Ricardo Sanchez
Coder, Photographer, Youtuber, Blogger

Opinion

Optimistic for tomorrow

journeyThere are some of us who are very optimistic about the future, and some of us who aren’t. The difference is clear – pessimistic people believe the best days are a thing of the past and anything new is not as good as it was. Optimistic people see the future as an opportunity to be and to do better, even if every day that passes means we are one day closer to the end.

Are you optimistic or pessimistic? Being optimistic about the future means you don’t only adapt to change but you embrace it. You believe there is always a chance to make it better. It also means you are confident (or naive) enough to think you and the people around you are capable of improving the present to live an improved future. Continue Reading

Experiment, fail and spread your ideas

experimentswithpurposeFirst of all, stop being a people pleaser. When you try to please people around you, it makes it hard to try experiments, to take risks, and to embrace change.

Failing isn’t popular, and it is scary for many people. Some people are OK with failing fewer times, as if there is a right number of times to fail. The more you fail the more you learn. If you aren’t failing often, you aren’t taking enough risks and not trying enough experiments.

Fear is the biggest blocker of change. It is the main reason people don’t experiment enough. There is fear of failing and being ridiculed. We have been thought all of our lives that failing is what irresponsible people do. By experimenting and embracing failure, you are already ahead of most people. After enough failures you’ll learn what most people don’t and eventually, you’ll find the successes that most people won’t.

Experiment, fail, and do it all with purpose. The best way to experiment is when you do it with purpose and when you measure the results. An experiment cannot be successful if you fail and then ignore what didn’t work. A successful experiment has to prove something, then you find out what worked and what didn’t and start again.

Experiment, connect, disturb, inspire, and keep learning. That’s the only way you can truly learn and spread your ideas.

Characteristics of Leaders

IMG_0012What is leadership? what does it mean to be a good leader? It doesn’t mean you get to boss people around. It doesn’t mean that you make all the decisions. It also doesn’t mean that you are the person with all the answers. Wit  share some characteristics of great leaders as I see them around me and the community.

A good leader is humble, it is an enabler, a good listener, an organizer, a connector and a coach. Leaders are not experts. They get experts together and enable them to apply their expertise. Leaders don’t tell people what to do, instead they listen and ask many questions.

If you want to be a leader you need to be ready to check your ego at the door and be humble. You also need to be able to make informed decisions and empower people to do the same. You don’t have to be the smarter person in the room, you just need to be able to identify those who are. Continue Reading

3 Key steps to learn anything

Get Started:

  • Be curious
    • You want to learn about photography, coding, or how to play an instrument. You are curious about something and therefore you want to learn it. Being curious is indispensable to learn anything. If you force yourself to learn something or you feel pressured to do it, you’ll have a hard time learning. Remember school…?
  • Start doing
    • Start doing. Don’t worry about not having the right item or place to start doing and learn. For example, if you want to learn about photography and don’t have a good camera, then start with your phone. If you want to learn to play guitar start with a cheap guitar, don’t convince yourself you need to have the right equipment to make it happen. Start doing something rather than waiting for the right moment or equipment to do it.
  • Stay motivated
    • After you start doing and become better at it, it might be time for you to get some equipment, like a better camera for example. Once you start seeing some results and you outgrow your initial setup, place or equipment, then it isn’t a bad idea to invest a little more on it. Keep yourself inspired and don’t stop doing.

Continue Reading

Ingest Good Books and Avoid Junk Media

The majority of us know the benefit of eating well and avoiding junk food. And yet, we go on and consume junk media instead of ingesting healthy information such as books. Why?

Bad habits and easy-to-digest nuggets of junk information are to blame. We are a society that enjoys instant gratification and quick access to interesting news. We consume information that entertain us and not inform us or educate us about much of anything. Continue Reading

There is an entire medieval town hidden behind a giant rock

There are many countries and cities around the world that I have been lucky to have traveled to. However there are many more I haven’t and this little Greek town is one of them. Hope you enjoy the info and beautiful photos of this interesting island.

Monemvasia

Photo Credit: http://www.monemvasia.gr/

There is a town hidden behind a giant rock, the name of it is Monemvasia a municipality in Laconia, Greece. Monemvasia was separated from the mainland by an earthquake in 375 AD. The majority of the island’s area is a plateau about 100 metres above sea level, and the town of the same name is built on the slope to the south-east of the rock, overlooking Palaia Monemvasia bay. Many of the streets are narrow and fit only for pedestrian and donkey traffic. A small hamlet of about 10 houses lies to the northwest. Continue Reading

Turning 40

Today I am turning 40 years old. What does that mean? that I am old? that I am about to go into mid-life crisis? that I should give up all of my dreams? that I am entering into one of life’s most dangerous ages for men? The truth is that most of the things I mentioned above can only be true if you allow it.

I still remember when I was in my teenage years and I wanted to reach 20 years of age, I was frustrated that I couldn’t reach that age fast enough. When I was around 16 or 17 the idea of being a 20-year-old opened all sorts of opportunities and freedom, or so I thought. By the time I was about to reach 30 years of age I felt stressed, I knew I was reaching an important part of my life where every time you make a decision regardless of being good or bad, you know it would affect you down the road. It also meant that every decision I made would affect not only me but my wife and kids, I was no longer a unit of one.

It wasn’t until about 3 years ago that I started feeling worried and a bit sad that I was approaching 40. I remember thinking of people who age when I was in my early 20s as I looked at teachers, my parents, uncles, etc… to me it meant that if you were a 40-year-old person, you were a super old person. How naïve I was.

Recently I started to realize how our core and our mind doesn’t really change that much with age after you reach your 20s. You do start seeing wrinkles in your face and you notice how your body starts to change but inside, you are still you; The same person who thought a 40-year-old person was super old and this, this is exactly what made me and so many others feel sad about getting older.

I have respect for people of all ages, and sympathy for those who are trapped in an older body when their mind and spirit is still the same, young and full of joy. However, it isn’t easy to accept that your body is just a wrapper and that you are what’s inside of it. You must remember that your feelings, memories, experiences and thoughts are what makes you, the person.

I’d like to think that I still have a long way to go, that I am still in the beginning of my journey, that there are still many awesome things out there to be discovered and that makes me feel young and happy. I think of all the joy that my kids have brought me so far and that this is just the beginning. I imagine myself being a grand father and walking with my grandkids on the beach or a small street somewhere in Europe. I imagine holding hands with my wife and laugh at our ourselves and our old bodies. Sitting somewhere contemplating the horizon and thinking about all the things we’ve done together.

So I have come to the conclusion that age is nothing but a number, it means nothing really and it only helps humanity to divide people by “age” so we can create rules and laws around that.

Perhaps the fact that we acknowledge age and see it as something important is what causes all of us to become old and feel like it. Think about it, we could be convincing ourselves to feel and behave differently just because we are older. How naïve.

What have I done these years since my 20s? here some of the most important things I have done since then:

  • Said bye to my family in Mexico and moved to the United States, undocumented.
  • Got a job and helped my family back in Mexico.
  • Fell in love with my wife.
  • Got married after dating my wife for 3 months.
  • Got my first apartment, for me and my wife.
  • Got my first real job, working at a factory and earning minimum wage.
  • Became a citizen of the Unites States.
  • Went to College in Minnesota.
  • Had our first child, our beautiful Jennifer Lee.
  • Kept working fulltime and going to college in the evenings.
  • Found a job as tech support in a small company.
  • Learned to code and started doing some websites and consulting.
  • Started a Tax preparation company which my wife runs today.
  • Graduated.
  • Got promoted at my job, I was no longer making a minimum wage.
  • Had our second child, our handsome Ricardo Ervey.
  • Moved to another city in Minnesota.
  • Things improve professionally, and the Tax preparation business takes off.
  • Got tired of the cold winters and the snow.
  • Moved to Texas.
  • Bought our first house.
  • Found a job as a software developer.
  • Traveled to Europe for the first time.
  • Had our third child, our handsome and energized Mauricio Dioni.
  • Things improve professionally, my wife takes over the Tax business.
  • Travel a lot.
  • More travel.
  • Move to another job.
  • Start another business.
  • Sell our first home and move into our second home.
  • Kids are growing. Jennifer is in High School now.
  • My brothers and sisters are growing, and so are their kids.
  • By now my wife and I have traveled to almost 10 different countries, and have drank and ate more food that you can imagine.
  • Turned 40.

Today I am 40 years old and I am very happy. If you are into history and would like to know what “other” famous people are turning 40 this year, click here.

[Update]

Meet Tokio, new member of the family and a gift for my 40th birthday from my wife.

tokio

Until next time, I’ll write something similar when I get to 50 🙂

Entrepreneurship has become too fashionable

It used to be that people who ventured with startups were hardcore entrepreneurs, those who did it out of necessity or because the idea of having a college degree or a successful career was in some cases not even an option. Many times what drove people to start companies in those days was a strong belief in something and the urge to make a difference or simply the need to survive. Today, entrepreneurship has become too fashionable; a large number of students coming out of college or people working at boring jobs are taking a stake at entrepreneurship and sometimes for the wrong reasons.

The fact that being an entrepreneur is very popular these days makes it hard to differentiate hardcore entrepreneurs that are trying to make a difference in this world or their own life from the ones that are in it because it is cool and popular. Unfortunately, the startup ecosystem is filled with many people who are creating startups and working on ideas for the wrong reasons such as: becoming wealthy, to be famous (or internet famous), avoiding working in a regular job, etc… and there is nothing wrong with any of these as long as the passion is there to make it happen. If the entrepreneur is not truly driven by something, then it creates a problem because it is hard to filter out these wannabe entrepreneurs from hardcore entrepreneurs which for the most part are trying to build a company from nothing knowing that it will take lots of effort, hard work, consistency, sacrifices, patience and lots of luck. Having entrepreneurship be so popular these days also creates lots of opportunities because there are many people drag into the startup world looking to start or join one; unfortunately this also makes finding the right people incredible hard and it creates noise in the startup ecosystem.

Things have gotten easier and more cost-effective for people wanting to jump into entrepreneurship and that is great for our communities, cities and our country in general. Unfortunately this has made many people believe that it is easy to become an entrepreneur and thus we have lots of uncommitted, not hard-working people throwing ideas around and many times getting lucky and gaining the attention of investors, customers and media when in reality they just don’t have what it takes. Even worst, many other people are benefiting from the popularity of entrepreneurship and startups to make money out of people by selling them “tools” and “secrets” that will allegedly help them become successful entrepreneurs, this is just wrong.

Startups have a very low chance of succeeding in fact, that is both known and well documented, click here to read an article from Business Insider about this where they found out that about 93% of the companies accepted by Y Combinator will eventually fail. Y Combinator and other accelerators are having a very hard time trying to select the real entrepreneurs from this ever-increasing pool of wannabe entrepreneurs. And this might the reason many of these accelerators keep saying that what they really care about is the “people” and not the “idea”, it all makes sense now – doesn’t?

Hardcore entrepreneurs with bad ideas are not a bad thing as the idea can always be improved or changed completely. I n the other hand, a wannabe entrepreneur with a good idea will more likely fail and give up because of the lack of passion, commitment, motivation, etc… eventually they either don’t execute well or just give up.

I am not a successful entrepreneur yet, I like to think of myself as a connector helping people connect with others so they can build out that great idea, I run a meetup where I have been connecting people since 2010 because it feels good to help when you can. It is very motivating to see people wanting to create something or be part of something bigger than themselves. These people work hard, have ideals, know what they want and nothing will stop them until they get there, these are the hardcore entrepreneurs I am talking about. We need more of these people now and in the future, these are the people who make things happen and go on to build companies that generate jobs and changes lives in many ways, inside and outside of the companies they create.

Think hard, really hard about becoming an entrepreneur and do it if you really have what it takes and are committed to it. If you decide you don’t want to after all, that is fine too! there are many great jobs out there in need of people with skills and talent, and there is a lot of money to be made at these jobs as well. The worst thing you can do is to play entrepreneurship when you know you are not ready or committed to lots of work without pay, long hours, and many failures.

If you are unsure about what it takes to be an entrepreneur then don’t, please go find a job, and help hardcore entrepreneurs a bit by not being part of that noise. Entrepreneurship is a hard thing, it was never intended to be fashionable.