My incredible wife gave birth to a beautiful daughter earlier this week. 6lbs, 6oz. Mom and baby are doing great. No name yet (we have to get to know her first!). A few pictures are below.
• Visitors: We can't wait to introduce Baby DROdio to our friends and family; mom & baby are recovering at home. We'll let you know as soon as we get a handle on everything.
• No gifts, please! We are taking an "agile" approach to parenting. For those of you who aren't techies, that means we are taking it step by step, and we will purchase baby items as we learn the needs of our baby. We don't want to start out with a room full of boxes of baby things that we don't know whether we'll need or not. However, we'll happily take any of your tried & true hand-me-down clothing that you no longer need (reduce, reuse, recycle!).
If you really really want to get us something (and you're really stubborn even though we don't need anything!), we would ask that you get us a Munchery Gift Card. This is a food ordering service that will allow us to have freshly prepared food delivered daily for the first few weeks, and that would help both of us cope. (Since Sue is the one who usually feeds us, I especially would appreciate this, since I'll be responsible for feeding her!) To make sure it arrives at the right place, use email address "us -at- danielodio -dot- com" for the gift card.
That's it for now, more updates to come!
As an entrepreneur for the past 12 years, I haven't collected a paycheck from any employer other than a company I own. In theory this sounds great, but there are few things in life that apply more pressure than being responsible for not only your paycheck, but the paychecks of employees. Most of these companies have done well, but some haven't. It's also quite taboo to talk openly about the emotional and mental stress that startups create, but privately almost every CEO I've spent time with has shared similar feelings with me. When Sebastian and I discussed posting on each other's blogs, I figured this was a great opportunity to open up about what it's like to be the CEO of a technology startup along with several previous companies, and specifically to discuss the self discipline that's required to successfully navigate the stresses of startups, because these same lessons apply in anyone's daily life. As you can tell by the title, I liken it to having the self discipline of a Buddhist monk.
But first, some background: When I was 22, I graduated from college with an offer from General Electric to work in their Technical Leadership Program. It was a sweet offer -- a fast-track to management role where a select set of college graduates were rotated through various parts of the company. It gave me the opportunity to work in Latin America. I was sent to GE's Crotonville leadership campus, where I'd see Jack Welch, GE's CEO at the time, fly in and out on his helicopter, and senior GE executives would train us in leadership seminars. It was like being a golden child, a chosen one. We knew that we were being groomed to be the next generation of leaders at GE, and GE did everything it could to foster that confidence in us.
This leadership program was just two years long. It was going very well, but something was nagging at me: Growing up, I had to be very entrepreneurial out of necessity. I had to pay for college myself. I'd always been very independent and self sufficient. Suddenly, I was part of a huge machine. Although I was being treated very well, I felt that I wasn't being true to myself and my entrepreneurial spirit. I knew that I could do more, and that if I didn't quit then, I would get sucked into the trappings of corporate life. So I quit GE six months before I was supposed to graduate from the leadership program. It was 1999 and the tech bubble was going in full swing. I felt that staying even six more months would be too long.
Going from GE's leadership program to a startup company is a bit like going from the comfy cigar chair at country club to washing dishes in the back. It's a jarring experience, but one that I was thirsty for. I soaked it up, and quickly learned my first lesson in startups: If you're not really, really passionate about what you're doing, then don't do it. Although being an entrepreneur is romanticized in popular culture, the road is so long, and the pain is so great, that unless you're really passionate about it, you'll be crushed by the pressure.
Passion for what you're doing in life applies beyond startups. It's easy for any of us to become trapped in the constructs we create. We feel like we have responsibilities to those around us to be risk averse. Maybe you have a mortgage. Or kids in school. Or a spouse depending on your income. But I'm here to tell you that you are not trapped by your environment. You are never a victim of your circumstances, and you have not only a right, but a responsibility to live your life in a way that inspires passion inside of you. Those around you will benefit far more from that passion than from your fear of pursuing it, and they will be inspired themselves to seek out the things that they are passionate about. You only live once. No, seriously, you only live once. If you're not doing something today that you're passionate about, then quit. Take that scary plunge into the unknown. You will be so happy that you did. It won't be easy at first, but it well be better immediately.
Sue and I want to keep electronic screens away from Devina at least until she's a couple of years old -- this means no TV in our house, no iPad or iPhone for her to play with, or any other electronic gadgets. This might be surprising to hear considering how techie we are, but we see technology as a double-sided sword: It's incredible, but it also distracts from the things in life that really matter: Interacting with people, with nature, with our world around us. Showing love and learning to be loved by those who are important in our lives, and a list of other things, many of which we outlined in our Family Manifesto.
One of the first experiences we are hoping to teach Devina about technology is by way of computer programming. We want her to learn how to create with technology, vs. just being a consumer of it. So we plan on teaching Devina to code at a young age.
We don't yet know how (or exactly when) we're going to do that, but we've been starting to bookmark resources where others have done the same thing. I'm going to use this blog post as a place to put links to those resources, and to share this journey as we take it.
I'd also love to hear from other parents out there who are teaching their kids to code. I'd love to know things like:
Over on my entrepreneur + tech blog, I post about an area I'm very familiar with: Technology & startups.
Now, I'm embarking on a much bigger challenge: Fatherhood.
Yep, I'm going to be a dad. Here's a picture of our daughter, who will be joining us sometime in late October 2013:
For now, we're calling her "Baby DROdio."
I only recently became aware of EarthRoamer, mostly because my wife and I aren’t in the market for a super-upscale camper. EarthRoamers start in the $200k range and can top $500k. However, since we were visiting other camper manufacturers in the Denver area, we decided to stop in, and I’m glad we did.
We met with Mike, one of the owners of EarthRoamer. Although they’ve had a checkered past (Mike told me about a 2008 bankruptcy), the company appears to be in full swing right now. They’ve built almost 125 EarthRoamers in the past 10 years (that averages out to 1 per month) and there were a number of units in various stages of build with many units when we swung by.
Mike obviously cares a lot about his product — you’ll see that in the videos. He’s super knowledgable about all aspects of the build process, and the various design elements have a lot of thought put into them. Some nice touches were the cab pass-through that they custom-make, some bunk beds in the stretched version that were custom built, and a countertop extension that flips up from behind one of the seats.
EarthRoamers are built exclusively on a Ford chassis. EarthRoamer has a deal with Ford where the new vehicle warranty isn’t voided by the customization they do, and in fact it doesn’t start until your EarthRoamer is delivered to you, which is a very nice touch because typically the truck is purchased several week or months before the build is complete. Mike had great things to say about Ford’s newest diesel engine, which can get an incredible 11 to 12 MPG on huge 41? tires with a 17,000 pound vehicle.
Here are a few epic moto & mtn bike rides I've taken recently.
The thing I love about my BMW G650 Xchallenge bike is its incredible versatility. I was literally at Pismo Beach last weekend doing this on the bike:
Yeah, same bike! The only modification I made was putting MacGyver-style hose pieces on the back tire for additional traction in the sand:
I've long been a fan of the XP Camper. My wife and I spent two years researching pop-up campers, and the XP was by far and away our favorite. I visited Marc, the owner of XP Camper late last year and did a full writeup.
When I read on the XP XP Camper forums forums that Marc was creating a V2 prototype based on the Tacoma truck (instead of a full-size one ton truck), my wife and I decided to visit Marc again to check it out. We liked the idea that we could get a camper on a smaller, Japanese truck like the Tacoma. When we arrived at his shop in Grass Valley, CA, about 4 hours north of San Francisco, we found that he's now in a place 5 times bigger than the last time we visited!
Marc graciously let us take the V2 prototype out for a weekend on the condition that we give him a bunch of feedback in exchange, something that we happily agreed to do.
I'm not going to reveal the details of my opinion of the V2 prototype just yet, because I don't want to influence anyone else's opinion before it goes into production. In summary, though, I'd say that if you're interested in a hard shell pop-up camper based on a Tacoma truck, you absolutely have to put this truck on your shopping list. And now is a great time to let Marc know if you're interested, since he's trying to decide what kind of production volumes to ramp up.
Sue and I have known from way back that we want to have as much skin-to-skin time with our daughter as possible. In fact, we haven't even purchased a stroller because we want to carry Devina to achieve this goal.
Originally, we were using a Britax carrier which was given to us by some friends, and I loved. But we started reading blogs which warned of issues that could arise with carriers that leave a baby's legs dangling, which the Britax (as well as a Baby Bjorn carrier we had) did. Specifically, articles like this:
Here it is illustrated:
My wife Sue and I have spent the past two years visiting many types of camper facilities in our quest to find the perfect camper for our needs. We’ve toured the factories at Sportsmobile, Four Wheel Camper, XP Camper, EarthRoamer, Hallmark, Outfitter, and Phoenix, and we visited the Overland Expo last year.
In the process, we’ve documented and written up each of those experiences in separate posts to provide you with an insider’s guide to purchasing a camper. Our goal was to do the hard legwork ourselves so you wouldn’t have to, and to document what we saw with honesty and transparency. In this post, I’m summarizing what we’ve learned in this two year journey. Hopefully, you’ll find this guide a useful tool in your decision making process.
First, a bit about us and our priorities:
We have been looking for a camper we can live in for an extended period of time (6+ months) while also having a vehicle we can still use as a daily driver. We’re looking for a camper that we can easily take on weekend or week-long trips, as well as a vehicle that we can take offroad on medium-difficulty trails (like that hard-to-reach deserted beach).
Sue is 37 weeks pregnant, so we're spending our weekends really getting our ducks in a row.
Since Sue and I come from the tech world, it's an easy leap for us to use geeky tools to plan for our birth.
One example is Basecamp, a project management tool we use for work projects. Although I've written about my pains using Basecamp over on my tech blog in the past (http://go.DanielOdio.com/basecamp) , it continues to be the best lightweight & effective project management tool we've found.
So, we figured, why not use it to plan our birth?
Here's a screenshot of what our Basecamp birth project looks like, with some notes: