Creating a Countdown Clock to…

Chris Guillebeau, world famous traveler, best selling author, and guy I’ve met (yeah, I’m totally name-dropping here) posted recently about creating countdown clocks to foster a sense of urgency and awareness for a goal.

I really liked the idea. You can read his blog HERE. It also has a cool story about Chris’s dad.

Oh, I’m not just name-dropping. Here’s a picture of me and Chris together. I guess that means I’m picture-dropping too.

Chris Guillebeau

Right now, my family is living in an apartment in Chattanooga TN. It’s a tiny three bedroom apartment that has me, my wife, four kids in it. Not only that, but we homeschool there, and I also have a home office. We’re just here until we find an area of town where we want to buy land and build a house once we save up some money. There are some perks like a pool and other kids for mine to play with, but I really hate apartment living.

So, I created a countdown calendar for our time to escape this place for a better one (ooh, that sounds ominous). That’s my calendar below. It’s tacked on the wall right beside the main door. You can’t miss it, and that’s the point.

Apartment Countdown Calendar

If you have something you’re planning, dreaming about, or just want to get done, then a countdown calendar might work for you. You can create a big physical one like mine, get a digital app one for your phone or computer, or even get really uber fancy with a crafty one. Either way, no matter what you do, give it a try and see if it helps. Check out the links below for places to find different countdown clocks.


Countdown clock embedded in your website

Countdown app for your phone

Countdown clock for Word

Fancy crafty countdown calendars

Chris Guillebeau’s Countdown Clock post

Chris Guillebeau’s latest book Born for This

Win a Copy of Born for This by Chris Guillebeau!

Watch the video to learn more, but, short answer, I have a case of Chris Guillebeau books to give away.

You can sign up for my newsletter HERE.

To enter the contest, send me a write-up of a project where you applied the Rapid Skill Acquisition process from my book. No set length, but be sure you explain your steps and the results. The best ones will win.

If you need to get a copy of my book on Kindle, click HERE.

If you want to read a description of Chris’ book, click HERE.

Send me a message if you have any more questions.

I hate to name drop, but that’s me and Chris…

Chris Guillebeau

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at Thanks for reading!


Rapid Skill Development 101

Born for This

My newsletter sign-up page

Born for This by Chris Guillebeau (Book Review)

I had the wonderful opportunity of previewing an advance copy of Chris Guillebeau’s latest book Born for This in anticipation of its release today. I must say that I was not disappointed. Thrilled in fact.


I’m a big fan of Chris’ works, ever since I read his first book The Art of Nonconformity. After reading that one, I dove headfirst into the vat of Kool-Aid. I signed up for his blog, I attended the first two World Domination Summits, and I eagerly read his next two books. Also, like many, I cyberstalked his quest to visit every country in the world.

You’d think with all of that, I’d be tired of hearing from him or that I would’ve heard all of his stories by now. It turns out I haven’t. This latest book not only revealed more about Chris that I haven’t heard before, but he has a knack for finding the stories from others that illustrate his lessons perfectly.

Born for This is all about finding your calling, landing or creating your dream job, or winning the career lottery all wrapped up in one. If you’re still searching for any of those, you need this book. Even if you’ve found your spot in the world, you still need this book. Although I’m in that sweet spot where I know what my calling is, and I’m earnestly working in it, Born for This was still an immense help to me. I gained new insights, picked up a few new ideas, and, most important of all, developed a renewed sense of permission to keep following the path I’m on.

Here’s the description from Amazon to give you a better idea of its message…

“Have you ever met someone with the perfect job? To the outside observer, it seems like they’ve won the career lottery — that by some stroke of luck or circumstance they’ve found the one thing they love so much that it doesn’t even feel like work—and they’re getting paid well to do it.  

To the outside observer, it seems like they’ve won the career lottery—that by some stroke of luck or circumstance, they’ve found the one thing they love so much that it doesn’t even feel like work, and they’re getting paid well to do it.

In reality, their good fortune has nothing to do with chance. There’s a method for finding your perfect job, and Chris Guillebeau, the bestselling author of The $100 Startup, has created a practical guide for how to do it—whether within a traditional company or business, or by striking out on your own.

Finding the work you were “born to do” isn’t just about discovering your passion. Doing what brings you joy is great, but if you aren’t earning a living, it’s a hobby, not a career. And those who jump out of bed excited to go to work every morning don’t just have jobs that turn their passions into paychecks. They have jobs where they also can lose themselves for hours in the flow of meaningful work.

This intersection of joy, money, and flow is what Guillebeau will help you find in this book. Through inspiring stories of those who have successfully landed their dream career, as well as actionable tools, exercises, and thought experiments, he’ll guide you through today’s vast menu of career options to discover the work perfectly suited to your unique interests, skills, and experiences.

You’ll learn how to:
• Hack the job of your dreams within a traditional organization by making it work for you
• Find not only your ideal work but also your ideal working conditions
• Create plans that will allow you to take smarter career risks and “beat the house” every time
• Start a profitable “side hustle” and earn extra cash on top of your primary stream of income
• Escape the prison of working for someone else and build a mini-empire as an entrepreneur
• Become a rock star at any creative endeavor by creating a loyal base of fans and followers

Whichever path you choose, this book will show you how to find that one job or career that feels so right, it’s like you were born to do it.”

My earnest recommendation would be that if you’re lost, kind of lost, or just unsure of the path your life is on, buy all his books and read them one by one. The knowledge you will gain is worth way more than any business school education or MBA.

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us Thanks for reading!

Chris Guillebeau’s Other Works-

The Art of Nonconformity

The $100 Start-Up

The Happiness of Pursuit

Other Great Books on Finding Your Purpose-

48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller

It’s Your Call by Gary Barkalow


Is Algebra Unnecessary?

I have long been a proponent of creating a functional education for young students as opposed to cramming unnecessary skills down their throats. The vast majority of adults in their jobs do not need or use higher skills in any of the educational subjects.

And, guess what?

If they needed to, they can learn them as needed. It’s what people do when the need arises.

Sure, teach those classes to the kids that need or want them for future careers or even out of curiosity, but don’t force it or require it. Could you imagine how much different the world would be if, instead of algebra, chemistry, calculus, and physics, we taught high school students how to balance checkbooks, stay out of debt, and get a job? Could you imagine how different it would be if we helped them find jobs that matched their skills, passions, and calling instead of telling them that four years of college and a staggering load of debt is the way to go? Could you imagine if we offered entrepreneurial classes on things like Etsy, ebay, and Amazon and used twenty dollar books by Chris Guillebeau and Dan Miller instead of boring, dry, useless $150 textbooks?

I talk about all of this in my book Creating a Functional Education, but this article was in my local paper yesterday that also covers the issue at hand.


This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at Thanks for reading!

Functional Education-cover


Who is Chris Guillebeau?

Who is Dan Miller?

What is a Functional Education?

I Hate Chris Guillebeau and His Wandering Ways

Not really. I am so excited that I’ve had the opportunity to read after Chris Guillebeau, to meet him, and to become an alumnus of the first two World Domination Summits. I often wonder how people got to know Chris. I met him through a blog post by Tim Ferriss, followed by a post about him by my friend Dan Miller, followed by sending him an e-mail and buying his first book The Art of Nonconformity.

I can tell you that he’s an awesome guy. If you meet him, he may seem kind of quiet and laid back, but there is so much going on with him that you just need to sit back and wait for the awesome to come out.

That’s why I hate him (sort of). He keeps challenging me. I just finished reading an advance copy of his new book The Happiness of Pursuit that came out today. It’s all about quests and the purposeful journeys we take in life. Chris’ last two books and manifesto were great, but, more than ever, this book is a call to action.

Chris Guillebeau-happiness of pursuit

One chapter in, I felt sad that I had no quest. Two chapters in, I decided that me and my boys would become ninjas. Three chapters in, I called a family meeting, and we all sat down and planned a round trip across North America. The rest of the book served as motivation and affirmation not only that I needed a quest, but that my choices were right.

Before I tell you about my quests, let me say that if you feel lost, aimless, or distracted in life, you need this book. Read it as therapy and be open to change.

My quest to become a ninja…

All of my adult life I’ve been involved in various martial arts beginning with hand-to-hand combat in the Marines all the way to my black belt in Oppido Dolens. But ever since I was a little kid watching all the uber-awesome ninja movies of the 1980’s, I’ve wanted to be a ninja. One of the questers in Chris’ book mentioned this same goal, and that’s what galvanized it for me.

I’m now studying ninjutsu under a 10th Dan practitioner of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu and starting at the bottom as a 9th Kyu. My boys are also doing this with me. My goal for this quest is to test for my ninjutsu black belt within 3 years. I know it may seem fast, but my previous martial arts experience makes the experience a little easier. My boys’ goals are to achieve their ninjutsu black belts at the age of 18.


My quest to travel North America (again)…

I went on a three month journey across North America in 1999 before I got married and it was an experience I will never forget. I want my wife and kids to have the same experience. Our family quest is for me, my wife, and our 4 kids to travel across North America up to Alaska and back across.

So far, we’ve planned a rough route and a few of our stops, but we don’t have a formal date or budget for this one yet. Consider this one still in the planning stages. I even have it planned to stop in Portland to see Chris.

north america-road trip-drive

So, with all that said, what’s your quest? Not sure, go buy the book, and it’ll drive you in the right direction.

PS…what’s your favorite ninja movie of all time?

This message was written by Dr. David Powers. You can always find me at Thanks for reading!


Conquering the Business World Emperor Style

As many of you know I’m not a big fan of the traditional MBA. I mean, unless you really need it for a corporate job it’s pretty pointless. You can learn the same information through books, lots of experience actually doing the work others are learning about, and by attending a few continuing education classes at your local tech college or at seminars. The bonus is that you can save thousands of dollars by getting a New School MBA, which occurs outside of the traditional college format.

One of the learning experiences I’m taking part in for my New School MBA is by signing up for Chris Guillebeau’s Empire Building Kit (EBK). I’ve known Chris for a while by reading voraciously anything he writes and also by becoming an alumnus at his World Domination Summit. I’ve attended both years of the WDS and already bought tickets for the 2013 event.

To quote Chris’ website on the EBK…

“There may be plenty of reasons to delay building an empire, but overwhelm is officially no longer one of them. Neither is not knowing exactly what to do.

Every Empire Building Kit includes the business know-how, real-life case studies, and daily steps designed to help you build your own empire in one year or less.”

Not one to tiptoe through life, I decided to go all the way and buy Chris’ Alexander the Great package. It includes (in Chris’ words)…

  • 15+ PDF Case Studies. These are interviews with other lifestyle entrepreneurs from a wide variety of industries. Every interview includes detailed financial information, lessons learned, and actionable tips to help you scale up.
  • 7 video interviews with successful emperors. Informal talks with successful lifestyle entrepreneurs about how they built their business and what they recommend for others with similar goals.
  • The 365-day series of tasks to help you stay on track. You already know the basics, but use just one of these tips to increase your revenue by a few hundred dollars, and your kit pays for itself.
  • The 43-Step Launch Checklist. Creating an event out of your product launch is one of the most successful strategies you can pursue. This checklist will help you plan for an amazing launch.
  • Behind-the-scenes module revealing everything about the  Unconventional Guides business. (Financial information, specific notes on products, everything.)
  • PLUS! Exclusive bonus videos and case studies designed to help you ramp up profits in an existing business, including in-depth explorations of broad topics as well as 1-5 minute talks on specific topics, like how to structure upsells, pricing, and so on.

I’ll keep you updated as I go along through the course. So far, it’s helped me immensely. I’ve learned some new tips and tricks. I’ve revamped some aspects of my business that needed refinement. I dumped a few things as well.

If you’re looking at an inexpensive way to get started now instead of spending twenty-five grand on a school experience, I’d highly recommend his course. If the Alexander package scares you, there are other Emperor options as well.

If you join in, let me know how you do. Happy hunting!

The Rise of the Coffee-nator!

Here’s the weekly brew of coffee goodness…

First I’d like to give you a taste of the $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau. Not only is a tremendously awesome book, but it’s very coffee-centric as well. These pics are a sample taste to make you want to buy the book. (and also to make you jealous that I have an autographed copy).

And to finish it up for this week, a shot of FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham of Fringe fame enjoying her brew…


First Sale- An Update on Chris Guillebeau’s $100 StartUp Challenge

I mentioned recently about using the Chris Guillebeau $100 StartUp Challenge to fund and invest in my nephew’s business selling handmade, artisan duct tape wallets. Since that post, a lot has happened, so I wanted to throw out an update. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, check out the post. Theres a cool video on it.

Listing. His wallets are now listed in my new online store at Graveside Services. I created him his own collection so that as he adds more creations to his repertoire, I can add them to the store.

Sales. He’s only made one sale so far, but that one sale made him so excited. I just shipped it off today. To him, that one sale made him an official businessman. The sale was a request for the moustache pattern. Here it is before I shipped it.

New Items. The duct tape wallets are an item that he has perfected through lots of practice. He’s experimenting with other items like a bow tie, men’s tie, purse, Kindle and Nook covers, and school folders. Right now, they’re just prototypes that he gives away. As he perfects them, we’ll start adding them to his store.

Growth. I call it growth a delegation. He calls it fun. He’s been teaching his mom and cousins how to make stuff as well.

Marketing. I didn’t think about it before, but he asked for business cards to put into each wallet before he sends them out. Great idea. I order them yesterday. His job title is Duct Tape Architect. It’s only the second purchase I’ve made from the $100 from Chris.

Super Cool Friends. Over the weekend some really great friends were tweeting and retweeting about his business. The ones I know about are Chris Guillebeau @chrisguillebeau, Ryan McRae @afghanryan, Megan Hunt @lasertron, and James Garner @OutdoorGearTV. I’m sure there are a few more, but these are the ones that popped up before I went to bed. All told, that was the potential to reach almost 100,000 followers. There’s a lot of potential there for sales for him.

I’m really excited for him and an opportunity to invest in a young entrepreneur. My hope is that I end up helping him become ‘kid rich’!

I’m Investing in My 9yo Nephew (Chris Guillebeau’s $100 StartUp Challenge)

I was at the World Domination Summit 2012 last week in Portland OR. I was proud to be an attendee at this second adventure and even prouder to be one of the few alumni from the inaugural 2011 event as well. As many of you may have heard over the webverse, news of the Chris Guillebeau’s $100 StartUp Challenge has been burning up the fiberoptics. I case you didn’t hear, Chris gave each and every one of us that attended a fresh crisp c-note to use however we chose. Chris gave a little speech about as well, basing it upon the story of the 5 Talents found in Matthew chapter 25 from the Bible.

As we left the conference and many of us talked ideas over regarding the money, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it. I mean, what could I do that would multiply it. It would be too easy just to keep it, use it on next year’s World Domination Summit, or even invest it in my business. I also thought it would do too little to simply give it to a charity. Not that it wouldn’t go to good use, but that, even there, it would only be single use. I wanted it to multiply. Many of my other friends were considering running contests on their blogs and giving it away to th best idea. Since so many were trying that, I wanted to go another way and try something different.

My idea hit me on the plane ride back home as I was reading Chris’ latest book $100 StartUp. The book is about a wide range of folks who started functioning and profitable businesses on next to nothing.

I decided I would invest my $100 in a business run by a 9yo boy, my nephew.

My nephew Ethan Van Buren has been creating things out of duct tape for a few monts now, and he’s getting really good. I’ve seen wallets, purses, notebooks, and more. I think now he’s working on a Kindle case. Because he’s cool and super nice, he’s almost been giving these things away. He’s not doing it to get rich. He’s mainly doing it for fun. I went to his business manager first to clear everything before I spoke to him. His mom, my sister, said the idea was cool and gave her blessing.

You can meet Ethan here on the video. He’s a little shy and soft-spoken on camera…

So here’s what I’m going to do with the $100:

  1. Purchase materials for the next batch of items, mainly rolls of designer duct tape. Right now, he has about a dozen different style rolls of duct tape and tools.
  2. Sell the duct tape creations through my Graveside Services store, which I just created through Shopify’s Build a Business contest. I’m creating him a page in the catalog just for his projects.
  3. Remove any reimbursement costs from the sales. I’m not charging him any commision on the sales. After all, the store is already there to sell my goods. To show him how a business runs, his income will pay for his overhead, which includes shipping costs, materials, and the percentage taken for payment processing.
  4. Ethan’s profit will be split 50/50. Half will go to him and half will go into his 529 college savings account, which I helped his grandparents set up for him several years ago. His half will probably end up being saved for books, a bike, or anything related to Abraham Lincoln or zombies.
  5. I’m going to teach Ethan how to keep a ledger to track his sales, profit, materials, etc.
  6. Then repeat as necessary.

My hope is that I make Ethan what my kids call ‘kid rich’ and that he continues to invest his own money to pay the $100 forward even further. To my boys, kid rich means that you can afford to buy reasonable things for yurself and others without asking mom for more money. I hope you’ll check out the store and help support him and make him ‘kid rich’.

I’d like to offer many thanks to Chris Guillebeau and his crew for this marvelous idea and the vision to invest in the rest of us.


World Domination Summit Notes Part I

As Chris Guillebeau announced on Twitter the day of the conference, World Domination day is officially here.

This conference has perfected the art of meet-ups. I’ve been to a lot of other conferences where people get together sometimes either before or after the events, but it’s usually a fluke if you found out about the meet-up until after you missed it. For the WDS, there’s an official page where people announce and schedule meet-ups.

I attended one this morning for a superb breakfast at Mother’s Bistro in downtown Portland. Even with a manly sized appetite as big as mine, I could not finish the order of biscuits and gravy that came out. We packed about 20 WDS attendees into a tiny dining room. I met people from at least four different countries and all over the US.

After that, I just walked around town a little more until I headed over to the early registration for the summit. On the way over there I passed some really neat parks. Portland is full of parks. I love that. You can be strolling through downtown and, out of nowhere, there’s a park. Some are really nice. Some aren’t. Some are full of homeless people. Some are full of kids.

The 2012 World Domination Summit did not disappoint. I learned a lot. I was challenged continually. I made some great friends. I could gush on and on about it, but I’ll just save you that and give you my notes. Bear in mind, my notes are in no way comprehensive. They’re the main items that spoke to me. My notes won’t include all of the speakers either. Some of the presentations weren’t geared to note-taking and were either more hands-on or too powerful to waste time writing. With that said, here we go…

Brene Brown, author of The Gifts of Imperfection and a research professor at the University of Houston. She has an awesome TED Talk.

  • She spoke on the power of being uncool.
  • Wherever you are, remember always that no one belongs there more than you.
  • If in doubt, just tell them to “Suck it!”
  • Cool is about control. Uncool is about letting go and connecting.
  • Your experiences will never be able to exceed your willingness to be vulnerable.
  • You have to be willing to get naked (metaphorically) to experience life.
  • Gratitude + Joy > Scarcity
  • When we lose our capacity for vulnerability, joy becomes forboding.
  • Creativity > Comparison
  • There is no such thing as creative and non-creative people. You either use it or you don’t.
  • Unused creativity doesn’t just go away. It becomes grief, rage, and anger.
  • Quit shaming kids for 4-headed blue horses.
  • Contribution > Criticism + Cynicism
  • Belonging > Fitting In
  • Who you are will always trump who you think people want you to be.

Susan Cain, the author of Quiet spoke about how introverts are taking over the world. She described her work time alone as “splendid solitude”. Being an introvert, this resonated well with me.

I attended a minimalism panel that included Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist, and Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists. I also attended a meetup with The Minimalists a couple of days later at another site in Portland that was extremely educational.

There is more joy to be found in pursuing less than there is in pursuing more.

Cliche…the more stuff you own, the more it owns you.

Cliche…the joys of home ownership

Your minimalism is going to look different than someone else’s minimalism.

Your essential items will look different.

Minimalism frees up more time, money, and energy for experiences.

Minimalism can free you up to pursue your passions.

Have a Packing Party. Pack up everything in your house like you’re moving. Only unpack it as you need it. At 3 weeks get rid of everything not unpacked.

Much more to come later…be sure to check out my photos on my Facebook page at “Drdavid Powers”.