DO THIS: Increase your NAD levels

Six months ago I had no idea what Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) was.  Today I realize you can’t live without it and optimizing my levels can significantly improve cellular function, stave off aging, cure brain fog, cure chronic fatigue, eliminate compulsive behavior (a cognitive malfunction), and reset mood.  All these benefits I have experienced personally.

NAD is a coenzyme in many cellular functions.  It basically makes chemical reactions work better and cells function better.  Whatever kind of cell it is.  Brain cell, improved cognitive function, mood and decision making.  Muscle cell, more cardio capacity, and better workouts.  While most of the research and treatments with NAD have been focused on restoring levels in severely depleted individuals like addicts and those with major depressive disorders, my experience with NAD has been as a major performance enhancer in a generally healthy person (me).  It is one of those things that I didn’t know I needed until I got it, now I understand how important and fundamental it is to all cellular function.

While there are many natural ways to increase NAD levels (exercise, etc.), if you want significant improvement you need to supplement in some way.  Measuring NAD levels in the blood is very tricky requiring a complex process which is prone to error, so there is not really an efficient way to figure out your NAD levels.  But if you are deficient and you supplement, you will/should notice a difference.  There are three main ways to supplement NAD, here is my experience with each.

  1.  Oral NAD NR (a precursor to NAD+).  Take about 500mg per day and the studies show an increase in NAD+ production in your body of up to 40%.  The most popular pills are Elysium Basis and TruNiagen.  The business model of these companies is a standard continuity model where you are on subscription for $50 a month for the rest of your life.  I have taken both of these for about a year on and off. I don’t feel any difference in mood, cognitive function or underlying cellular function, but I do believe the studies that my NAD levels have risen.  The problem is how much and what did it do?  My recommendation is to go ahead and take one of these, it is cheap insurance.
  2. NAD+ injections subq (in the stomach) of 100-200mg.   This promises to provide an immediate increase in cell function.  I have done 100MG multiple times and have seen a significant short-term improvement in brain function that lasts 8-9 hours.  Here is the protocol I did recently:
    I did 100MG NAD from College pharmacy subq at 9:30am. I tested cognitive function using the BrainCheck app at four times:
    8:30am before injection
    9:45, 15 minutes after injection
    1:00, 3:30 after injection
    7:00pm, 9:30 after injection.
    Results are attached.  Basically, it felt like taking a couple Modafinil.  A massive increase in focus and ability to get work done.  It lasted about 7-8 hours then back to baseline.  Most pronounced effects were increases in coordination, delayed recall, immediate recall and executive function.  In specific sub cognitive functions:
    Coordination:  Basically a 200-400% increase then back to baseline.  I started very low, went up to average, then back to low.
    Cognitive Processing:  largely unaffected
    Reaction time: largely unaffected
    Executive Function:  about a 25% increase, then back a bit below the baseline.
    Visual Attention:  Largely unaffected, the massive dip at end I think is a testing error
    Immediate recall:  About 30-40% immediate increase, then fall off below baseline at end which I think is a testing error.
    Delayed recall:  150-200% immediate increase then back to baseline.
    Summary:  This is an amazing upgrade when you need or want to have the most productive day ever.

3. NAD+ IV.  Typically 750-1500mg in an IV that takes between 3-8 hours.  The IV takes a long time because there is flushing and nausea.  I have done about 20 of these IVs and the effects are not immediately noticeable like the SubQ injection, but last for longer.  For me about 3 months per IV.  I have done probably way more than is needed to reset the levels, but there is no documented overdose side affects, and I have not felt any.  I expect to continue doing 2-3 ivs every 2 months or so to keep my levels high.  When they are high I simply feel and function better. Hard to quantify, but “better”.  I recommend everyone does it.

Summary:  Get more NAD into your system.  Everyone can benefit.

References:

NAD explained Wikipedia

Everything you ever wanted to know about NAD on Selfhacked.

How Coenzymes work (NAD is a coenzyme).

How NAD IV therapy works to cure addictions.

How the Krebs cycle works (NAD is a coenzyme in Krebs).

How NAD cured one guy’s brain fog.

REVIEW: Feel Good, the CBT bible from Dr. David Burns

this book is always in every top 5 mental health books.  So I eventually got around to it last week.  While traditional talk therapy, aka Freud, never worked for me and in fact sent me down some very bad roads.  CBT seemed more practical but had always grated be the wrong way somehow.  Now I know why.  There was so much self congratulations and self back slapping about how CBT is better than Prozac that it is hard to figure out what CBT actually is.  Or how it can help me.  While I have done many of the exercises and have forms of my own that I find useful, there is still a very basic core element of reality that is missing in how CBT understands the world.

The problem is Cognition.

The major flaw of CBT is that it starts with Cognition. In my experience, reactions and certainly emotional reactions don’t start with cognition they start with mitochondria. With the Labrador brain. The animal brain. The nervous system. Instincts, trauma, hopes, fears, etc. are all embedded in your nervous system. CBT just says, become cognizant of the stories in your head and you can change them and be happy.  Well in my experience, gaining cognition can be helpful, but doesn’t get you to fix the problem.  For example, if I know I have cancer and I see a lump in my arm, does that make the lump go away?  CBT says you can wish it away.  That is not my experience.  In my experience, doing things like neurofeedback, meditation, brain training, NLP, and other exercises which can actually reprogram the nervous system to NOT HAVE THE imbedded negative stories is much more effective than simply having cognition of them.

So do your neurofeedback.  Not just wrist slapping when you use a cognitive distortion.

Archive: From Bits to Barrels, my transition from tech to renewable energy way back in 2005

Way back in 2005, I was at the forefront of moving from technology to renewable energy investments. I wrote a special letter to SNS subscribers about it all.  I was definitely early into renewables, and I was right, but it has not been a smooth road.  The major piece I mis-calculated was the effect of technology on the core oil/drilling business and how that resource could be extended.  Basically, I missed Fracking, but everyone did.  Doesn’t change the fundamental limited nature of that resource, but did slow down renewables a bit.  The technology acceleration in cars actually went a bit faster.  Fun archive read.

 

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FROM BITS TO BARRELS

 

 

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Publisher’s Note: Martin Tobias is the quintessential entrepreneur.  I’ve now known Martin for a decade or more, and I am continually impressed by the energy, focus, intelligence and sincerity he brings to each new venture.  Martin’s contribution this week is particularly interesting for three reasons.  First, he has spent the last couple of years at the well-known Seattle firm Ignition Partners.  As you’ll discover, he had to go through a personal transition to get from bits to barrels, from venture investing in software and wireless to an operating role in an industrial firm.  This change was radical and so inspiring that I asked him to spend a few paragraphs describing it himself.  Second, Martin’s efforts will directly promote increased climate sustainability on a local, regional and perhaps even national scale.  And, finally, as world events such as Hurricane Katrina continue to drive oil toward the SNS $100/bbl figure, finding alternatives to this fuel is both timely and provides direct assists to our economy and security. It might even create Martin’s next fortune.

 

I gave a speech at a Digital Divide conference in Seattle a few years ago in which I suggested that cleaning up diesel emissions was the single most simple and dramatic thing we could do to reduce air pollution.  At a time when it is becoming painfully clear that small airborne particulates, such as those in typical diesel transport emissions, are causing real deaths among the very old and very young in our cities, the importance of solving this problem grows.  And while firms like Detroit Diesel continue to work on the engine side of the equation, firms like Martin’s Seattle Biodiesel will be cooperatively hastening this process, taking it out of the amateur fast-food-chain days, and bringing it into the days of global mass production, and a reduced dependency on fossil fuel.

 

As Martin notes, there may be nothing else today which is more important. – mra.

 

 

From Bits to Barrels

 

   By Martin Tobias

 

 

Having been a longtime subscriber to SNS and participant in FiRe, I should really blame this mess all on Mark. Yes, now that I think about it, that makes all the sense in the world. It is ALL MARK’S FAULT. Without the brain damage (and I mean that in the most complimentary way) of SNS and FiRe, I doubt this tech geek would have ever become CEO of a biodiesel company. I would have been happy living in the world of bits without much of a larger world view. Someone else with good intentions was worrying about the barrels, right? But I am getting ahead of myself.

 

In the Beginning…

 

There was a fairly typical tech-geek trajectory. In high school, programming Timex/Sinclairs in the drugstore to loop profanity on the screen, using a cassette deck as “mass storage” for my TRS-80, breaking a toe dropping my Kaypro “luggable,” president of the Science club… you get the picture.

 

In college, Marketing/Computer Science double major, COBOL/FORTRAN programming using a card reader, winning a NEC TV for selling the most dot-matrix printers, selling the first Leading Edge PCs to the university, copying research papers off Compuserve, being the first student to take an essay test on a computer (the Zenith Lunchbox portable with 5.25 floppy and fold-down keyboard), an HP 12C always in my shirt pocket, thinking the IBM AT was the “ultimate PC.”

 

Accenture came knocking right after graduation and pressed me into five years of programming IBM S/38s and AS/400s, until Microsoft saved me from the suits. After six years of serious hard work around the world on various missions, I opted for more pain and started my own software company in 1997. Loudeye Technologies (LOUD) went from napkin to 450 people and IPO in less than three years. (Ah, the good old days.) After a much-needed break, I wanted to get back to helping start companies (the fun part), and I have been doing so as a VC with Ignition Partners ever since.

 

So there I sat, just over a year ago, listening to yet another wide-eyed software entrepreneur tell me how he was going to be “the Google of XXXX,” or was it “the Microsoft of XXXX” – no, it was the “Cisco of XXXX” – oh, I forget. Suddenly, David Byrne’s “Burning Down the House” came into my head:

 

Watch out you might get what you’re after
Cool babies strange but not a stranger
Then “Once in a Lifetime”:

 

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself – well…how did I get here?

 

and:

 

And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right? …am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself
My god!…what have I done?

 

Well… how did I get here? Where does that information superhighway go? After a lifetime of solving software- and computer-related problems and looking over that horizon for what was next in that field, I was suddenly left wanting. A strong desire to build something REAL took hold of me. When the PC was in its infancy, there were many very tall mountains to climb, and climbing them made a big difference in the world. While there still is a lot of work to do, the path seems fairly well laid out, and there are plenty of very smart people on that path.

 

So where does the world need help? What is the #1 issue that will define this nation, and in fact much of the world, over the next 10 years? Energy.

 

There I sat, a lifelong Republican tech-geek software venture capitalist, wondering how I could make a dent in the nation’s energy picture. The next day I started canceling meetings and rescheduling my life around figuring out what new energy technologies were going to make a difference in the near term (as in: in my lifetime). It became immediately clear that looking at barrels and BTUs from a bit-and-byte perspective could possibly lead to new solutions.

 

The Big Energy Picture

 

Today we use fuels of all types for primarily three forms of work/energy: (1) to generate electricity (natural gas, coal, hydro, nuclear); (2) to provide direct heat (natural gas, wood, oil); and (3) for transportation (oil). Electricity has replaced a long list of mechanical activities (manual typewriters, screwdrivers, adding machines, watches, etc.) and continues to increase its share of the total, primarily due to the exponential growth of new electronic items in our daily lives.

 

We have multiple fuel sources to generate electricity and provide direct heat. Scaling up production in those areas is largely within our control (as a nation, we know the way, although we may not have the will). For transportation, there is only oil (well, okay, 99% oil, 1% electric buses/trains, bicycles, skateboards and rollerblades). Therein lies a problem, and quite possibly, an opportunity.

 

I may be an outsider on energy issues, but here are some assertions this outsider will make:

 

  1. We don’t have an “energy crisis,” we have a “petroleum crisis.”
  2. Americans are fundamentally convenience-oriented and do not have the                                         appetite for wholesale transportation platform change.
  3. Non–petroleum-based fuels that work in today’s engines (no platform change)                             offer the fastest route to petroleum independence.

 

Petroleum has a monopoly on transportation. A small handful of global oligopolies control the production, distribution, and consumption infrastructure and technologies. The DOJ should take notice. The U.S. is by far (4x China, but they are growing faster) the world’s largest oil consumer, at over 20 million barrels per day – nearly $500B per year at today’s prices (http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/topworldtables3_4.html). We import more than 12 million of those barrels. After a brief flirtation with small cars and alternative fuels in the early ’80s, Americans went back to the well with a vengeance in their SUVs. We are punch-drunk at the bar, with a heroin needle in both arms, yelling “Drinks for everyone!”

 

This is an industry built on technology (combustion engines and mechanical drivetrains) well over a century old. Transportation is an incredibly inefficient use of energy. Less than 2% of the energy that starts out as crude oil ends up propelling me to work in the morning. Cars, trucks, and airplanes combined (http://www.ecobridge.org/content/g_cse.htm) are the #1 cause of global warming, contributing 36.5% of the carbon in our air (yes, more than power plants [36%], but just barely). World oil discoveries have been dropping every decade since the ’50s.

 

Worldwide demand is today roughly equal to supply, at just over 84 million barrels per day (http://money.cnn.com/2005/08/30/markets/oil.reut/index.htm?cnn=yes). A recent oil shockwave scenario (http://www.secureenergy.org/shockwave_overview.php) showed that as little as a 4% reduction in oil production (terrorist, boycott, civil unrest, weather, whatever) would increase prices over 170%.

 

Supply/demand is so tight that any disruption at all can cause a price spike. Down in the Southeast Gulf states, where over 25% of American crude comes from and over 40% of our refining capacity resides, Hurricane Katrina has just inflicted over $26B in property damage (early estimates) and put a significant amount of our production/refining capacity offline or under repair. What will be the energy costs to the economy from that disaster? While some in Europe are making a concerted effort to address oil consumption, Americans sit idly by in our SUVs while the sucking sounds from China and India are only getting louder.

 

In the last decade, less than 1% of the more than $500 billion spent on venture capital went to alternative energy companies, and most of that went into long-term bets on the “hydrogen economy.” Very little of what has been funded will show any tangible benefit to our energy picture in the next three to five years. Existing players have ZERO incentive to innovate; they are making too much money! Here is an industry ripe for change.

 

Yet it ain’t going to be easy. Here is the bit-head way to parse the transportation industry: There are three major platforms in transportation, each built around a unique protocol (incompatible with the others): Gasoline, Diesel and Jet Fuel [kerosene]. The standard for each platform is open and defined by international bodies (ASTM, E.U., etc.). Each platform has been optimized for a specific set of applications:

 

Gasoline: passenger transport and light trucks

Diesel: heavy equipment and machinery, distributed electricity generation, heavy                                  trucks, boats, some passenger cars, and railroads

Jet fuel: flying airplanes.

 

Each platform is supported by a large, integrated network of very mature refineries, pipelines, terminals, trucking companies, and retail locations. A huge ecosystem of companies (GM, Ford, Chrysler, GE, Cummins, etc.) support each platform with a wide variety of hardware and software offerings as well as a world wide network of sales, service, and support for their products. The platforms are worldwide, employ tens of millions of people all along the value chain, have been adopted by nearly every person on the planet, and enjoy significant government support in every country at all levels. Makes you want to jump right into the fray, doesn’t it?

 

So Why Biodiesel?

 

The vast majority (http://www.energy.ca.gov/gasoline/whats_in_barrel_oil.html) of each crude barrel of oil consumed in the U.S. is refined into gasoline (140B gallons/year), diesel fuel (50B GPY), or jet fuel (40B GPY). To reduce our transportation grid’s near-total reliance on distillate products from crude oil, you can attack the problem from either production (substitute fuels, use existing vehicles and distribution system – a backward-compatible version upgrade) or consumption (substitute vehicles, fuel, AND distribution system – the platform upgrade). Natural-gas buses are an example of the latter. Implementation requires a whole new fleet of vehicles, a new fueling infrastructure, scaling up production of natural gas, etc.

 

Despite years of evangelism and vehicle research, natural gas is still not a practical option for anyone except a few scattered (okay – Los Angeles), very centralized fleets with centralized fueling. It is like getting someone to switch operating systems or hardware platforms. Lots of pain awaits. What about all your favorite old applications? A drive to the beach house for the weekend? Oops, can’t – no natural gas stations out there. A quick jaunt to the mountains with a carload of friends for some snowboarding? Oops, can’t – the natural-gas car doesn’t have enough room or power.

 

Fuel cells for transportation are an even uglier platform upgrade. You need new vehicles of all types, new wholesale and retail distribution systems for the hydrogen, service and support infrastructure, and, oh yeah, an energy-efficient way to reform massive amounts of hydrogen from a cheap, renewable source. So why are Big Oil, Detroit, and Pres. Bush selling us that song? Good old-fashioned Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt about change to the current platform. “Be happy with what you have today and place all your faith in a future upgrade.” I have seen this movie before: “Everything will be fixed in Longhorn [the next MS operating system], so don’t bother me to fix anything in the current version.” No, I don’t believe anyone selling a platform upgrade is serious about solving our dependence on oil anytime soon.

 

What it is going to take is a version upgrade. An upgrade of either the fuel or the vehicle would allow you to leverage the existing infrastructure investment. Since gasoline is the largest liquid-fuel market, you would expect the first traction for upgrades to come in that market segment. The Prius is a vehicle version upgrade for the gasoline platform: some new technology in basically the same form factor that is plug-compatible with existing infrastructure while providing unique new benefits (lower emissions and higher fuel economy). This is just the first baby step in the siliconization of the automobile. If you want details on how “the electric power train is overwhelmingly superior to the mechanical – five orders of magnitude better on every key metric,” read The Bottomless Well by Huber and Mills.

 

Ethanol (made from plant starch) is a plug-compatible fuel version upgrade that is replacing an older flawed technology (MTBEs) as a gasoline additive of up to 10% (3B gallons were mixed into the US fuel supply last year). A higher blend of ethanol (85%E, 15% gas), when combined with an automobile version upgrade (flex fuel vehicle – basically a computer timing upgrade), will yield even greater reduction in petroleum usage and more environmental benefits.

 

Alas, I have never been much of a hardware engineer, so no upgrading the vehicle for me. The ethanol industry is fairly mature and is mainly a capital deployment business today. While there is the promise of some technology change on the horizon (cellulosic production from the whole plant instead of just the starches: http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/analysispaper/biomass.html), the first commercial plant has yet to be built, and it will still take more R&D and 10 years to make a difference. The market also has a natural cap on it, in that no more than a 10% ethanol blend is backward-compatible with all existing gasoline engines (the 85% blend requires a new car with the new computer program). What about jet fuel? Humm, redesign a jet to be more fuel-efficient (already a top design criterion), or convince airlines to take a chance on a new, untested fuel? Looks like another LONG road.

 

That leaves the diesel platform. Most of the early advances in the gasoline platform do not transfer. Ethanol can’t be mixed with diesel effectively. Hybrids are okay for light commuting, but have been a total failure in heavy-duty applications. The city of Seattle tried some hybrid diesel buses and found that dragging the extra weight of the electric engine and battery packs up and down the hills resulted in WORSE total fuel consumption than straight diesel. The much-trumpeted Lexus Rx 400h just turned in 10% worse mileage over a 5,200 km road trip test against the Mercedes ML 320 CDI – all diesel: http://www.b100fuel.com/archives/2005/08/mercedes_ml_320.html.

 

While America turned away from diesels for consumers (as I did after an underpowered, dirty 1980 VW Rabbit diesel experience), relegating it to heavy industry, Europe embraced clean diesel technology, and today diesels power more than 50% of the consumer vehicles (in addition to the heavy industry). Europe also developed an alternative fuel in the form of biodiesel: http://www.biodiesel.org.

 

Biodiesel is a one-for-one replacement for petroleum diesel that can be made from a variety of vegetable oils, animal fats, and waste grease. Biodiesel is backward-compatible, with 100% of the existing fleet (minor fuel hose replacement in much older vehicles) and fueling infrastructure. It is biodegradable and nontoxic. It can be blended in any ratio with petroleum diesel or used in its “neat,” 100% pure form (as I have been doing in two cars for over a year). 100% biodiesel is renewable, carbon-neutral (the plants consume the equivalent amount of carbon that comes out the tailpipe), with lower emissions of all types across the board (although the scientists are still debating NOx).

 

In Europe, they make almost a billion gallons of biodiesel a year out of rapeseed. In America, soybean farmers have been driving the development of biodiesel, largely because they have an extra 1B gallons of soybean oil a year. The National Biodiesel Board has done the hard work of getting the fuel certified as an “alternative fuel” under federal guidelines and is carrying the torch for more government support of the industry. Last year, America made about 30 million gallons of the stuff (less than 0.0005% of our diesel consumption). Coincidentally, Seattle consumed over 10% of that and has the highest per-capita biodiesel consumption in the nation. The analysts project the market growing at over 100% a year for the foreseeable future.

 

The basic chemistry for making biodiesel is pretty simple. Vegetable oil is a triglyceride molecule that looks kind of like a three-legged stool. A glycerin molecule is the seat, and three ester (fatty acid) molecules are attached at the legs. The chemical name for biodiesel is methylester [alcohol] (you can also make ethylester, but I digress).

 

Those of you who didn’t sleep through chemistry class (as I did) have already figured out that what you have to do is detach the glycerin molecule from the esters and re-attach a methanol molecule to each ester leg, and voila! You have biodiesel. I have done it using salad oil in a blender (makes great margaritas afterward!). The glycerin and biodiesel separate like oil and water (different specific gravities), and after a little more cleaning, your biodiesel is ready to use. If you are going to sell it commercially, it must pass a battery of tests defined by the American Society for Testing and Materials (www.astm.org).

 

So if there is a more environmentally friendly, renewable, ready alternative to diesel that is easy to produce, what is the problem? You could just as easily ask why everyone isn’t running Windows XP or the latest version of Office. Even backward-compatible version upgrades have issues. There are bugs in the new code that need patches. There may be field-compatibility issues with the many various configurations in the field. In biodiesel’s case, there are more issues. While soy is the largest crop in the world, soy is a fairly inefficient oilseed crop, at less than 14% oil. If one were to grow a crop primarily to produce vegetable oil to make biodiesel, one would not choose soy.

 

The first American refineries have been built by the same Austrians and Germans that are building the European refineries. They use first-generation technology that is highly engineered and very expensive per pound (think IBM mainframe). Good old American ingenuity and PC-style economics have yet to take hold. Even with recent crude oil spikes, it still costs more to make a gallon of biodiesel than it does to make a gallon of dinosaur diesel. Only government subsidies get the prices close to parity (in some locales, even less than diesel).

 

So I say to myself, “If someone could make a series of inventions (in crops, process technology, etc.) that lead to being able to make a gallon of biodiesel cheaper than a gallon of dinosaur diesel (with crude at, say, $45/barrel), well, that someone would have cracked a nut that really needs cracking.” This may be one of those rare cases in which one can do something good for the world and put a little jingle in the pocket, too.

 

So here I am, Chairman and CEO of Seattle Biodiesel, charging up the hill again. Last time I made it over the top, but the weight of the arrows in my back caused a bloody and painful trip back down. This time I am better prepared and plan to take it a bit slower and with laser focus. This mountain is worth taking. I invite you to join the climb. Mark, thanks for encouraging me to take the first step.

 

 

About the Author

 

Martin Tobias is the CEO and chairman of Seattle Biodiesel and a venture partner at Ignition Partners. Martin joined Seattle Biodiesel to drive strategic direction in May 2005, after investing in the company in late 2004 following a multiyear search for the right alternative energy investment. Seattle Biodiesel is a personal investment for Martin.

 

Martin has been with Ignition Partners since 2002, working with the infrastructure software and networking team. He has invested in over two dozen startups (some personally) and currently serves on the boards of Cloudmark and IP Fabrics. Prior to Ignition, Martin spent 15 years in operating roles in technology companies.

 

Martin was the founder, CEO, and chairman of Loudeye Technologies Inc. (LOUD), a pioneer in digital media production, distribution, and applications. Under his leadership, the company raised over $175M (including an IPO) and grew to be one of the largest providers of digital media enabling solutions for the Internet. Prior to Loudeye, Martin spent six years with Microsoft in operational management roles and four years with Andersen Consulting (Accenture). Martin received his bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Computer Science from Oregon State University . He holds two technology patents. Martin and his wife, Alex, were profiled in the 1997 Harley movie Biker Dreams and are involved in a number of charities through the Martin and Alex Tobias Foundation.

 

———————

 

I would like to thank Martin for taking the time out of his brand-new career to provide us with this multi-layered view of how, and why, he plans to change the world.  If I had to pick a new path for this (or any) country to pursue in its pursuit of energy independence and pollution reduction, I’d pick someone just like Martin to lead the charge.  We’re all lucky he’s involved, and I hope his decision, and future work, inspires other SNS members to achieve related goals.

 

Your comments are always welcome.

 

Sincerely,

 

Mark R. Anderson

 

President

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About the Strategic News Service

 

SNS is the most accurate predictive letter covering the computer and telecom industries.  It is personally read by the top managers at companies such as Intel, Microsoft, Dell, Compaq, Sun, Netscape, and MCI, as well as by leading financial analysts at the world’s top investment banks and venture capital funds, including Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Hummer Winblad, Venrock and Warburg Pincus.  It is regularly quoted in top industry publications such as BusinessWeek, Newsweek, Infoworld, Institutional Investor, Wired, the Financial Times, the New York Times, and elsewhere.  SNS Conference Corp. is the host of the annual Future in Review (FiRe) Conference, now headed for its third year.  SNS is also parent to Project Inkwell, a consortium of global vendors and interested parties dedicated to accelerating the deployment of appropriate technologies onto K-12 desktops.

 

About the Publisher

 

Mark Anderson is president of Technology Alliance Partners, and of the Strategic News Service(tm) LLC. TAP was founded in 1989, and provides trends and marketing alliance assistance to firms leading the convergence of telecom and computing.  Mark is a Seybold Fellow. He is the founder of two software companies and of the Washington Software Alliance Investors’ Forum, Washington’s premier software investment conference; and has participated in the launch of many software startups.

 

A past director of the WSA, Mark chairs the WSA Presidents’ Group. He regularly appears on the Wall Street Review/KSDO, CNN, and National Public Radio/KPLU programs. Mark is a member of the Merrill Lynch Technology Advisory Board, and is an advisor and/or investor in Authora, Ignition Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Chameleon Technology, and others.  Mark serves as Chair of the Future in Review Conferences, of Project Inkwell, and of The Foresight Foundation.  He is also President of Orca Relief Citizens’ Alliance.

 

Disclosure: Mark Anderson is a portfolio manager of a hedge fund.  His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the position that his fund takes may change at any time.  Under no circumstances does the information in this newsletter represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks.

 

 

On September 12th, Mark will provide the Opening Keynote for the EdNET 2005 Conference, September 11 – 13, 2005 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla in San Diego, on the subject of “SNS Project Inkwell: Helping Technology Transform Education.”  On October 13th he will discuss 2006 predictions for the Portland, Oregon Business Journal annual predictions breakfast.  On October 16th – 18th he will host the next SNS Project Inkwell meeting at the Black Point Inn, near Portland, Maine.  On October 26th he will provide the keynote address for the Rustic Canyon annual venture capital partners’ meeting in Pasadena.

 

 

In between times, he’ll be bucking hay again, twisting and lifting those 75-lb. bales in a complex motion designed to keep horses and goats and chiropractors fed throughout the winter.

 

Copyright 2005, Strategic News Service LLC

“Strategic News Service,” “SNS,” “Future In Review,” “FiRe,” and “Project Inkwell” are all registered service marks of Strategic News Service LLC.

ISSN 1093-8494

 

DO THIS: 12 themes to prompt your journaling

when stuck, or just for fun.  pick one of these themes to prompt your journaling. They are the main themes of Stoic Philosophy.

Clarity — Remember, the most important task is to separate the things that are in your control from those that are not in your control. To get real clarity about what to focus on in life. As Seneca put it, “It’s not activity that disrupts people, but false conceptions of things that drive them mad.”

Equanimity — To the Stoics, the passions were the source of suffering. “A real man doesn’t give way to anger and discontent,” Marcus Aurelius reminded himself, “and such a person has strength, courage and endurance—unlike the angry and the complaining.” Calmness is strength.

Awareness — Accurate self-assessment is essential. Know thyself, was the dictum from the Oracle at Delphi. Knowing your strengths is just as important as knowledge of your weakness, and ignorance of either is ego (as we show here). As Zeno put it, “nothing is more hostile to a firm grasp on knowledge than self-deception.”

Unbiased Thought — “Objective judgement, now at this very moment,” was Marcus’s command to himself. Our life is colored by our thoughts, the Stoics said, and so to be driven by this bias or that bias—this delusion or that false impression—is to send your whole existence off-kilter.

Right Action — It’s not just about clear thoughts, but clear thoughts that lead to clear and right action. “First, tell yourself what kind of person you want to be,” Epictetus said, “then do what you have to do.” Emphasis on the do. Remember Marcus: “Don’t talk about what a good man is like. Be one.” This philosophy is for life, not for the ethereal world.

Problem Solving — Are you vexed by daily obstacles or do you throw yourself into solving them? “This is what we’re here for,” Seneca said. No one said life was easy. No one said it would be fair. Let’s make progress where we can.

Duty — “Whatever anyone does or says,” Marcus wrote, “I’m bound to the good…Whatever anyone does or says, I must be what I am and show my true colors.” He was talking about duty. Duty to his country, to his family, to humankind, to his talents, to the philosophy he had learned. Are you doing yours?

Pragmatism — A Stoic is an idealist…but they are also imminently practical. If the food is bitter, Marcus wrote, toss it out. If there are brambles in the path, go around. Don’t expect perfection. Be ready to be flexible and creative. Life demands it.

Resiliency — Do you want to count on good luck or be prepared for anything that happens? The Stoics had an attitude of “Let come what may” because they had cultivated inner-strength and resilience. Make sure you’ve done your training.

Kindness — Be hard on yourself, and understanding of others. See every person you meet, as Seneca tried to do, as an opportunity for kindness and compassion. Nothing can stop you from being virtuous, from being good. That’s on you.

Amor Fati  Don’t just accept what happens, love it. Because it’s for the best. Because you will make it for the best. A Stoic embraces everything with a smile. Every obstacle is fuel for their fire, to borrow Marcus’s metaphor. (And here’s an awesome totem you can carry to remind you of that).

Memento Mori — We’re strong but we’re not invincible. We were born mortal and nothing can change that. So let us, as Seneca said, “prepare our minds as if we’d come to the very end of life.” Let us put nothing off, let us live each moment fully. (And here’s an awesome totem you can carry to remind you of that).

DO THIS: Return from the body to the mind as soon as possible…

Been thinking quite a bit lately about the role of exercise in relation to leading a good life and philosophy.  Others have pontificated quite well on the Stoic view of exercise.  Here are my thoughts.

Senaca probably commented the most in detail about the relationship between the developing the mind and developing the body.  In summary, he wrote:

“There are short and simple exercises which will tire the body without undue delay and save what needs especially close accounting for, time. There is running, swinging weights about and jumping — either high-jumping or long-jumping … pick out any of these for ease and straightforwardness. But whatever you do, return from body to mind very soon.”

His main concern was that time spent on the body was time taken away from the mind.  Development of the mind is the primary Stoic goal in life. While I tend to agree that one should “return from the body to the mind very soon,” without a sufficiently healthy body, development of the mind can be severely hindered.   Today we have many more efficient ways to develop the body in less time than were available to Seneca.  At Bulletproof Labs, we have a couple of those technologies including a machine  that gives the hormonal response of a 3 hour work out in 21 minutes, a computer controlled weight machine that gives a week’s worth of strength training in 12 minutes, and a water vapor machine that increases cardio capacity by 20% in three 15 minute sessions sitting in a chair.  Man’s mind has been focused on making the body development more efficient and we now have some amazing hacks.

So my summary.  Take advantage of modern body development technologies to minimize the time spend on body development while keeping a strong and healthy infrastructure for mind development.

Do This: Turn words into works

Been reading a lot of philosophy over the break.  I am reminded that all this thinking about how to live is not for the thinking sake alone.  Unless I turn these words into works there is no value.  I would have just wasted all that brain power staring at my navel.  As the Daily Stoic Journal puts it:

“The art of living will never be found anywhere but in your own efforts to be a good person.  It is not to fill up pages with pretty thoughts but to inspire you to take action, to turn the words, as Seneca said, into works.

or as Marcus Aurelius wrote in Meditations 3.14,

“Get busy with life’s purpose, toss aside empty hopes, get active in your own rescue – if you can care for yourself at all -and do it while you can.”

DO THIS: Replace “but” with “and…so”. 

This weekend I was with an interesting group of misfits on a short retreat focused on consciousness exploration and insight.  There was a lot of time spent identifying negative stories that may no longer serve us going forward.  One verbal trick the facilitator used to break negative habits is to replace “but” with “and” in most cases.  I found it incredibly liberating and helpful.  “But” tends to be an ending, to stop the thoughts, while “and…so” offers the opportunity to continue.  Here are some common examples.

“That girl is so amazing, but she will probably not want to talk to me.”  End of conversation.

“That girl is so amazing, and she will probably not want to talk to me, so If I am right, I don’t lose anything by trying.”  Opportunity opens.

“I want a promotion at work, but I don’t have enough experience to get it.”

“I want a promotion at work, and I don’t have enough experience to get it, so I will Focus on building experience  needed for a future promotion.”

“My father was an asshole, but I am sure he did the best he could.”  making excuses, a justification for hurt.

“My father was an asshole, and I am sure he did the best he could, so I am going to do the best I can with my children and not dwell on how bad my parents were.”  Turn a negative memory into motivation to do better now.

 

DO THIS: Contemplate your choices

This morning during Morning Pages, I went on a rant which started from one of my core beliefs: That the only thing which is truly my own is my Reasoned Choice: Prohairesis.  The bottom line is that you are the sum of the choices in your life. And everything in life can be taken away except your choice (assuming your brain is still working, if you loose your mind, you may not even have choice left).

The problem of this morning was the flip side of Choice. The consequences.  What if you never look authentically at the consequences.  I have come to believe that the reality of rational choice also imposes the responsibility of rational contemplation and review of choices and consequences thereof.  If you never review your choices and evaluate if they are serving you, then you give up the responsibility for those choices.  Choices without reflection are just reactions.  They are of the autonomic nervous system. The challenge in this world is to be a better HUMAN, not a better animal.  The Human part requires reflection, contemplation, and review of the Choices.  That is why I like the morning gratitude journal and the evening Examin prayer (modified).  I see I need to write about those.  More tomorrow.

 

DO THIS: Transcend you “emotional ledger”

At coffee this morning with a buddy of mine, we were discussing his “emotional bank account” with his wife and the balances/imbalance thereof.  While many relationship books and advice talk about this “bank account” and the importance of keeping it in “balance”, this has never sat well with me.  In my experience, the problem is not the absolute balance in the emotional bank account at any one time, but the degree of AGENCY you allow the balance is this fictitious “account” over your mood and actions at any given point in time.  In short over attachment to the emotional account balance is the problem.   The solution is to remove the attachment, reduce the agency of the absolute balance at any one time.  As with most things, focus on the process, the journey, not one point in time measurement.

By focusing on the “balance” at any one point in time, one can lose focus of the bigger picture: the journey.  That is the core problem with allowing a measurement tool like the emotional bank account to determine or influence your reaction to the world or your current mood.  Let us consider the three possible states of the account and the natural reactions to each.

  • Even.  You feel like the balance in the account is even between you and your partner.  Everything is easy, peasy.  In balance.  And boring!  What happens in this state too long is you get restless.  Nothing is happening.  There is no drama either way.  So you get complacent and bored.  And you do something to put it out of balance mostly out of boredom rather than any malice.  In my experience, “even” has never been a long-term state of an account like this. While ‘even” may seem like a laudable goal, when I have been in it, it never lasts and never satisfies.  Identification with an “even” balance in the account always leads to boredom and an abrupt state change in my experience.
  • Negative.  When my balance is at a deficit somehow. Either I am not getting enough of what I want/need/desire (all problematic words in themselves), or when my partner tells me they are not getting enough (meaning I have not put enough into my side of the equation).  However it is calculated, when I feel like I am in a “negative” state, feelings of guilt, shame, unworthiness come up.  Also, self-righteousness can rear it’s head “I deserve better than this”, “I am doing all I can and it still isn’t good enough for XXX, why am I bothering?”  So I get sensitive and defensive which is never a good state to be in, especially if trying to have a relationship.  I have found it is very hard to grow to a positive place when I am focused on how negative the balance in an account is and how much I “deserve” more/better balance.   Identification with a “negative ” balance in the account always leads to defensiveness and makes progress out of that state even harder in my experience.
  • Positive.  When my balance is positive in my favor somehow.  Either I have put in (in my mind) multiple deposits over and above the average, or in relation to my “other” in the deal, I am somehow “better” than the other at some point in time.  This causes feelings of superiority, separation, and more self-righteousness. Identification with a “positive” balance in the account always leads to feelings of superiority/separateness and makes connections even harder in my experience.

In my experience, I am not happy in any “state” of the emotional balance account.  Given that no state of the account produces contentment, nor is any state a stable state (they always change), the best way to deal is to transcend the attachment to ANY STATE.  This is not the same as ignoring or denying the existence of the emotional balance sheet.  It is a real thing.  People generally keep the register in their head.  The register is not the problem. It is your identification with any particular STATE of the register which is the problem.  You are not your emotional balance sheet state.  Transcend identification with the state and you are then FREE of that burden.  Be aware of the state, make deposits and withdrawals, but do not IDENTIFY with the STATE.

DO THIS: Remember success is up to individual not the class 

Saturday was Women’s Equality Day and it happened to fall just as the controversy about a memo from an employee of Google about female programmers is finally dying down. If the ancient Stoics were here they would have shaken their heads at that entire fiasco. First, they wouldn’t let the scribblings of anyone, let alone some random employee at a tech company, get them so upset. And second, they would have said to that random employee, “What the hell are you so worked up about, man?”
They would have disliked the memo because it tried to argue about averages, as if they mattered in any practical way. The Stoics had no time for that nonsense—they cared about the individual. They would have agreed with Theodore Roosevelt’s point when he was asked about the then controversial movement for women’s suffrage. He said he didn’t understand the big deal, because whatever differences there might have been between genders, it paled between the differences he saw between “men and other men.” Point being: It doesn’t matter what group anyone is a part of—it only matters what they do with their individual capacities and potentials.
The Stoics were shockingly early to the notion of equality of the sexes. As Musonius Rufus put it, “not men alone, but women too, have a natural inclination toward virtue and the capacity for acquiring it, and it is the nature of women no less than men to be pleased by good and just acts and to reject the opposite of these.” More important, they believed that everyone and anyone was capable of excellence, regardless of station, origin, or gender. Epictetus was a slave, Marcus was emperor, Cato’s daughter was a woman and so was Seneca’s mother Helvia, who he wrote often about Stoicism—all were expected to rise to their particular occasions and we admire them because they did.
The next time you find yourself drawn into some idiotic debate about racial differences, about gender, about immigration, about identity, resist the mistake of applying labels and make judgements from them. There are brilliant men out there and utterly incompetent ones. There are brilliant women and utterly incompetent ones. (And this is true for every other kind of category.) We are all equal in that way. The only inequality that matters—that we should judge people on—is what they do as an individual.