My Goals For 2015


Keeping with tradition, here is the list of goals I have for 2015:

  • Be more mindful (meditate / don’t stress out)
  • Improve my work life balance (spend more quality time with family and friends)
  • Improve my cardio
  • Continue to pay off more debt
  • Launch my book, Shopify Empire
  • Become more involved in the Shopify community
  • Grow my Shopify app user base
  • Move more of my apps on to “the cloud”
  • Develop a platform independent SaaS product
  • Automate and delegate as much as possible
  • Reduce the amount of “Stuff” I have
  • Drive a Tesla Model S (test drive or rent one)
  • Have a conversation with Kevin Rose and Tim Ferriss
  • Sleep more
  • Blog more

2014 Year In Review



For the last few year I list the goals that I would like to achieve for the year. With this post I’d like to take some time and see how many of my 2014 goals I managed to achieve.

Get more involved in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies

2014 started off with massive bitcoin hype. I jumped in with both feet and built a bitcoin mining rig, I called it “miner threat”. The price tag for the parts was about $5500. After a few short months, the mining rig was costing more money to operate then we were mining. Overall, mining bitcoins was fun, but not profitable. I can say however that I used bitcoins to pay a ransom to Russian hackers! Grade: #win

Involve more wearable tech in my life

2014 was definitely the year of the wearable and I embraced it. This year I tried the following wearable devices.

Google Glass was the biggest loser of the bunch with few apps, poor battery life and limited usability. Everyone I know who had Glass has ditched it. My favorite wearable was the Misfit Shine. The Shine is a beautiful wearable and I loved wearing it. The down fall of the Shine was the poorly designed wristband that lead to me losing the tracker. I replaced the Shine with the Misfit Flash. The Flash is an extremely cheap version of the Shine, but features an improved wristband. Last week I received my Spire tracker. Spire is worn in the waistband of your pants and tracks your breathing patterns. It detects stress and calmness. I really like the Spire, and I’ll be interested to see the data of my breathing habits. Honorable mention goes to Muse, the brain wave tracker. Muse is very interesting, but hard for me to get into. I like the idea of training myself to live in a calmer state. Moving into 2015, the Misfit Flash, Muse and Spire are the only devices I plan on wearing on a daily basis. Grade: #epicWin

Work on educating people more about MFA and account security

Account security and MFA (multi-factor authentication) has been central to my day job for the last few years. Okta is a cloud identity solution that I help manage at Esri. MFA and MFA education is a key feature of Okta. In November I was honored to be presented with the Okta Atlas Award at the Okta user conference in San Francisco. Grade: #epicWin

Get more involved in the Shopify community

In 2013 I went to the first west coast Shopify meet-up and absolutely loved it. A few months into 2014 a Los Angeles Shopify meet-up group formed. I had the pleasure of  speaking about SEO and my upcoming book at one of the first meetings. You can see my presentation here. Grade: #win

Continue to automate more of my income

With the growth of my apps I was able to automate more of my income in 2014 than ever before. I’m getting closer to that 4-hour work week. Grade: #epicWin

Continue to pay off more debt

I read a great book called “I will teach you to be rich” by Ramit Sethi. It was one of those books that hit me hard. I’ve been following some of his advice and am working my way towards a debt free lifestyle. I’m using more automated tools to make that happen, and it feels great. Grade: #win

Launch another Shopify app

I totally smashed this goal by launching two Shopify apps in 2014 – SEO Scan Pro and Social Share Manager. Grade: #insanelyEpicWin

Continue to delegate more of my tasks

This is something that is really hard for me. I’m going to be honest on this one and admit that I just need to let go of somethings and trust others to help me. Grade: #fail

Finish and publish my SEO book

I knew that was on the list for 2014 and I really wanted to get it done. In August I really buckled down and started working hard on the book. The writing process was tough but was nothing compared to the editing process. My editor really helped refine the book into something that I’m truly proud of (thanks Rhian!). On December 29th 2014 I finished my first book. It’s been an amazing journey that has pushed me and forced me to grow. The book is in the publishing process and will be available soon. Grade: #win

Expand my SEO offerings to clients

In 2014, along with releasing two new SEO related Shopify apps, NewLeaf Labs also started to offer more personalized and hands on SEO consulting along with copy writing. Grade #win

Drive a Tesla Model S (at least a test drive or a rental)

Man, I totally blew this one. I had a Tesla model S lined up to rent but I never pulled the trigger on it. I guess I’m going to have to move this one to the 2015 list. Grade: #epicFail

Have a  conversation with Kevin Rose, and Tim Ferris

This is another one that didn’t happen for me, then again I didn’t really try hard for it. I did have a few twitter exchanges with Kevin Rose this year but I’m not counting those. Grade: #fail

Contribute to more charities

I’m proud of this one. This year I was able to contribute more to charitable causes than ever before. One of the charities that really grabbed my attention this year was The Pratyasha Foundation. My friend Kristin lives in India and started this non-profit to provide food, health care and hope to children in the slums of India. Money donated to them goes directly to the children. I encourage you to join me in supporting Kristin in her efforts. Grade: #epicWin

Over all 2014 was a hard year for me. It was a time of growth and change – becoming more of a grown up. Change is never easy. Despite the challenges I was able to accomplish most of my goals in 2014. I’m looking forward to the adventures  that 2015 holds as #jacksonHighland grows up and as my wife and I welcome our second son into the world.

2013 Year In Review


For the last few year I list the goals that I would like to achieve for the year (2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009). With this post I’d like to take some time and see how many of my 2013 goals I managed to achieve.

  • Attend more tech conferences

I Only attended 2 tech conferences this year, but both of them were completely insane and in San Francisco. Oktane 2013, the first user conference of (a service that I LOVE), and the first California Shopify meetup (another company that I absolutely love). This year was about quality, not quantity. Grade: #meh

  • Speak at some tech conferences / user groups

Since I only attended one conference and one meetup, presenting at neither of them, this is nothing but fail. Grade: #epicFail

  • Continue to Automate more of my income

I’m really proud of the accomplishments I have made in this area. B2B SaaS apps are definitely where it’s at. This was the best year for me in that regard. Most of the work was automated, but there was some manual components that I should delegate out. Grade: #epicWin

  • Pay off more debt

This goes in hand with automating my income. This year I absolutely attacked my debt. Automating more of my income really helped this. Becoming debt free is a hard thing to do, but I’m closer now that I have ever been in my adult life. Grade: #epicWin

  • Develop another Shopify app

I’m VERY close to releasing my 3rd Shopify app but I don’t think it will happen in 2013. More important to me than releasing another app is the growth of my existing apps. Both of them were extended, optimized and updated. There was a significant amount of development that went into these that I am proud about. Grade: #win

  • Delegate more of my tasks (4 hour work week style)

This one has made my yearly list a few times now. Every year I make some progress, but I never feel that it’s enough. This year I have make some partnerships that have been helpful in offloading some task, but at the same time I’ve created some new projects that fill the void. Sort of not making anything new, I don’t know what the answer to this one is. Grade: #meh

  • Finish and publish my SEO book

Writing is a much slower process for me than I thought it was going to be. Sometimes I find it hard to convey what I want to say in written form. There have been points in the process that I have found it very enjoyable to sit down and write. The bottom line is that I didn’t get it finished or published. I’m currently about 40% done with the content creation portion. Grade: #fail

  • De-clutter my life – Get rid of things that I rarely use

I’ve really been working on this one. I’ve started listing things on craigslist and eBay and donating things to goodwill. This is going to take me some time before I feel that this is completed, but I think I’m winning. Grade: #win

  • Continue body building – Stack on more muscle

For the most part this was true. I’m still relatively big, and I haven’t lost interest. I’ve slacked off in Q4 of this year, but I’m still passionate about it. I find that heavy physical activity forces my brain to shut off for a while (in a similar way that heavy metal concerts do). My body takes over and give my brain time to rest. Grade: #win

  • Blog more about my experiences with tech and raising a son

Yeah this didn’t happen. working full time + raising a son + running a business = not much time for personal blogging. Grade: #fail

  • Test a pair of Google glasses

This has to be the most #epicWin EVER! Not only did I try on a pair of Google Glass, I was selected by Google to get a pair of Google Glass. I even went to Google to pick them up. I’m honored to be on the leading edge of wearable tech because of Glass. I was even interviewed by the New York Times magazine about Glass. Grade: #epicWIN

  • Have a  conversation with Kevin Rose, and Tim Ferris

Despite my attempts on social media, this didn’t happen.. next year. Grade: #epicFail

  • Promote my clothing line Wolves Clothing more

My delegated work efforts contributed to this one. I’ve taken on a partner that handles the day to day of this. As a result, we have gotten a lot more traction. 1 + 1 = 3. Grade: #win

2013 was a ear of growth for me. I stepped into a new position at work, my business started to really take off, and I have a toddler that I want to hang out with all the time. 2014 is going to be awesome. I can’t wait.

My Goals For 2013


Every year I posts a list of things I want to accomplish in that year. 2013 is going to be a big year for me, i can feel it. Here is a list of some of the goals that I have for myself:

  • Attend more tech conferences
  • Speak at some tech conferences / user groups
  • Continue to Automate more of my income
  • Pay off more debt
  • Develop another Shopify apps
  • Delegate more of my tasks (4 hour work week style)
  • Finish and publish my SEO book
  • De-clutter my life – Get rid of things that I rarely use
  • Continue body building – Stack on more muscle
  • Blog more about my experiences with tech and raising a son
  • Test a pair of Google glasses
  • Have a  conversation with Kevin Rose, and Timmothy Ferris
  • Promote my clothing line Wolves Clothing more

2012 Year In Review


For the last few year I list the goals that I would like to achieve for the year (2012, 2011, 2010, 2009). With this post I’d like to take some time and see how many of my 2012 goals I managed to achieve.

  • Reduce the amount of “stuff” that I have. I need to make room for my new son (due in march!)

I think I’ve done an OK job at this. I converted my office into my sons room. During that process I got rid of a fair amount of stuff. The remainder of it is in the garage and the current office (formerly the spare bedroom). I need to stop hording things that I don’t use. I’ll give me self a #meh on this.

  • Delegate responsibilities and tasks better. I have too many projects and not enough time, I need to let other people take over a few things, (4-hour work week style of course)

This is a #Fail for me. I’ve actually managed to create more side work for myself and managed to lose an employee. I’ve got to get better at this if I’m going to live that 4-Hour Work week lifestyle

  • Automate more of my life (income / shipping / bill payments / etc)

This is an #epicWin for me. I’ve been able to create more passive income this year, and automate more of my bills. It feels like I’m starting to get the hang of this this stuff.

  • Launch a app

Another #epicWin, I’ve was able to launch two shopify apps (SEO Meta Manager & Order Lookup App), get them featured by Shopify. As a result, they have become some of the top rated apps in the Shopify App Store. I credit Gary Vanerchuk’s book, “The Thank You Economy” for a large portion of the success I’m seeing. NewLeaf Labs also became certified Shopify professionals… #LikeABoss

I’m some where between a #win and a #meh on this one. I was able to launch more shirt designs, strike some promotion deals and gain a wider awareness of the brand. I know 2013 will be a better year. I’ve made some pretty large goals for the company, and I need to see them through.

  • Launch my first iPad application and get my 10th iPhone app into the store

YES! totally a #Win. I was able to launch my 10th iOS application into the app store. It’s a universal app meaning that is runs on iPad and iPhones / iPod Touches. NewLeaf Labs knows iOS app development!

  • Continue to improve my fitness (strength & muscle mass)

2012 was a good time in the gym. At my peak during my bulking cycle I was 225lbs, I trimmed down to 190lbs and got to about 13% body fat. I can see a difference in the way my body responds to physical activity. It loves it! Having a baby in march, Jackson Highland, it was difficult to get to the gym as often as I would have liked. Having my lifting partner, @JustinGiese, switch to a graveyard shift schedule didn’t help either. All in all, its a marathon, not a sprint. Bodybuilding is a lifestyle not an activity. I have big plans for 2013. I’m going to hit it hard early on, bulking, then lean out for summer. I’m looking forward to it. #getBig #win

  • Move more of my projects / data to “the cloud”

I can give myself a #win on this. I moved my physical servers out of a co-located space, into a vitrualized environment on the cloud. So instead of just moving the apps and data to the cloud, I moved the servers! The future is here!

  • Improve my SEO skillz (nothing fancy, just gain a better knowledge of what I should be doing as best practices)

This is an #epicWin. One of my Shopify Apps is an SEO tool for managing meta and title tags. I did a lot of research on the subject of SEO. I also started writing an book on the subject. My book should be released in mid 2013. I need to make it happen.

  • Build an app that uses the instagram API

I did this early in 2012. I used the app to help promote the presence of my Straight Edge Clothing company, Wolves Clothing (XWolvesClothingX). It was a web based app. It was actually much easier to make then I thought it was going to be. However, I was doing some things that fell into a gray area of their terms of service. Instead of having my account killed, I decided to disable the app. I do plan on re-working the app and using it again, for fun and profit!

This was a #fail on my part. I need to do a better of of this. This is one of my favorite business ideas that I have helped grow. Don’t get me wrong, the business is doing well, but I think it can really be pushed harder. Our designs are awesome and a great bargain for bands and clothing companies looking for high quality designs at reasonable rates.

  • Contribute more to charitable causes

This is a #win. I continued to contributing time and energy to We Still Believe, a non-profit group in Orange County aimed at helping the less fortunate. My Straight Edge Clothing Company, Wolves Clothing, was a sponsor at “Mosh-4-Food 2”, an annual canned food drive that was able to generate several tons of food for a local food bank. I also participated in a We Still Believe event at Disneyland for adults with special needs. Giving back is awesome and I want to do more of it.

2012 was a life changing year. I’m looking forward to what 2013 holds.