Why Run

Last April, I ran the Boston Marathon.

It was something I wanted to do since elementary school. It was something I worked towards since I started running again in 2011. It was something I intensely trained for over the course of 18 weeks.

It was something that didn’t go as planned.

I woke up that morning convinced that I was going to run a 2:3x marathon. I went to bed having run a 2:54. Afterward, I struggled to continue running. I had some nagging injuries and soreness that just wouldn’t go away. I needed to nurse my wounds. I needed to rest. I needed to recover.

Instead, I quit running.

But I never quit being a runner. I still felt the pull. I still wanted to get out there and push myself. I still wanted the freedom of gliding down the streets effortlessly (and eating ice cream before bed without guilt). I knew I would be back. I knew I would run again. I knew I would race again.

My current running streak is only 3 days, but I know I am back. I can’t change the past and the fitness I had built for Boston is long gone. I may never win another Turkey Trot or break another PR. Yet, I can’t sit still – I must run.


Preparing Kids for the Future

In the past 12 months, we have cut our accounting / payroll services expenses by a combined 86% through a combination of process automation and process simplification. At the same time, we have improved the quality of our reporting, and provide a easier / more enjoyable experience for our employees (paperless and friendly apps for on boarding, scheduling, payroll, employee files, etc).

So, for 86% less cash, we have higher quality products. Granted, it took a lot of my time to get here, but it won’t going forward and the savings are residual. Continue reading →

How We Use Evernote to Store Employee Files

We have 3 retail stores with about 70 employees total. Historically, we have a filing cabinet in the back of each store with employee files in it. Each file should have copies of their ID, signed employee handbook, any write-ups, etc. The store manager, assistant managers, and all team leaders can add to employee files. BUT, we don’t want people snooping in other peoples files.

Frankly, this method was fine when we had one store and we were there all the time. Now, this method sucks.

EvernoteI had a hunch we could do something better with Evernote. Sure, there are systems out there specifically designed for storing employee files digitally. Those can be expensive – plus, I don’t want to have to train a bunch of employees (and future employees) how to use Yet Another System.

So here is what we do now (spoiler: it doesn’t suck). Continue reading →

I Am a CEO Who Codes

I am the Managing Partner (CEO) of L2M LLC. Currently we own and operate three Plato’s Closet franchises and are looking to expand and diversify this year. We are a retail company – not a tech company.

By trade, I am also a software developer. I spent most of my career writing code that pushes data around and adds an efficiency exponent to the work that others need to do.

Frankly, I am really fucking good at it. I have a proven track record of creating simple to processes and problems with a lot of ambiguity and nuance. There are companies across the country that still rely on code I have written every day. Code that didn’t need a training manual and just works for years and years.

The dichotomy of being really good at writing software and running a 50-employee+ / 3-location company creates a tension – we are not a tech company. What I have learned is that while software development is not our core competence nor the focus of our business, my software development skills give us competitive advantage.

As CEO, part of my job is to set the vision for the company. My unique superpower is the ability to build things that make the impossible simple. Every once in a while these two overlap and that is the force multiplier.

Every once in a while the vision of where we want to go becomes possible if I can sit down, put on some headphones, and build a simple solution to a complex problem. It’s what I do, it’s who I am, it’s what makes me happy.

Today, I got to use my super power and create something new. I built something that will save us time, make our employees happier, and eventually, make us more money. I woke up with an idea and I am going to bed with a new asset.

It was a damn good day.

Boston Marathon Recap

I woke up 5 minutes before my alarm was set to go off on the morning of the Boston Marathon. I laid in my hotel bed for a minute and reflected back from the day before to the 16 weeks before that. I had rested well. I had eaten and hydrated well. I was at race weight.

I reflected about some of the key workouts that I had nailed. Fast-finish long runs, long tempo intervals, 20x400m repeats on the track, a good tune up half-marathon, and countless easy and recovery runs. I followed Dave’s plan closer than ever before and almost always hit my paces. I ran significantly more miles than ever before and was more consistent with my training. My uniform and gear was laid out and ready to go. Since Erica stayed behind in Nashville, I pinned her picture to my bib so that she could be with me — everything felt right.

I felt confident that I was waking up a 2:46 marathoner, but would be going to bed that night as a 2:3x marathoner. I had put in the work and was ready to go. As I got ready I sent this tweet:

Continue reading →