Monday, 6 August 2018

Why I'm ditching all my startups

I wrote this in 2017 but never published it.  Not for any real reason but just because it wasn't finished and I forgot about it.  In August 2018 I'm resurrecting it and publishing it.  Just in case it helps someone. 

A few weeks ago we shut down 99interns 😢 after a few years in the market and good market recognition.  I shut down oddswop a couple of years ago (well kinda shut down.  I still need to deregister the company and finalise all the tax stuff).  But I still had New Home Review which was setup relatively recently and BadgerMe which was a couple of years old.  But even those are being shut down.  The BadgerMe back end was closed out last week and New Home Review, I've advised Ciaran and other people working on things that I'm shutting it down as well.  Because...

I'm going all in on one startup.  Yes ONE.  And it's not even mine.  Well it is mine but I won't be the Founder.  I'll be the co-founder.

It's definitely been a super busy time for me but also a time where due to the pressure my ideas and values have been made clearer.  I've been super busy with work and moreso with GovHack.  GovHack has been a gig I volunteered for and really enjoying but finding that I'm doing a lot more than I expected to.  I would easily be spending 30+ hours on it.

But it's the energy and flow from working on GovHack which has made me realise that I need the right sort of person to work with on a startup.  It's not something that I can carry alone.  All my previous startups, I've had a co-founder because I was told I should.  Or I thought it may be a good idea.  But I need to have that energy inherent in the organisation before I get there.  I can't bring it by myself.  As much as I get passionate about things I'm an empath so I tend to reflect others.  I need someone super committed and I'm happy to reflect that back.

When I met my now co-founder I was knee deep (or maybe neck deep?) in GovHack.  We found the time to talk startups and form a deep bond -- despite the fact we haven't met in real life (IRL)!  Which is kinda ironic as the new startup -- now called HazTime so visit -- is about IRL connections.  My co-founder was enthused but it was only after we decided to go for an accelerator that we really had to get our skates on and get something going.  So having met in May 2017 it's now early July and we've incorporated, built the site and are gearing up to apply for the accelerator all whilst being super busy everywhere.  My husband unfortunately doesn't even get to see me as I'm usually on conference calls in the evening or fixing or building or creating something for GovHack or talking strategy with my new co-founder or closing stuff down!

But here's to a new era, where I focus on the one startup.

Things which have changed since I first wrote this... I've deregistered Oddswop, my husband and I split up 😢, Platnm had a name change to HazTime, I've moved home to Hurstville, I didn't do GovHack this year so I could focus in on HazTime.  

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Mind Hacks and No Sugar and No Wheat

I spent about a month with minimal added sugar and wheat.  And this is what happened... I'm sure that sounds familiar.  Maybe some clickbait type headline? 

I've been wanting to reduce my wheat and sugar intake a bit and do some experimentation.  But needed a good way to force or convince myself to do it.  A mind hack. 

Mind Hacks

I love a good mind hack.  To me it's something I setup as a quasi constraint (ie a constraint totally made up by me!) that helps me towards a goal or something I want to achieve.  It's like setting artificial deadlines. 


One of my major mind hacks is fasting.  Some of you may know that I've been doing my version of 5:2 where I fast two days a week and eat normally on the other 5 days.  Usually a 5:2 diet will allow up to 500 calories on the fasting days.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays (or days starting with "t"), I fast.  This doesn't include any coffee or tea or hot chocolates even!  And every so often I'd have a banana or yoghurt in the evening if I felt I needed it.  I've been doing this well over a year now.  And it's fairly easy.  I love the binary nature of it.  And I must have saved a tonne of money as I eat a lot less.  And a lot more time is saved as I don't need to cook and clean up those days!  But there was one stage where I would overeat ice cream and chocolate on my days where I wasn't fasting.  Not good.  The fasting is somewhat for weightloss but mainly because I'm trying to do little things that can help me not get cancer.  My mum and dad have had cancer.  So genetically I'm pretty screwed.  But there are things I can do to minimise my chances of getting cancer.  Fasting is one of them. 

Not so good things about fasting:

  • bad breath!  Maybe due to ketosis?
  • feel cold.  I think the lack of food makes my body just feel cold on the days I fast.
  • can get tremors -- I use to get this and feel really weak.  Makes sense if I'm not eating that I feel that so often I will just a small something that day to tide me over.  I'm not super strict as you can see.  But I would say I'd only break a fast once every 4 fast days.  
Good things about fasting:

  • Save money and time on the days I fast!
  • mental clarity during the days I fast
  • generally I feel my health is better (more later)
  • I realise just how little food I need!  Get a good sense of how much we generally overeat.
The big question I'm sure many people have when they hear I fast 2 days a week is if I have lost a tonne of weight.  No.  Whilst I will lose weight on those days when I fast I have pretty much stayed the same for ages.  And yes I'm still overweight.  ☹️⚖

Dry July

Since I've been feeling that I overeat on the days I can and that I have a small ice cream addiction I wanted to try and break the habit.  In May I decided that I would tell everyone that I would do "Dry July" by having no sugar and no wheat.  That would eliminate things like ice cream and chocolate but also cakes.  It's just too easy to snack on things or accept that piece of cake that is on offer.  Normally people give up alcohol in July but since I don't drink giving up sugar and wheat seemed like a good idea.  

The 'rules' were no sugar, no wheat and no sugar substitutes.  So basically no 'sweet' food.  Again I'm a non extremist so if there was a bit of sugar in a dish when eating out I would still eat it.  But I would not seek it out.  I was already such a foodtard I didn't want to make things worse for myself.  

Thank goodness my work colleagues are foodtards too and tend to understand the crazy food options we all have eliminated from our diets.  Our smallish team has an autoimmune diseased meat eater, a self induced vegan, a semi-vegan, a few dairy intolerant peeps, and a smattering of other special food needs.  

The start date was also shifted to be 2nd July as the Sunday before hand I was going to a baby shower with lots of yummy sweet things!  And I ended on 30 July.  The 31st was a Tuesday when I was meant to be fasting which should be easy but in the evening I went out with Richard after work to Newtown and had a couple of tacos (that's OK) but then wanted to try the vegan ice cream place.  Probably not worth it but at least I know I've tried it now.  (The ice cream is fine but since I'm not that lactose intolerant and Messina is down the road...) 

So all up I ended up doing no sugar, no wheat for 29 days!  Yay me!

No Sugar No Wheat -- was it worth it?

So what do I think?  I think it was a success!  I felt a lot better not eating wheat.  I'm not sure why.  I don't know if it's the wheat or the yeast that was eliminated from that side of things that made me feel better.  I know I did feel better for it.  More that I didn't feel bloated.

As for the sugar, I'm glad I did it because it broke a bit of an addiction.  How do I know?  Well I went to ALDI and didn't feel compelled to buy all the chocolate or ice cream!   During July I also had a heap of fruit.  I could tell that the lack of sweet foods was having an affect when I had to give away my pineapple to someone else because it was too sweet.  Before it was just apples that would do that to me.  But now pineapple too.  

I don't know how long this control over sugar and wheat based products will last.  But it's been a good experiment and I think I will try and incorporate it every so often if I feel that I'm getting addicted again or having excessive amounts of either sugar or wheat.  

But to the ladies out there... you should try it out.  Why do I say this?  because I had the best red week ever!  3/4 days.  Unheard of.  And not heavy but not spotting either.  I believe the culprit is sugar and not the wheat as much but I am not sure.  All I know is that I do pretty much what I do normally but with a cup of raspberry leaf tea for the first two days of my period.  But that's the only other 'different' thing I would do compared to normal.  I have been on my other supplement regime for over 2 months so that wasn't it.  Must be the sugar/wheat thing. 

Monday, 25 June 2018

Magic Mirror - IKEA frame hack

Somehow I stumbled on the Magic Mirror project and of course I wanted to build it.  Forget that I was in the middle of another mirror project (still not finished) but this one is now built!

Here is the finished product (still a bit messy as I put a small console type table under the mirror): 

The console table was added... as I needed to hide the power point from my dogs who like munching on power cables if too accessible.  Before I mounted it on the wall I had it propped up on a dining room chair... 

There are plenty of resources on how to get the magic mirror tech side of things done.  The key resource is the Magic Mirror site:  
I've also used Google a lot and Jayen helped me a lot too on various bits and pieces.  

The main thing that is different is the way I put the frame/mirror component together.  Here are the high level details (oxymoron?):
1. bought mirror tint from Aliexpress less than $5
2. bought monitor from MSY (and ended up using that as my monitor and using my old monitor for the magic mirror.  Note I didn't strip it to just a screen but just mounted the IKEA picture frame onto the monitor with a combination of sticky tape! (special mirror sticky tape!) and screws.  Samsung monitor 21.5" was $127.50 (for the new one).  
Don't get this monitor (Samsung 21.5" (LS22F355FHEX/XY) 1920x1080 5ms HDMI D-DUB VESA LED Backlight LCD monitor) for your project... you want one where the buttons and power outlet are not on the back... 
3. bought a monitor wall mount from Target with an arm.  I needed to do this as otherwise there isn't enough space in behind the monitor to put cables etc.  $29
4. bought a right angle cable for power - probably around $10
5. bought a right angle cable adapter for the HDMI cable - probably around $10
6. Raspberry pi (local supplier), case (Aliexpress), PIR sensor (Aliexpress), jumper cables (Aliexpress).  Btw if you want jumper cables I now have 17 spare.  (Needed 3 for the PIR sensor connection)
7. IKEA Viserum frame - I got the 61 x 91 cm version

I think they are the main things I needed to build the physical mirror... I may have missed bits and pieces.

The main steps was to
1. add tint to frame 'glass' 
2. put the monitor as flush as possible against the tinted 'glass'
3. add black cardboard around where the monitor screen is not... this adds to the mirror illusion
4. attach the monitor to the frame
5. mount the monitor to the wall mount
6. have the wall mount work
7. have the pi attach to the frame somehow

I also wanted to make it easy to remove/just have a normal mirror in that same spot if needed... (not as a back up plan in case I totally stuffed up of course!)

Mirror Tint application
So the key thing for me to build it initially was to cover the plastic / glass from the frame (plastic in this case!) with the tint.  This was mirror tint so it would look like a mirror on one side and could have light show through to the other side.  My tip to those who haven't tinted before is to not crinkle the tint and to use an old credit card to smooth things over.  I didn't have any special formula so just used detergent and water mixed into a spray bottle.  I didn't use distilled water.  My first few attempts looked awful.  But that's because I was using a shower squegee.  Don't do it.  Use the hard edge of a credit card.  Ideally get someone to help you so that the tint goes on in one go.  

Attach the frame to the monitor
This was relatively easy.  But I still felt like Macgyver when I found the screws with the big 'edge' and the 'edge' on the monitor!
You'll see my bodgy Macgyver skills here... I have the monitor 'sitting' on a timber brace that is attached to the frame.  Then the screws just lightly hold the screen against the frame.  I also have some mirror sticky tape on the monitor to help it stick to the frame.  

I've also just 'stuck' the Pi case using the 3M hooks for picture frames.  This makes it almost like velcro but not quite.  This worked better than expected!

You will see the monitor mount (VESA) on the back of my monitor and the 'right angle' cable and adapters I used.  

TV Mount on wall

I cheated.  I used the wall anchors for plasterboard.  As I couldn't find the battens in the wall.  (Yep add your eyerolls here!!)  

This is a side on view of the mirror -> wall.  As you can see there is a significant amount of space between the wall and the frame.  That's because I wanted to keep the monitor as whole as possible.  

I was very excited when I could finally mount it on the wall!  The project didn't take long.  Could definitely do it as a one day (a few hours?) project.  As long as you have all the bits.  The tint took ages to get to me only because the post office didn't notify me of it and was sitting there for weeks.  

So magic mirror... with newly installed PIR which is not placed optimally... who is the fairest of them all?  (most likely Pepper... or Sprocket!)