Mike’s Mailbag: Brother, Where Are Thou?

Happy Monday Amigos,

I hope you had a fantastic weekend – whatever it held for you – and woke up refreshed and ready for a big week! For whatever reason, I’m really jazzed about this week’s Mailbag and think you will be too after reading. Grab a coffee and let’s get rolling…

  • Who is Joe Murphy? Why is he living on the streets of Kenora, ON? If you’re a hockey fan, you’d recognize Joe Murphy as the #1 overall pick in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft. Stanley Cup Winner with the Oilers in 1990 alongside some of the all-time greats. 532 career points over an 15-year NHL career. Something changed after his Stanley Cup winning season in 1991… Tune into Rick Westhead’s quest alongside Trevor Kidd to find Joe Murphy and learn his story in a TSN original “Finding Murph“. Sports fan or not, this is one to tune in. I think anyone and everyone will take something from this feature.
  • A friendly reminder to us all to support our local bookstores in a piece called “Good Things Happen in Bookstores“. “There was the time I was in a Barnes and Noble in Portland and a man buying some manga books seemed to be a couple dollars short. I fished some money out of my pocket and paid the difference. He started to cry. “I’ve just recovered from cancer,” he told me. “I was buying these books tonight to restart my normal life. I’m supposed to begin looking for a job tomorrow.” It was an experience far more gratifying to me than the first time I saw my own name up on a bookstore marquee for a signing.” – Ryan Holiday. Thanks for the reminder, Ryan.
  • Are you familiar with the term “minimum desirable product“? If you’re an entrepreneur, thinking about becoming one, or looking at launching a new product/service at work, I would HIGHLY recommend understanding this concept. Take it from my own hard lessons learned as an entrepreneur. In all seriousness, grasping your MDP before launching full-scale or investing a significant amount of capital could be the best thing you ever do for your business. Thanks for the great perspective, Andrew Chen.
  • Do you have an Alexa in your home? Google Home? Something of the sort… This is an incredibly interesting and thought provoking read by Josh Elman about how technology has fundamentally changed our homes and will continue to do so. Its just a matter of which products and services become as much a part of our home as the nuts and bolts that hold its structure in place versus ones that stay in gadget territory. It’s called “Thinking About Home IT Budgets” and is well worth the read.
  • Parts Unknown – Anthony Bourdain’s brave quest to explore worldly cuisines of all shapes, sizes and levels of sophistication (available on Netflix). I’ve been enjoying watching this show while cooking my own exciting dishes thanks to the invention of meal-kits. So far, my favorite episodes are his trip to Colombia and Quebec. What are yours?

Song(s) of the Week: It’s Five Cover Friday on a Monday. Why? Because these versions are just that damn good.

Quote of the Week: A slavish concern for the composition of words is the sign of a bankrupt intellect” – Norton Juster.

Make it a Great Week,

Mike

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Mike’s Mailbag: A Tale of Tech Titans

Happy Monday Amigos,

Tis’ been a busy couple weeks as I was in Toronto for a wedding and started a new role in Calgary with Goodfood Market – Canada’s only publicly traded meal-kit company. For all those asking me for the “friends and family discount”, there’s a promo code at the end to get you started 🙂

  • The 13 best golf course restaurants in the world by Golf Digest. While the Panorama Dining Room at Cabot is on there, I have never actually eaten dinner there. In all my time there as a caddie and golfer, I opted to save my pennies for frosty patio beverages and gas money for road tripping up the Cabot Trail. Have you tried any of these notable eateries for post round pints? My bucket list just grew…
  • This is an interesting glimpse into where the upscale retail segment of the cannabis industry will go, as led by Fire & Flower – an Edmonton based company. I saw their CEO, Trevor Fencott, speak at the 55North Business Conference earlier this year in Kananaskis and he is very sharp.
  • Could this be the next Suits or Billions? Based on the trailer, it very well could be -> HBO’s Succession
  • Interesting feature on loneliness in Avenue Magazine Calgary. “Some experts suggest the quality of our social relationships is eroding. In modern, industrialized cities, we often live far away from extended family. We’re more likely to live alone, to not have children. We email, text, tweet, Facebook but we don’t talk to strangers. We bank online and order coffee by app and buy groceries from Amazon to be deposited outside our front doors. We live in homes with closed garages and fenced yards, especially in Calgary.”
  • Gary Vee’s take on Jeff Bezos (Amazon) vs. Tim Cook (Apple) as per Bloomberg Technology. Spoiler alert: he’s betting on one of these guys’ every day of the week. You can’t bring up these two without talking about Elon. Here’s an interesting take via Wired on Musk’s trials & tribulations over the past year titled Elon is Broken, And We Have Broken Him.

Song of the Week: Last fall, I was introduced to the Blake Reid Band when they performed on set at the Dave Kelly Live show in Calgary. I was blown away at their sound. The cool part about this band is they wrote and recorded an analog album in a matter of 5 days, inside an abandoned farmhouse, on the beautiful Alberta prairies overlooking the Rocky Mountains. It was for a documentary called “No Roads In“. They posted three songs from the album on their website and if you like country, I think you’ll be a fan!

Quote of the Week: I ran into an Dalhousie friend on the weekend at Cold Garden Brewery. Turns out, she has become quite the photographer and I found a really interesting reflection on her site. This tidbit was right on the money, “Some will talk to you in their free time. Some will free their time to talk to you. Know the difference.” – Megan Cameron (@twelve.poles)

Ps… if you’re interested in trying Goodfood, here is a promo code (valid until Aug 22nd) that will get you $90 off in your first two weeks of meals! Chef quality meals delivered to your doorstep, prepared by you and enjoyed in the comfort of your own home… Does it get any better?

Enjoy!

Mike

Mike’s Mailbag: The Mysterious Case of the Peloton

Gooooood Morning,

Let’s get down to it!

  • How do we make sure that the story we’re telling ourselves is in alignment with what actually did happen?” – Oprah Winfrey in conversation to Brene Brown. Ahhhh, the topic of self-narratives and the stories we tell ourselves. I think the rationalized internal dialogue floating around our brains can be both a blessing and a curse. Reason being, at times, we are able to pull ourselves out of a tough situation with a very rationalized, perhaps overly optimistic outcome that gets us over a loss or bad situation. All in all, a positive situation. On the flip side, telling ourselves a false narrative can lead to disillusionment and abdication of personal responsibility for our actions that may have gotten ourselves into the predicament in the first place. If you’re someone with a tendency to over analyze life’s events at times (ie. myself), this video clip is a great “check & balance” to ensure the stories we tell ourselves are in fact truthful.
  • Daryl McDaniels… One of the founding members of Run-D.M.C. and pioneer in the hip-hop industry. I certainly didn’t know much about his upbringing or life in general but this Impact Theory interview goes in depth on it. The story behind Daryl’s fascination with a particular Sarah McLachlan song is quite fascinating to say the least. Two musicians on polar opposite ends of the musical spectrum, yet, Daryl attributes Sarah’s song, “Angel“, as a song that saved his life. This interview is one worth tuning in on. Perhaps one of Run-D.M.C’s most famous songs best sums up mental health… “It’s Tricky“.
  • The title of the article reads “Bloodbath for Canadian Grocers as Consumers Demand Convenience“. The food industry is undergoing massive disruption as startups are challenging an industry traditionally dominated by global behemoths with unrivaled buying power. Equipped with advanced just-in-time (JIT) logistics and supply chain capabilities, nimble business models, an emphasis on freshness, ethical sourcing, convenience, curated experiences, and ability to greater resonate with consumer preferences, food startups of all kinds are making their dent.
  • Any roadbikers or triathletes tuning in? This Fast Company read is for you. All of a sudden it makes sense why those “in” the biking world call the Tour de France a team sport!
  • “The top NHL salary in 2018-19 (in terms of dollars owed, not cap hit) is the $15.9 million John Tavares is set to make in his first year with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tavares is one of 14 NHLers scheduled to make at least $10 million next season and every one of those players is a bona fide star, Subban among them. By comparison, though, the NBA has 134 players scheduled to make at least $10 million in 2018-19—many of whom aren’t even starters—and 74 players will have higher salaries than Tavares in particular.” – Mike Johnston via Sportsnet article. Wow… Now that’s a zinger of a sport stat!

Song of the Week: A few weeks ago, my good pal, Jer, and I were lucky enough to see Brad Paisley live at Stampede. Needless to say, we both forgot how damn good of a musician and entertainer the guy is. Here are a few of my favorites…

Quote of the Week: Training is like sweeping the floor. Just because you’ve done it once, doesn’t mean the floor is clean forever.” Daniele Bolelli

Happy August Long Amigos,

Mike

 

 

Mike’s Mailbag: Overcoming Willpower with a Personal Operating System

Happy Saturday Amigos,

Diving right in…

  • Seth Godin. The man behind the altMBA, The Icarus Deception and engine of thought leadership in the marketing world, personal branding, and education space. What strikes me most about Seth’s outlook on the world is his creativity, originality and willingness to challenge conventional wisdom to the “nth” degree. This Impact Theory interview will plant some really interesting thoughts to ponder about how the evolution of our economy over the past 100 years hasn’t necessarily been reflected in the North American education system. This is definitely worth the watch!
  • I am pretty excited to see how the launch of MINDSET Brain Gym in Toronto unfolds. Being someone interested in mental fitness and the world of mindfulness, I am curious to see if MINDSET takes off like OrangeTheory or stays as a niche concept in an upper class neighbourhood.
  • A growing body of research suggests that our bodies function optimally when we align our eating patterns with our circadian rhythms.” – New York Times article by Anahad O’Connor as featured in the National Post. I’ve been getting my Tim Ferriss on as of late and experimenting with some different ways of fueling my body. Traditionally speaking, I have been terrible at following any sort of strict diet or anything that relies on willpower to succeed. I consistently fall off the bandwagon after 2-3 weeks. However, the combination of actually reading up on nutrition, the willingness to challenge the conventional notion of a proper diet and incorporating more of a systems approach (thanks Scott Adams) rather than goals mentality into how I eat has started to show some early signs of success. Regardless of your nutrition and fitness objectives, if your chosen modifications are not “integrate-able” into your desired lifestyle, it will probably mean falling off the bandwagon early on. Willpower and restriction only go so far. * I’m partly including this for my own accountability purposes as my experimentation with finding a sustainable way of fueling my body and mind evolves.
  • I don’t know about you but I find this clip of Mark Zuckerberg and Dan Stillman being interviewed on CNBC in 2004 rather entertaining. Safe to say Facebook has gained more traction than WesMatch!
  • Has anyone tried Masterclass? I’m curious to try out the online learning platform and learn from some of the best in the biz.

Quote of the Week: I prefer the discipline of knowledge to the anarchy of ignorance.” – David Ogilvy

Song of the Week: Emotionless” – Drake. Hardly a novel find but take note of the lyrics Drake chose…

Have a Great Weekend!

Mike

Mike’s Mailbag: Braving The Wilderness

Gooooood Morning,

Jumping right in…

  • A few months ago, I embarked on a road trip down to Seattle for the World Specialty Coffee Expo. On my way down, I listened to Perennial Seller (mentioned last week). On the way back, I listened to Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging by Brene Brown. Brene is an absolute powerhouse and trailblazer for mankind. I have a ton of respect for her. She dives deeper on the subject of vulnerability, shame, empathy and courage than anyone and is able to articulate her research in a very matter of fact manner. While some gents reading this may have had a spouse or girlfriend send you one of her TED talks in the past and you may have thought “nah, this vulnerability and empathy stuff isn’t for me.” If this is/was you, I’d encourage you to rethink your decision. At one point in time, this was me. Here is a good video to start with: “Why Your Critics Aren’t The Ones Who Count?“. There’s plenty of material once you get rolling…
  • I’m in the midst of reading a book by Scott Adams. He is a very wise man and in this book, he lists all of the cognitive bias listed on Wikipedia. Scott thinks they are very useful to familiarize oneself with, even if on a very elementary level. Down the road, I’m going to take a deeper dive on the book but will leave you with the interesting list of cognitive bias to chew on…
  • A one-woman band. Multi-instrumentalist. Call these unbelievably talented ladies what you will. They are both incredible artists and play all of the instruments, loop them together, and sing over top. It’s done live and is all kinds of awesome to watch! Like seriously awesome…
  • Leafs / Islanders fan or not, how can you not love Johnny T? Class act and world class athlete. His farewell letter to Long Island after signing with the Leafs via The Players Tribune.
  • Quick clip of Nick Foles, backup QB turned Superbowl hero with a few words on embracing failure in an era of the highlight reel.

Song(s) of the Week: On the subject of cover music, I’m going to test-drive a new once per month feature called Five Cover Friday. 5 songs for the price of 1. Take a listen and then you’ll realize what a steal of a deal this is 🙂

  • Tennessee Whiskey” – Chris Stapleton live at Austin City Limits (George Jones)
  • Crazy” – Ray LaMontagne (Gnarls Barkley)
  • If I Needed You” – Mumford & Sons (Townes Van Zandt)
  • Bang Bang” – Kaleo (Cher)
  • Take Care” – Florence & The Machine (Drake & Rihanna)

Quote of the Week: “It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked” – Warren Buffet

Happy Listenin’,

Mike

Mike’s Mailbag: The Kananaskis Revival

Gooooood Morning,

I hope everyone had a patriotic Canada Day long weekend celebrating the great nation we call home. While the world and our country is flooded with all sorts of chaos and irrationality on many fronts, there still aren’t many (if any) places I’d rather live.

  • If you’re an entrepreneur, thinking about starting a side hustle, or simply curious about what makes certain music and books get more popular with time (while the majority fade into abyss beyond their initial release), you might be interested in checking out the book, Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work That Lasts by Ryan Holiday. I’ve listened to the audiobook 2x over to take notes the second time around. To me, Ryan is a voice of reason for the Millennial generation and is a brilliant mind well beyond his years. “People claim to want to do something that matters yet they measure themselves against things that don’t. They track progress in microseconds and likes, not years.” – Ryan Holiday
  • The Kananaskis Revival. It’s here and its real. I attended a business conference, 55North, in Kananaskis a few weeks ago and witnessed the rebirth of one of Alberta’s true Rocky Mountain gems. The golf course(s) are in mint condition and looking better than ever. Pomeroy Lodging (an Alberta based lodging company headed by one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40) purchased the hotel and has invested a great deal of time, thought, capital and effort into transforming the lodge into a beautiful, modern oasis in the middle of the Kananaskis Valley. They also took a page out of the Scandinavians playbook and built a 50,000 sq foot Nordic inspired spa that is all kinds of cool. I’d highly recommend (re)checking out the revival of this Albertan gem on the edge of the Rockies!
  • Most know Matthew McConaughey as an actor from Texas that:
    • a) likes to take off his shirt off
    • b) likes to barbecue
    • c) creates really good movies
    • d) However, he also happens to have some really interesting insights on how to live a life worth living. I’ve been chewing on his message the past couple weeks and thought I’d share it with you… One of my favorite quotables “don’t drink the Kool-Aid. It tastes sweet but you will get cavities tomorrow. Life is not a popularity contest. Be brave. Take the hill. But first answer that question… what’s my hill?” – Matthew McConaughey
  • A close friend of mine sent this Toronto Life article to me titled “A Restaurant Ruined My Life” in the early days of my entrepreneurial journey last year. It is an extremely gripping account of one man’s journey into opening a restaurant and the immense hardships it caused him, his family, and life in general. Refreshingly honest to the point of giving you chills…
  • Last but not least, has anyone tried this cool clothing startup, UNTUCKitThe Ideal Shirt For The Untucked Man? If you’re like me and require a collared shirt big enough for your upper frame but aren’t blessed with height on your side, leaving a dress shirt untucked with jeans resembles more of a night gown. UNTUCKit is opening their first Canadian store in Toronto this fall. Fun fact: Brad Richards was their first brand ambassador in NYC. ** While I don’t usually touch on fashion in the Mailbag, I’m a big fan of entrepreneurs identifying niches in the market that are pain points for consumers at large. This is a prime example.

Coffee of the Week: If you’re a fan of cold brew coffee but aren’t a fan of paying ~$5.00 for a cup (that’s often loaded with ice), try making your own cold brew at home. It’s surprisingly easy once you have the right materials, is a lot cheaper, and lasts a long time if properly stored. The beauty of it is you can take the concentrate and add ice cold water or boiling water if you fancy a hot cup of joe to start your day. This is my go to foolproof method for making cold brew.

Song of the Week:Sit Next to Me” by Foster the People. A friend of mine got me hooked on this jam over Canada Day weekend. If you’re a fan, check out their whole Sacred Hearts Club album.

Quote of the Week: The things we are striving for are just the bait. Struggling to get them forces us to evolve and it is this struggle towards personal evolution with others that is the reward.” – Ray Dalio

Happy Stampedin’,

Mike

Mike’s Mailbag: A Cautionary Tale About Entrepreneurship

Gooooood Morning,

Happy (almost) Canada Day Weekend!

Over the past year, I have learned a few things about entrepreneurship, relationships, and life in general from running my own business. I decided to write about it and chronicle some of my biggest lessons learned…

Driven by a thirst for entrepreneurship, I left my corporate job on my own accord last year to launch a coffee company and simultaneously build out a fast casual restaurant concept for the downtown business professional. This eye opening experience exposed me to a whole new arena of business fundamentals and principles in action.

It is very difficult as an entrepreneur, especially a solopreneur, to process ideas in a formalized manner and reflect because time is never on your side and you’re constantly putting out fires. Ultimately, I launched one business and advanced the larger of the two concepts to the 1-yard line but decided to take a knee.

I want to share some overarching lessons learned from dipping my toes in the waters of entrepreneurship. None of my reflections are specific to an industry, nor do I consider myself an expert on entrepreneurship. I’m merely a guy that left my corporate career as I knew it to captain my own ship as an entrepreneur.

This is what I learned…

Full Article Here via LinkedIn: A Cautionary Tale: What Few Tell You About Entrepreneurship

Go Canada,

Mike

Mike’s Mailbag: The Scenic Route to Alaska

Goooooood Morning,

Apologies for missing last Friday, twas’ a busy week so we’ve audibled to Monday morning. Let’s put a little jump in your step to kickstart the week…

  • DISRUPTION Magazine. This is a new, hot off the press Canadian publication and is one of the best reads to get your fix on how disruptive technology is impacting the world we live in. The content is extremely relevant and explained in a way that allows even the non “techie” to digest and comprehend. I would highly recommend tuning in and spreading the word to other friends and colleagues inclined to stay sharp in this realm.
  • Do you have these 5 “super-skills” for the future? According to Fast Company, arming yourself with these will help you thrive in the evolving workforce. Agree or disagree?
  • This next interview is bold, humbling, and revealing. Dr. Michael Gervais is one of the world’s eminent sport psychologists and his recent interview with Tom Bilyeu on Impact Theory is raw, rugged and packs a punch. The first time I tuned in, I was hook, line and sinkered. I hit replay and took notes. Michael’s words (and Tom’s) may fall flat on some (you may even flat-out disagree) but to others, his words will strike your heart and mind like a lightning bolt. If you’re seeking growth in any area of your life (personally, professionally, in relationship, etc), this video is worth every second of your time.
  • Love Gary Vee or hate him, I’ve come to realize that he has some pretty insightful things to say. At first, his brashness and tone didn’t really resonate with me. But once I got through some of the smokin’ guns and cliches, I realized he puts out some really solid content. This two-minute clip on rationality in business is one of my favorites.

Coffee of the Week: Interesting look as Bloomberg open the kimono on 5 tricks Starbucks uses to seduce you in their shops. No interior detail is left to chance…

Song of the Week: A great tune to start your Canada Day roadtrips -> “Coming Back” by Scenic Route to Alaska

Quote of the Week: “Sometimes you need life to save you from what you want, so you can get what you need.” – Tim Ferriss

Make it a Great Week,

Mike

Mike’s Mailbag: The People’s Champ

Goooooood Morning,

Extending a warm welcome to a few new Mailbag readers this week. Glad to have you aboard! Let’s get right to it…

  • Why swim in red, shark infested waters when you can find blue ocean to do the same? Seems like a pretty obvious theory… But have you ever thought the same notion can be applied in business? While there are some notable exceptions, a lot of successful new businesses and technology startups thrive in blue water, not by entering the dense, dangerous red waters full of top-of-the-chain predators. Great article by Inc. that features a Calgary based business that has since expanded to Edmonton.
  • Building on last week’s introduction to the lesser known perils of social media… At face value, the thought of an app or platform to share photos of one’s life with family and friends is pretty harmless. Heck it’s a great idea and medium to stay connected with one another. But what happens when these apps become more than just a simple platform to share photos? What happens when many users become obsessed with creating the perfect “highlight reel” of their life? Well, as it turns out, it’s having a pretty significant impact on society’s collective headspace. This interesting montage of a world leading brain expert, ex-Silicon Valley engineer and Facebook executive, along with a few other prominent thought leaders paint a pretty interesting and frankly grim picture of its widespread effects. I’ve been pondering the comment about social media’s effect on newer generations ability to achieve medium and long term goals having grown up in a world full of instant gratification. Are there any quotables that stick out for you?
  • This next video is all kinds of awesome and courtesy of a new Mailbag reader, Scott. It captures raw footage of the first time a world class music producer listens to an unknown artist for the first time (in a really cool new online learning platform, Masterclass, if you’re not familiar). The non-verbal reactions between the two musicians’ are really interesting to watch. I was never a huge fan of this song to be honest. That changed after watching this video…

Coffee of the Week: As I try to build more of a community among Mailbag readers, I want to introduce you to a relatively new friend of mine in Toronto with big dreams and an even bigger heart. Cody originally read about my coffee business a while back via a similar weekly note as the Mailbag (my friend Brett’s version, The Beer List), as Cody also shares a love for the freshly roasted good stuff. Low and behold, Cody became the first and only sponsored 4th Line Grind athlete (**apologies for the short term nature of that deal pal) on his quest for qualifying for Ironman Kona. The holy grail of triathlons.

My favorite part of Cody’s story is that he did not grow up an athletic kid. His mantra is “No talent. All hard work.” A few weekends ago, Cody and I did an 85km ride on the David Thompson Highway, west of Nordegg, into the Rockies. We rode together for the first 5km, then he said “Wilkesy, I’m going to pick it up if you want to try and stay with me“. Within 10 seconds, GONE. Not that it’s that hard to lose me on a road bike but I mean he was gone! Uphill, into a stiff Rocky Mountain headwind. I hammered out the remaining 80km solo and proudly waved the flag of a weekend warrior. Cody is racing this weekend at Ironman Eagleland in Cambridge, Maryland. He has a wickedly fun Instagram account, @thefulldiary, that is fun to follow along. He posts some awesome training and race montages on there and often finishes off his weekend training sessions with a token pint (like a true triathlete). We opted for some Freehold Brewing’s Big Chutes Lager post ride if you haven’t tried their suds. A couple great lads Matt and Tavis started this company and proudly tout their awesome branding, Alberta by Choice. Good luck this weekend Cody! Your Mailbag crew will be cheering you on from coast to coast, coffee in hand.

Song of the Week: People’s Champ by The Arkells. I would’ve classified myself as a middle of the road Arkells fan prior to hearing this. Then I watched the music video… What a jam and premise for a tune.

Quote of the Week:Experience is a hard lesson because the teacher gives you the test before you learn the lesson.” – Vern Law

Rise & Grind,

Mike

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An Open Letter From My Driver’s Seat

Happy Friday Morning Friends!

Super excited to share my my reflection on jumping off the proverbial “corporate cliff” and landing on my feet…

I’m sitting here in my 2002 Acura MDX, atop a large plateau overlooking the Northumberland Strait outside of Inverness, Nova Scotia. My odometer reads 338,814 km and the “Check Engine” light has been on since I left Calgary. It’s 9:29pm on Wednesday night. While I’ve felt more comfortable at many other points of my life, I’ve never felt more “all in” than I do right now. I’m exactly where I need to be.

Full article here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/open-letter-from-my-drivers-seat-mike-wilkes?published=t

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Quote of the Week: “To find a man’s true character, play golf with him.” – P.G. Wodehouse

Song of the Week: “Wasting Time” – Frankie Ballard

Cheers,

Mike