The Days are Long but the Decades are Short

Sam Altman, an entrepreneur and chairman of Y Combinator, on making the most of your one life:

“Life is not a dress rehearsal—this is probably it. Make it count.

“Time is extremely limited and goes by fast. Do what makes you happy and fulfilled—few people get remembered hundreds of years after they die anyway. Don’t do stuff that doesn’t make you happy (this happens most often when other people want you to do something). Don’t spend time trying to maintain relationships with people you don’t like, and cut negative people out of your life…

“The days are long but the decades are short.”

Source: The Days are Long but the Decades are Short

Pursue the things that we love with joy

I was listening to an old episode of The Tim Ferriss Show.

Various past interview guests of Tim’s talked about ‘when to quit’.

One quote that really caught me was by Chase Jarvis:

“the failure of the opportunities that we have as humans to pursue the things that we love with joy.”

I’m always back and forth between working on something I enjoy, whether it’s worthwhile, giving back etc…

But I remember a few people have quoted that if more people in the world simply worked every day on something they loved – the world would be in a better place.

Fun learning activities at home

My super clever girlfriend who has over 18 years experience of teaching reception class children in the UK has been putting together a series of fun learning activities that help with learning phonics.

The activities have certainly helped keep our children entertained over the cold and wet winter weekends.

Take a wander over to The Happy Learner and check them out.

On being kind to ourselves

Why do we find it so hard to be kind to ourselves? Especially us who are in charge of our own time.

I am out of shape, probably stressed, and over working.

I am in charge of my own time.

I could decide to take 2 hours of in the morning.

Or shift my day so I take each morning off and do a little in the evening.

A morning bike ride along the coast each day would be a great way to start the day.

Stress and weight reducing.

And yet I don’t.

Spend 30 mins lifting weights in the garage before walking to work.

I know it would be good for me. But I cannot do it.

The biggest reason seems to be a feeling of guilt.

I would feel guilty doing something ‘pleasurable’, while my partner is looking after 3 small children.

And guilt while colleagues are working if I am peddling on my bike.

I’ve started making a small change that have made a big difference. Trying to go into work after 5 hours sleep is painful. If we have a bad night with the children I will catch up on a couple of hours sleep before heading into work.

This sometimes means I am not at the office until midday. But I can get a lot more done when fully rested in 4 hours, than an 8 hour day when I’m shattered.

My next move needs to be exercising in the morning when I’ve had a good nights sleep. Rather than the default of trying to head into work as soon as possible.

Life is full of contradictions

My life is full of me contradicting myself. Depending on the day, I might want this – and tomorrow I might want that.

The problem is it’s not about what breakfast cereal to eat – I wish it were that simple.

Should I focus on a lifestyle business – or shoot for the stars and try and build the next Tesla.

Do I want to be a solo-preneur – or build a fun and well executing team.

One day I want to be a multimillionaire and own houses across the world – tomorrow I want to become a minimalist and figure out what’s the smallest we need each month as a family to get by.

To be fair – all I wanted to do today was to curl up in bed and read my book. May be I should have just done that.

I want to start an adventure such as going on a cycling expedition – whereas in reality I hardly have the energy to get out of bed.

The questions are often “what I want” versus “what I potentially could be doing”. What I’m scared of is wasting my life. Sure a life style business is nice, but what about if I get to the end of my life and I feel I haven’t achieved what could have been?

Website for teaching golf professionals – March Update

As I announced on the last episode of the Britstrapped is back on the go, and this time as a SaaS company to teaching golf professionals. Back when we started the podcast in December 2014 this was my original idea – but I approached it with the wrong tech. While WordPress is great – I realize now it is the wrong platform for offering teaching golf professionals a web site, online calendar, booking system and CRM. Back then I was only going to be offering them the web site too – but setting up and managing 10’s of 100’s of WordPress sites didn’t really float my boat! This time I am building my own templated web site offering using ASP.NET MVC which is where my skill set lies.

As well as the tech learning from the original failed idea, I have spent the last 9 months working on Gareth Johnston Golf’s web site and social profiles. So I have learnt a lot more about the golf teaching business and the way software can help people run their teaching businesses better.

So it feels weird coming back to an idea I kicked into touch 9 or so months ago – but I feel in a much better place to attack it now. I’m also going to post monthly updates here so people can keep track of how things are going…

The targets for this month were:
1, Build a basic admin backend for managing sites
2, Build the CMS around a Bootstrap template
3, Get Alex and Lewis’s sites up and running
4, Get a marketing holding page up

The good news is I managed to get all this done! You can check out Alex and Lewis’s sites here:
Alex Lodge Golf
Lewis Bird Golf

The marketing holding page really is basic ( – but it ticks the box, and gives me something to work on in April.

So April’s goals are:
– get blog functionality on the golfers sites, and on the marketing site
– put together a whitepaper on golf pro’s using a particular social network to generate leads
– get 5 paying customers

5 paying customers is going to be tough 🙂

iPhone 6s plus

Last week I got a new iPhone 6s plus. I didn’t go into the shop with a decision on whether to get the standard 6s or the plus, and went on a whim. Apparently I can return it within 14 days so we’ll see.

It is big – and I kind of wanted it as a mini tablet. The amount of phone calls I make are minimal, so if I can find something that helps me do text, whatsapp, email, reading and other web/work stuff then great if it can make a phone call too.

A couple of things I have noticed:

1, It is too big to text one handed. Not that I want to drive when I text. I absolutely hate anyone who uses their phone while they drive.

2, It is often too big for my pocket. This means I do not carry it around the house with me as much. If it is not with me, I don’t find myself wastefully checking Facebook just for the sake of it.

3, It is too big to take running. You would look like a plonker running down the road with this attached to your arm!

Drawing a simple line graph with 2 lines : R Programming


In our last post we read in the historical share information about a company, in this post I want to plot the daily share volume amounts against a line indicating the average volume.


> df <- read.csv(‘tesco.txt’)
> str(df)  #look at the structure of the dataframe

If you look at the data type of you will see it is an int. We want to convert this to a proper datetime. I had a few issues with this, and it seems to be as it has been read in as an int when you try to convert it, it thinks it is a milliseconds value. I got around this by first converting the int to a char

> df$ = as.Date(as.character(df$, “%Y%m%d”) #convert to date
> df$X.Avg <- mean(df$X.vol.) #create a new column and store the average volume
> plot(df$,df$X.vol, type=”l”) #draw a line graph, l is for line
> lines(df$,df$X.Avg, col=”red”)


It would be nice to get the axis names sorted out, and the formatting of the numbers.



Reading text files and getting a column’s average value : R Programming


Before doing anything interesting in R, we need to have some data to play with. I want to read in a list of End of Day prices for a company, and working out the average volume of that share traded.

This solution is going to require an account on to get access to the historical close prices of a share.


I’ve downloaded the close prices for Tesco and placed them in /users/nick/rdata
This is the code to read in the text file and calculate the average volume of shares traded:

> setwd(‘/users/nick/rdata’)  # set the working directory
> df <- read.csv(‘tesco.txt’)
> mean(df$X.vol)
[1] 22283443


Learning R Programming : The Tutorials

I’ve been trying to learn the programming language R for a couple of months now, and while following the course has been good – it is only by doing real (useful) tasks that I feel I can move my knowledge forward enough to be ready to tackle some machine learning competitions on Kaggle.

Back in the day, when transitioning over from VB6 to, a really useful book that helped me along was Karl Moores Visual Basic.Net : The Tutorials (I even wrote an Amazon review for it – it really must have been good!!!)

My plan is to develop something like this as a set of blog posts, where each posts outlines a problem – with the solution after. I have no doubt that some of the solutions will be suboptimal – but that’s where I hope the interweb will come in handy and help me improve my knowledge.

Lets see how it goes. Here are the topics covered to far.

Reading in a text file and getting the average of a column

Drawing a simple line graph with 2 lines