27Feb

Will Your Survival Gear Work When You Need It?


See HERE for survival gear you can trust

Why are survival products that simply don’t work sold by the thousands?

Over the years we have seen a massive amount of items claiming to be essential survival gear and people are actually buying these items that may not help them stay alive when faced with a life-threatening incident.

How did it all start?

When I asked my wife to marry me I really wanted to give my groomsmen a gift they found value in. I scoured the internet for information on the best survival gear and purchased individual items and put them into kits. Little did I know these kits were filled with items that held little to no value in a real survival situation. Sure the first aid kit, paracord, and a few other items may have had some real value, however, none of the items would be up to the task of helping my groomsmen to actually save their life if they were in a life-threatening situation. Thank the lord none of them found themselves in that kind of situation.

What “survival” information is out there?

When push comes to shove the gear that was in those kits would not help someone in a survival situation. I’m not sure how, but I was duped into believing a flint and steel fire starting kit was a great item to have in the “survival kits” I was giving to my best friends in my life. What a friend I am. Giving the most important people in my life a piece of equipment that was invented in the caveman days. Flint and steel is NOT a modern day survival technique and can NOT be relied on in a situation where the need for fire is desperate. Yet, we still see “flint and steel” listed as a must-have item in your survival kit in modern-day outdoor literature. Don’t believe everything you read! Think of how many people there are out there just like me at that point. Simply naive to the fact that one could potentially be in a life-threatening incident and for those that may realize it when they look at most literature out there they are lead to believe Mylar blankets, Bic lighters and flint and steel kits are items that will actually help them save their lives

Why is this scary?

The biggest disappointment when I discovered there was a lack of practical survival information and gear available was when I realized that so many people walk through the woods and deep into wilderness areas thinking they are carrying gear that will protect them when in reality they are putting them self at risk. Search and rescue incidents are on the rise. Now more than ever people are heading into the backcountry unprepared and putting themselves at risk. This is scary because information on where to go is so readily available anyone can access information now that used to take years of experience exploring those areas or someone local who is willing to share that information. Now you can simply log on to your phone and access detailed information on where to do. What happens when you think you are the same trail but all of the sudden it ends. Or you find yourself stuck above timberline in a storm and the need to shelter yourself is immediate? Without proper gear, this is a very scary situation.

What gear are we talking about?

The majority of this year I included in my groomsmen’s survival kits (and gear that is sold by masses every year) is inferior to similarly priced items that are sure to protect you in a life-threatening situation.

After producing the Outdoor Survival film for Colorado Parks and Wildlife I realized how simple survival can be and from that point on knew it was my duty to bring this information to the masses. Why wouldn’t I want to help people save their own life? It is such a simple thing to do to prepare yourself and realize you need to invest in your own survival kit just in case you find yourself in an unforeseen situation.

Gear you should NEVER trust with your life:

Mylar Emergency Blankets or any other Mylar survival bag, blanket or emergency shelter made of Mylar. Mylar rips easily and most of these products require you to hold the blanket around your body requiring you to use your hands and the biggest thing is that these products DO NOT RECIRCULATE YOUR BODY HEAT. The most precious thing you have to help you survive in harsh conditions is your body heat. You should have a survival shelter that traps all of your body heat around you while allowing your breath to stay on the outside to avoid condensation and the shelter should allow you use of your hands and feet so you can move around for important tasks such as keeping your fire going or signaling to help.

Cigarette lighters, strike anywhere matches, flint and steel or anything other than a quality ferrocerium metal match or stormproof matches. Strike anywhere matches really mean strike nowhere while a standard Bic lighter can fail, lose all its fuel, break or maybe your hands are too frozen to make it light. This style of lighter is currently available in countless survival kits on the market and lots of people use them every day to start their fires yet many don’t realize a survival situation may require a fire starter that can withstand harsh conditions such as an extreme snowstorm or a torrential downpour.

“Survival” cards, fishing kits, spears, harpoons or anything gimmicky like this that is meant to help you gather or procure food. You can survival up to 3 weeks without food but only 3 days without water. Your survival kit should include a quality water purification solution as one of the must-have items while anything pertaining to food just isn’t practical for true life-threatening situations.

Key chainsaws, folding saws, and axes are all items you may want to reconsider carrying. Key chainsaws and folding saws are extremely inefficient cutting tools that will leave you exhausted after procuring enough wood sufficient enough to build a good fire. Axes are very dangerous and inefficient cutting tools not to mention they are heavy to carry. It is always a good idea to carry a quality fixed hand saw that can fully utilize your arm’s motion by cutting on the forward and back motion.

See THIS ARTICLE for information on gear you should trust.

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Will Your Survival Gear Work When You Need It? was originally published in Survival School on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: Medium


22Feb

Camping Gear that can also Save Your Life


A good pair protective gloves (such as Endure Goatskin Gloves — pictured above) can be key to your survival and very useful for camping and working in the outdoors.

Top-rated survival gear and equipment can also be your go-to camping gear.

What is most important when choosing camping gear?

There are many things to consider when choosing the right camping gear. From the price, reviews, and weight to durability, design and how useful the camping gear is. In front of all of these different aspects pertaining to wilderness survival gear and equipment, it is a wise idea to put safety first.

Why should safety be a priority?

When choosing camping gear it may be a good idea to consider what situation you may find yourself in when gear meant to fulfill a leisurely pursuit all of the sudden becomes the gear that can save your life or ultimately lead you into a life-threatening incident.

What’s the difference between camping gear and survival gear?

There are many items you may want to consider keeping in your backcountry survival kit as well as your car survival kit. Many of these items can be used as camping gear as well. Whether you are a mountaineer that needs to set up a backcountry base camp or an archery hunter who needs to set up a spike camp miles deep into a wilderness near treeline you will want to keep a survival kit with you. However, this survival kit can contain items that can be used on an everyday basis in these backcountry situations. So, in reality, there are many similarities between good practical survival gear and camping gear.

What gear are we referring to?

A high-quality Metal Match Kit is a great item to always have with you no matter what outdoor situation you are in. Starting a fire in harsh conditions requires a trustworthy fire starter kit. Also, for backcountry camping and fire building a super efficient and effective fire starter is a very nice luxury to have so you know every single fire you attempt to start will take hold immediately and you will be able to move on to your next task or activity saving you time.

Combined with the Metal Match Kit is a good pair of water resistant work gloves so you can ensure your hands are protected. For survival situations protecting your hands it vital however for everyday camping, backpacking, hunting, fishing or mountaineering it is wise to always protect your hands. The material of choice for top-rated survival experts is goatskin. Goatskin is a closed cell leather so it will not shrink after the gloves get wet and dry like other leathers. The Endure Goatskin Gloves are supple yet durable glove that will ensure your hands stay protected from the many

Another category of items important for camping is cutting tools. It is nice to have sufficient tools to cut wood so you can ensure you have plenty of wood for your campfire. A great item to have with you no matter what the situation is is a dependable wood cutting saw. The 18" Half Dandy saw is a piece of equipment many top-rated survival experts don’t leave home without. This survival hand saw is the bestpacking saw, best hunting saw and best bone saw for elk we have found. This is the perfect example of a tool that can be used both as a survival saw as well as every day saw for camping, backpacking, and mountaineering.

Another great item to have in your survival kit that can also double as a utility for everyday camping, hunting, and fishing is parachute cord. Don’t confuse paracord, 550 cord, or 550 paracord with true Parachute Cord. True Parachute Cord has 7 strands that each include 3 separate smaller stands and will have a breaking strength up to 800 pounds or so.

A shelter is always a must when camping. Whether you just want to sleep in your car while you car-camp or if you want to ensure you are always protected from the elements a waterproof tarp is a great item to keep in your camping and survival gear. The Endure Survival 8'x10' Waterproof Tarp is a great survival tent as well as a lightweight tarp for backpacking or even simply an extra space you would like to keep dry around your existing camping gear set up.

Lastly, it is important to understand you must keep yourself hydrated in the outdoors, especially at high elevations. Altitude sickness can come on fast and if your body is not properly hydrated you are putting yourself at risk. Whether you are camping, mountaineering, hunting or fishing it is a great idea to always have a backup hydration solution. A collapsible water bottle, as well as a 30 pack of Katadyn MP1 Water purification tablets, is always a great thing to have on your just in case you find yourself in need of water. These two items can also act as your main source of water if you prefer to replace an often bulky and heavy water filter.

If you enjoyed this post please give it a clap, share it and follow Endure Survival School for more practical survival skills and survival skills.



Camping Gear that can also Save Your Life was originally published in Survival School on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: Medium


19Feb

What do I need in a Backcountry Survival Kit?


Endure Professional Survival Kit includes items proven to save your life

In my survival kit I make sure I carry items to cover the four basic survival kit categories:

  • FIRE
  • SHELTER
  • SIGNAL
  • HYDRATION

Here are the items I carry in my survival kit for each of these categories:

FIRE: Endure Survival Metal Match Kit. This kit is the best fire starter you can imagine. Don’t believe some of those gimmicks out there.

Cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly (and arranged into the Endure Survival Fire Starting Technique) is the most efficient and effective fire starting technique. This mixture is the single best fuel to start a survival fire with. I also carry a pack of stormproof matches as a backup fire starter. I never rely solely on the stormproof matches as it is important to remember they are only one piece of the puzzle: heat. You need heat, oxygen, AND fuel to start a fire and the cotton balls soaked in vasoline are the foundation of my survival fire kit.

SHELTER: Endure Instant Shelter and 8'X10' Waterproof Tarp. These two lightweight survival shelters, make protecting myself an easy task in case I find myself in need of shelter fast. If I’m trying to pack super light because I know I’m set for a 20-mile day trip I will only carry the Endure Instant Shelter to save weight.

However, for a lightweight tarp, survival tent or simply a rain cover for your backcountry camp the 8'X10' Waterproof Tarp is a great shelter to keep in your backcountry survival kit.

SIGNAL: Included in all Endure Survival Kits are three items that I always carry no matter what the situation is they are always in my survival kit and I make sure that kit is always in my pack or on my person.

Endure Survival Whistle for Life. This emergency whistle is specifically designed as a survival whistle to maximize the air that is blown into the whistle as the whistle has three-chambers as well as an omnidirectional design so it will be sure to penetrate fog and timber.

I also carry a purposed signal mirror and trail tape.

HYDRATION: I carry two items in my emergency water kit. A collapsible water bottle as well as a 30 pack of Katadyn MP1 Water purification tablets. These two super lightweight items make purifying water in the backcountry as easy as you can imagine.

Simply put the tablet in the water and in 4 hours you have water clear of all potentially dangerous containments, even giardia. The Katadyn MP1 tabs are the only EPA approved water purification tabs so if I find myself really in a pinch and only left with cloudy or hazy water these tabs are still 99.999999% effective.

Other items I carry in my survival kit include:

Goatskin Gloves: Endure Goatskin Gloves: Hands are key to your survival. I wear these gloves at all times possible in the backcountry. Your hands are not nearly as tough as you may think. It is important to protect them and these gloves get the job done. For essential survival gear, goatskin gloves are a must as goatskin is a closed cell leather so they gloves will not shrink and harden like other leathers do. Goatskin gloves remain soft, supple and will protect your hands for years as the most likely area to wear, the palm is reinforced with a thick layer of leather.

Cutting Tools: 18" Half Dandy Saw: When it comes to cutting tools a saw is always a safer than an ax. Saws are known to also be more efficient and effective than an axe. Either way, the most important thing when choosing a saw is choosing a saw that will maximize your arm motion. Meaning the saw will cut in both directions, forward and backward. The 18" Half Dandy saw is the best backpacking saw and survival hand saw. It is also the best hunting saw, bone saw for elk so this saw is not just an investment in a survival saw it is a great tool for all types of outdoor use.

Compass: Brunton Tru arc 3: When is comes to navigation it is never a good idea to rely soley on anything that can break. Meaning, anything that has a battery or requires power can and very well may break, die, or get lost. This is why I always carry a compass in my survival kit. I’ve carried the Brunton Truarc3 for years and it has never failed me. When in doubt a compass is always a good data point to reference when you are deciphering your plan whether it be a survival situation, hunt, backcountry fishing trip or mountaineering trip its always a good idea to keep a solid compass on you.

Military Spec Parachute Cord: Don’t be confused by all the products claiming to paracord, 550 cord, mil spec 550 paracord, 550 paracord or any combination. Always look for a certificate for the real thing. Real Parachute Cord has 7 inner strands each made with 3 individual smaller stands. This gives a true break strength well over 550 pounds (close to 800 lbs) and more versatility with the cord itself as compared to the knock-offs out there.

First aid kit: In my pack I always bring a first aid kit and in there I have an OutSmart Survival and First Aid Booklet.

If you enjoyed this post please give it a clap and share it!

Check out Endure Survival Kits for more information



What do I need in a Backcountry Survival Kit? was originally published in Survival School on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: Medium


One of the big challenges associated with finding fly-fishing in Asia is the lack of information available on the web. I am very lucky to have fished with series of fly-fishermen linked from one to the next throughout Asia, starting with my good friend Captain Keiichiro, in Yokohama, Japan. While fishing with Capt. K he informed me of his friend in Hong Kong: Lefty Hama. After having an awesome morning catching Giant Trevally in Hong Kong, Hama informed me that he had a fly-fishing friend in Singapore named Kelvin. It was as if the fly-fishing gods aligned to connect me with fly-fishermen from port to port while traveling on Semester at Sea‘s Spring 2014 Voyage. After a few email exchanges with Kelvin, we set up an afternoon to go fly-fishing for Peacock bass.

Some time ago, Peacock Bass, native to South America, were introduced into Singapore reservoirs by bucket biologists. Peacock bass are considered an invasive species because they compete with native species like snakehead, catfish, and Tiger barb . To anglers, they are a superb game-fish. Akin to Hong Kong, it is quite a commodity to have a quality fishing opportunity involving wild fish so close to a major metropolis.

After we arrived, my wonderful wife and I checked out a little of what Singapore has to offer

 

Hawker Center Singapore

Hawker Centers are popular among Singaporeans as common place to grab a bite to eat.

 

She handed me the coveted kitchen pass and I set off to meet up with Kelvin. We drove on the left side of the road (thanks to Singapore’s British Colonial roots) about 20 minutes into the jungle north of the city. After meandering up a winding road draped with high green canopy, we parked and hiked about 30 minutes through the jungle to a reservoir. Kelvin handed me one of his custom tied orange eyed tan clousers striped with green, orange and black markings, similar to the markings on a Peacock bass. He instructed me to cast my 6 wt near a man made structure, let the fly sink for 10 seconds and make medium paced long strips pausing between each strip. On about the 10th cast I felt a large bump, at first I thought I had caught the bottom, but then I felt a stout pull. Adrenaline rush through me as I yelled “FISH ON.” It was a good fish. In-between thinking about grabbing my camera and stripping line to keep this nice fish tight when I missed a strip and the fish came unbuttoned. I couldn’t believe I blew my opportunity to land my first Peacock. I looked at Kelvin in disappointment saying “lets get another.”

We continued fishing the same spot with no more action when Kelvin made the call to venture further into the jungle …

Singapore-Peacock-Bass-Fishing

We bushwhacked through dense brush, large trees and downed timber careful not to break our rods

 

 

After about 30 minutes, Kelvin showed me a spot where he has had success before. About 15 minutes into casting Kelvin yelled “FISH ON.” I ran over to see a nice bend in his rod.

 

singapore peacock bass fishing Kelvin-Bent-Rod

Peacock-Bass-Singapore

It was a nice fish that put up a good fight

 

Once it turned dark we hiked back experiencing the tropical jungle at night, walking through spider webs, loud exotic birds chirping and flying over head, while keeping an eye out for what is in front of you. It can get creepy in the jungle at night, especially when you see a large black snake quickly slither across the trail in front of you. When the local you are with is obviously concerned about this big ass snake I almost stepped on its probably a good sign that you should get the hell out of there. Bushwhacking through the dark and treacherous jungle did not stop us from trying another spot on the way out at dark. It wasn’t more than 5 casts before I hooked up and landed my first peacock.

Singapore-Peacock-Bass-Nick

It is not everyday you get a chance to catch a Peacock bass at night, so once again I felt blessed by the stars that aligned to make this uniqued experience happen.

 


11Aug

Why the Future of Travel is Local

Trillions of dollars are spent on tourism annually. This begs the question: Where does this massive amount of money go and how can we as travelers take control?

What is sustainable travel?


A traveler overlooking Cefalu, Sicily

According to the World Tourism Organization sustainable travel is the “management of all resources in such a way that economic, social, and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity, and life support systems.”

Why is sustainable travel important?

Think about the multi trillion dollar tourism industry. 4 to 8 trillion (depending on what exactly you are measuring) is an enormous number. How many zeros? 4,000,000,000 … not there yet … add three more zeros: 4,000,000,000,000. Wow that is a crap load of mula. Currently a large portion of this goes to big travel companies and canned tours.

The sliding scale of travelers range from the wall street banker who wants nothing but luxury, the guy who travels for business, to the millennial who is looking for romanticism or adventure. The one thing all of these travelers have in common is they want an authentic experience. Truly authentic experiences come from locals.

Sustainable travel is compassion for the places we visit. Also, compassion for our fellow man. A genuinely empathetic society will be able to perpetuate the resources we have to create a worldwide community.


Ghanian school kids — Much of west Africa is in need of positive economic and social influence

Imagine the possibilities if we, as travelers commit to responsible traveling. Imagine the lives that can be pushed in a positive direction if we are able to equip travelers with an easy way engage cultures. This will result in direct impact to local economies. One of the zero’s in the trillion dollars could end up in the pockets of locals rather than big corporate travel companies.

Traveling has moved me to become an involved citizen of the world. This has led me to yearn to create something that sponsors connection across oceans and phone screens. This is why Seekr was created.

Does Seekr enable sustainable travel?

Seekr connects travelers to locals who offer experiences that cannot be found in guidebooks. Young travelers the world over crave off the beaten path experiences. With Seekr these travelers now have an incentive to on-board locals they have a meaningful experience with.

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”
― Herman Melville

How do we make this happen?

We connected a group of African ladies who are passionate about cooking and sharing their culture to a group of adventurous travelers here in Denver, Colorado. Seekr invested in the meal. Travelers came with the knowledge they were having a cultural meal in exchange for a donation.


We tested our participants prior to the African meal with a prototype of our product.

We tested the assumption that travelers would be inclined to give more money if the experience was labeled as a donation. The test yielded interesting results. Each traveler brought up the importance of expectations. Labeling the experience as a donation completely changed their thought process. Very interesting insights that will help us build a product that has impact baked-in.

The meal was incredible. Jemimah and her talented chef’s provided savory dishes. Travelers tasted an African home-cooked meal and engaged with another culture.


Esther points to plantains. She gave a detailed description of each dish, how it got its name and how it was prepared

Travelers told us the experience yielded a new appreciation for other cultures, a rejuvenated perspective on their own values and excitement to seek out similar experiences in the future.

The test validated Seekr’s hypothesis and mission: Enabling cultural and authentic experiences will give travelers a new appreciation and providers will gain a new sense of pride from sharing their culture and knowledge.

This is one small example of how travel is local. Connecting to local people is the best way to truly experience a location. Watching money go directly into the pockets of locals is even better.

Before the meal, Jemimah gave a great talk about how the world is one person. It doesn’t matter if we are from Kenya, Congo or The United States we all are one because we are all connected.


Participants learned the cultural significance behind the meal

I have traveled around the world twice. Discovering cultural enrichment thourghout my travels and in my own backyard tells me the world is flat. Technology has enabled forces to converge resulting in an even playing field around the world. Seekr inspires the connection and compassion that this new flat world is desperately searching for.

To learn more and stay up to date visit http://www.seekr.is



Why the Future of Travel is Local was originally published in RE: Write on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: Medium


07Aug

It’s Final Pitch Day @BDWCU — We’re live streaming

We are delivering our final product pitches today — after four months of intense work.

You can watch the live stream of our pitches on Periscope.

Follow @BDWcu on Twitter to access the Periscope live stream. We will be broadcasting at 1pm MST and 6pm MST.

We hope you’ll join us!

Also, follow @Seekr to get updates and tweet #BeASeekr to appear on our live Twitter stream at our booth.



It’s Final Pitch Day @BDWCU — We’re live streaming was originally published in RE: Write on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: Medium


Of Colorado’s 22 million acres of public land, the San Juan area (San Juan and Uncompahgre National Forests) make up about 3 million acres. Hiking, fishing, camping and biking opportunities are immense. One could spend a lifetime exploring this area and still not see it all.

Colorado san juan mountains scenery

A scenic view of the San Juan Mountains near Dolores Colorado

 

The following are places I have visited in the area:

 

Piedra River:

This hike is easily accessible. From Pagosa Springs head north on highway US-160 north to Piedra Rd. Turn Right onto Piedra Rd go about 16 miles and park here. The further you hike in the better the fishing gets. For more information contact Let it Fly.

 

Rio de los Pinos:

This place is very special. The population of native Rio Grande Cutthroats is isolated from other fish as a waterfall acts as a natural barrier. To get there navigate to Truijillo Meadows Reservoir.

Take the forest road at the end of the reservoir northwest up stream. The road is a bit rough and requires 4 wheel drive. The road dead ends where there is some good primitive car camping spots. Hike the trail up stream, for a few miles. When you see the waterfall the cutthroat population lives above.

The following lakes are rated good or great lakes to catch fish and are most likely to yield fantastic hiking and camping:

Crater Lake

Quartz Lake

Turkey Creek Lake

Upper Four Mile Lake

Fish Lake

Williams Creek Reservoir State Wildlife Area

Emerald Lake

Dollar Lake

Flint Lakes

Divide Granite and Elk Lakes

Needle Mountains Lakes

Verde Lakes

Highland Mary Lakes

Lost Lake

Garfield Lakes

 

For more information visit the Colorado Fishing Atlas or call Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Customer Service: 303-297-1192

Or contact local fly shops:

The San Juan Angler: 970-382-9978

Rio Grand Angler: 719-658-2955

Conejos River Anglers: 719-376-5660

 


04Jul

UX & Fishing

Can fishing inspire strangers to meet?

Imagine creating a product that nobody wants to use. All the hard work, time, and money is wasted if you did not do your research. User research is key as it removes assumptions from the design process. Developing a deep understanding of your user is imperative to designing useful, usable and compelling digital products.

Without empathy everything is at risk.


Conducting research with the Chief Fishermen of Cape Coast, Ghana

Seekr connects adventurous travelers to independent guides and locals. First, we developed empathy for our users. We conducted user interviews all over the world. We tested the hypothesis: If a platform enables travelers to connect to locals who offer unique experiences then travelers will be inclined to seek new experiences. Additionally, locals will be empowered to share their culture, knowledge and passions.

The interviews and tests validated our hypothesis and proved that there is a demand for our solution. What next? Is this enough to build a product with the confidence that people will use it?

Fly fishing around the world inspired Seekr.

Fishing is localization. Fishing is universal and provides sustenance to communities the world over. We saw this first hand while seeking people who fly fish in countries all over the world. Fly fishing may not be prominent in places like Asia and Ghana but fishing is. Fishing, whether it is for sport, for food, or both, plays a role in places worldwide. The problem is that finding locals who fish is nearly impossible to do before you leave for your trip. Making this connection requires a lot of networking and research.

Can fishing empower strangers to meet?

https://medium.com/media/55b3acaf55100a70d9bc1126f71d7bf1/href

The answer is yes. We at Seekr believe this dynamic can be applied to nearly any activity or niche. Imagine if, on your next trip, you had the ability to connect to locals who share your passion. Allowing you to instill purpose into your travels. This is why we created Seekr.

I am currently a student in BDW’s 50 week program.

Follow RE: Write for more articles from BDW Students

This post supports my mission to empower people to get out and immerse themselves within the things that drive their purpose and passions.



UX & Fishing was originally published in RE: Write on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: Medium


04Jul

They Call Me the Seekr

Have you ever thought “there should be an app for that?” This was the thought in my head when I was shuffling through 60 hours of footage I shot while traveling on Semester at Sea as a student. My goal at the time was to produce a film about fly fishing in far off places and tell the stories about the food, culture and people I experienced along the way. As I cut the trailer …

https://medium.com/media/5aade48de6f283becc3590bc282f845f/href

I thought to myself; “There should be a way to connect all these people and experiences to share it all.” I felt a need to share more than fly fishing. I had made meaningful connections with so many different people, places and cultures. How could I share all of these experiences in a way that allows others access the same emotions these stories evoked for me?

There should be an app for that!

Granted, this was 2006 so mobile applications were still a new thing, I had a vision of a website that allowed user generated content such as videos, images, people and cultural knowledge to be organized by location, type and accessible to all. Needless to say, I had enough faith in the idea to put the film on the back burner. Fast forward 8 years and the idea evolved into much more.

A Design Thinking Foundation

I started taking classes at BDW starting in the Fall of 2013. I was exposed to an entirely new way of thinking and tackling problems. I developed a foundation built around design thinking. The following Spring I acted as the Semester at Sea Videographer. This gave me the opportunity to use the tools I had learned and test my hypothesis: If a platform enables travelers to connect to locals who offer unique experiences then travelers will be inclined to seek new experiences. Additionally, locals will be empowered to share their culture, knowledge and passions.

Loink is now Seekr

After returning to Colorado I also returned to BDW. The design thinking foundation continued to grow while one of the most important skills I acquired was how to learn. The digital world changes so fast good design needs to be congruent with the latest technology, trends and guidelines. I came to BDW to learn how to start a business but along the way I have grown a newly sparked interest in the role design plays into everything. The cornerstone to compelling design is collaboration. Collaboration is impossible with out the right people. I am lucky to now have 4 member’s join the mission. These four super talented individuals have helped take the idea, apply the BDW skillset, at run with it. The team and I have updated the name from Loink to Seekr. (A good startup name supposedly sounds good when said (or growned out loud) while in bed)

Why?

Semester at Sea provided an array of experiences that completely transformed my perspective. This new understanding of the world allowed me to more purposely live my own life. This is the goal of Seekr, to create an ecosystem where off the beaten path experiences are driven by purposeful human to human connections. These connections enable travelers to FEEL the places they visit. This feeling is powerful. It has the ability to transform perspectives and revitalized self purpose. We at Seekr, firmly believe that individuals who experience the world through a completely different lens allow themselves to mold more meaning into their own lives.

How?

With a clear mission the big question is how. How will Seekr fulfill its mission to empower purpose? At this point we are still developing exactly how Seekr will work. Travel is powerful and we aim to enable experiences that have impact.

https://medium.com/media/65b18faf548673f94592ebef0848c5d6/href

I am currently a student in BDW’s 50 week program.

Follow RE: Write for more articles from BDW Students

This post supports my mission to empower people to get out and immerse themselves within the things that drive their purpose and passions.



They Call Me the Seekr was originally published in RE: Write on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: Medium


29May

Design is a Team Sport

5 Tips to Help You Collaborate

Throughout my BDW experience I have learned the importance of collaboration. It is particularly important, if you are like me and most often work alone. When people who seldom work in a team environment do so, they may find it hard to let go of their ideas and learn to build ideas as a group. The following are the top 5 things I have learned to help me be more collaborative.

1. Know your Role


Me reaping the benefits of knowing my role

I learned the importance of this while playing football for the University of Colorado (2001–2006). These 5 years spent as an undersized walk-on gave me a deep understanding of my purpose on a team full of incredible athletes. I was a 5 year scout team guy. A scout team all-star if you will. Alanna Rizzo and the student news channel labeled me CU’s “Rudy.” I mostly saw the field on special teams and mop up duty. I knew that if I didn’t bust my ass to make sure I helped prepare our first team for opponents week in and week out, I would be selling myself and my teammates short. This same concept applies when collaborating in design work. If you don’t understand and enact your role you will be doing yourself and your team a dis-favor.

2. Shut up and Listen


This guy is done talking

Interrupters are the worst. Even if they have a valid point, interrupters should wait until other people are done talking. On the flip side, people who ramble are also hap hazard to idea flow. Say your idea as clear and concise as possible, then shut the fuck up and LISTEN. While someone explains an idea to me I look at them straight in the eye and picture in my head what they are saying. I interpret and create a mental vision while doing the best I can to understand. If I get it, I like to move the idea forward; “awesome, why is this important?” or “does this align with the company’s core values and beliefs?” When something seems off or I don’t understand. I ask open ended questions that don’t fence in answers.

3. Leave Your Ego at the Door


My cousin Stefano talking with his hands in Montemaggiore Sicily

I am an emotional guy. I come from Sicilian decent, so I talk with my hands and I’ll be the first to admit I have a temper and an ego. I have learned that arrogance and ego’s kill collaboration. No one cares how good you think your ideas are. Defending ideas with solid reasoning and thought process is most important. It sucks when your ideas get shut down and it is difficult for us Italians to let go of our emotions. Thanks to BDW I have learned the importance of keeping emotions in check. Funneling negative energy into something constructive is key to collaboration.

4. 90/10


Gary Barnett gets shit done

This rule comes from one of the best leaders I have had the privilege to work my ass off for. Gary Barnett‘s 90/10 rule kept our championship football team on a path forward. If you’re not improving you are getting worse. Your team must spend 90% of its time being productive and getting better and 10% on the other stuff. This applies to companies and products. As well as the skills and knowledge of individuals. Time spent dicking around on Facebook or worrying about BS is time wasted.

5. Have Fun


Team Seekr having fun

As designers, it is important to work on products that you are passionate about. This makes work inherently more enjoyable. Additionally, its no secret how laughter is vital to individual health. Having fun while working on fun shit is the best of both worlds. Crack jokes, poke fun, high five, fist bump, maybe even give your teammate a big bear hug when they come up with a kick ass idea. Whatever you do to promote camaraderie and collaboration never forget your coworkers are humans and they should be treated that way.

I am currently a student in BDW’s 50 week program.

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Design is a Team Sport was originally published in RE: Write on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: Medium