Favorite Monster Potion articles

Here are a handful of my favorite Monster Potion posts from this past year:

And speaking for myself, this spot in India, atop the Savitri Temple on the outskirts of Pushkar, was my favorite. Or at least one of ’em… 🙂


Monster Potion’s business model and how you can contribute

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The short version
We’re hoping you’ve enjoyed Monster Potion enough to pitch in some pocket change via www.monsterpotion.com/contribute.

The long version

What a year. It’s been an exciting adventure, full of ups and downs.

I’m grateful for it all.

Amidst the ups, I’ve enjoyed getting into my writing in a way I never have before. In some ways it’s been easier given our travels, and yet ‘putting it all out there,’ as has been our intent with this fledgling site, takes more than I realized!

Here are a few of our favorite Monster Potion articles.

Although we don’t (and won’t) run advertisements on MonsterPotion.com lest we even give the appearance of compromising the editorial integrity of our content, our goal for the year has been to earn a modest amount from what we’re publishing here. For better or worse — and as I wrote about earlier this week in this article — until now we’ve chosen not to advertise this wish. 🙂

So, I’m here to put it out: If you’ve enjoyed some of what you’ve read this year, please consider contributing any amount to our cause. Donations of $5 and $10 are equally appreciated as they do add up. Truly.

To do so, please visit monsterpotion.com/contribute.

Whether or not you’re interested in contributing, thank you for reading!


What’s next for Monster Potion (and how you can help)

Sun Bright-Monster Potion_v2

As 2013 comes to a close, Robyn and I have been thinking through what we’ve been doing with MonsterPotion.com and what we’d like to do with it moving forward.

Lots of ideas, little time.

Our intent all along has been, first and foremost, to create a site with at least borderline-interesting content with unique introspection. Another goal has been to generate income, however modest, as we transition our lives into a more creative place. As we’ve shared along the way, our travels have been about taking this little show on the road and making a go of it in a more creative way.

From the get-go, we’ve wanted to focus on creating compelling content first, turning our focus to generating income only after we’ve succeeded in doing that. Of all the great learning during my time at Google, a philosophy that became part of my DNA is characterized by one of Eric Schmidt’s mantras: “Focus on the end-user and all else will follow.” In other words, creating value for the user must come first; revenue results from that.

It’s tough to say whether we’ve successfully done that or not, and yet we figure it’s time to call attention to a ‘CONTRIBUTE‘ link on the Monster Potion site that we recently added so we can meet some of our financial goals for the year.

I’ll write more about this in the coming days, including our rationale for requesting contributions rather than running advertisements or sponsorships.

We’re also excited to how you how we’re evolving MonsterPotion.com, however slowly. Of course, building something like this is as much as journey as anything.

As always, thank you for reading…


Doing it up…in Burlingame


For the first time in six months, the four of us are staying in a hotel together.

In Burlingame, CA.

And gosh dagnabbit, I am happy.

The last time we all stayed in a hotel was when we re-entered the United States, coming back from Uruguay via Miami.

My truth: I love adventure. Love it love it love it.

Anybody who knows me well knows this to be true.

Some may say that staying in the Hyatt near SFO isn’t exactly high adventure and yet, after living in the Bay Area for eleven years, camping out in a comfy hotel — at a great rate of $107/night — is quite a treat.

We’ll see a few friends while we’re here, but we’re also pacing ourselves as we tend to stress ourselves out on these trips. So we’ll see who we can, focusing on family first. Otherwise, we’ll just live here for a few days.

Now, we’re off to Heidi’s Pies in San Mateo, then we’ll have an early birthday celebration for Pi and one of his best friends Cooper.

Re-centering in Shasta

When Robyn and I got married in 2007, we did so in Mt. Shasta, CA. We stayed at a little bed and breakfast called The Dream Inn, and every time we’ve passed through since — save for one time when we camped at Lake Siskiyou — we’ve stayed in the same room.

So earlier this week, when we decided to spend Thanksgiving in the Bay Area, we booked Friday night at The Dream Inn.

It was a little bittersweet because last time we passed through Shasta as a family was in October 2012 just as we set off on our adventure, driving from the Bay Area to Portland before we flew to Hawaii and beyond.

This time, we’re dealing with the effects of gravity, figuring our way as we settle down as a family. This is admittedly complicated by splitting so much of our time between California and Oregon.  It’s an equally rich phase, though quite different from where we were then which was driving toward a one-way ticket to India with no clear onward destination or date in mind.

Yes, there are downsides to a year of extreme adventure. Of course, we knew this when we set off, and yet, as I’ve said before, reality usually feels a bit different from anticipation. 🙂

Even with this tinge of sadness mixed in, I’m grateful for it all.

Besides, we got to go to Mt. Shasta again. And we will again. And again.

Relative silence

Sidewalk heart

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written for Monster Potion. I’m inclined to say I haven’t had a lot to say. And yet that’s obviously hardly ever true for me. The real reason, I suppose, is that there’s been so much to say that I haven’t known where to begin.

So, I’m just beginning again with this.

That is all, for now.

When an idea fades into the mind’s recesses


Have you ever gone so far back in the recesses of your mind to remember a fleeting thought or idea you realize, once you’ve found it, there’s a reason it was so far back that you couldn’t?

Sometimes I find myself thinking so hard to remember something that has passed through my mind, that if i just let myself acknowledge that if it’s that hard to recall that it probably doesn’t matter, I can relieve myself a lot of stress.
I know this to be true because, when I occasionally manage to retrieve it, it usually isn’t that good of an idea.
Like the idea I originally had for this post that has obviously escaped me.
Thank you, Kikuuku, for this photo, which I’ve borrowed from The Whatever Blog.

Celebrating Dean Ornish & PMRI

Ornish & PMRI

On September 19, I had the true honor of joining in the celebration of both Dr. Dean Ornish’s 60th birthday and the 30th Anniversary of the Preventitive Medicine Research Institute (PMRI.org).

Dr. Ornish and I first met in 2011 when I was working on Google Health. He was a member of Google Health’s advisory board and when he started developing his digital platform to help scale his reach around the globe, we aggressively pursued a partnership with him and his team because of the growing impact he’s had.

I hold Dr. Ornish, his family, and his work in such high regard that it feels like a brag to speak of being there. If yes, so be it.

It was a wonderful evening.

Among many reasons, the celebration was such a thrill: I got to both raise a glass to Dean and his work and connect with good friends from the healthcare industry, including Hensley Evans, Dr. Roni Zeiger, and Dr. Jordan Shlain, to name a few. I also got to spend time with my friend Adam D’Augelli, who works for True Ventures as one of the more influential up-and-coming venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, particularly in the health and wellness industry.

Name dropping? Fine.

Haven’t heard of these people yet? You will.

So about half-way through the evening, Adam D. and I were so caught up in conversation — oh, a brilliant one, I assure you — that we realized we were missing parts of the musical festivities, which included Bonnie Raitt and India Arie (pictured above).

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