Inspiration, VIP parties, mud, BBQ, and getting lucky: Dad 2.0 Vision Quest Part 2

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

After the emotional trip to Dad 2.0 I wanted to just kick back and have some fun with the other writers and dads. I met so many cool people there who I think I’ll have lasting relationships with. For fear of leaving someone off of the list I won’t list them all here (ah, what the heck: Andy Hinds, Jason Avant, Kevin McKeever, Charlie Capin, John Cave Osbourne, Jim Lin…and others). I will however mention my roommates The Muskrat and Whit Honea. Thanks for the good times!

Our first keynote address was given by Jonathan Fields on the concept of Uncertainty. Here are the jumbled notes I took:

  • serve, aspire, transcend
  • year 2 is your hardest year in business, as reality sets in and the rush of a start up wains.
  • There is no sideways in business: only forward (up) or backwards (down)
  • Key question for entrepreneurs, business people,  (and I think athletes): “Can you train yourself to suffer deep uncertainty in order to experience great reward?”
  • Most ask “What if I fail?”
  • Reframe and instead ask: “How will I recover” and “What if I succeed?”
  • as a man: be vulnerable, it sets you apart from how most guys present themselves
  • Align your actions with you heart
  • Exalt love as a business model
  • Do epic “stuff” that matters

This was only the beginning of the great information I’d take in over the long weekend. Later I heard Guy Kawasaki ( and he signed my book):

Guy is a genius. So much so that I’m not even sure how to provide notes in a way that makes sense. My biggest take aways were:

  • photo of Richard Branson shining Guy’s shoes to get him to fly Virgin Air
  • Use a “Duchenne Smile (mouth and eyes) not a Pan Am smile (mouth only) if you want people to like you
  • for customers: Customize and remove speedbumps
  • enchant your bosses: drop everything when they need something, prototype fast, deliver bad news early
  • enchant your direct reports: provide a map for success, give them autonomy, and give them purpose.
  • As the boss: Be like Mike Rowe and do the dirty job
  • default to yes: “How can I help you?”

Later that night we had VIP access at the coolest SxSW party in town, thanks to Guy Kawasaki himself. I got my cowboy boots very muddy, but that’s the point, right? I enjoyed Sam Adams’ B’Austin brew and some fine Stubb’s BBQ jalapeno brisket tacos.

These are the Tontons, as seen from our VIP section – safe from the mud and the mass of people below. They were great (twice):

Another of my favorite moments was being inspired by Rob Candelino from Dove Men’s Care. Rob cried when he talked about the importance of dads and Dove’s involvement in creating a positive image of modern fatherhood. It was inspiring to see a sales/marketing guy who really believes in his companies mission. Don’t miss the importance of that.

It was a great time! I’ll be back.

I brought you guys home a 405 piece Lego set thanks to the kind folks at Lego. All three of you went nuts playing with them!

I also won an Xbox 360 Kinect system and 7 games! Perfect timing with your birthday party coming up this Friday, Izzy. It arrived in the mail today.

I also won a complete shave system from the folks at Philips Norelco.

Yes, I’m lucky.

It’s Counselor Training week, so my triathlon stuff will take a back seat for a few days. I did get a little training done early in the week.

Love you,

– Daddy


Monday: swam 1500 at 5:30am including 1000 straight

Tuesday: Ran 4 miles at a slow pace