If It Doesn't Hurt It Isn't Love

I was recently asked how well I take constructive criticism of my creative work. With the speed of a Patellar reflex, I replied, “If it doesn’t hurt it isn’t love.” My response was a proverb found in the Switchfoot song “Yet.”

If it doesn’t break your heart it isn’t love
Nah, if it doesn’t break your heart it’s not enough
It’s when you’re breaking down with your insides coming out
It’s when you find out what your heart is made of

For creatives, we love what we do. We pour so much of who we are and what we’ve experienced in our work. The best songs are inspired by heartbreak or an intense passion. You have to feel something.
I take pride in my work. I pour a lot of myself into it. Creativity is part experimentation and part love. How much love I put into my work determines how much it hurts when it is rejected.
To understand the creative process, one must understand how much skin a creative puts into the game. When I put little heart into my work, it not only shows — it makes me immune to criticism.
For a company to move forward and remain relevant, it must be innovative. Innovation is creativity. Creativity is love. Love is putting yourself out there; taking a risk with a part of yourself.
Your idea or creation may be rejected. Have thick skin? It might not be a question of how thick your skin is, but how much skin you have in the game. How much of you is out there?
Send a drone off to battle and it costs you little. Put yourself out there and it costs you your life. This is a metaphor for creativity. A part of me is out there when I choose to put myself out there. If rejection is inevitable, why put much heart into my work at all?
Real love hurts. It hurts because you were all in. Love is the beauty. Without love, there is little to admire.

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

If you want marketing that sticks, if you want it to move people — it must be an emotional experience for both the creator and the consumer. It must be genuine. Not mass produced or random.

Why I Write

In this blog, I have been chasing after that soul. That soul within me. The one I don’t share often. I am trying to express myself in the most genuine, vulnerable, and honest way possible.
Being real is being yourself. Being yourself is the hardest thing to do. It’s so tempting to copy, deflect, and hide your true self.
I write to practice coming out of my shell. I could hide behind accolades, but we all know those are empty words. They are a front. Shared struggles are relatable. And relatability lends credibility. That’s worth more than any accolades one could be decorated with.
We are moved by true stories because fictional stories are too fantastic. The best art is interwoven with the truth. It makes you feel something. Communicates a feeling well.
One day when I’m brave enough, I’ll share something. There’s so much to share. Dreams, experiences, thoughts, beliefs, ideas… so many topics that would make for great reads. That something will move you as it moved me. But, I’ve got to dig deep for it. That’s why it’s gold.

Would You Watch a Dream?

Nightmares and other lucid dreams have always fascinated me. I have written over 250 of them in my journal. Many of them I remember in vivid detail. I’ve always wanted to share them with others. Like in a movie. A dream that you could watch.
I’ve pitched this idea for a few years now. As creative as the movie industry might be, enthusiasts are decidedly not ready for what I’d like to bring to the theater. The conversation usually goes like this…

I want to make a movie with no plot, no setting, and no title.

There’s a pause. A bewildered look forms on whomever I’m telling this to and I continue.

I’ve never seen a good dream film. Inception was a good start with the train randomly coming through the street and the buildings folding in kaleidoscope fashion, but it wasn’t random enough! Dreams are random.

Intrigued, the person listens. I can tell they’re totally against the idea, but for some reason, the idea is irresistibly intriguing — they listen anyway.

‘Breaking the mold’ is a cliché everyone uses, but imagine a true dream film! I want this movie to have no beginning, just like how dreams are, and an abrupt end.

By this time more ears are tuning in. I’ve got their attention.

Think about your dreams. The story usually begins right in the middle of something. There are no opening titles, no credits, you’re just thrown smack into the action with no explanation. Kind of like life!

Sometimes I ask one of them what their dreams are like, everyone one of them says they don’t remember their dreams. So I tell them one of my own.

The Shadow Man

I’m in a mall. It’s night. I’m likely a security guard. I’m on the second floor. I’m running from something.
I come to an escalator. You know that silver metal panel that you step on before you get on? Well, it’s open.
It appears like the escalator is out-of-order and was opened up for repairs. The metal panel has been lifted up and left open.
Underneath the panel, there is a manhole, with a ladder. It is surrounded by work lights.
I’m being pursued by something, so I run into it. Climb down the ladder into the hole.
Once I’m all the way down — I’m in a house. It’s daylight. Sunshine is coming through the windows. It’s a really nice house. American Colonial. Every light is on in that house.
I run to the front door. I open it and step into another house. As if two houses had been combined together. Where the front door of one is the back door of the other. Like Monster’s Inc. with the closet doors.
I close the door behind me and I’m in another house. This time there are fewer lights on. It’s a different house.
I run to the front door of this house. I open it and step inside yet another house! Each house is different and there are fewer and fewer lights on. I do this many times.
The sunlight coming in through the windows of each succeeding house becomes dimmer and dimmer.
I run through many houses. Their interiors vary greatly. But in each succeeding house, it’s darker and messier. The ground seems to slant downwards as I run forward.
I look over my shoulder occasionally and there’s the shadow man! I have a distance on him, but he’s closing in.
27903232956_58ebb4afe6_o (Priime Fir)The shadow man is a void. He walks upright like a person would walk — even in daylight. He’s unlike any shadow I’ve ever seen before. This shadow doesn’t appear on the walls or on the floor. No, he walks like a person, independent of lighting.
Looking into the shadow man there’s a void. It’s a hole that appears to be a mile deep.
I quickly gather that this shadow represents death. He’s coming for me. He’s in the shape of me. As if I were a toy being put back into a package. If the shadow man catches up with me, both of us will merge and I will disappear from existence!
I finally come to the last house. There are no lights on in this house. It is nighttime. The only light in the house comes from a vintage tube television with static on it in the den. Across from the TV, there’s an empty recliner. The house has a 70s vibe.
There’s nowhere to run!
I can see the shadow man coming down the stairs in the hall. I look to my left and I see a door. It’s to an office.
I run into it and shut the door, leaving it open just a crack like I found it. The door has a frosted window on it. Like an old-time detective movie.
It’s a small office with wood paneling. There’s only a desk, a chair, and a lamp that’s been left on. There are no windows in this office.
I hide behind the desk. I see the shadow man pass by the door.
He hasn’t seen me. I wait for a few minutes; debating whether I should bolt out the door and make a run for it. I’m cornered here!
It’s deadly silent. I can hear ringing in my ears.
I decide to make a run for it. I run back the way I came. Through all of the houses and back up the manhole.
Once out, I slam the metal panel shut.
The dream ends.

What a True Dream Film Looks Like

My audience is dazed. They are silent at first. I see that look on their face, the same feeling I get after waking up from a dream. Not sure what to think. Just processing everything.
I tell them…

That feeling you have is the feeling I want my audience to have after the movie ends. I want them to sit in silence, processing what they just saw, as if they had just woken up from a real dream.

That stunned/processing feeling isn’t something that movies generally leave you with. It’s rare. My dreams leave me feeling like this all of the time. But, I hate that I can’t share it with anyone. No one will see what I saw. But if this were a movie, the entire audience would have experienced the same dream together for the first time ever!
Essentially what I want this movie to be is an experience. Not a linear story. I want you to feel emotions you don’t feel too often. Confusion is a great emotion! It’s the sign of a new experience.
To keep this dream film authentic, I don’t want it to have a title. When you go up to the box office, I want that tile to be blank, only displaying the showtimes.
black-in-deep-redI want the movie poster to be a solid color or blend of colors like a Rothko painting. I want it to make you feel something, without saying anything.
This movie is unapologetically anti-pop. It’s not for you to like, it’s for you to experience. Just like a dream.
I remember 10 years ago telling my cousin that I wanted a movie theater with a 360-degree screen. I wanted a more immersive cinematic experience. One where you could look in all directions and be right in the center of the action. My cousin humored my idea but suggested I settle for a 180-degree screen instead. I can’t tell you how enthusiastic I was when I discovered that some computer games used three monitors blended into one — similar to my idea.
Today, there is a better option. Virtual Reality headsets would be perfect for a true dream film. For the first time, you could experience true first-person perspective. Look in all directions, just like a video game.
I want the experience to be as dream-like as possible. Settings should subtly change. Some characters don’t need faces. There is no beginning. The end jarringly leaves you wanting more. There’s so much detail in the dream-film that you’d have to watch it several times to see everything. There wouldn’t be a trailer, you’d have no idea what you were about to see. Just like a real dream.
If I could, I would give this kind of experience to the world. A true breaking of the mold, not for the sake of breaking the mold, but for the sake of being true to an original dream.

The Objections

I get pretty enthusiastic about this idea. Not from a commercial sense, but from a creative one. If I wanted a return on investment (ROI) — I’d make a film that fit a mold and ticked all the checkboxes that make a movie popular.
This is not intended to be a popular film. It’s intended to be original. Not by breaking with tradition just because, but because this concept naturally has no mold. Our dreams naturally don’t make sense and we accept them. All I want to do is bring this experience to the awake world.
Unfortunately, this is a tough pill to swallow for many. There’s a strong desire to have a story. A story that is linear and makes sense. If it doesn’t make sense, some don’t believe it’s an enjoyable movie.
But I argue, people love dreams! They love sharing them if they can remember them, and they love trying to interpret them. I believe that art can be abstract. Just like a painting. It took awhile for some to accept abstract art. Not every painting has to stem from a refined realist style.
For some reason, movies haven’t gotten there yet. We accept abstract art, but not abstract movies. Why not? Why does everything have to make sense in a neat story form? Our own lives don’t make sense.
When we are born our first memories begin randomly. We stare at the floor, we study it. We do not ask why we are here until later. That’s how I want a dream film to begin. I don’t want my audience to know why they are there. I want them to be intrigued. I want them to see something new. Something authentic. I want the dreams to be real.
That’s all I can really say about that.

How I Remember My Dreams

As aforementioned, I have documented at least 250 dreams in vivid detail. Before I started writing them down, I only remembered dreams that woke me up and left a big impression on me. Usually nightmares or occasionally heavenly dreams (dreams like winning the lottery or finding the love of my life). But eventually, I figured out a trick to remember more of them.
The secret to remembering your dreams is to try to remember where you were last when you wake up. So when I wake up, I sit there and try to remember where I was last. Suddenly it comes to me. It will be a fragment of something. I’ll remember a location or an object from the dream.
I write that down. I begin working backward. Eventually, I unravel the dream in reverse order. Sometimes this hurts my head and I have to give up. Other times I push through and unlock the entire dream.
I write whatever comes to mind in reverse order and then I reconstruct the dream in chronological order. The key is to outline the dream backward and then return to fill in all of the details. Once that’s done you can rewrite the dream in story form.
That’s it. Once you’ve captured it, you’ll never lose it again. Your journal will remember the dream for you. And now that I have some, I think they might make great movies.
So I ask you…

Would you watch a dream?

Why is a Powerful Word

In the Spring of 2012, I was taking a college class called Law and the Media. My professor was a prominent lawyer who taught evening classes in his spare time. I really enjoyed his class.
Why?
Because he taught me a valuable lesson. He said if he had to pick a favorite word from the dictionary, it would be the word: why.
I thought about that for a moment. At first, I didn’t recognize what was so special about the word why. After writing several case studies on Supreme Court decisions, I understood.
The word why can stand alone in a sentence. Just three little letters can incite profound reflection. Ask yourself why and your mind will venture down a rabbit hole, deep into your subconscious thoughts. Motives not previously known will appear.
If you voted for a political candidate, ask yourself why. When you have an answer, repeat the question. Repeat the question until you find the ultimate answer. This process may take awhile. When you have finished, you may have an epiphany.
You’re welcome.
I believe this can be a life-changing experience. Start asking why about everything and you’ll begin to unravel what makes you, you.
For me, I have spent the years following that class asking myself why. I’m still discovering things. Like last night, I asked myself why I majored in Communication Arts. I thought I knew the answer, but the question leads me to some interesting insights into life and how career choices are made.
I’ve witnessed many of my peers realize the naive reasons why they chose their major. It was a surprise to them. I know it was a surprise to me when I realized why I chose Communication Arts.
Sometimes we are too sure of ourselves. “I know why I chose my major! I have a plan. Those other people clearly didn’t think it through.” Really? Ask yourself why. I did and I was surprised.

Why I Chose My Major

I chose my major as the result of a series of life events. The final verdict: I never had a plan. I just thought I did.
After some reflection, my story begins in the fall of 2001. I was 10-years old, my dad was in the hospital with appendicitis, and my mom had me stay the night at my aunt’s house.
I was thrilled to spend the night with my cousin. He had received the 1349 Lego Studios set for his birthday.

“Lego Studios was a popular brand of Lego toys released in the early-2000s and mainly focused on movie-making and the steps thereof. Lego Studios was first distributed in November 2000, and was later discontinued in 2003. The last series in the franchise was the Lego Spider-Man set. The appeal of Lego Studios was that it featured stop-motion animation to make real movies with Lego bricks. In response, many websites have grown that are dedicated to the product and feature many uploaded videos, such as Brickfilms.com.” — Wikipedia

My cousin showed me a video he had created with the included stop-motion camera and that was all it took to get me hooked. I originally was set to spend a couple of nights at my cousin’s house, but after getting hooked on filmmaking I asked my mom if I could stay the week!
1349-1We made several videos that had nothing to do with Legos and very quickly outgrew the stop-motion camera. The camera that was included with Lego Studios resembles a modern webcam. It had to remain wired to a computer, with a cord that was about 15 feet long.
After we had run out of material to film in my cousin’s computer room, I wanted a laptop so we could move the camera outside. My aunt had a better idea, the following year she got him a Hi-8 camcorder.
My cousin, at the time, wanted to become a Hollywood Director. This was an upgrade from wanting to be a hotel manager. Previously, I had wanted to be the President of the United States, which was an upgrade from a train engineer.
As children, we are inspired to pursue careers that coincide with the toys we play with and the shows we watch. The Lionel train set I had as a young boy probably had something to do with my initial career aspirations. Bill Nye likely inspired me to want to run for President so I could stop world pollution.
It is really something to go back and trace how I got to now. My pursuit of video production finds its roots in a childhood experience.
I didn’t calculate the ROI (Return on Investment) of my college degree. That wasn’t something I was told to do. I chose my major because it was the closest degree to filmmaking that the University of the Incarnate Word offered.
By the time I was applying for universities, I had become a skilled video editor. This was all thanks to a church photographer who introduced me to the church video guy who in turn introduced me to Sony Vegas 6.
A lot happened, but they were all coincidences. Life events that carried me to where I am now. There was no plan. Or at least I didn’t make the plan.
The past 16 years of my life were shaped by a moment. I identify myself as a creative. My identity and my career path can trace their roots to a moment.

Processing Reflections

The revelation I had about why I chose my major doesn’t end there. Instead, it leads me to an even more profound discovery.
There are those who pursue dreams and those who pursue opportunities. Sometimes the opportunity is snookering a dreamer out of some cash while they are in pursuit of a pipe dream.
Entering college I was in pursuit of inviable dreams. Many students, particularly creative students, pursue dreams that will never materialize. Somewhere toward the end, we recognize our error.
Others see our folly as an opportunity.
JumpCut Academy comes to mind. I saw an advertisement on Instagram for JumpCut Academy promising to teach me the secrets of becoming a YouTube star. Of course, I want to become a YouTube star! So I sign up for more information.
I begin receiving a series of emails that attempted to play weird tricks on my mind. I think that’s called marketing (an aggressive form of it). The emails try to convince me that I’m one of the few who will gain access to secrets, but I must act quickly because he won’t share them with slackers! When that doesn’t work he tries other methods.
In case your wondering, the content is recycled, the urgency is fictitious, and you’ll likely never become a YouTube star—but a sucker is born every minute. Here’s a sample from one of his emails:

Hey – Jesse here,
Ok, so this makes a lot of people uncomfortable…
But it’s something we NEED to talk about.
Here’s the deal:
The past few days, I’ve been seeing a LOT of this:
Commentsplf
(These guys – and many others – loved the free video trainings…)
Those are comments on the free hour of video lessons we released last week teaching you about the opportunity of starting a profitable YouTube channel.
Clearly, this is something that most people were unaware of. They didn’t realize it’s possible to make a full-time living on YouTube even with a small audience. And I think that’s why people LOVED our video training so much.
But here’s where it gets really weird…
When I asked people if they received a ton of value from our training (and if they’re going to start their own channels), the response was overwhelming “YES.”
And to be fair, a lot of them took action and enrolled in Jumpcut Academy 2.0.
But…
There was also a 2nd group that responded in a disturbing way:
They said they wanted to launch their own channels… and they said they wanted to be a part of Jumpcut Academy 2.0… but they became very, very nervous at the thought of enrolling.
Can you guess what they were nervous about?
The price.
These people were so afraid that they made up excuses for why they couldn’t join.
Things like:

  • “It probably won’t work for me…”
  • “I’m not sure if now is the right time…”
  • “I just don’t have enough experience to do this…”

This list goes on, and on, and on.
Even though they said they wanted to improve their lives…
…when faced with an actual opportunity to do so – they let it pass them by.
I have to be honest: This is heartbreaking for me.
Why is it that when someone is faced with an opportunity like Jumpcut Academy 2.0, they’re so afraid to take the plunge?
Why won’t they invest in themselves and their future? (Especially considering we offer a 365 money back guarantee with the only requirement being that you actually do the work.)
I’ll tell you why:
Because society trains us to shy away from self-investment:
We’re conditioned to buy a new $700 iPhone… every single year.
We’re told it’s normal to pay $1,000+ for a new TV even though the old one works just fine.
We’re taught that you need to buy the new Call of Duty for $60 (plus $60 worth of DLC), every year even though it’s exactly the same as the last one.
But you know what we’re NOT told to do?
Invest in our futures (and ourselves).
How many people do you know who spend more money on acquiring skills, knowledge, and real-world experience than “stuff” – crap that they don’t need?
Probably very few… if any at all.
For once, can we just face the facts: Society wants you to be lazy and unsuccessful.
They want you to spend money on things – not thoughts.
I’m sure that seems like a crazy concept to you right now. And I bet you think I’m just saying that because I want you to enroll in Jumpcut Academy.
But would you be willing to consider the wild possibility that BOTH of those things are true?
Listen – I’m not going to lie to you: I am trying to convince you to enroll.
I am NOT ashamed of asking for an investment in a step-by-step program that I spent years – and $100,000’s – pouring my real-world knowledge, experience, and advice into.
(This is a topic for a different day, but: Why are people so afraid of getting paid for the value they add to the world?)
Anyway – my point is this:
Do you think the elites who run colleges want you to realize you can succeed in life without spending $50,000 or more on college?
Do you think the guys who run big companies would rather you buy a bunch of their mindless products (and work for them for minimum wage)… or learn how to make money on your own and maybe even COMPETE against them in business?
If you can see through the fog, then click here and enroll in Jumpcut Academy 2.0 while it’s available for the next 6 days.
I’m sick and tired of people who have so much potential getting sucked into the “traditional path” in life.
Let’s change the way things work.
– Jesse
P.S. Do you think this guy regrets investing in himself? He landed a $3,500 brand deal after going through Jumpcut Academy.
Dcheatest
(“THANK YOU JUMPCUT!!!!!!”)
And all he had to do was accept free tickets to a basketball game and film himself for his channel. (Sounds tough, eh?)

I’m not trying to be overly cynical here, but if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Salespeople tend to bombard you with sensational emails like this one. This should be a clear sign that something is wrong.
But I digress. My post isn’t about JumpCut Academy, it’s about asking why. The word why lead me to this discussion about psychological marketing. About how dreamers are exploited by opportunists.

What Will You Discover by Asking Why?

Had I never asked myself why I chose my major, I would have never unraveled my thoughts far enough to uncover this.
The word why prevents us from thinking we are immune to manipulation. It picks apart flawed reasoning. It helps us develop and discover new things.
I encourage you to ask why, not just to other people, but to yourself. Ask yourself why you chose, did, or believe something. You may find out that those thoughts were not originally yours or that they were based on something unexpected.
Isn’t why a powerful word?

Why Innovation is Dying in San Antonio

Last night, I had the privilege of attending Startup Grind San Antonio for the first time at Geekdom. Events like Startup Grind are the main reason I joined Geekdom. While the event was open to the public, I recognize how special the Geekdom community really is and I want to continue the conversations started at the event with members in the future.
Guest speaker Debra Innocenti-Placette of Innocenti-Jones PLLC said a lot of incredible things last night, but the words that resonated the most with me came during the Q&A session at the end.
A great conversation usually has to warm up or be sparked spontaneously. So co-speaker Drew Placette was bent on asking Debra a tough question. He asked why our tech ecosystem in San Antonio seems to be dying.
[wpvideo sfjPr0eA]

Our tech ecosystem, especially scalable startup ecosystem seems to be dying. We don’t see a lot of things coming out of here, like we used to. I know we have a lot of good things, but there is also a lot of smoke and mirrors in San Antonio around stuff. Why don’t we see actual viable startups coming out of San Antonio? Besides capital. What do you think we can do to actually change that?

This is the pink elephant in the room. I think most San Antonians can acknowledge that true innovation is more likely to be found in other places (insert your own city here, like Silicon Valley), not San Antonio.
Personally, I don’t think of San Antonio when I think of innovation. When I think of San Antonio, I think of flintlock rifles and cannons going off at the Alamo or Fiesta. Not bad things to be known for, but I would like to see San Antonio also known for other things too! Creativity, innovation, and the city of the future… I don’t believe I’m alone in this characterization of San Antonio or my desire to see it grow in new ways.
Debra’s answer struck a chord in my heart. Things I had been saying all along but thought I was the only one thinking these things. I thought that these ideas were at best revolutionary or at worst the Twilight Zone (a delusion).
Her answer was so good, I’ve loosely transcribed it for you. Quote it, tweet it, share it with your friends. Let’s do something about this!

In full homage to Startup Grind, which is bare knuckles honesty… I think there’s a number of things that we are failing on and we need to work on. I think we can do it! One of the things is, we need to go back to the beginning values. Geekdom has a touchstone value that is critical. It’s the initial mantra of ‘where startups are born’, the embracing of the creatives, the messy people, the disorganized people, the people who are disruptive and don’t follow rules well, the engineers who have cabling and circuit boards falling behind them as they walk… we have to make sure that we continue to embrace and nurture creatives.
And creatives are not comfortable with rules and structure. That’s not to say you can’t have rules and structure, because there’s always a balance. I love rules and structure! But, I also love creatives and I think that balance is critical. I think that pendulum has swung too much, citywide, [to the other side].
We really need to have a conversation about what innovation is… innovation literacy. When we use the word innovation, this is what we mean. If a company is striving to be innovative and disruptive, we need to understand what that means.
Innovation means a number things: it means that you must have a commitment to hiring people who ask questions. Why are we doing it this way? Is this the best way to do it? Can we do it another way? Why is this person in charge? People who challenge things, loosen up structure and allow for disruption.
Creatives and innovators don’t like rigidity. In terms of, if you have dress codes where everyone has to wear suits and ties—that’s not going to promote innovation. If you’re hiring people who are followers and not challengers and leaders that’s not being innovative.
If you are requiring people to have degrees… a bachelor’s degree, if that’s like a requirement in your job description… you’re going to be shutting the door to a lot of creatives.
When you go into portals for jobs and one of their requisites is 5 years of experience in X or the system kicks you out… we have a broken hiring system! That needs to be fixed.
The work is heavy in terms of shifting that whole culture. But, we also have a culture in San Antonio where people want to stay in the same job for the rest of their life and be comfortable. And they don’t want to hire people under them that are smarter than them or that will challenge them. Because they don’t want things to change. In other more viable, more vibrant ecosystems we have people eying a position above them and they want to hire someone under them that can take their place. They want to cultivate that. They want a dynamic system that’s going to change, that’s not static. We’re not there yet in San Antonio. That’s not the culture here. There’s work to do there.
There’s a lack of diversity in most of the leadership organizations here, including in the tech community. How can we say that we are an ecosystem or an industry of innovation and disruption, if we cannot even be innovative in representation in leadership? That’s not innovative.
That’s saying innovation because it’s a nice shiny word and it sounds good, it’s got good PR ring, but we’re not serious about it. We’ve got to re-dip into the well of our core values. We’ve set them right, we just need to understand the words that we are saying. We’ve got to be serious about them and not drift away from those values.
You can drift away from your core values unless you revisit them and think about them. That’s why organizations have mission statements. It’s not because some lawyer said you need to have a mission statement that’s one sentence in this part of the document. It’s because you must have an understanding of mission.
Until we learn what innovation means and really commit to it… until we invite creatives in, encourage them and make them want to stay… until we embrace diversity… we’re not doing what we’re saying we want to do.

Her 7 minute response summarized every conclusion I came to over the past year of unemployment and even before that. I thought about companies I had worked for and startups I had been a part of; each experience taught me a slow lesson about what’s needed to be innovative.
I had asked myself why San Antonio wasn’t at the pinnacle of human progress—now I know. I was slowly placing a finger on key reasons, but her answer neatly summarizes a significant time of reflection.
Granted this is a perception. There are lots of great things happening in the city that I don’t know about. And I’m likely not alone in this. So it makes sense after several interviews and rejection emails. Even at my own university. The place I credit for teaching me a large portion of what I know. That I can 100% relate to what Debra sees wrong with San Antonio. But the good news is we can do our part to fix it and we are not alone in this common vision.
Conversations like this one are special. They spark curiosity. They lead to more questions and eventually more conclusions. Like why stay in San Antonio when there are other places that have figured this out? Is there any reason to attend college anymore? These were also touched on in the full talk.
We are not alone in these thoughts. There are more people, even where you live, who think like us. People who question things. Who are curious. In San Antonio, Geekdom is one place where people like us gather. I’m glad I found this place. Maybe I’ll see you there sometime?

Making a Website Just Got Easier

On the morning of March 29, 2008, I purchased paleolithicfilms.com and launched my first website with Apple’s iWeb. I followed the instructions to connect my MobileMe hosted website, with Yahoo, my registrar; entering the appropriate information into the A Record field.

With no guidance, at age 16, I had a website. I remember frantically pacing around the kitchen waiting for the DNS records to refresh while trying to convey this monumental achievement to my parents. I was ecstatic! Months of guessing, Googling and waiting for the dots to connect lead to what I believed, at the time, to be a breakthrough.

I’ve come a long way since then. So has the Internet. I can now complete the same process in under 2 minutes. It’s so easy for me now that until I wrote this post, I forgot what it was like to not know where to start.

There was no one who could help me, or rather I didn’t know who to ask, or even what to search for. All I knew was I wanted a website. I wanted to be like the big shots, you know Google, Yahoo, and Apple. I wanted my very own .com.

Maybe there are others like me? Maybe you want one too, but don’t know where to start? If so, you don’t have to spend months in search of where to begin, like I did. I’ll point you to shortcuts that will make this process seem really easy.

It took Christopher Columbus seven years to convince royals to grant the five-week journey to the new world—today it takes a few seconds to book a six-hour flight on Expedia. The distance hasn’t changed, but how we get to our destination has.

While it was challenging to learn how to build my first website unguided, today I can hand this skill over to you on a platter. I love helping people. I will admit it’s hard to see what took me years to learn, taught in just a few minutes—but that’s progress. It’s about leaving the world a better place than we found it. And if it wasn’t for all those who came before me, who developed the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, we wouldn’t have the wonderful experience we call the Internet today.

I encourage you that when you’re tempted to withhold information because you feel that a person hasn’t earned or worked for it, remember that most of our knowledge is unearned. Many of the mathematical concepts we use today were developed by those literally jeopardizing their health and even losing their lives trying to discover them.

That being said, click here to discover the easiest way to build your website. If you have any questions or want to accomplish something specific, click here to get in touch with me. I accept payment via PayPal which will enable me to perform these services full time.

Mobile First Design

Let’s face it, our readers prefer purchasing a new iPhone every other year than buying a computer. Computers are for nerds. There I said it.

In 2015, designing a website for desktops and laptops when our readers will only view it on their iPhone is embarrassing to say the least. So, when are we going to start designing with the predominate mobile audience in mind?

It’s the dominating statistic: 61% of my website viewers are on mobile. The majority of these views come from iPhone’s Safari browser. This is a trend that I’m seeing everywhere including with older demographics; even 65+ (I work closely with the oldest operating HOA in San Antonio and eight public golf courses).

Using a computer just as much as your iPhone makes you elite. Unfortunately, not everyone is elite. That’s why we cannot design for ourselves anymore (not that we ever should have). Some leave their laptops off most of the time. I guess laptops remind people of work and school.

So moving forward, we need to ask our friends to check out our websites as we are developing them. If they grow impatient with how slowly it loads or how many finger flicks it takes to scroll down the pages – redesign it. The desktop versions of our websites are the best around, scoring a 77 easily in Google’s PageSpeed Insights, but if the mobile site makes our audience put down their phone in boredom, that’s a clear sign of failure.