Minimizing left turns

I was reading this great article on the founding of UPS and came across the following fact:

UPS developed software that routes trucks such that they minimize left turns in their deliveries. By doing so, they reduced their annual fuel consumption by nearly 51,000 gallons in Washington DC alone. The reduction in fuel comes from drivers not having to sit idling at red lights waiting to make left hand turns.

As a one-man operation, I’ve hit a wall when it comes to the amount of work I can produce entirely on my own. This quickly limits how much new work I can take on. So the options basically become hiring people to help grow the business or optimizing my time to allow for growth.

Because I really don’t want to hire anyone and go down that road right now, I have to get rid of my left-hand turns. I need to find things that are basically wasted time and see what I can do to eliminate them. Every second a UPS driver is headed toward their destination is productive. Every second they are sitting at a red light waiting to turn left is wasted. I need to avoid some of my red lights.

Although I also find it inspiring that UPS was founded by two teenagers with a bicycle and $100. Makes you wonder what we could do with the vast amount of resources we have available now.

Anatomy of an iPhone launch

Prior to Announcement:
Small leaks begin to paint the picture of what the iPhone will be.
Internet Reaction:
Holy crap! This thing will do everything ever. MUST HAVE NOW!

Immediately After Announcement:
Jobs unveils the latest iPhone to an adoring crowd.
Internet Reaction:
Why doesn’t it do everything we thought it would? WHY STEVE, WHY?!

Pre-orders Begin:
The iPhone is finally available for pre-order. The demand promptly causes AT&T’s servers to curl up in the fetal position and cry themselves to death.
Internet Reaction:
All the critics who think it doesn’t do enough secretly ding their credit cards for $200. Apple sells hundreds of thousands of phones that won’t even be available for a week or two.

Launch Day:
Apple manufactures millions of iPhones and not surprisingly a few problems pop up with the initial batch. Despite this, and the negative news coverage of the problems, people still line up for days to get their hands on one.
Internet Reaction:
THE IPHONE IS CURSED, DON’T BUY ONE! IT HAS SPOTS! YOU CAN’T USE IT IF YOU ARE LEFT HANDED! OH THE HUMANITY!

Two Weeks After Launch Day:
Apple has sold millions of iPhones in record time and their stock soars to new heights.
Internet Reaction:
99% of the new iPhone owners love the gadget more than their own children.

What should be our takeaway from this yearly process? The internet should just shut up and enjoy its new iPhone.

For my kids

Everyone celebrates the fathers on this day, and rightfully so. Like the moms on Mother’s Day, it’s a time to honor the hard work and love it takes to be a good parent.

While I’ve never felt like a particularly amazing father, I’ve always had the goal of helping my kids avoid the mistakes I made in life. At some point I think I realized that was impossible. Probably at about the millionth time Colton hid his homework rather than having to do it, just like I used to do.

So the best I can do is attempt to model for them what they should do and how they should react to life. I don’t always do a great job of this, but I try. The frustrating thing about kids is you don’t know if you’ve done a good job raising them until they face adversity. Problems reveal their character. Problems also reveal to us our need for God. In that respect I always want to protect my kids, but I also realize a life of ease breeds people that don’t feel they need God.

So I guess my hope this Father’s Day is that I will raise kids that face adversity well. I pray they will make good decisions and take life as it happens, knowing that nothing happens outside of God’s will. If they can handle that, the rest will be easy.

Come on, we have three of ‘em

My cell phone began buzzing like an angry bee on the desk next to me.

“Hello.”

“Hey baby,” Rebecca’s voice came through the tiny speaker on the phone. “We’re headed back.”

“We?” I asked.

“I took Colton with me.”

The long, guilt-filled silence lingered between us as I realized Colton had been unusually quiet since she left.

“I…uh…I knew that.”

“Wow. Best dad ever today, huh?”

“Come on, we have three of ‘em, do I really have to keep track of them all?”

Advice from the future

I you could tell the 20-year-old version of yourself anything, what would it be?

If, by the magic of time travel, I could get a message to myself, it would be to get rid of the ego. Seriously, put it on the shelf and leave it there until you are much older and have actually accomplished something.

The most a 20-year-old can have is talent. It takes years to turn that talent into something and I wish I had approached everything without ego. I did have a great deal of talent at 20, but I was not the greatest thing since sliced bread, despite what I believed. I wish I had approached my life with confidence and humility. Humility allows learning and opens doors that cockiness never will.

Go big or go home

I need more focus on where I want to be in another five years. That means turning down jobs I would traditionally take to focus on the future. If I don’t, in five years I’ll be exactly where I’m at right now.

Maybe it’s my quick approach toward the age of 30 that’s really pushing my focus on changing things. I’m not at all scared of my 30s, it’s just encouraging some healthy self-examination.

Mmmmm….shiny

I need this watch. I mean I need this watch.

And I’m not what you would normally call a watch person. I have a nice watch my lovely wife bought me a few years ago. I like it a lot. I’ve just never been one of those people that spends a lot of money on a watch. It tells time. And usually I don’t even look at my watch. I pull my iPhone out of my pocket when I need to know what time it is.

But I need this watch. The design is…well just look at it. It’s incredible. So simple and beautiful. Then I found the $800 price tag to go with it. I won’t ever spend $800 on a watch. So now I’m searching for an affordable knock-off. There should really be a way to compare knock-offs with the real thing online so it’s easy to find.

So, if you find a similar but more affordable watch, let me know. Or if you want to, you know, give me an $800 watch, I’d be ok with that too.

Watch via SvN.

Retiring the box

Can we officially retire the phrase “think outside the box” until the end of the world?

I’ve been looking at a lot of ad agency websites lately and all of them think outside the box. If you pulled the copy from every agency website in America and presented just the words, they would all sound almost exactly the same.

For an industry that pushes unique selling propositions, we don’t seem to be able to find one for ourselves.

iPad UI oddity

Apple has designed this amazing calendar app for the iPad. It looks just like a nice, well-designed desk calendar. And yet, to move forward in the calendar, I have to push an arrow button? Why not make it exactly like the iBooks app where I can turn pages by swiping my finger across the edge? iBooks has trained me to do that and it’s exactly what I try every time I’m using the calendar. Odd they didn’t implement that. I wonder what the reason is.