Update: I have changed below to show the picture of the map that I ran today. Some very important things I have learned are listed below:
- Get more then 5 hours of sleep before a marathon especially if you have had a hectic week with 4 hours or so sleep per night
- Stick to eating pasta before the marathon it helps
- Do not eat after 9 even if your friend has a birthday dinner party. The stomach pains will hit somewhere around the 30th Km
- If you are a barefoot runner, do not run with a vibram five finger. As much as I love this shoes (I run 10 Km in them every day), I got pain in my toes mainly because of the asphalt. For a marathon and barefoot running I would suggest the nike free (at least i tried those)
Tomorrow is Beirut Marathon and for those of you who would like feel free to check out the map below to see how I am doing.
Yesterday, I spent the whole day at TEDxBeirut the very first TEDx full day event in Lebanon. The event has been something many have been anticipating for a long time with a the usual polarity that is so much a nature of who we are. In the days leading to the event, I had wondered, as I am sure many did, if the event would be worth a whole day. Well let me describe it for you.
I walked into the theater at the beginning of the day thinking that I was one of the first to walk in after all the ushers were saying that people should start going in. Boy was I wrong, the theater was packing up and I barely found a place in the first session (in later sessions I opted for a seat on the stairs for it felt more natural). 685 people were sitting there waiting for the event. The stage looked amazing, because in its simple decoration of boxes placed here and there it was an elegant testimonial to what was about to begin. Our host Sara was well rehearsed and so were all of our speakers. The talks followed one and all, and each invited a host of thoughts. But the talks alone were not the cause for success. The success came from the well timed breaks given that allowed people to mingle with each to bring forth discussions, to linger in conversation as one speaker Mahomoud Natout had so hoped. And to my surprise and happiness those discussions during the breaks were not about people selling their products or their companies, it was about knowing other individuals in as much as you can know someone in such a short span.
But the greatest testimonial for the event’s spirit and success came from the audience. During the sessions you would be hard pressed to hear side conversations taking place. People were listening and dare I say reflecting. More importantly, after lunch I came back to a theater that was still packed. You might not grasp the significance of this immediately but in Lebanon (or elsewhere) I have yet to see a little less then 700 people stay the whole day for conference.
Yes yesterday’s TEDxBeirut event was well worth the day and much more. It was worth it thanks to the hard work put by the TEDxBeirut team who volunteered to make such a great event and to the speakers who volunteered their stories. To both of you a great thank you for the wonderful even you did. As for me, I think speaker ‘Arne Dietrich’ put it best when he said that It was the most fun he had in a single day in Beirut.
But, don’t just take my rant for it you could still catch the event (although you will miss on the discussions) by visiting TEDxBeirut.
As I sit with my friends looking out through the window at the beautiful world in its elegance, simplicity and beauty, it becomes painfully obvious to me how much we have in common with those who have found in prison. Indeed we do not share their physical prison, but it seems we all share the same prison of thought. Ironically thought it seems we are not aware of the prison we are in.
Such an ideal prison this is; the warden, the guard and the prisoner are all the same, our own minds. In its confinement it seems only certain thoughts and ideas exist and one becomes obsessed with them. One thought towers above all, the obsession with freedom and what a dangerous obsession it is. It seems weird to say that the obsession of freedom is delivered into existence by a prison, but it is not; for in the shadows lies understanding. You see, an obsession with something can only come into existence through the realization that one can not attain that thing. And so the obsession in freedom, its very existence, is dependent on the lack of freedom. And in there lies the worst of all realizations, our own obsession with freedom our driving force to break all prisons depends on our existence in a prison. You see we are like the bees stuck in a box with the light of freedom shown so ironically so intelligently at the closed end of a bottle. We are always attempting to move towards the light yet never able to reach it for we are fixated on it.
Maybe in the years to come we were lot go of our prejudices and our fixations, and explore our surroundings. Then we will find that by not obsessing over freedom we can get out of the bottle and become free. But I wonder how shocking it will be when those who make it out discover to their dismay that the bottle is really just inside a box. I hope, I wish that they would not forget the lessons they learned.
In the old days, heroes were a plenty. People found themselves inspired by those who have taken a stand against all odds and took them as role models. Those heroes, men and women alike, were normal people like everybody but they took a stand against things they saw as unjust. They were normal but somehow in the tales passed from friend to friend and parent to child, they became shrouded in mystery. They took on supernatural characteristics that were never theirs but the projections of those who spoke their tales and envisioned themselves heroes too. Heroes of old became the sum of the dreams and potentials of those who told their stories. They became beacons of morality and above the pity faults of the people of their times. Heroes became role models that showed young men and women the potential that they could be and ignited their passions. The heroes became not just the people who had done the deeds but the concept of breaking human limits.
Today however it seems there are no heroes. Sure there are many that stand against injustice in their lives, hundreds that everyday take one step further against all the odds. But these are not heroes for their stories are either untold and forgotten or worse told in entirely. Today, the lives of our would be heroes are not shrouded with mystery and built on with dreams and hopes, No today their lives are shown completely naked to us so we see their success and their failure, their confidence and doubt. Today would be heroes never grow to become more than just people, they never become milestones that the young hope to reach and surpass. Today our heroes no longer grow to be associated with the potential of a human being and are alas cast into only being associated with their own lives.
Today there are no heroes because we no longer forget the mistakes they did on the way. Today there are no heroes because we can no longer paint over their lives our own dreams and hopes. Today with all our media, we so easily see the faults of our would be heroes and tell ourselves it is okay not to reach our full potential since those great people did not.
Where did all the heroes go? I think they are still here but we no longer wish to see them for it is easier to sit and watch then to live to your potential. But to those of you who have read this far I say, I believe you can be heroes so why not start moving towards your potential for I am sure somewhere out there a little boy and a little girl want to dream of reaching where you can go.
So previously I have talked about embarking on my way to become a micropreneur and try to make a living for myself without the need for employment. So today I want to bring people up to speed on my situation and unveil my first real attempt at producing a product for a niche market.
Let me start by some of the lessons learned from my first month as a micropreneur.
- The most important is it can be LONELY. Yes you read that right, going the micropreneur way can be a lonely endeavor and more so if you are not mentally prepared for it. I have mentioned before that I am a member of the Micropreneur Academy and let me tell you it is important that you have a group of people who are willing to listen and talk to you. I am still thinking how to add a bit more human interaction into my daily routine but suffice to say it is important.
- You should worry about expenses but not too much. My experience so far has been that you can pay the bills by consulting. Sure it will cut into your product time but not as much as your day job if you have decided to leave that like I did. And consultancy is also a disguised blessing if you are looking for some ideas, since you get exposed to all sorts of problems. Also a good friend pointed out that you get to meet some interesting and smart people when you consult.
- The hardest part in building a new product is not the building part. Let me tell you this is a horrible one that I am still wrapping my head around. If you are a programmer, the biggest obstacle in your new idea that will help everyone is in letting people know it exists. Building your idea is easy in comparison. GO FIGURE.
So with the above done let me tell you a bit about my niche product. This idea has been banging on my head for some time and I have done a couple of half hearted attempts before but this time I am trying to take it all the way. The idea is to give businesses that are based on appointments a simple and easy web-service that would followup on their clients to remind them of the appointment. Also I wanted the tool to be able to inform the business in all sorts of ways like phone call or email as well as the website of the product itself. Cuevox is the implementation of that idea. Cuevox gives businesses an easy way to do followup but without all the hassle and best of all I plan to offer it to as many countries as I can. The truth is that Cuevox still requires some code in the background to bring it all the way through but I wanted to bring it to as many eyes as possible as soon as I can to hear your feedback on it. I believe the idea has market and little competition, although by biggest fear is that one very successful micropreneur (Patrick McKenzie) is working on the same idea. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds and if I can get enough traffic to turn this into a good product.
As always I shall keep you posted. Until next time have fun and be happy.