Online Entrepreneur, WordPress Developer, Logo Designer, Surfer Dude

The Importance Of Balancing Work And Play

Owning a business or being self-employed has its advantages. However, losing yourself in the work is far too easy, because it never ends. How much you make is determined by your own time, efforts and innovations. Nobody is blowing the whistle at the end of the day, except maybe your wife.

My business requires me sitting in front of the computer staring in to that glowing screen for countless hours. When I’m trying to solve a problem, it’s impossible to pry myself away from the task at hand. If I didn’t have hobbies, live in a location with perfect weather or have the privilege of being able to take a couple hours to myself during the day, it’s likely I would end up like Cartman:

Cartman-World-of-Warcraft

Stop Stealing My Bikes Dude!

Every bike I have owned in my adulthood has been stolen — from my porch in Orlando, from a palm tree in Hawaii, and now from my garage in La Jolla. I might as well start a non-profit, supplying the homeless, junkies and punk-ass kids with bike transportation.

Last night I fell asleep on the couch, tired from packing the house for moving back to Maui, and I forgot to close the garage door. Obviously my fault, but it happens. I woke up this morning and decided to take my new SUP board for a spin at Windansea. While moving stuff out of the way to get to my board in the garage, I noticed my bike was missing. At first, I thought it was just misplaced. I soon realized it had been stolen — again. Nothing else in the garage was taken, just my bike.

It got me thinking, why do people steal my bikes!? I’ll tell you, because they’re stealing their own getaway vehicle! It’s a low risk theft. Bikes are generally worth a decent chunk of change, but not enough to warrant the police actually spending their time to find it.

Since it’s happened enough times, I’ve come to notice a trend in my demeanor. For at least a few weeks after my bike is stolen, every person on a bicycle is the enemy. I’m ready to pounce on any unlucky soul riding a bike similar to mine. God forbid I actually see somebody on my bike. I will run them over, no hesitation. I almost tackled our 94-year-old neighbor this afternoon. She rounded the corner of my driveway with her rolling walker. I saw her out of the corner of my eye, thought it was somebody back to steal something else, and I was ready to kill!

The thing is, I’m not even a big bicyclist. I’m no Lance Armstrong (apparently he’s not either). I don’t wear the goofy spandex or have a hydration pack. I just like to cruise in to town, or to the beach from time to time. What really chaps my ass, is that I actually bought a decent bike this time around. A $400 Diamondback hybrid. You know, not amazing, but better than my previous beach cruisers from Target.

So I’m making a new vow. I don’t plan to spend more than $250 on a bike again. Because I’m probably buying it for somebody else.

Facebook, You Ruin Lives, But That’s Alright

It’s not that I don’t like Facebook — I just don’t like using Facebook. Obviously, plenty of people do. That’s cool. My Tweets and Instagrams post to my Facebook wall, and I throw up a “Like” from time to time. That’s usually the extent of my Facebook interaction. I don’t want to share every detail of my life, and I don’t really care to get all-up in everybody’s bizzness. I’ve seen Facebook do much more damage to relationships and friendships than good. It’s mostly a tool for gossip.

That being said, I think it is important to have an active Facebook account. In my opinion, Facebook is the future of our identity. It’s already used for background checks by employers, love interests and new friends. It holds precious memories, strong opinions and worthless rants. It’s how we will remember somebody when they pass away. It will likely become a serious form of identification — used for purchasing, traveling, working, driving, etc. If you believe in the Age of Spiritual Machines, it could potentially be a form of afterlife — or it could be the mark of the beast.

I have friends and family that have let Facebook consume them. Once they realize its destructive potential, they freak out and delete their whole account. It’s like killing off a part of themselves, so they’re usually back online within a few months. Deleting your account isn’t necessary in my opinion, and it’s probably a mistake. Like anything else, too much Facebook is unhealthy.

However, using Facebook in moderation can be healthy. It can be an outlet for our thoughts, a way of promoting positive energy and good karma. Facebook can be a networking tool, or used for maintaining friendships at long distance. It’s only when people forget the respect, refrain and common courtesy they use IRL (that’s internet code for “In Real Life”), that Facebook becomes a tool of evil!

Something I’ve learned from owning an online business is that the internet is very personal. A bad email from a customer can ruin my day, a negative comment on my blog — well that just makes me happy people are reading, but bad social press can ruin a business, and dangerous rumors can ruin lives. We need to lose the mentality that people on the other end of the computer are somehow less real. When we use the same respect for people online as in person, Facebook and the internet will be a better place — maybe the world.

The New Old Organic Themes Facebook Page

Once upon a time, in 2009, we created a Facebook page for Organic Themes, and well… it’s gone practically untouched until now (3 years later). Check out the updated page. Give us a “like” or leave a comment. Our last comment was nice, a year ago:

“You may have given up on Facebook, but we know you haven’t given up on WP Themes! Thank-you all for making some of the best themes around!”

I guarantee the page will see much more activity in the future. I’ve done a bunch of integration thanks to the Ultimate Facebook plugin from WPMU Dev. Organic Themes tweets and blog posts will now post to the page. So if Facebook is your thing, you can stay up to date with what’s going on at Organic Themes.

My 10 Favorite Surf Spots

Honolua — The best wave in the world, says me.

I don’t travel the world in search of the perfect wave, but after living in Florida, Oahu, Maui and San Diego, I have surfed my fair share of breaks. I decided to list my favorite spots in order. Keeping in mind, my style of wave isn’t huge, powerful and gnarly. You won’t find Pipeline or Jaws on this list. I like clean, chest to head high rights — with preferably no crowd.

Searching For My Home

homes

I grew up in Florida, I became a man in Hawaii, and California is new to me. There’s no rule book for having the freedom to live and work virtually anywhere in the world. It’s a relatively new concept, and while it should feel like complete freedom, sometimes it just feels like complete confusion. It’s a loss of your roots. However, in searching for my home I have come to some conclusions:

Surfing Near Bird Rock

I got a GoPro camera for Christmas. I decided to brave the cold La Jolla waters near Bird Rock and give it a go — pun intended. Having a camera attached to your board is definitely a conversation piece. There’s a lot pressure to perform when everyone in the water is staring at you. I’m no pro surfer by any means, but I have as much as fun. I prefer to stick to my 4-6 foot waves. So here’s a couple rides from one of those days…

My Bro Is Famous!

I’m a proud big brother, and slightly jealous. Within a couple weeks my brother managed to far surpass my own web presence — granted I’ve built a small portion of the internets. But he went from only 100 Twitter followers to over 5000 in 2 weeks! How did he accomplish such a feat you might ask? He’s 1 of 3 hosts on a popular new YouTube channel, SourceFed. While you may scoff at YouTube, this show is legit! It’s funded by Google, has real production value, and is actually very entertaining and informative. In fact, it’s probably how I get most of my news now — which may or may not be sad. Of course, I’m biased towards Elliott, but the other hosts are great too.

Get a taste of the show below and subscribe. You’ll probably like it.

First Impressions of San Diego

It’s been 5 months since moving from Maui to San Diego. I’ve had fun exploring the area — hanging out downtown, visiting north county, surfing cold water, eating delicious Mexican food and much more. San Diego is an awesome place. It’s beautiful, diverse and there’s plenty to keep me busy. When it comes to living on the mainland, San Diego — Actually, Encinitas would be my town of choice.

However, there’s nothing anchoring me to San Diego. Hawaii still feels like home. My friends and lifestyle are primarily in Hawaii. The ease and enjoyment of life in the islands is unparalleled. Some days I love San Diego, but every day I love Hawaii. Constantly putting yourself out there to make new sets of friends gets exhausting when you’ve moved every year for 9 years. Ultimately though, San Diego is a place I could be happy living, without question.

Positive impressions of San Diego:
  • Lots of young people and families
  • Beautiful landscape
  • Great surfing
  • Great downtown
  • Great dining options
  • Plenty of entertainment
  • Super dog friendly
  • Convenient for walking and biking
  • Large tech, web, and art communities
  • Educated and ambitious people
  • Clean and safe
Negative impressions:
  • Extremely expensive real estate (even more so than Hawaii)
  • Expensive lifestyle
  • An abundance of pretentious, materialistic people
  • Cold, polluted water

Update: In hindsight, after 2 years of living in San Diego, I can say with confidence it was the best place I’ve ever lived for my personal lifestyle. I hope to move back someday.

10 Things I’ll Miss About Hawaii

1. The View

I lived in Launiupoko. Every evening I had incredibly epic sunsets over the island of Lanai, with views of Molokai and Kahoolawe on each side. Behind the cottage lies the West Maui Mountains. They are a sight to behold when the sun sets on the golden fields of grass, with the horses and chickens in the pastures, and the moon rising in the valley. The night skies are so clear you can see the satellites passing overhead, the Milky Way and several shooting stars on any given night. I’ve been lucky enough to live in one of the most stunningly beautiful locations on the planet. I can’t think of any place that compares.

2. Geckos

I love those little critters. I love listening to them chirp at night. I love watching them munch on bugs. I love picking up just about anything, and seeing one of them look up at me with those big, cute eyes. I’ve always lived around geckos, even in Florida (actually they’re the same species of gecko in both locations). I was excited to learn geckos exist in San Diego as well. If it’s good enough for a gecko, it should suit me just fine.

3. Perfect Surf

Maui tends to have pretty crappy surf when compared to Oahu or Kauai. However, the “crappy” surf of Maui would be considered near perfect to anybody on the mainland. I will particularly miss surfing Honolua, Hot Sands, Rainbows and Woody’s on Maui, and I’ll miss Diamond Head, Tongs, Pops and Publics on Oahu.

4. Warm Water

Not only do I love to surf — I like to swim, snorkel and relax in the water. The water temperature in Hawaii averages 78 degrees year-round, which shouldn’t be taken for granted. San Diego has the warmest water on the West Coast, but I’ll still be wearing a wetsuit for the majority of the year. I’ll miss jumping in to the water at any given moment in Hawaii.

5. Aloha Spirit

It isn’t just a tourist slogan — It’s real in Hawaii. On the whole, most people are as warm as the weather. In times of tragedy or celebration people come together like nowhere else I’ve seen. On Oahu, it was incredibly easy to make great friends my age with people that had similar stories, and put everything on the line to live in paradise.

6. Friends

To all friends and ohana on Oahu and Maui, I’ll miss you! I hope you can visit me in San Diego!

7. Waikiki and Front Street

They are the playgrounds of Oahu and Maui. While I don’t enjoy being asked, “How’s the honeymoon going?” or “Where are you visiting from?” constantly, it’s a small price to pay for spending the evening in such fun places.

8. The Exclusivity

It sounds corny, but there’s a certain heir of exclusivity to living in the islands. Whenever you travel outside the islands, you’re always proud to say where you live — and everybody loves Hawaii!

9. Virtually No Crime

You can’t live in a safer place than Hawaii. Sure, you might occasionally have your car window smashed in, or bike stolen, but violent crime is a rarity in the islands — particularly in the outer islands. Even the newspapers are filled with positive articles about the community and island life.

10. Everything Else

There’s a thousand little things to miss about Hawaii. Seeing tents on the beach, watching kids surf better than you, the delicious taste of haupia pie, an eveing of wine and food at Olive Tree. Hawaii, you will be missed, but I’ll see you again soon!

Brand Naming Tips

Whether you’re naming a baby or a brand, it’s not a task to be taken lightly. Like a baby named Jack, a bad brand name can negatively effect the life of a business. Naming a brand is a deceivingly difficult process — particularly if your brand has an online presence.

The value is still in the dot com. Sure, other domain extensions such as .net, .org, .me, .us, etc. have their place, are well known or can be used creatively. However, there is no substitute for dot com. Like a great brand, “.com” is imprinted in the psyche of any fool that has ever browsed the internets. When .com meets the naming of a new brand or company, difficulty ensues. Every real, and almost every fake word has already been registered as a .com domain. You really have to get the creative juices flowing to find that perfect name, and I have a few suggestions:

  • Keep it to only 3 syllables per word — max. Preferably 2.
  • Make up a word. Get hooked on phonics and define your company without defining it. Examples are Hulu, Zappos, Acura.
  • Combine 2 short words.
  • Use a thesaurus.
  • Make sure it “rolls off the tongue” like Google or Twitter.
  • Make sure there’s no hidden negative or pornographic meaning. People’s minds wander to dark places, don’t make it any easier for them.
  • Don’t get caught up in the SEO of the name. SEO isn’t worth sacrificing the integrity of the brand. What’s more popular, Zappos or ShoesOnline.com?
  • If it’s just you, use your name if you can. Unfortunately for me, there’s thousands and thousands of David Morgan’s.
  • Run it by your friends and family. They’ll let you know if it sounds stupid.
  • If it doesn’t have a meaning, make one up. Muku has several meanings — purity, the crest of a wave, the New Moon phase in Hawaiian…