How I Cut 1:57 Off My Average 5k Time By Tweaking My Playlist

iTunes BPM Selector[Note: This post originally ran December 2012 back when iTunes was still a thing. You can skip down to the bottom to find the current best option for running based on BPM as of September 2015]

I’ve rarely run with music. In general, I always thought it was too much trouble – where to stash the iPod, cords getting tangled, getting tired of it and having to run with it for a while – but last week, I updated all my music to store the song’s Beats per Minute.

I ran to the playlist with the highest beats per minute…and shaved 1:57 off my average 5k time and nearly set a personal best…without even trying. Here’s how to set it up and use it on your runs… [Read more…]

The Mill at Sweetwater Creek State Park

The Mill at Sweetwater Creek State Park
from Instagram:

We went hiking at Sweetwater Creek State Park in Lithia Springs, GA. It’s about a 20 minute drive due West of Downtown Atlanta.

As one of the 3 State Parks near Downtown Atlanta, it was pretty crowded on a nice Sunday afternoon.

The main hiking trail (Red) goes down to the creek and towards the ruins of an old textile mill.

It was torched by Union troops on their way to Atlanta in 1864. but remains in strikingly good condition (for a ruin).

The creek provides a beautiful backdrop and there are plenty of trails and forest to explore. Well worth the short drive.

You Know You Live in Atlanta When…Coca-Cola Is Art

Vintage Coca-Cola Ad on Grocery Store
from Instagram:

Just up the street from my house there’s a music venue called “Grocery on Home” – and they have the coolest vintage ad for Coca-Cola on their building. It’s art.

It’s kind of crazy to think how a soft drink built so much of Atlanta, but it did. For all its faults, the Coca-Cola brand is *it* around Atlanta. Our art museum even celebrated 100 Years of the Coke Bottle in an art exhibition. Oh – we also have an entire museum dedicated to Coca-Cola.

Sometimes I’m not sure whether to be proud or weirded out. I guess sometimes you have to sell out.

Pathways in Grant Park Atlanta, GA

from Instagram:

This photo is from walk on the north end of Grant Park. It’s Atlanta’s original city park and home to Zoo Atlanta.

Even though the park has lost a lot of tree cover over the years, it’s still incredibly beautiful to walk through.

7 Pros And Cons Of GoDaddy WordPress Web Hosting

EDIT: Originally published in Feb 2012, I’ve updated this post in January 2015 to reflect the current state of GoDaddy hosting for a 2015 GoDaddy Hosting Review.

This is a product review. It’s biased – but mainly because I’m (EDIT: was) an actual customer of GoDaddy.

You’ve probably seen GoDaddy’s Super Bowl commercials, GoDaddy girls all around the internet, and most recently their Helping Small Business commercials in 2014.

GoDaddy is certainly the market leader in domains – and trying to be in web hosting.

Are they just the right WordPress Hosting Tool to build a better blog?

I started out using them (because of the brand) but I’ve moved to HostGator. So.

Here’s 7 Pros and 7 Cons of using GoDaddy to host your WordPress blog[Read more…]

On Leaving Nebo Agency & Going Full-Time with a Growing Business

Today is my last day working for Nebo Agency. I’ve been with Nebo for over 2 years. It’s by far and away been the most intense period of professional growth in my entire career.

I came to Nebo in 2013 after running my own freelance consulting business for 2 years prior. At the time, I wanted to join an elite team at an elite agency to specialize in a single field of digital marketing. At that point in my career, I knew enough to be dangerous. I knew I could bring a lot to a team, and that I could grow 10x as part of a team. Thankfully Nebo thought the same thing and gave me a shot.

And for me in hindsight, that certainly turned out to be true. I’ve been able to work with, learn from, and build relationships with my teammates. I also got to be challenged by interesting & diverse clients. I got to be exposed to all the intangibles of working around ambitious, talented people in a diverse, growing city. [Read more…]

46+ Little Changes That Made A Big Difference in My Life

Big choices & events in life almost always set the stage for the vast majority of love, happiness, wealth and overall quality of life. But it’s also interesting to me how marginal, incremental improvements can compound over time to product extraordinary improvements as well – aka the snowball effect.

I started cataloging some of my small daily habits and actions to notice little changes that made a big difference in my quality of life…

[Read more…]

All The Stuff I’ve Ever Tried

The best career advice book I’ve ever read is How To Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame). One of his core arguments is that every skill you acquire doubles your chance of success (ie, Bill Gates was an incredible developer AND incredible at business).

Hopefully that argument is true because by both necessity and planning, I’ve done a lot of stuff and acquired a lot of skills before hitting 30. Although I can’t compete with the likes of my friend Matt Moore went it comes to number of jobs had, I have a lot of people ask exactly how many projects/jobs I’ve done over my career.

So here’s the list of every job I’ve ever had, and every money-making project I’ve ever had a “solid go” at and what I’ve learned at each as of December 2014. [Read more…]

Observations & Training Tips from My Second Marathon

It’s been 2 1/2 years after running in my first marathon, but on October 4th, 2014 I ran in my 2nd marathon  at the Southern Tennessee Power Classic Marathon in Winchester, TN.

I finished 48 out of 86 with a time of 4:52:31, which was a huge improvement over my first marathon in my overall time. But more importantly to me, I wasn’t completely wiped out at Mile 19 and I actually ran without walking or breaking my pace through the final finish.

And those improvements were really just because it was my second marathon, and I that learned so much from my first. Here’s how those lessons carried over to my second. [Read more…]

10 Books That Stayed With Me

About a month ago on Facebook, there was a chain post going around where you had to name 10 books that “stayed with you.”

It’s a pretty cool idea and tapped into the common feeling that most books are sort of like meals where you consume, digest, get nourished (or not), and then you forget. It’s too bad when you think about how much time and effort the writer put into the book – and how much time you put into reading it.

That’s one reason behind my project to record and review every single book I’ve read (at least since 2007) – to try to get more out of the books I read. And yet still, there’s a certain set of books that I can recall plot, characters, and scenes instantly whether I write those thoughts down or not. Or books that really change how I act or think.

I read fiction & non-fiction very differently and are sort of like apples and oranges in this exercise, so I’m taking the liberty of 2 lists – and trying to mix up the non-fiction with different categories. Here’s my list in no specific order. [Read more…]

What Happens When An American Posts About Tiananmen Square On Weibo (China’s Twitter)

June 4th, 2014 was the 25th anniversary of the Tienanmen Square protests/massacre in China, immortalized by the Tank Man photo. It was one of the pivotal moments in the 20th Century where, unlike other Communist regimes in Europe, the Chinese Communists were able to keep their hold on power.

The massacre is immortalized everywhere…but China, where it has been actively censored and suppressed to the point where people will literally run away before talking about it.

The Internet was supposed to kill censorship, but China has the “Great Firewall” and one of the most ambitious censorship operations in the world. I had always heard that China actively and successfully censors the Internet, but never understood exactly how it works or what it would feel like to live in a completely censored world a la 1984.

China has banned Twitter because they will not grant access to the sensors, so they have a homegrown version – Sina Weibo. It has 500 million users – including me, an American citizen living in Atlanta, GA.

Yes – unlike some Chinese sites, anyone can sign up for Weibo, granted that you agree to their terms of service (ie, the Chinese government can revise your account).

1 Weibo Signup

I’ve had an account for a couple years, but had never used it…mainly because Google Translate has a very hard time with Mandarin Chinese. I have 9 followers (you know the type of people who follow everyone, mixed in with a couple bots).

But on June 4th, I thought I’d do a test of China’s censors. And see exactly what happens. [Read more…]