Bozeman, pivot, sleep deprivation, writing projects

My wife and I moved to Bozeman, Montana 2 weeks ago, I'm pivoting my business to a new approach embodied in a new service offering, I figured out what was causing sleep deprivation I wasn't even aware of until I fixed it, and I have too many writing projects going. What's new with you?


Here's something I wrote in March of 2021: After living in 28 different houses in 5 states and the aforementioned US territory, I seem to be settling down in Taos, New Mexico with an incredibly understanding wife and two ragdoll cats.

El. Oh. El. Cheryl and I have moved again, this time to Bozeman, Montana. During the move, I considered organizing a last-minute meetup for my Denver-based email list members where the address of the meetup would turn out to be the ABF Trucking terminal where I needed help moving our stuff from a U-Haul truck to a U-Pack trailer, but I figure I might have quite a bit fewer email list members after pulling a stunt like that. I was tempted, tho!

One fun thing about the move was that the first U-Haul truck I rented had a pencil-sized hole in the gas tank. Yes, you want to check the rental truck for damage before you drive off the lot, but who thinks to crawl under the truck and inspect the structural integrity of the gas tank? Not me, and not the outfit that rented me the truck. They said "oh, sorry, the tank is only 1/4 full", but that was the only very benign-sounding clue I had anything was amiss.

I discovered exactly why it was only 1/4 full when a pool of gasoline started to accumulate at my feet while filling the tank at the gas station. Here's a photo I quickly snapped of the gas streaming out of the tank.

In the movies, a breeze would have caused two wires in the truck to touch each other where the wires had the insulation worn off, causing a spark to ignite the pool of gasoline, causing a massive fireball explosion that I dove away from (saving a small child and their pregnant mother while doing it), barely escaping death. In reality, a gas station attendant in a neon vest emerged and grumbled while putting 5 bags of kitty litter on the spill and told me I should get reimbursed for the $40 of gas that was now on the pavement and two dudes from the U-Haul franchise came and picked me up and one of them drove the truck back to the lot with gas still streaming out of the tank and the other dude gave me a ride back and told me lots of hilarious stories about the crazy stuff that people do to U-Haul rentals. He told me about one guy who rented a U-Haul truck, pulled the motor from it, put the good motor into his personal pickup truck, put his pickup truck's blown motor into the U-Haul truck, and returned the U-Haul like nothing happened. You gotta at least respect the hustle there.

Anyway, Bozeman is nice! We wanted a town still in the Rockies, but with a bit more going on than Taos. Taos is beautiful and fascinating, but has a "frozen in amber" quality that makes it a better vacation destination than a home base for a modern business. At least for me.

Any of you live in/near Bozeman and want to meet for coffee? If so, let me know, I'd love to meet up, and I promise I won't try to trick you into providing free moving labor.

Biz Pivot

During 2020 through 2022, my focus was on how indie consultants can cultivate economically-valuable, differentiating expertise. The Expertise Incubator was the service offering that embodied that focus. It was a good program, but it didn't achieve the business-level impact I wanted for most participants. So I did what any ethical person would. I stopped offering it.

A conversation with a friend who has a 2-year old daughter who is starting to look like she has intelligence significantly above the median caused me to revisit John Taylor Gatto's list of 14 principles of elite boarding schools1. Number 9 on that list:

STANDARDS: Arrival at a personal code of standards (a lifelong project that needs to be regularly checked in with). Develop a personal code you always follow In production, behaviour, and morality.

One open question in my ongoing personal code of standards project: in consulting, what is "good enough"? What percentage of clients need to get the results that were promised/described at the outset of the project in order to for me to say to myself and others, "yes, I do good work"?

Anyway, I know I want my work to have a tighter coupling with observable and measurable business impact than it has, and that's led me to change lots of stuff.

My now-primary structured service offering is called OpportunityLabs. It's informed by research rather than by my previous ideals about content marketing and authority-building. I want to market this service based on the measurable business results it contributes to, so I'm at least 4 months out from being able to market it the way I really want to. But in the meantime, I need you to know about it anyway. People have told me it's expensive (I had a friend price it for me because I for sure would have under-priced it), but it's new and I'm wanting more of you to give it a try, so if you're at all interested in joining OpportunityLabs, why don't you ping me, we'll talk, and maybe you can persuade me to give you a special deal?2 (I'm also working on more clear copy for because what's there now is not gettin the job done.)

I still do coaching where I help folks with positioning decisions, point of view, and bizdev (3 facets of the same thing, really). Ping me if interested.

I would really like a few of you to approach me about getting my guidance on a small-scale research project. At least one person is publicly excited about one of my too-many writing projects -- The Small-Scale Research Guide -- but until that book is done, doing better research than you see folks like Hinge Marketing doing is something you'll have to figure out for yourself or get my guidance on.

Got something else you'd like my brain in the mix on? Ping me, yo.

Sleep Deprivation

I recently learned I've been sleep deprived for at least a year, probably more. The culprit? Snoring.

My wife makes sure I know how bad my snoring is. (Hers is actually cute-sounding ladysnores.) I realized my snoring was disruptive to her sleep, but I had no idea my snoring was disrupting my sleep until I got one of those mouthguard snore-reducing devices. My sleep tracker scores jumped from the 60th and 70th percentile to the 90th percentile. I went from waking up feeling drugged and hung over to actually feeling good when I wake.

Writing Projects

I've got 3 writing projects going simultaneously. While the move to Bozeman has been disruptive, I'm making zero progress on any of them at the moment, so it feels like I've got too many writing projects going simultaneously.

Part of this problem comes from sending The Expertise Incubator (TEI) to the chop shop. This is what's led to needing to publish a book on small-scale research, which was the most unique and difficult part of TEI.

Another part of this problem comes from seeing that the very pro-risk approach I advocated for in The Positioning Manual For Indie Consultants is a poor fit for many situations, and feeling that I need to provide an alternate low-risk approach for those situations. That's why I'm writing a short book on that topic, title TBD.

And the third part of this problem is that I have a bunch of incredibly helpful, generous beta feedback on The Point Of View Guide that I need to review, organize, and act on.

One of the things I've tried to make into a mantra lately is, when regarding something I feel is a problem, to say "maybe this is actually an opportunity?" This has actually a) helped and, b) turned out to be true a surprising number of times. Maybe I can do that here.


I hope you and yours are well! Thanks for reading. I hope to be sending more useful emails on bizdev for developers and digital agencies, and random (hopefully fun) updates like these.