ones who don't know what to do themselves.  For better or worse I have to feel someone is an authority on a topic before trusting their expertise. I may give it another shot at some point but for now I'm content to execute for Pagely and my own side business initiatives and do a bunch of kite surfing in the process.

Anyways, I head back to Phoenix, AZ tomorrow to hang out with my folks and friends there for the next two weeks around Christmas. I’ll then be continuing on to Mexico City for New Year’s, La Ventana for what I hope to be two full weeks of kite surfing, a wedding in Cabo, 2 weeks in Puerto Escondido, 2 weeks in Bucerias for kiting and then a quick reunion with some folks from our RY group in Sayulita, MX before returning to Lisbon in March.

If you’re in Phoenix come join us at this happy hour next Friday and let’s catch up in person. And if you listen to podcasts I would be hugely appreciative if you take a sec to subscribe and review mine. Happy Holidays to you and your fam and I wish you a healthy and prosperous 2019.


-Sean


PS. if you're on Instagram and want to keep up with my travels on a more frequent basis I post about a photo per day of something interesting and unique from my travels here. Below is a pic of a magical moment at sunset in Pipa Brazil last week.


About Sean

I'm Director of Sales for Pagely.  If you are struggling to scale WordPress, talk to us We can help. If you enjoyed this email the greatest compliment you can give is to forward it to a friend or colleague. And if you received this email from someone other than me, consider signing up for your own copy here.
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