After a long day in the sun at the 2010 Crossfit Games in LA, I've flopped into my Aeron in the RV, which is parked near my old stomping grounds in Hollywood. I found an amazing parking spot right near the Farmer's Market that has no street cleaning and is always empty at night. You'd be surprised how important things like street cleaning become when you live in an RV. Anyway, I don't have enough energy left to pull myself out of my chair, so it's time to tally up the survey results from a couple weeks ago and share what I learned.
This one was totally unexpected. Around a third of the people who responded said that they want more Life Nomadic. To be totally honest, I didn't know people were that interested in it. The site, when it was separate, never developed the same sort of following this site has.
The truth is that I'm actually traveling quite a bit, although not as exotically or frantically as before. I went to Japan for a couple weeks last month, went to Canada this month, am now in LA for the Crossfit Games and X-Games, and will be in Austin next weekend. Then after all that I'm doing another trip to Boston and Burning Man. I'll spend more time covering these sorts of things, or at least work the highlights into normal posts.
Speaking of Life Nomadic, one of everyone's favorite posts there was the gear post. That was pretty well reflected in the survey, too-a lot of people want more reviews and more gear. Great. I have plenty of new awesome gear pieces which have replaced the old ones. In fact, I could easily move to a smaller backpack now, even though I'm better equipped. When I went to Japan, my backpack was half empty. Or half full if you're a pessimist.
I was glad to discover that people want to hear more about the RV and RV lifestyle. Even though it's such an extreme step, this might have been one of the most successful topics in terms of people making actual changes. I've gotten more emails than I can count from people who have moved into RVs (and love it), including a bunch of Rialtas. A couple weeks ago in San Francisco I saw a Rialta that had the solar panels just like mine. I wrote my name in the windshield dirt, thinking they must have read my site. No response, so maybe not.
Anyway, there will be more RV posts. I've done a bunch of really cool modifications since my last post; when I finish up a couple more I'll do another video tour.
Girls and Pickup
A bunch of people also asked about pickup, girls, and relationships. I won't be writing much if anything on this in the foreseeable future. Sorry.
I don't write about pickup because I'm not doing it. I'm not innovating and I'm not thinking about it. It's something I have a lot of domain knowledge in and experience in, which is why I wrote a book about it. Beyond what's in that book, I honestly don't have much to say.
I could write about girls and relationships, but doing so in the past has had negative unexpected consequences. The truth is that I'm happy to have just about anyone know just about anything about me, but when those stories are created by two people, I can't be the only one making the decisions on them.
Every girl I've dated since I've written my book has read the book before dating me. I think that's fair. As a consequence I make a concerted effort to not do anything in the book because it makes girls think that I'm running through a checklist rather than actually connecting with them. Writing about a relationship would be even more weird for the girl ("oh, he said that to me two days ago."), so out of respect I don't write about relationships. Again, sorry.
Making money was a close second in requests to Life Nomadic. I'm not totally sure why. I'm not an expert at making money. If anything, I'm an expert in spending money on things that matter. Most of my income comes from selling my books on Amazon. The money I get from that is more than enough to pay for my food, cell phone, plane tickets, spa membership, RV upgrades, etc. My overall income is not very impressive. My income per hour obligated to work for anyone else is extremely high, which I think gives people the impression that I'm some sort of money making expert. I'm not.
For financial advice, I recommend reading my friend Ramit's blog, I Will Teach You To Be Rich. It's probably a little less radical in terms of tone ("transition to working for yourself" vs "quit your job, buy an RV and do what you want"), but I really like his principals and his advice.
I WILL write a blog post (I actually wrote half of it and then my computer died because I don't have a battery for it [long story], and it got deleted) about how to self publish books. I don't think people realize how easy it is and how profitable it can be. I'm not an expert on that either, but it's something I've done twice and have been successful at.
Last on this subject, I think that how you make money should be intimately tied to how you live your life. Do something you enjoy which fits into your lifestyle. I'll never be the guy who thinks that everyone should all be doing X or Y. So when people ask how they can make money, that, to me, is like asking what kind of girl they should date. I don't know-it depends on who you are and what is important to you.
I cringe at calling that, because I think it makes me sound like I'm some sort of noble philosopher, chiseled out of solid marble. But. that's what you guys call those posts, so I'll go with it. Many people said that these were there favorite posts, and a small but significant minority said that they wanted less of them. I like writing these, but I'll take a few tips from people who offered their thoughts. A couple readers suggested that I tie my own life more into them, offering observations and thoughts on those observations, rather than just thoughts. Full Participation is an example of weaving stories and my own life into a philosophical post. So hopefully that will make the philosophical posts more interesting to those who aren't crazy about them, and will also improve them for people who do like them.
This part was not surprising - everyone wants more posts. It's a rather self selected group (people who care enough to fill out a survey), but that's who I'm writing for anyway. So, more posts it is. Two a week, minimum.
Thank you again for filling out the survey. Over two hundred people filled it out, which was more than twice last year's response. It took me a while to read every single comment, but doing so gave me a much better idea of who you are and what I can do for you. So. I'm on it. If you have any thoughts on the changes I've outlined here (positive or negative), I'd love to hear them in the comments.
Hey Tynan, good to hear an update about what will come in the future. To echo: the philosophical posts definitely rock.
I missed filling out the survey because I was being a nomad camping on vancouver island!
I want to hear how you make money, and I'd really like to know how you you built a list and fan base. Maybe that's a little technical, but I'm interested.
In addition to an article on how to self publish, I would be very interested in your marketing strategy pre and post launch. What channels you used and which channels produced more favorable results.
I'd also like to say that I miss the articles on your travels under 'Life Nomadic', they are what brought me to Tynan.net in the first place. More of those please :)
I know this blog wasn't specifically about Crossfit, but I'm a Crossfitter, watched a bit of it on the live stream, and had friends at it. Wasn't it awesome?
Also, do you actually go to a CF gym or practice on your own at this time? I have a friend that goes to Crossfit Central, which would be in your old stomping grounds of Austin.
As for writing, I enjoy everything you write about (sans diet since I think veggie-ism is overrated). So, just write more. :) Peace.
"Hacking RVs" book would be very cool. It could have cut-away illustration of various modded RVs. That would be unique. That's one of those things I would have badgered my parents to get me for Christmas when I was a kid, and I'm guessing there are quite a few adults who want a book like that too.
Tynan, if you were to innovate in pick-up today, what would you set your sights on? What kind of new thinking can be done in that domain?
So far I can honestly say I like everything you have written or at least found it interesting. FYI: I have both of your books and enjoyed reading both of them. I think Life Nomadic was the one I ;earned the most from and have even lent it to my brother to read.
Keep writing and I'll keep reading,
Thanks for posting the results of your survey. I liked the part about "Girls and Pickup" You don't 'kiss and tell'. That raises my opinion of you tremendously.
Two posts a week? Yes! I definately look forward to reading the posts. You look at things different than me and I enjoy your viewpoint.
I am afraid to buy an old rialta, any suggestions on something newer? Love all the posts especially the gear ones. Thanks!
Maybe by definition, but not in spirit.
I've been thinking a lot about BTYB / LN over the past couple weeks, which lead to the survey from yesterday (please take a minute to fill it out if you haven't already). Tonight I had a conversation about all this with Carl Zetterlund, a long time reader who is doing a segment of LN with me right now.
So, I think it's time to make some changes. Here are the problems, as I see them:
You can't control definitively whether you'll succeed or fail, but you do get to set the parameters. The way I live my life, I will either be an big success or a huge failure. There are a variety of potential paths ahead of me, and zero of them lead to comfortable success or minor failure. None of them lead to numb mediocrity.
How do you adjust these parameters? You set goals and accept risks. If you set goals low and don't accept many risks, you have no chance of huge success or huge failure. You'll end up somewhere in the middle. Maybe you'll end up a bit better off than you expected, or a bit down on your luck, but you'll be somewhere in the range of "fine". On the other hand, you can set extremely high goals, leave yourself no reasonable plan B, and take massive risks to get those goals. It's the only way you'll even reach them, but you may fall short and crash.
In my case, I've put all of my eggs in the SETT basket. I hope it becomes a huge success that makes me a lot of money, gives me some power to improve conversation on the internet, and all that. At this point I've invested two years of my life into it, with no plans of changing that allocation going forward. I've passed up many smaller opportunities that could have made me money. I do have some money saved up, but it's hard to count it as a backup plan when I know with certainty that if SETT failed I'd use it to start another company and go all in.
I work as smart as I can, I live frugally, and I plan for contingencies-- I'm not reckless, but when a calculated risk presents itself, I'm all over it.