Hacking Life

Be Present, everything is exactly where it is meant to be.

The past cannot be changed and the future will unfold as the most extraordinary experience of your life.

Have faith that something incredible is happening and we are all a part of it.

Get healthy, sleep well, drink water and walk as much as you can.

Challenge yourself and run, swim, play sports, go hiking, do something, anything!

Go places and listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks, or call someone.

Understand addictions like sugar, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, painkillers, gambling, games, sex, and recreational drugs.

Get expert advice and knowledge on biological, mental and social matters.

Keep clean personally and all the spaces you inhabit.

Adventure safely and wear good shoes, proper clothing, hats, sun protection and contraceptives.

Be organised and use a calendar for everything. Generate a future and always turn up 15 minutes early. Plan to spend time with family, friends, or someone you haven’t met yet.

Go places, see things, experience culture, live frugally and travel continuously.

Have fun, do nothing and develop yourself.

Be creative and make things, write things, sing songs, play music, dance and express yourself.

Connect with your partner, family, friends, and community. Everyone is dealing with something or has something to offer or both. Be interested in their stories, they will be interesting.

Develop skills for feeding, housing and generating an income for yourself and maybe others.

Solve Problems. Get help and help others. Lead by example and be a good role model for other members of your family, friends and community.

Take responsibility for your life, own your mistakes and clean up your mess.

Get educated as often as you can and enjoy it. Find mentors and listen to them.

Learn first aid, nobody will regret you saving their lives. Study languages, history, philosophy, accounting or law. Anything you want.

Understand money and developing cash flow.

Learn a trade and do something you enjoy to generate an income. Spend less than you earn and avoid debt.

Think big as there is no limit to your imagination and life will give you what you play for.

If you are not failing then you are not doing enough. If you are not dealing with big problems then you are not aiming high enough.

You will make a difference.

Web Money from the 90’s


Around this time of year, in Feb 2000, I was doing my best to sell the idea of on-line advertising to anyone who would listen to me.

We were a month into our successful IPO, we had a top 50 Australian website, number 1 in its category, and cashed up bunch of nerds who thought we knew what was going on, and that we knew what we were doing.

Everything was happening so quickly that every strategy seemed necessary to manage as it was happening.

With hindsight, we understand the impact the Internet has had on the world, back then it was happening for the first time and in real time.

One of the ideas we sold our Investors on was the potential of on line advertising for unique content creators.

What made me think of this today was reading an article from #Rueters on #Facebook regarding #Google generating $US22.4 Billion dollars in on line ad revenue for one quarter.

It occurred to me that this is a lot of money for an industry that did not exist for half my life.

On Line advertising, even in the 90’s made sense me.  Do more for less and better.

With my zero experience in the advertising world, I was reading everything i could get my hands on and working with people whom I thought knew more than most.

The smartest people I knew were telling me the strategy of selling banner ads on our highly trafficked website would start making money.

We could produce advertising space on the website visited by by circa 15 thousand investors a day for next nothing.  It was easy to set up and manage, all we needed to do was sell it.  What could go wrong?

What I didn’t think about at the time was all the people who were already making money advertising in older mediums, such as print or broadcasting.

There was a whole economy based around things staying as they were.

Every time I spoke to a business I was learning how they did all their advertising through an agency and the agencies always wanted their cut.

Today we deal in a percentages of a cent if necessary to charge for on line advertising.  Back then there were few tools to work with for the agencies and they were trying to protect their positions.

The bottom line was that it was slow movement to new media, well slow if you are living in a quarter to quarter start up.     So much was  happening so quickly, it made no sense to me that on line ads weren’t being picked up faster.

Because we would rotate adds every 20 seconds if wanted to, we could produce endless inventory.

All the agencies combined couldn’t sell it the way there were trying to do back then.  There had to be a better way.

Today buying on line advertising, particularly via Google or Facebook, and it is pretty straight forward.  It is cheap, compared to what you could buy before online ads, and it is measurable.

So there we were at peak of the tech bubble with a perfect product, offering huge profits, with very few buyers and some commentators calling it all BS.

One thing I was clear about, having no adverts on our website wasn’t a good look.  I asked our banner provider at the time what our options were and they suggested fillers, like Red Cross, Greenpeace, and World Vision.

We ended up selling the company in the same year and I  never got to play out the online ad game.

I did however get to endlessly promote all my favourite socially important institutions for about 12 months to about 50,000 active stock traders, which in hindsight was a great out come.

About the photo.     Circa 10:15am, Dec 22, 1999, the moment I realised we had successfully listed on the ASX.  2 minutes before this picture was the fist time since I started I thought, “what if nobody buys our stock?”     The photo was courtesy of the AFR, who after taking some more conservative photos, I asked if I could get one for myself with my sunglasses on in front of the exchange board.  Guess which one turned up in the paper, which I now think is great.

AirBnB + Sydney

Post number 4,

I flew into Sydney from Melbourne yesterday for a couple of days.  As I finish this post, I am in a little coffee shop in Sydney, dressed casually in a pair of shorts and a shirt, sipping coffee and enjoying every moment of this morning.

Last night, I caught up with a fellow entrepreneur and business owner for dinner.  It is always inspirational to share a meal and talk business strategy and execution with people who back themselves and go after what they want in life.

Later today I get to celebrate my exit from my previous company with my old team with drinks near the Sydney Opera House.

Later I am attending a white party in Sydney with an awesome husband and wife team who are also joint business owners and amazing entrepreneurs.  So far, I have a white pair of sneakers and a white hat.   I need to find some white pants and a shirt this morning.

The main subject of this post is Air BnB.

For the next couple of days I will be a high rise apartment in Sydney CBD hosted by a bright young lady I met via the Airbnb App.  I had a couple of timing arrangements I needed to be clear on and we were able to chat via the app.  When she responded almost instantly I knew we would get along fine.

She is a natural entrepreneur. Originally from Shanghai, she regularly rents out her spare room and has got it down to a fine art.  She also owns and operates a small business as part of her mission to gain citizenship in Australia.

The room is perfect.  Everything set up for a guest and I wrote a draft of this post at my new temp desk on her wifi on my #chromebook. I cannot help be moved by people who will fight everyday for what they really want in life

The room is costing about $US90 per night including cleaning fees.  Incredible value in Sydney.

I have also used this service in Austin Texas, Perth Western Australia and Phnom Penh in Cambodia.

I am a fan.  I can only talk about my experiences so far and they have all been good.  The first time I used this service was in Austin Texas.  I was at a conference and I had a week off beforehand to have a look around.

Two friends also attending the conference agreed to share the cost.  We secured this amazing apartment with a balcony overlooking sixth street.

It had everything you could ever want.  By the time you put in cleaning fees it was about US$350 per night.

My next AirBnB adventure was in Perth, a beautiful apartment in the city, opposite Fast Eddies for those who know Perth.   It was such a fantastic place and I got to host some great friends for some good fun.  It cost me about $US 90 per night. Incredible value.

Recently I attended a conference in Siem Reap, Cambodia, again I took a couple of days leave before hand to check out Phnom Penh.   My friend and I secured a two bedroom apartment for about US $100 per night. Walking distance from all the attractions!

I am a big fan of the shared economy.  It is absolutely the future of things.  Owning lazy assets is a recipe for failure anyway. Reality is evolving into a faster and more ruthless environment everyday.  Only the fittest and leanest will survive.

As I set out on my global adventure, I intend to use Airbnb as one of my resources.  I have a couple more and will discuss them on another day.

About this picture

This photo is was taken in San Antonio Texas.  It features my two companions from my Austin Airbnb adventure.

My friend on the left had a bucket list item to to go see an NBA game live.  We got to see one of the finals and afterwards we walked into an amazing festival of live music and lots of fun.

For me there is nothing sweeter in life than traveling the world with great friends to amazing places and soaking up every moment you can.

The most important vehicle of all

Post number three.  Today I engaged my new travel agent to help me create my world trip.  we will do it on Tripit, which should let me share my itinerary with whomever I want.

I have also planned a fitness regime for the next 4 weeks to ensure I am in good shape for my trip.  For endurance and for selfies 🙂

I reckon it is easy to be cool and active in your twenties even in your thirties. The real test is keeping that up into your forties and beyond.

Regardless of what body you built for yourself out of the resources you were give at conception, you always have the choice to improve, make worse or do nothing.

For me being fit and healthy has always been something I have to keep a check on.  I have been through long periods of my life where I have been fat, smoking and living life extremely excessively.

I have also been periods of complete purity.  No vices lots of exercise and a focus on looking great.

These days it is mostly a balance, however as I know I only get one go at this body, I try to contribute to its performance on a daily basis.

The only way I know how to do this is by routine, which of course is harder to achieve if you are traveling a lot, which I like to.

The best rules I can think of are:

  1. Do something positive for your body first thing – drink half a litre of water is mine
  2. Do exercise as often as you can naturally like walking everywhere you can.  10 KM in a day is a good day.
  3. Only keep healthy food in the house.  I tend to eat whatever is in the fridge or cupboard eventually
  4. Surround yourself with people who are healthy and up for things in life – Tell me your friends and I will tell you who you are, my mom taught me that.
  5. Cut out bread and sugar, I save this for when I go to nice restaurants as a treat.
  6. Eat fresh fruit and veges, OMG is that a revelation.  I tend to always get Strawberries, bananas and mandarins.  I love them.
  7. Take things on.  Try everything, Yoga, rock climbing, swimming, tennis, bowls, dog walking, whatever.  Just do more than nothing.

I think seven rules are enough 🙂

About this picture

This picture was taken on the last day of a yoga retreat I did in Ubud Bali.  The guy next to me was my instructor for most sessions and you can see in his face a level of peace I strive for.

Taking a week out to focus on me was one of the most powerfully created weeks of my life.





One of the great things about blogging is choosing what to write and when to publish.

I am currently writing a lot of stuff on a bunch of things.  I am writing at all different times and inspired by various subjects.  Wordpress allows me to save posts as drafts and publish or polish whenever I want.  Very cool.

For my second post I am  going to start a category on social media and write about how I am going to use it to promote my blog.  I picked Facebook first because it is the one I know best and my main social media platform.

People seem to have a strong opinions on Facebook and what it should be used for.  I remember a world before the internet and social media.  I watched and participated in both as they evolved from virtually nothing to what they are today.

Currently there are over one billion people connected on Facebook. That is more than the combined population of USA, Japan, UK, Germany, France, Australia, Russia and Italy.  It is pretty huge.

In the musical chairs game of technology survival, only a few platforms will survive.  Facebook looks likely to be one of them.

I have a personal facebook page that I have used for many years. Over time I have used it more as tool for networking and communicating.

I love that it allows me to customise my news feed so that it only includes news I am interested in and from sources I want. I also love that intertwined with the news are updates from people I care about. I only follow positive people who are up for things in life.

I get that feed on every device and for me it is one of my primary interfaces with the Internet.

Recently I wanted to separate out my personal facebook identity from  my identity as expressed through this blog.  Sounds metaphysical.

What i had to do was create a separate facebook page, which I manage under my personal login. Doing this really got me to understand how the Facebook commercial model works.

Every time I publish a Blog, I will update my facebook page and everyone who liked that page will be notified of new content.

This means I can create a following from people finding this blog via  Facebook.  I have the same thing set up for twitter.  I am still thinking about Linkedin.  Google SEO is a subject for another day.

If you want any hands on advice about setting up your own FB page, I am happy to contribute, however I would say just jump in and give it a go, it is pretty straight forward.

About this picture

This is a picture I took of a  mural from Venice beach in California.

I discovered it by exploring Venice with a good friend of mine who I connected with on Facebook while I was in Cali.  I love street art and it has a facebook link in the bottom corner.

Although I have never met Mario the Artist from Venice Beach.  I do follow him on Facebook.  Click here to visit Mario from Venice

Going Solo

Not everything that happens in life is part of a well laid out plan. Recently I suddenly found myself out of the corporate workforce. The company I had worked for during the past five years went through a normal transformation and about one third of the incumbent team were let go.   Including me.

Although I had not planned for this to happen, I had planned to be self sufficient if I ever needed to be and this has led me to where I am today, very excited about what I am about to create next.

At the age of fifty, I have  experienced a great deal of the corporate work environment.  I have run several of my own companies,  crashed and burnt a couple, as well as listed a company on the Australian Stock exchange in 1999.  Dot com 1.0, good times.

I have spent time as a CEO of a CSIRO spin out, I have been a sales specialist at Telstra and recently a regional sales manager at Lifesize, a then division of logitech.  I have had a good run.

I am not certain exactly what I am going to do next and I do have some good ideas.  What I do know is I need a vehicle to do business from and I need a medium to communicate through.   This is what I have done so far:

  1. Register business
  2. Register internet domain,
    1. Using Godaddy, their customer support is some of the best I have ever experienced.  Is like getting the apple genius bar level of service over the phone.
    2. http://globalitytrading.com, only used for email at this stage.
    3. Using Vallender Dot Com for
      1. this blog
      2. Personal Email
  3. Set up Finance Function
    1. Bank Account, Recommended ANZ
    2. Accounting Package – Recommend Xero
  4. Set up Operations
    1. Set up Office 365 with Outlook  – I think Microsoft is having a resurgence
    2. Word Press, for this blog

I am really loving all the new Software as a Service, or SaaS as it is being called now.  Setting up my technology has been fun and fast.  The only thing I need to watch out for is that everything is a rabbit hole.  I find myself exploring all this new technology and justifying in real time how I could use it.   In the end I am keeping it simple.

If I am anything in life I am a pragmatist.  One thing I do know is I need to keep my cashflow positive and fortunately, I live on the smell of an oily rag.

I keep my expenses to a minimum, which means I don’t need to earn that much to keep going and my cash burn rate is slow.  I learnt that trick from building start ups 🙂

So now that I am going solo, this is what I am considering as my best options.

  1. Entrepreneurial consulting
  2. Creating a Youtube channel
  3. Traveling the world and Blogging\Vlgogging

So what does that look like?  I will save this for my next post 🙂


About the photo …

Taken in the floating village in Siem Reap, it was my first day on my own in Cambodia and I got to do whatever I wanted.  A friend of mine shared with me he did this trip and to bring some extra cash as you can contribute to the kids who went to one of the two schools floating above the river.

The boat driver earned very little.  Cannot even be sure but I think it was $100 per month.  He had his little brother with him also.  He was the bread winner in the family.   We got along quite well as I had my guide with me who translated the conversation.

The thing I love about traveling is learning more about me by learning about others.  Driving a rickety old boat down a river in an emerging nation and purchasing rice, soup and crackers to contribute to the local schools, man that was a powerfully created moment in my life.