Ani's Second Birthday

I've been remiss in posting photos of ani anywhere, so here's something.

there were a couple notable aspects of this party.

  1. it was huge and ani'll never remember it. it ended up being basically an excuse for a summer party to invite all our friends
  2. the massive slip 'n slide we built was a blast, but nobody at the party went on it, only jen and i when we made it.
  3. unfortunately, due to the extremely hot weather, the slip 'n slide cooked the grass severely, all less than 6 weeks before carson & karen's wedding reception that'll be happening there.
click below for photos.
flickr set

small town life is pretty sweet

we've been doing a lot of stuff outside these days. it's really making me appreciate living in a small town with an incredible family and awesome friends.


ani, tayler & i

yesterday, jen worked in the evening as she typically does on wednesday. ani's cousin tayler was over so she and ani and i hung out last night. we went out on the lake with some friends. tayler ran the flag and did a great job. then later, we went to a birthday party where the girls got to play for several hours straight. tayler hit it off with yeo won and ellie who are both right around her age. then we went home, but we ended up going for a bike ride. tayler loved riding in the bike trailer with ani. it was really fun.

while ani was still napping, before we even went out on the boat, i was showing tayler some photos of her grandpa that i'd edited with photoshop. she wanted to do the same. here are the aforementioned photos.


sanuk calls them sandals

so, i got these on sunday afternoon. my other sandals, which really liked, blew out. they were redleys. the natural rubber top sole is not only slip-resistant, but they are the only sandals i've ever owned that didn't stink to high heaven.

anyway, these were available locally and were the only thing i could find that felt decent. i'm loving them. they're comfortable, (and getting more so every day) and unique. they're not too hot, although a bit hotter than sandals. the other beauty is just the feel of them versus walking in sandals.

so if you're interested, check them out at sanuk.com. the model is called "donny."

oh, and i'm wearing a black t-shirt today. so if you see someone wearing a black t-shirt, it might be me and you could check out the sandals for yourself if you ask me nicely.


i'm getting close to 30

okay, so i've got a couple years to go. but i do think i'm close enough to start preparing myself for that lifestyle. i found this list on my cousin's blog and it seemed worth reposting (if not committing to memory for the years ahead). so, here you go.

I have a few thoughts on being over thirty and my wife encouraged me to post them. Also a college roommate of mine and I were exchanging emails about life before and after 30.

Here's a few things guys should NEVER do after turning 30. I am guilty of doing a few of these.

The list does make life after 30 look pretty boring. Although, the source isn't too credible... it was in a magazine.

• Use the word party as a verb.
• Do impressions of Austin Powers characters, especially Dr. Evil.
• Crash on a friend's floor or couch.
• Experiment with facial hair.
• Let your underpants show above your jeans or below your shorts.
• Apply paint to your face for any reason at all.
• Know the names of the current Real World cast.
• Remove your shirt in public--unless there is sand and a large body of water nearby.
• Use the word dude, except when referring to a ranch or a well-dressed Englishman.
• Use the word dawg in a sentence when referring to a friend or, worse, yourself.
• Sleep past 10:30AM.
• Cook exclusively on a George Foreman grill.
• Wear a jersey with the name of a professional athlete on the back.
• Use Internet acronyms, especially ROFL and LOL.
• Shave any part of your body except your face.
• Pick a fistfight by thrusting out your neck, flexing, and screaming, "It's go time!"


on the topic of innnovation

this is reposted from blog.guykawasaki.com. there are some great reminders in here for us church leaders.

Ten Questions with Scott Berkun, Author of "The Myths of Innovation"


Scott Berkun worked on the Internet explorer team at Microsoft from 1994-1999. He is the author of a recently released book called The Myths of Innovation. He also wrote the 2005 bestseller, The Art of Project Management. He teaches a graduate course in creative thinking at the University of Washington, runs the sacred places architecture tour at NYC’s GEL conference, and writes about innovation, design and management.

In his most recent book he explores (or, more accurately, “explodes”) the romantic notions of how innovation occurs. Join me in this Q and A session as he explains the real world of innovation.

  1. Question: How long does it take in the real world—as opposed to the world of retroactive journalism—for an “epiphany” to occur?

    Answer: An epiphany is the tip of the creative iceberg, and all epiphanies are grounded in work. If you take any magic moment of discovery from history and wander backwards in time you’ll find dozens of smaller observations, inquiries, mistakes, and comedies that occured to make the epiphany possible. All the great inventors knew this—and typically they downplayed the magic moments. But we all love exciting stories—Newton getting hit by an apple or people with chocolate and peanut butter colliding in hallways—are just more fun to think about. A movie called “watch Einstein stare at his chalkboard for 90 minutes” wouldn’t go over well with most people.

  2. Question: Is progress towards innovation made in a straight line? For example, transistor to chip to personal computer to web to MySpace.

    Answer: Most people want history to explain how we got here, not to teach them how to change the future. To serve that end, popular histories are told in heroic, logical narratives: they made a transistor, which led to the chip, which create the possibility for the PC, and on it goes forever. But of course if you asked William Shockey (transistor) or Steve Wozniak (PC) how obvious their ideas and successes were, you’ll hear very different stories about chaos, uncertainty and feeling the odds were against them.

    If we believe things are uncertain for innovators in the present, we have to remember things were just as uncertain for people in the past. That’s a big goal of the book: to use amazing tales of innovation history as tools for those trying to do it now.

  3. Question: Are innovators born or made?

    Answer: Both. Take Mozart. Yes, he had an amazing capacity for musical composition, but he also was born in a country at the center of the music world, had a father who was a music teacher, and was forced to practice for hours every day before he started the equivalent of kindergarten. I researched the history of many geniuses and creators and always find a wide range of factors, some under their control and some not, that made their achievements possible.

  4. Question: What the toughest challenge that an innovator faces?

    Answer: It’s different for every innovator, but the one that crushes many is how bored the rest of the world was by their ideas. Finding support, whether emotional, financial, or intellectual, for a big new idea is very hard and depends on skills that have nothing to do with intellectual prowess or creative ability. That’s a killer for many would-be geniuses: they have to spend way more time persuading and convincing others as they do inventing, and they don’t have the skills or emotional endurance for it.

  5. Question: Where do inventors and innovators get their ideas?

    Answer: I teach a creative thinking course at the University of Washington, and the foundation is that ideas are combinations of other ideas. People who earn the label “creative” are really just people who come up with more combinations of ideas, find interesting ones faster, and are willing to try them out. The problem is most schools and organizations train us out of the habits.

  6. Question: Why do innovators face such rejection and negativity?

    Answer: It’s human nature—we protect ourselves from change. We like to think we’re progressive, but every wave of innovation has been much slower than we’re told. The telegraph, the telephone, the PC, and the internet all took decades to develop from ideas into things ordinary people used. As a species we’re threatened by change and it takes a long time to convince people to change their behavior, or part with their money.

  7. Question: How do you know if you have a seemingly stupid idea according to the “experts” that will succeed or a stupid idea that is truly stupid?

    Answer: Don’t shoot me, but the answer is we can’t know. Not for certain. That’s where all the fun and misery comes in. Many stupid ideas have been successful and many great ideas have died on the vine and that’s because success hinges on factors outside of our control.

    The best bet is to be an experimenter, a tinkerer—to learn to try out ideas cheaply and quickly and to get out there with people instead of fantasizing in ivory towers. Experience with real people trumps expert analysis much of the time. Innovation is a practice—a set of habits—and it involves making lots of mistakes and being willing to learn from them.

  8. Question: If you were a venture capitalist, what would your investment thesis be?

    Answer: Two parts: neither is original, but they borne out by history. One is portfolio. Invest knowing most ventures, even good ones, fail, and distribute risk on some spectrum (e.g. 1/3 very high risk, 1/3 high risk, 1/3 moderate risk). Sometimes seemingly small, low risk/reward innovations have big impacts and it’s a mistake to only make big bets.

    The other idea is people: I’d invest in people more than ideas or business plans—though those are important of course. A great entrepreneur who won’t give up and will keep growing and learning is gold. It’s a tiny percentage of entrepreneurs who have any real success the first few times out—3M, Ford, Flickr were all second or third efforts. I’d also give millions of dollars to authors of recent books on innovation with the word Myth in the title. The future is really in their hands.

  9. Question: What are the primary determinants of the speed of adoption of innovation?

    Answer: The classic research on the topic is Diffusion of Innovation by Rogers, which defines factors that hold up well today. The surprise to us is that they’re all sociological: based on people’s perception of value and their fear of risks—which often has little to do with our view of how amazing a particular technology is. Smarter innovators know this and pay attention from day one to who they are designing for and how to design the website or product in a way that supports their feelings and beliefs.

  10. Question: What’s more important: problem definition or problem solving?

    Answer: Problem definition is definitely under-rated, but they’re both important. New ideas often come from asking new questions and being a creative question asker. We fixate on solutions and popular literature focuses on creative people as being solvers, but often the creativity is in reformulating a problem so that it’s easier to solve. Einstein and Edison were notorious problem definers: they defined the problem differently than everyone else and that’s what led to their success.

  11. Question: Why don’t the best ideas win?

    Answer: One reason is because the best idea doesn’t exist. Depending on your point of view, there’s a different best idea or best choice for a particular problem. I’m certain that they guys who made telegraphs didn’t think the telephone was all that good an idea, but it ended their livelihood. So many stories of progress gone wrong are about arrogance of perception: what one person thinks is the right path—often the path most profitable to them— isn’t what another, more influential group of people thought.

  12. Question: Is innovation more likely to come from young people or old people? Or is age simply not a factor?

    Answer: Innovation is difficult, risky work, and the older you are, the greater the odds you’ll realize this is the case. That explanation works best. Beethoven didn’t write his nineth symphony until late in his life, so we know many creatives stay creative no matter how old they are. But their willingness to endure all the stresses and challenges of bringing an idea to the world diminishes. They understand the costs better from the life experience. The young don’t know what their is to fear, have stronger urges to prove themselves, and have fewer commitments—for example, children and mortgages. These factors that make it easier to try crazy things.

the chc@dtc experiment is coming to a close

february of this year saw cedar hills church launch its first off-site gathering. we prepared for a couple months and then launched february 18th. it has been quite a ride. we've been meeting in downtown sandpoint at a restaraunt - downtown crossing. the gathering has been put on by a group of about 10 people and attendance has ranged between 18 and 60.

there are several really cool aspects of the downtown crossing gathering (chc@dtc). we do live music, the teaching component happens via video, which i like, we offer free drinks at the bar (non-alcoholic only or we'd definitely be packing the place out) and a great group of people who are there consistently. i also really like the time slot. i'd much rather be a part of a gathering like that in the evening than the morning.

for all its great points, chc@dtc has failed to build momentum. the most common comment heard when i mention the gathering to people is, "wow, that's cool." however, for all the people who apparently think it's cool, very few of them, if any, make it a priority to be there.

We had a conversation last night with the core group who make that gathering happen.
two main questions were asked. first, how has this gathering helped to introduce people to a growing relationship with christ. second, if the goal is to create an event or venue that will further god's mission in sandpoint, and given the resources expended on making this gathering happen ($200/week and many, many person-hours) would we do this or something else?

the answers to these questions were much more unanimous than i expected. while there have been many great benefits from this gathering, we haven't seen an influx of people who wouldn't be a part of cedar hills anyway. most people who have made it their primary gathering simply prefer the evening to the morning. the second question really clarified the issue for us when we all felt that the resources used could be pout to more effective and efficient use elsewhere.

so there it was. a great experiment coming to a close. from here i'm gonna post some key learnings that have popped up so far as well as some reasons why this gathering may not have taken off.

  • innovation is difficult but very worthwhile. i really can't say enough about how great it is to be able to try new things without fear of being chastised for failure. cedar hills really understands the value of innovation as a tool for growth. having taken the step to try something like this, i think it'll be even easier in the future to try things with less than 100% chance of success.
  • it's great to have a church presence in downtown. there's no data that has anything to do with this. i'm just a big proponent of being a part of a community, involved and in touch, rather than separate and unaware.
  • leadership was a problem from the start. i am the leader of chc@dtc because it fits within my realm of responsibility. the idea of the gathering is right up my alley, but with my current workload there's really no way i could have given that gathering the attention that it needed. i piled it on top of an already-full plate and it just got lost in the shuffle. so to sum this all up, intentional leadership would have made a huge difference.
  • drop in traffic isn't a reliable growth engine. i kept waiting for people to pop in off of the street and just be drawn to this gathering. there were 3 people in 6 months who came and stayed, 2 of which i knew already. several more popped in, but left when they realized what was going on.
  • advertising to remind people about a gathering at a different time and place than they typically expect a church gathering.
  • treat it as a different entity rather than simply another gathering of cedar hills. our goal was to position this gathering as simply a third option alongside the two sunday morning times. however, it was different enough in other aspects that i don't think people really saw it that way. we could have leveraged this difference into a whole new worship experience that may have seemed to have more merit, as opposed to a copy of sunday morning, but with a smaller band and video teaching instead of live.
  • leadership is key!! i know i mentioned this earlier but it's so primary in my mind. i'm gonna pick myself apart for a minute here. 1. i didn't make room in my schedule to lead this gathering. 2. i can either lead people or be a part of making a gathering happen, not both. leading music on sunday night pulled my attention away from other things that could've been crucial to helping the gathering along. plus, in retrospect, it could've been a great venue to give away musically. that was the initial idea, but when it came right down to it, i think it seemed like too big a risk. plus, mentally i was expecting the thing to be a hit right off the bat and wanted to go with a proven entity - the status quo!
i'm sure more learnings will emerge over time. i'm sure this won't be the last off-site gathering that we do. there was some great times had, people who got involved in leadership that weren't before, new relationships and several people had their first church experience as a part of chc@dtc. all in all, a huge win! now to find the next experiment.