The Winter 2022-2023 Season has been truly epic and its not over yet. The fresh powder has been overflowing all season long. Alta Ski Area and Solitude Mountain Resort both reported hitting the 500+ inches of snow at the earliest point of the season in years. We have been absolutely spoiled here in Utah especially compared to the east coast where NYC just received its first significant snow this past week and ski resorts are light on the white fluffy stuff. Best of all, the deep snowpack will be good for our reservoirs. Let’s keep the pow days rolling! The season isn’t over yet.
My Augmented Reality Start Up Failure and Being Too Ahead of the Curve.
My first job out of college was with a company called Scient. Scient called itself the “The e-Buisness Innovator”. I could not have dreamed of a better place to land out of college. A truly transformative place to work. The leaders I worked for. The friends I made. And I ended up meeting my wife there. We worked long hours, hacked with technology together and felt like we could transform the world. We saw the future through technology — mobile devices, peer-to-peer networks, cloud computing, etc. The cohort of college graduates joining Scient in 1999 came from the best schools, were unbelievably talented and became some of my best friends. In the evenings, we would continue the technical conversation at the Buddah Bar in China Town or Vesuvio Cafe in North Beach. Drinks were usually involved. Sometimes we would bring some dice and just hang out playing games. It was true embodiment of Silicon Valley for me.
My time there didn’t last very long in the grand scheme of things — I only worked there for about 2-3 years before the company was consumed by the DotCom 1.0 implosion. Regardless, I look back at those years fondly. During my time at Scient, a small group of engineers started the “Any-to-Any” club. A group that felt that the future was through mobility. The future was through the plethora of interconnected devices like mobile devices and what is now called the Internet of Things (IoT). Keep in mind that in 1999 — the Motorola StarTac phone was all the rage, the BlackBerry had just been released, getting the weather through your Mobile WAP browser was cool and most Americans got their internet via America Online. Little did we know, it was early and we were way ahead of our time.
Fast forward 6 years, Steve Jobs first announced the iPhone in January 9, 2007 — the beginning of a new mobile revolution.
I remember a buddy of mine worked at Apple and invited me to lunch to check it out. At that time, I worked on the Bay Area peninsula so we went to a restaurant just outside the Apple Campus in Cupertino. He showed me the new phone, raving about it. I played with the phone for about 5 minutes and thought this was definitely a game changer. There was something so elegant about the lock screen that felt different than the Blackberry in my pocket. Then he showed me a “jail broken” phone and all of the developer built apps leveraging all the iPhone sensors. Wow. It was like looking into the future. Everything we believed in 1999 was coming true. Then I focused on knowing everything about the iOS Platform and soon to be released Android ecosystems and building mobile experiences. Little did we know, it was early and we were way ahead of our time.
Fast forward 2 years, we looked into the crystal ball again and saw a world where the mobile phones could create immersive experiences overlayed on the real world visually and physically. We were calling it “Location based Augmented Reality” — leveraging the camera and GPS sensors on the phone to create new experiences. In 2009, several of my friends and I decided to try and start Augmented Reality company way before Google Glass (2013), Pokémon Go (2016), Meta (2022) and Apple’s future augmented reality products (TBD). Little did we know, it was early and we were way ahead of our time.
MotiveCast is described on my LinkedIn profile as —
MotiveCast produces fun, social and addictive games at the crossroads of traditional social gaming and mobile — our games represent a generational shift in traditional social game play that will capture the imagination of players by making the world their game board. MotiveCast was the winner of the PepsiCo10 2010 start up competition.
Before it was MotiveCast, the company was named “Kranky Panda Studios”. We had originally founded the company to make immersive mobile games. And then we discovered the fun with Apple’s new mobile location API’s and hand rolled our own location server. And then discovered a future where Augmented Reality ruled the world and hand rolled our own Augmented Reality SDK. So, we were building immersive location based, augmented reality mobile games. We were Pokémon Go in 2009. Pokémon Go was initially released in 2016 and by 2020 grossed more than $6 billion in revenue.
We raised capital. Found a CEO. Brought on advisors. Got the attention of Venture Capital. Won a couple of start up competitions. We even made Fast Company Magazine. But, we ultimately failed. And we didn’t even do what lots of failed starts up do now — claim to have been acquired by another company even though they were just hiring the team. Yup, we just folded. Little did we know, it was early and we were way ahead of our time.
Failing at my own start up was a crushing blow to my ego. It’s one thing to say you embrace failure but its another to tell the world you were taking over the world and then just failing. It took me many years to get over it. Looking back, I cared too much about how others perceived my career. Plus, life isn’t kind to the entrepreneurial journey. So, I found shelter in the comfortable confines of an already established company for the years that followed.
I learned many things through this entrepreneurial journey. Let me see if I can articulate some of them here —
- Be aware of being too early to market — we were so early and the augmented reality market still has not fully come into focus.
- Make sure you wife and family are on board for the journey — your family is a unit. Your unit is going into adventures together. Make sure everyone is on board because the entrepreneurial journey can be very stressful.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things but be aware that failure is part of the process — this may feel obvious but there is knowing this rule theoretically and then practically. You will fail. Be ready for it and focus on what it looks like getting through it.
- Care less about what others think — caring too much about what other people think is wasted energy. Their opinion usually doesn’t matter.
- Building technology is not the goal — we surely built a lot of cool technology, haha.
- Sales and marketing are critical functions — find someone that knows how to do this or be ready to figure it out.
- Iterate faster and more frequently — in hindsight, our iterations were too coarse grained. We needed to find shorter, faster tests.
- Find your focus — we tried to be good at too many things.
- Start up competitions don’t mean anything and can likely be a distraction.
Fast forward to 2023, Apple and Meta (previously named Facebook) are pressing hard into the augmented reality and virtual reality space. They are trying to be that foundational platform that powers these new immersive virtual experiences. Our biggest learning coming out of our experience was that a large company like Apple or Meta would need to crack the space open for others like the iPhone did for the mobile revolution. We saw several points of friction to wide scale adoption —
- Adoption of sufficiently powered devices — in 2010, iPhone penetration was only at ~20%. Now, its closer to ~75%. Huge difference. Meta has to figure out this problem with their new virtual reality rigs. Their latest rig is pricing out at $1499.00 (https://www.meta.com/quest/quest-pro/). This is likely way out of the price range for most casual users.
- Identification of the killer use cases that out weights the awkward social experience — its strange to see someone using their phone in an augmented reality experience. It’s strange to see someone in a VR rig. The value of the experience has to outweigh this awkwardness.
- AR and VR Developer Ecosystems with better defined monetization opportunity — the platforms need the apps and it needs to be easier to build. At the time, we had to hand roll our own AR SDK.
- Motion sickness — early AR and VR experiences were making people sick.
There is no lack of negative press on Meta’s strategy. But keep in mind that Meta is trying to do something very hard and its very easy to pile on there with negativity. I’m more interested in Apple’s AR offering which is set to come out soon. They have had more success creating these huge technology shifts than any other company in recent times and seem to be laying the foundation with their spacial sound and AR SDK. My gut says that Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta won’t be the company that turns the corner with AR and VR but will surely help to move the ball forward. There is too much investor pressure to maintain Meta’s core business and it feels like this shift needs Apple’s thoughtfulness. Apple has a good shot to make it happen. That being said, it could be one of those things that never turns the corner because people actually don’t want it. The real world is actually a pretty nice place to be.
I find blogging to be just as useful for me as it is for those that read my blog. This is one of the first times I’ve been able to thoughtfully reflect upon this journey. I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world and hope to give it another swing. But, I’ll share that for a future blog posts.
Thank you for reading! Please share your thoughts and comments.
Best of 2022. Hello 2023.
Hello Friends & Family,
2022 has come to an end and 2023 is upon us. 2022 zoomed by so fast. A strangely benign year when compared to the few years before. We had inflation reach all new highs, the war in Ukraine, the overturning of Roe vs. Wade and the stunning images coming back from the James Webb Telescope just to name a few events.
Generally speaking, 2022 was a great year for myself and my family. No complaints. Everyone is healthy. Park City, Utah is amazing. The family is thriving. I am grateful for my health, family, friends and the opportunities ahead on all fronts. Sure, there are setbacks but thats life.
Here is a link to my end of year post from last year. I’m going to try something different and provide my “Best of 2022”. All different categories. Why not? Here we go!
My Favorite Blog Posts from 2022
- Surviving a Stroke: Returning to Life
- Life Reevaluation: Breaking Through The Local Maximum
- There is Life Outside the Bay Area: Two Years Later (Part #5)
- Honorable mention:
My Favorite 3 Books from 2022
- Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- Three Body Problem by Lin Cixin
- Honorable mention:
- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (re-read)
My Favorite 3 Movies from 2022
- Top Gun 2
- Everything Everywhere All at Once
- Doctor Strange
- Thor for love or thunder
My Favorite 3 Television Shows from 2022
- Severance (Apple+)
- Mythic Quest (Apple+)
- For All Mankind (Apple+)
- Only Murders In the Building (Hulu)
My 3 Favorite Musical Artists (new or old) from 2022
- Cory Wong
- Honorable Mention:
My 3 Favorite live musical or comedic experiences from 2022
- Goose @ Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, CA (1.29.200, 1.30.2022)
- Pearl Jam @ Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA (5.12.2022, 5.13.2022)
- Goose @ Dillon Amphitheater & Red Rocks, Colorado (8.17.2022, 8.18.2022, 8.19.2022)
- Honorable Mention:
- Kevin Hart @ Kingbury Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah (1.22.2022)
My 3 Favorite mountain resorts from 2022
- Park City Mountain Resort
- Honorable Mention
My Favorite Podcasts from 2022
- Pivot (New York Magazine)
- Pardon the Interruption (ESPN)
- The Daily (The New York Times)
- Honorable Mention
- Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman
My 3 Favorite Breweries
- Tree House Brewing Company (Massachusetts)
- Russian River Brewing Company (California)
- Fieldworks Brewing Company (California)
- Honorable Mention
- Kiitos Brewing (Utah)
My 3 Favorite Yankees from 2021-2022 Season
- Aaron Judge
- Anthony Rizzo
- Gerrit Cole
- Honorable Mention
- Nestor Cortez
Top 3 predictions for 2023
- The return of more in office behavior. Companies will come to realize they are less effective working remote and will slowly ask employees back to the office. Some industries will just flat out tell folks to come back.
- The economy begins its recovery but slower than expected — inflation begins to flatten, technology remains in a slump and we should see jobs begin to soften from its hit levels.
- The Yankees will make it to the World Series but will not win.
Happy New Year from my family to yours. Here’s to a great 2023!
Thank you for reading. I’m really hoping to “create” more in 2023 — writing, code, music, whatever. Stay tuned. Please share you thoughts and comments below.
There is Life Outside the Bay Area: Two Years Later (Part #5)
Hello Friends & Family,
Holy macaroni! Sarah, the girls and I are enjoying our two year anniversary in Park City, Utah this week! Oh, what an adventure it has been. I’ve documented many of our move observations through my blog —
- There is Life Outside of the Bay Area (Part #1) –> Why did we decide to leave?
- There is Life Outside of the Bay Area (Part #2) –> Why did you pick Park City, Utah?
- There is Life Outside of the Bay Area (Part #3) –> 6-month check in.
- There is Life Outside of the Bay Area (Part #4) –> 12-month check in.
This will be the final installment of this series of blog posts — the two year check in. I guess I could do a five year check in but that feels like a long way away. I’m going to try something different this time around and make this an “ask me anything” type of format. I’ve collected the various questions folks have asked Sarah and I throughout.
Just as a recap, in August 2020 — Sarah, the girls and I decide to uproot ourselves out of Danville, California (Bay Area) to Park City, Utah in the middle of COVID. I had originally moved to the Bay Area in 1999 with the first dot com boom. 20+ years in California with a brief stink in Seattle, Washington for two years. Sarah moved to California back in the 1980’s so many more years living in the Golden State. Change and action can be hard so this was a big decision for us. It’s amazing how fast life goes looking back but can feel slow when you’re in it. I thought I would be in the Bay Area for a couple of years and then I would move back to the east coast.
All great changes are preceded by choas.Deepak Chopra
This week two years ago was absolute chaos. The house was sold and half packed. Realtors were coming in and out of the home getting the staging furniture out and the final fixes in place. The buyers were gigantic pains in the ass so we were dealing with 100 different details. And, a leak sprung in the kitchen that took us a week to figure out that that HVAC guy had screwed up the condensation lines.
Moving is the absolute worst. I had PTSD looking through the old photos.
Sarah and the girls left via car earlier in the week ahead of me so that I could deal with clearing out our old home and the movers. We had sold or thrown out half our stuff but we still had a ton of things to move. Sarah later told me that the car ride was full of tears from the Bay Area to Sacramento. We had to have a family meeting later that evening to discuss, “are we doing the right thing?”. There I sat outside Sarah’s sisters home with a beer in my hand going through the seven stages of grief in about 2 minutes.
- Shock and denial — “What was going on? How did we get far into the journey and suddenly have second thoughts? It is not possible that this is happening!”
- Pain and guilt — “Did I do this to my family? How could I have let this happen?”
- Anger and bargaining — “Ok, we can fix this. Maybe there is a clause for me to get out of selling our house?”
- Depression — “Oh, this makes me very sad.”
- The upward turn — “No big deal. We’ll figure this out.”
- Reconstruction and working through — “This change is the right change. We just need to get through this first week.”
- Acceptance and hope — “Ah yes, we will get through this first week and it will be great.”
Well, we made it through that moment and I guess the rest is history. It was one of the best decisions we’ve made as a family unit together. And I think we’re stronger for having gone through it together. Folks have asked us so many questions along the way so here are just a few of them.
Q: Who brought up the idea of moving first?
A: Sarah. She started talking about leaving California probably back in 2015, maybe further back. I was the hold out because I cared deeply about staying in the Silicon Valley community. I had identified with Silicon Valley since I moved to the Bay Area in 1999.
Q: How much did COVID play a role in your decision to move?
A: Some. COVID definitely opened my mind to something different. I think for Sarah it just added fuel to her interest of leaving California that started a long time ago. Plus, the technology sector went 100% remote after COVID and for the most part continues to be remote. It helped that Park City, Utah is the most accessible mountain town in the United States. We’re < 30 minutes from the Salt Lake City Airport so jumping on a plane to get somewhere is very easy.
Q: After two years, how are things going?
A: We love it here and love our decision to move. No regrets. Park City is one cool little mountain town.
Q: How have the kids enjoyed Park city?
A: I think Molly and Brooklyn have thrived here. New school. New friends. New sports clubs. New activities. Lots of new things and they have responded. I don’t think moves are for every kid but I think ours have really enjoyed the change.
Q: How have the winters been?
A: No harder than the winters in New York/Connecticut but the last two years have been mild winters so it’s tough to say yet. There are some differences though. The snow is light, fluffy and dry. I could use a leaf blower to clean my steps. And as soon as the snow stops, the sun comes out. The dry humidity and altitude makes the winters unique.
Q: What have been your biggest surprises — either good or bad?
A: I’ve got a few —
- The people are amazing.
- The scenery and nature is out of this world.
- It is magical living 10-15 minutes from world class skiing, hiking, mountain biking, etc.
- The snow is more amazing than i thought.
- It is equally as magical being less than 30 minutes from Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake City Airport.
- Everything is just more accessible here as compared to California or New York/Connecticut.
- University of Utah is a hidden gem.
- Sundays are actually days off in this state. Kids sports are discouraged. Lots of things are closed.
- The taxes are materially less as compared to California or New York/Connecticut.
- The restaurants / food in Salt Lake City and Park City are not great. Specially, the Asian food scene is absent.
- The booze laws in Utah are messed up and overly complicated.
- The soda shops are unique. They combine Mountain Dew and Pepsi then add pixie stick flavoring in a 64 oz cup. What the heck?
- There are less people and working class here which makes standard services or contractors harder to get.
- Backyards in Park City don’t have fences.
Q: What would you have done differently?
A: I should have listened to Sarah and considered a move sooner than we actually moved. It really has been great for us.
Q: Factoring everyone – personalities, ages – how hard was it to start over? How long did it take to feel settled?
A: I didn’t find it too hard starting over but I’m a unique soul. Starting new challenges is fun for me. I’d say it took 6-12 months to really feel settled. There we were lots of moving parts.
Q: How has the work transition been?
A: There really wasn’t a transition. We just picked up in a different state. But, that might have been a problem in itself. We just fork lifted our lifestyle into a different state. It took until the second year to make some real lifestyle changes.
Q: What was the hardest part of the transition?
A: Leaving our friends and family.
Q: Would you do it again?
It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.Charles Darwin
So, what is the moral of the story? Change is good. Embrace adventure. Choose to do something different. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Thank you for reading and listening in on the journey. Please don’t hesitate to reach out or leave a comment. Sarah, the girls and I hope to see you in Park City, Utah sometime soon.
Reflections @ 45.
Hello friends & family,
This year I turned 45 years old. Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Haha. I should be happy that I made it this far. If I am lucky, this is very likely my half way point in my life. I can’t imagine myself beyond 90. Wandering around the local Costco trying to get my steps in. Maybe treating myself to a chicken bake afterwards if I made it far enough. So, I’m at the 50 yard line of the my life on the way to the end zone. What a weird analogy. Haha.
When I was younger, I used to be self conscience about having my college graduation year on my resume or LinkedIn profile because I didn’t want people to wonder who was this young kid managing all of this stuff. Well, its probably the other way around now. I don’t want people to think, “Whoa, who is this old guy? Does he eat dinner at 4pm?”
FYI, I do not eat dinner at 4pm but it does sound intriguing.
What’s new with you?
I’ve taken some time recently to reconnect with old friends. Some I had not spoken or seen for years. You might be surprised to hear that being social for me takes effort. So, I’ve done a terrible job keeping up with old friends. Thats totally on me.
When I reconnect with folks I find it fascinating the arc of responses when asked the question, “What’s new?”. If you don’t lead the witness and keep it absolutely open ended You should get a 10,000 foot sense of what is important to this person or what this person wants you to know is important. I had one friend of mine give me a 1-hour detailed updated on everything going on at work but forget to tell me how his wife or kids were doing.
How would you answer that question? What would your top three categories of responses be? When I was 25 years old my responses would have been —
- Super secret side work project that will be super duper awesome when its ready and you’ll see it in TechCrunch
- Commute to work
How would I respond now at 45?
- Family & Friends
- Activities — Skiing, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Music, Coding
I don’t love work less. I’m still a workaholic but I don’t think it defines me as much as it did when I was in my 20’s. Time has gone by and I’ve come to enjoy the broader aspects of life.
What are your top 3 categories?
Musings of a 45 Year Old
I thought I would collect some ramblings as I ponder 45 years of life. Here we go!
- Being married for 19 years and having 2 smart / beautiful / healthy girls is a gift — it’s easy to take for granted a solid home unit. There are rarely articles in the Wall Street Journal about the entrepreneurs that have been able to keep a healthy family unit together. It’s usually about someone that made a billion bucks yet just got a divorce … for the 2nd time. I‘m really proud of our family unit and everything we have been able to accomplish together. Plus, Sarah is everything to me. There is no Renato without her.
- Family & friends are everything — they put a smile on face. Make me laugh. Help me during hard times. Invest in them. It takes work. I’m amazed by how many family or friend events I missed in my 20’s and 30’s for reasons I don’t even remember anymore.
- Find your passion and work hard at it — finding something you are passionate about in life is a gift. You can’t stop obsession about it all times of the day. Many go through life never finding that passion and/or do things in life because society told them that was the right thing to do. You’ll know it when you find it and when do you, work at it like your life depends on it. It’s life’s flywheel.
- Master something — Be the best you can be at one thing. Anything. Maybe something you are passionate about. The journey to being the master at something is very fulfilling.
- Be comfortable being uncomfortable — it means you are pushing yourself and learning.
- Setbacks are opportunities — what comes up, comes back down. Those downs are usually ripe for opportunity.
- Find a way — I love this rally cry. There is always a way. Find it.
- Take the road less traveled — society’s predefined path in life is bunk. Well, its not terrible but don’t follow everyone else down this path like a lemming. Make your own path. When you can take the road less traveled.
- Care less about what other people think — We spend our entire life giving a shit what other people think — our physical appearance, the clothes we wear, the car drive, the college your went to, the job your have, etc. Care less about what others think and it will set you free. Social media thrown gas on the fire. Be careful.
- How much money do you really need? — Society and the news will tell you that you need to collect as much money as you can until it starts coming out of your ears. It surely is a choice in life to make this your life’s goal but find the balance. Being rich is relative. Find your richness in life because that isn’t unlocked by more money.
- Be a leader — Be a leader in whatever you decide to do. Most are looking for someone to follow. Help them.
- It’s all about the Team — My teams are everything to me. They are not my family but they are high performing teams. It’s how anything at scale happens.
- Find perspective — there is always a bigger picture perspective. Find it. Evaluate with that lens.
- Have empathy — empathy is a magic word. It creates perspective from another angle that likely isn’t your own. Empathy and Perspective will help you make balanced decisions.
- Be humble — no matter how good you get at anything, there will always room to get better or a perspective that widens your understanding.
- Take care of your body — the physical side is just as important as the mental side. Be healthy. Take care of your body. Close the laptop, and go do “things”.
- Be creative / Enjoy something creative — I am in awe of the creative process and creative people. They are imagining things that are absolutely new and unique. Go do something creative. Create something new in the world.
- Appreciate nature — our surroundings are a wonderful thing. Enjoy it!
- Enjoy the moment — Put the phone down. Enjoy where you are at in the moment.
Lastly, please find your joy. Life is too short to not be happy. And if you are not happy, explore and find your joy.
I hope you found my musings useful. Please leave a comment or share with your friends! Hope all is well. Talk soon!
Surrounded By Beauty.
Hello Friends & Family,
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”– John Muir
Look around. We are surrounded by the wonders and beauty of nature. The climate change discussion likes to draw our attention to the negative effects of our neglect but how about we open our eyes to what we have right now and how much we want to leave to our children and our children’s children. There is a Native American proverb that says, “We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” How true that is.
From the tallest peaks to the vibrant moss finding a home on a branch. It’s all right there. We’re all too busy not being in the moment. Checking out the latest alert on our phone.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.– Albert Einstein
There is so much to learn from nature. Complexity. Simplicity. Strength. Weakness. Patience. Cooperation. Balance. Beauty.
So, do me a favor. Go on a walk. Or go on a hike. Then just sit there. Without your phone. And, take it all in. It’s all pretty amazing if you open your eyes.
“Preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”– Carl Sagan
Let us all do our best to take care of this wonderful planet we live on. One only have one.
And I hope you enjoyed some of my pictures!
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Cast as Utensils
Hello Friends & Family,
The things we do as parents.
Brooklyn had a project where she had to video record a passage from William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream“. I have a hard time reading English, let alone Old English. And by Old English, I mostly think it’s an under appreciated, budget drink.
Brooklyn was director, producer, creative director, props and played the role of Hermia. I was camera man and played the role of Lysander. Sarah was Helena. It was cute. The outtakes are hilarious. That will make it into the bonus material when we get financing to do the entire play.
Life is about the little things. Enjoy them.
Goodbye 2021, Hello 2022
Hello Friends and Family,
Alas, 2021 is coming to an end and a new year is upon us. What is the best way for me to summarize 2021? It sort of reminded me a baby having a surprise blowout on the changing room table and leaving a “fecal Jackson Pollock” on the wall. You look at it and can’t help but share a smile because well, there is shit all over the wall. Will the wall be the same again? Do I need to paint over it? 2021 was full of surprises. Ridiculous moments. WTF moments. All you could say is “wow, that is a lot of shit on the wall.”
Let’s take a moment to reflect back on some of these ridiculous events from from 2021 —
- Global Pandemic Year #2 [Timeline] — at least we stopped washing our Wheat Thin boxes
- Capitol Riots — sure, let’s throw a party at Capitol and everyone is invited! Except the people working there.
- Withdrawal from Afghanistan — my assumption is that they grabbed the wrong plan on the way out the door, the plan marked “Don’t do this plan”.
- Betty White’s passing — A true comedic gem. My favorite Dusty Muffin.
Wow. Pass the toilet paper.
Well, there were other things as well. The technology behind the mRNA vaccines is absolutely amazing. Our advancement in space travel and space exploration is pressing in high gear. Despite the pandemic, the Summer Olympics in Tokyo carried on even though I can honestly say I can’t remember many moments from the games. Facebook changed their name to distract us from their own blowout moment. Tesla sold 936,172 cars last year which feels like a lot of electric cars. More 5G rolled out and it felt exactly like what we had before. Unless you were in finance, you got more acquainted with the spot in your home where you work. You likely bought a plant for your desk.
For the Mascardo family, we had a really good year all things considered. It wasn’t without its up and downs but I tend to look at things as a glass is half full. You have to these days. We got to experience our first complete year in Park City, Utah and it was amazing. Our new friends are amazing and I would say we have strengthened our friendships with the folks we cared the most about everywhere else. The outdoors and the seasons are just amazing. I’ve developed a new found appreciation for the serenity of the outdoors. Here are some of my blog posts on this topic —
- There is Life Outside of the Bay Area (Part #1) –> Why did we decide to leave?
- There is Life Outside of the Bay Area (Part #2) –> Why did we pick Park City, Utah?
- There is Life Outside of the Bay Area (Part #3) –> 6-month check-in.
- There is Life Outside the Bay Area (Part #4) –> 15-month check-in.
The girls had spectacular school and sports years. Sarah and I had great experiences with our jobs. And, we’ve been pecking away at our home renovation projects all year long.
Oh yeah, I had a stroke.
So, what do I think 2022 will bring us?
- COVID mutation rinse and repeat
- Inflation is here to stay for goods and labor.
- Working remote is here to stay for at least another year. Time to buy another plant.
- Electric Vehicles continue to take hold with companies not Tesla gaining adoption
- Further early adoption of augmented reality and virtual reality products with Apple releasing their offering in the space.
- Further early adoption/disruption with DeFi / DAO / crypto / NFT
- More cyber security shenanigans
- Unfortunately, the Yankees won’t win the World Series (again)
All things considered, nothing to complain about and many more things to be grateful for. So many things. I’m hopeful for a very positive 2022. But, if its another “blowout” year like 2021, I’ll still find the things to be grateful for.
Enjoy some photos below from the past year.
Happy New Year to you and your family! Thank you for reading! Like or comment below!
Surviving a Stroke
Yup, I had a stroke. Seriously.
First, let me take a step back. About ten years ago, I was about 60 pounds overweight and horribly out of shape. I told myself that I wanted to be alive for when my girls got married so I went on this big health kick. I started CrossFit, cut out carbs, cut back my drinking and just started being more healthy. It worked. I lost a ton of weight and was in the best shape of my life. Fast forward today, I consider myself a healthy person.
- CrossFit 2-3 times a week
- Jog 2-3 times a week
- Training for a half marathon in January
- Avid skier (35+ days last season)
- New mountain biker
- Lots of hikes and walks
- Low blood pressure
- Low cholesterol
But, it didn’t matter. I still had a stroke. Lesson learned, life is random as fuck.
It all started out one Saturday morning in November. I woke up like a normal Saturday but for some reason I had a peculiar headache. A headache that just felt different. So much so that I told Sarah, “Honey, I have a strange headache”. Other than the passing observation, I didn’t think much of it. I popped two Aleve and headed to CrossFit for my usual Saturday WOD. It was a partner WOD and I ended up working out with a trainer visiting from Montana. Super cool dude. Not a noticeably hard workout but I had been pulling back heavier weights because of strain on my back and joints ahead of the ski season.
Sunday. I spend most of the day raking leaves in the yard and taking care of odds and ends. That evening after we came back home from dinner I crouched down to tie my shoe and my left leg started to feel weird when I got up. I’m pretty sure whatever was happening to my brain had started that weekend. I just went to bed thinking I had pushed myself too hard with the yard work all day.
Monday morning — I was supposed to go to the 5:15am CrossFit WOD like I usually do but I slept right through my alarm. That’s was odd. I got up a little later and reached for my phone like I usually do to check on things at work — my right hand and arm just didn’t feel right. I could not scroll through notifications or type normally. I kept having to shake my arm out thinking my arm was still asleep. I got up thinking that it was a transitory issue — got the kids to the school bus and walked the dog. I went for a jog afterwards since I didn’t make it to the gym. My right arm felt like it was barely attached appendage on my body. At that point, I knew something was going on. Jumped in the shower and really got concerned when I couldn’t button my pants or put my watch on. I went to reach for a bottle of baby aspirin in the kitchen and could not grip the bottle. I called Sarah and told her something was up. She asked me casually, “Could you be having a stroke?”. How prescient. I called my dad who is a doctor. We ran through some basic stroke questions and recommended that I get to the emergency room as soon as possible. Oh boy, here we go.
Generally speaking, I tend to be a cool person during a crisis. I have had to deal with that a lot as part of my job. So, I was staying cool and could feel the adrenaline start to flow. It was 9:30am at this point and I have a work meeting with my Vice Presidents to get the week going. I jumped on the Zoom just to tell them that I was headed to the emergency room — I was shaking my right arm trying to get some feeling back. Trying to click on my touch pad was like my arm was replaced with a whiffle ball bat. I just didn’t have any control of it. I told my staff and they immediately told me get off the Zoom and get going. My team at work is the best and have been the best since I’ve been going through this. More specifically, my CEO at work has been absolutely amazing through this. Probably one of the best CEO’s I’ve had the opportunity to work for.
Ok, bad decision time. I went upstairs to grab my shoes. I couldn’t tie my shoes so I tucked my laces into my socks. Rather than call 911, I jumped into my car and drove myself to the hospital. Dumb. I should have called for an ambulance. I didn’t have enough control in my right arm to effectively use the touch screen properly. In my head, if something bad happened, I would hit the autopilot button and the car would take me to the rest of the way and maybe I would be some poster boy for autonomous driving. Haha. Dumb. But I did have enough control to find some Christmas music to play while I drove. So, there I was cruising down the highway driving with my left arm, listening to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”, shoe laces tucked into my socks like a homeless man and having a stroke. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself that this is ridiculous.
I made it the Park City Hospital Emergency Room. Hazzah! This part becomes a bit of blur because it went from listening to “White Christmas” to turbo mode. I checked myself in and sat down for 1.5 seconds before a group of health care workers came out to help me. At that point, I was dropping things all over the place because I instinctively hand things to my right hand that effectively stopped working. I was whisked into the emergency room and I could hear the head nurse say “Move it. We have a stroke.”. She noticed that I heard her and said to me, “Don’t worry. That is just to get people moving.”
Then, a full battery of tests — blood pressure, temperature, IV, CAT scan #1, CAT scan #2 with some die that almost made me pee my pants, MRI #1, CAT scan #3, blood, more blood, COVID test, and even more blood.
Long story short, they found a blood clot on the top of my head and bleeding. Well, that earned me a ticket on the life flight helicopter to the primary Neurological ICU. It got super real at that point. Sarah looked at me and asked me if I wanted to leave a message for the girls. I’ve never had any brain trauma before so my thoughts went to all the scary stories I’ve read on brain surgery or stroke treatment.
The helicopter took 8 minutes to get to Park City and it was a quick 8 minute flight over Park City Mountain to get to its destination. The Canyons side of Park City Mountain has a lift called the “Orange Bubble Express” that I easily identifiable because each chair has an orange shield that riders can pull down on windy days. It connects the main resort to some epic trails that Brooklyn and I spent a ton of time last season skiing. The helicopter flew right over the Orange Bubble Express — so low it felt like I could touch the peaks. I thought to myself, “well, those were good times”. I won’t lie, the fragility of my own mortality became very real at that point.
I spent a little less than a week at the hospital with most of that time in the Neurological ICU with the most amazing medical professionals. I am so grateful for all of them and the care they provided me. I owe my life to them. Sarah was at my side through it all. Both sets of parents flew in to provide support. Our new Park City Community provided dinners and support. The messages from friends and family. All the soup! It was amazing. I am truly grateful for it all.
My doctor told me that I hit the lottery twice. The first was having this type of stroke at my age. This type of stroke impacts only 3 out of 1,000,000. The second was making my way out of the stroke with likely no long term damage. I’m more grateful for the later. Haha. My prognosis is for a full recovery and I’m taking the time now to heal. The brain needs to heal in ways I’ve never really realized.
So, what higher level observations through all of this?
- Life is short. Life is fragile. Find your joy.
- I’ve gained a deep level of Perspective and gratitude. It’s good to be alive.
- Know the signs of a stroke and go immediately to the hospital.
- Don’t drive yourself to the emergency room regardless if your car can drive you there on its own.
- Listen to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” during stressful times.
I’m so grateful for my journey through this that I’m going to donate and raise money for the American Stroke Association (a subsidiary of the American Heart Association). Stay tuned for the GoFundMe. I’m also going to see what other creative things I can do to educate of strokes and help those that have had one. Did you know —
- In 2018, 1 in every 6 deaths from cardiovascular disease was due to stroke.1
- Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Every 4 minutes, someone dies of stroke.2
- Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes.2
- About 185,000 strokes—nearly 1 of 4—are in people who have had a previous stroke.2
- About 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes, in which blood flow to the brain is blocked.2
- Stroke-related costs in the United States came to nearly $46 billion between 2014 and 2015.2 This total includes the cost of health care services, medicines to treat stroke, and missed days of work.
- Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability.2 Stroke reduces mobility in more than half of stroke survivors age 65 and over.2
I’ll provide a follow up post with my recovery. I can’t think of a better place to heal and reflect than Park City, Utah — for a resurgence going into the second half of my life living life at 1000%!
Thank you all for the support. Onward and upward!
“Get busy living or get busy dying.” — Stephen King
Coming Soon: Ski Season 2021-2022
Fall is upon us here in Park City, Utah. We’re in the middle of “first winter” — where it snows early and those new to the area freak out. It is followed by “second fall” where the snow melts fast and it feels like fall again. Followed by “second winter” which last until March. We got a wet, heavy snow a few weeks back that resulted in a tree from my property falling on my neighbors house. That was fun. The snow has since melted and mother nature has been recently toying with some more snow but it’s not really sticking.
Last year was fantastic season on the mountain for the family. I was able to get 36 days on the mountain, almost entirely at Park City Mountain. I’d normally be happy with 10-15 ski days when I was living in California or New York/Connecticut. We only committed to the EPIC pass last year. It was hard not to want to keep hitting the largest mountain in the United States and the second largest ski resort in North America behind Whistler Blackcomb. Park City Mountain is gigantic. The terrain is super cool. We were exploring new trails all winter long. Brooklyn got more than 45 days on the mountain! She’s been really enjoying learning the all-mountain terrain with Park City Ski & Snowboard (PCSS) where they did their lessons at Utah Olympic Park.
This year we are approaching things slightly different — the family got the EPIC & IKON base passes this year and we’re hoping to hit a wider variety of mountains. The local, blackout and kids versions of the passes are solid discounts over normal adult pricing so it’s not as bad as it sounds. And we tend not to go to the mountain when it’s super packed anyway. It pays to be a local. The EPIC and IKON passes provide solid coverage across most of the best mountains around this area. Some folks in Park City can get super crazy — they get the EPIC and a dedicated mountain pass where they get the IKON pass as an add on. For example, EPIC plus Deer Valley Season Pass and then add on the IKON. That would be for the true Deer Valley lover. For those coming to visit, I highly recommend evaluating the various cross mountain passes because the day passes are outrageously priced. Hit a week in Utah plus your local mountain and your pass is paid off.
Mountain Collective, Yeti Pass, Reciprocal Pass and the Indy Pass are the other multi mountain ski passes with coverage in Utah. All are unique with they pros and cons.
|Resort||Opening (estimated)||Distance From Home||Ski Pass|
|Alta Ski Area [map]||11/20/2021||33.6 miles||IKON, Mountain Collective|
|Beaver Mountain [map]||TBD||134 miles||Indy Pass|
|Brighton Resort [map]||11/20/2021||36.4 miles||IKON|
|Deer Valley Resort [map]||12/4/2021||12 miles||IKON|
|Park City Mountain [map]||11/19/2021||10.2 miles||EPIC|
|Park City Mountain (Canyons)||11/19/2021||7.5 miles||EPIC|
|Powder Mountain [map]||TBD||76.4 miles||Indy Pass|
|Snow Basin Resort [map]||11/24/2021||61.4 miles||EPIC|
|Snowbird [map]||12/1/2021||32.5 miles||IKON, Mountain Collective|
|Solitude [map]||11/19/2021||34.5 miles||IKON|
|Sundance Resort [map]||12/10/2021||41.2 miles|
|Woodward Park City [map]||11/19/2021||2.4 miles|
It will be interesting to see what happens with COVID this coming ski season. EPIC Pass run by Vail Resorts published this in terms of COVID restrictions for the 2021-22 season. The two most notable items is no reservation system and masked only required indoors. I’m excited not having to worry about reservations and not wearing a masks outside.
In terms of gear, last year I upgraded my 20+ year old battle skis to entirely new gear — Salomon QST 92 and Salomon S/PRO 100‘s. Huge upgrade from my old Solomon Pilots that were so old that they little “shock absorbers” were leaking. Haha. The new skis are shorter and wider on foot and a modern day design compared to my old skis. The QST 92’s have decent float on powder but I might look out for a wider powder ski later down the line. For now, these are a great all mountain skis.
Finally, I just wanted to pay my respects to “the Farmer” who was a staple at Alta. I didn’t know him at all but appreciated his passion for the basics joys in life.
Here’s to a great 2021-22 ski season! #prayForSnow