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

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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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Mike’s Mailbag: Back in the Saddle

Goooooood Morning,

Long time no talk mis amigos! Tis’ been a while since we last convened on the ‘Bag… Safe to say a lot of life has been lived on both ends. What is shaking in your neck of the woods?

I was recently e-introduced to someone in a semi-professional context as “quite possibly the most interesting 20-something I know”. Now, I don’t know if this is a compliment, a subtle dig, or simply resemblent of the somewhat unique path I’ve taken the last 14 months of my life. I went from suiting up everyday selling energized fracturing solutions to driving across our great nation to moonlight as a caddie at the #1 rated course in Canada (so much so it’s featured in the Lotto 6/49 commercial), while living in an ocean-side trailer with no Wi-Fi or cell reception (“patio” view below). Then one sunny summer morning in early August, my caddie loop was cancelled last minute so I posted up in the local coffee shop to work on my coffee business plan. This particular morning I was working on sourcing the supply of my coffee beans. A few hours into working, in walked a woman from the side door of the cafe that more than caught my eye and long story short, I went and introduced myself to her. Turned out she was from Calgary and on a solo cross Canada adventure of her own. 10 days later, we embarked on a 3-week road trip down the eastern seaboard, into the southern US, then ventured back northwest finishing up in Denver. Less than a month later, I finalized my partnership with a small local roaster in Calgary and started my own coffee company (having written much of my business plan in my Wi-Fi “less” trailer and at the local coffeeshop). What’s the old Steve Jobs adage “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever“? It certainly rang true for me looking backwards…

Fast forward to now, I’m back in Edmonton, my hometown and proudly touted as the City of Champions (even though the wooden sign entering our city from the south hasn’t seen a coat of paint or facelift since Mess’ hoisted the cup back in ’90). Wink wink, nudge nudge, Donny Iveson and council.

There’s no telling the route a rejuvenated Mike’s Mailbag will take in 2018 but I can assure you it will be entertaining, thought provoking, and authentic (even if to a fault). What I’m hoping to do moving forward is take our online community of Mailbag fans, readers and contributors and find ways for us to meet face-to-face in brick n’ mortar environments, from coast to coast (see “Flaked” Trailer here for modern day paradox of community, a-ha moment @ 2:08).

  • The 3 Levels of Self-Awareness by Mark Manson
    • This might be my favorite article of 2018 so far. Whether or not you appreciate Mark’s writing style (apologies in advance for the profanity), he speaks his mind which is rare in the politically correct society we live in. If there’s one skill/character trait that becomes increasingly important as one grows older (in every element of life – personally, professionally, in relationship, etc), self-awareness could very well be at the top.
  • Principles For Success Mini-Series by Ray Dalio
    • Five years ago, the majority of Ray’s following primarily consisted of the finance community at-large. Since amassing an astronomical amount of personal wealth through his hedge-fund, Bridgewater Associates, Ray has found more fulfillment in finding ways to give back and share knowledge rather than continue to solely pursue financial profits. He championed the idea of radical transparency within Bridgewater’s corporate culture (which we’ll surely get into down the road) and prior to becoming one of the largest contemporary influencers on LinkedIn, he published a free downloadable PDF titled Principles. His following has grown exponentially since taking this PDF and transforming it into a full on book. He has since pared down these concepts into an easy to watch mini-series on YouTube. Regardless of age, occupation, interests, I highly recommend taking 30 minutes to tune in.
  • Denzel Washington on Social Media
    • Interesting thoughts on the prevalence of social media by Denzel Washington. More and more media coverage is coming out criticizing the social media engines of Silicon Valley for their intentionally addictive products’ effect on the true well-being of society. It’s easy to believe and get caught up in the hoopla about how “connected” we are as a society in a technological sense but is at the expense of actually being connected to those around us in a real, tangible manner? I’m going to explore this topic in depth in the coming weeks but will simply plant the seed this week.

Song of the Week:Slow Burn” by Kacey Musgraves. Her new album released earlier this spring, Golden Hour, is one of my favorites so far this year.

Java of the Week: This is a new addition and will spotlight favorite shops and entrepreneurs from coast to coast, fun facts + myths, among other things. To kickstart things, “Blinded By The Light… Roast”, might be of interest to you as you wonder why coffee tastes different at different shops you frequent.

Quote of the Week: “If a book about failures doesn’t sell, is it a success?” – Jerry Seinfeld

Rise & Grind,

Mike

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Mike’s Mailbag: Taking a Page Out of Roosevelt’s Playbook

Top O’ The Morning Muchachos,

As we turn the page on No Bullshit November into December, I couldn’t be more jovial about what the next 30 days have in store! Personally speaking, I had a great November full of intended change (physical fitness) but also forged some unexpected relationships that have had a very positive influence on my life.

Before we kick-off this week’s edition, I’d like to send a big shout out to so many of you who commented on or brought up last week’s Mailbag in conversation. That was a special edition and it was really nice that so many of you tuned in!

  1. This Wall Street Journal article by Scott Adams will be in the mix for top 10 articles of 2016, no doubt (see my 2015 rankings). “To put it bluntly, goals are for losers.” – Scott Adams. If you don’t have a WSJ subscription, just Google “Scott Adams Secrets of Success: Failure” and click on the link in the search results. Google allows you to read all WSJ articles for free!
  2. This next excerpt was shared with me by a special person that entered my life in November. I am grateful for their newfound friendship and these battle tested words of wisdom (as spoken by Theodore Roosevelt) they shared with me, as I am not very well read on my American Presidents.
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  3. I am an active user of social media but if I’m honest, I have a hard time disagreeing with any of the points raised in this rather contrarian perspective by Cal Newport “Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend On It.
  4. This new North Face commercial really just makes you want to jump in your vehicle and head west bound…
  5. So you want to go west bound, eh? I think there will be some that opt for a plane ticket to the east coast instead after they see this beautiful video montage of Nova Scotia! Wow…

Song of the Week: The reason I posted this song has nothing to do with yoga, I just think this is a real jazzy Cathy of a tune. “Once a Day (Love Life Remix)” – Michael Franti & Spearhead. Here it is via Spotify and YouTube. Whatever you do, turn it up!

Quote of the Week: “We’re so attached to the identities, relationships, and dreams that have brought us this far. But like a cocoon, when a butterfly emerges the cocoon has served its purpose. It doesn’t mean it’s false – it means it’s served its purpose. And our dreams, our identities, our ambitions, our relationships, they’re often cocoons that lead us to the next. And we get so understandably attached that we get in conflict when it breaks or falls away; we don’t see what it’s opened us to.” – Mark Nepo

Time to Find an Arena!

Mike