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What Does it Mean to be “Rich”?

What Does it Mean to be “Rich”?

It’s easy to think that wealth is measured in dollars and cents. And that’s true. When we think of being “rich”, we think of money and what that money could buy, or how it could change our lives. Again, a valid perspective. But when we think about the wealth that comes from owning a business, I think there’s an opportunity to think about being “rich” more broadly.

I made the short video below to ask a simple question: what if being “rich” could mean more than a growing bank account? One of the central messages of BIG ENOUGH is that money matters but is only one part of a bigger picture that includes health and happiness.

Experimenting with mmhmm

Experimenting with mmhmm

Since the pandemic, a new class of apps have been introduced that are designed to make videos and presentations more interesting. One of my favorites is the mmhmm app, which is software you download to your computer.

The neat thing about mmhmm is that it allows the presenter and presentation to be on the screen at the same time. It’s in beta and a little buggy, but works.

Today I published the first video I made with the app. It’s an introduction/preview for the Common Craft video we published this morning. The video is called Clear Communication in Presentations. Here is the intro I made with mmhmm:

Videos That Explain COVID-19 Safety Practices

Videos That Explain COVID-19 Safety Practices

In the spring of 2020, the publish date of BIG ENOUGH was pushed to the fall and I suddenly had unexpected time on my hands. COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and over 1,000 Americans were dying per day. I felt the need to do something.

Being a producer of explainer videos, I put a lot of effort into explaining the issues I thought were most important. For these videos, I chose to use a format I call “Readable” videos. They have no voice-over and use words on the screen to tell a quick story. They work without sound are accessible to people with hearing impairments.

When we made the videos, I didn’t think they’d be needed for too long. It almost seemed that the messages were coming late in the evolution of the pandemic. Sadly, I was wrong. Today, four months later, they are needed more than ever. The videos we produced are below. They are also provided for free in the form of a COVID Communication Kit.

Find these video files, over 100 images and more, all for free, in the COVID Communication Kit.

Video: Big Enough for What Matters to You

Video: Big Enough for What Matters to You

Building a business inevitably comes with a personal cost. For many, that cost is debt, long hours, and reduced quality of life. Years of toil are traded for a shot at striking gold and the allure is undeniable. The risk can seem worth the rewards and I applaud those who choose to take it.

But I also believe that now is the time for a new perspective that challenges traditional notions of business success and respectability. Who is to say that a small, sustainable business is less successful than a big, growing one? Is an entrepreneur who values quality of life less respectable?

I created the 47-second video below to explain this new version of success and the value of building a business that grows what matters to you.

Learn more about BIG ENOUGH

The Simple Life in Northern Sweden

The Simple Life in Northern Sweden

I’ve always been enamored with Scandinavia and feel some connection to the region as a resident in the Pacific Northwest. While it’s not as cold here, the landscape and people have things in common. In fact, the Pacific Northwest was a popular destination for Scandinavians in the early 1900s, many of whom worked in the logging industry. I recently read the book Deep River by Karl Marlantes, which is about loggers who migrated from Finland and settled by the Columbia River.

My friend Jeff Henshaw shared the video below, which takes a look at a young couple’s off-the-grid cabin in northern Sweden. The host, Kalle, is engaging and funny and the photography is beautiful. In terms of simplicity, it’s more than I want. But I do find it inspirational to see people making this choice.

Kalle is also on Instagram

In 2006, Sachi and I visited Finland, Sweden, and Norway. Most of our time was spent in the Lofoten Islands, which are inside the arctic circle. It was the most breathtaking scenery I’ve ever seen.

Lofoten isalnds landscape in Norway
Lofoten isalnds landscape in Norway

Here are our best photos from Scandinavia and a video on YouTube.

A Story On Big Enough Launch Day ? ?

A Story On Big Enough Launch Day ? ?

The post below was sent as an issue of my newsletter, Ready for Rain.


Friends, it’s an exciting day. BIG ENOUGH was officially launched and I’m so excited to see it out in the world. To celebrate, I recorded a video for you.

A Video for Ready for Rain Subscribers

A Story from BIG ENOUGH

Below is the video we made with Google in 2007:

Google Docs in Plain English

That’s all I have for now. See you next week!

Making The Trailer Video for Big Enough ⛰ ?‍? ?

Making The Trailer Video for Big Enough ⛰ ?‍? ?

The post below was sent as an issue of my newsletter, Ready for Rain.


Since 2007, I’ve been a very specific kind of video producer. Namely, an indoor one. Common Craft videos are animated and mostly created on a computer. Despite making my living with videos, I have relatively little experience with live-action, outdoor video.

Leading up to the launch of BIG ENOUGH, I decided I would try making a live-action book trailer and do it 100% by myself. That’s part of the Common Craft way. I love learning by doing. The idea was to go on a hike at a nearby preserve with a tripod and drone and capture footage of me walking our two dogs, Maybe and Piper.

The Trailer

That probably sounds fairly simple, but it was far from it. Despite being a sweet, cuddly dog, who always seems to appear on your lap indoors, Piper is a hunter outdoors. If she gets off the leash, she will disappear into the woods. So, in order to keep both dogs safe, I tied their leashes to my leather belt. This meant that everything I did that day happened with over one hundred pounds of canine at my feet.

This would be a challenge without photography, in part because of the place where I hiked. Turtleback Mountain, is, well… a mountain. The loop I hiked is three miles and about 850 feet in elevation. This is where being alone became a challenge.

I wanted a few shots that featured me and the dogs walking through the frame from left to right. To get this footage, I had to hike up a hill, set up the tripod, then hike down the hill, and walk up it again as the camera rolled, then come back down to stop the recording and then up to the next stop. All with two large dogs tied to my waist. The three-mile hike surely went to five miles.

Then, of course, I was carrying a drone with batteries and a remote. Operating the drone is always stressful because I’m worried that it will crash or fly away. I’ve had it abruptly lose control and fly into a tree in the past. What if that happened on a mountain?

I have two drone batteries that each last for about 10 minutes of flight time and it goes quickly. I had a number of locations where I wanted to get footage and this created anxiety about using up the batteries before I could get to the next location. So, I was very cautious about wasting the precious energy and tried to keep the drone in a recoverable range, should something go off the rails.

Turtleback is a popular hiking trail and I was self conscious about other hikers noticing me behaving in a strange way. I imagined them wondering why I kept walking back and forth at the same spot on the trail with my dogs. Why does he have all that equipment? And maybe, why does he look so stressed out?

At the summit of Turtleback, there is a large rock outcropping called Ship Peak and I had been saving batteries for that location. Just before reaching the summit, I dropped my backpack on the side of the trail, something I never do. I think I was overheated and just wanted it gone. I grabbed the drone and made my way to the peak.

Soon after, an older couple appeared with a worried look on their faces. That’s when it hit me. A couple of years ago, someone found a pack on the trail with homemade explosives in it. Nothing ever came of it, but all the locals heard about it and everyone was warned – do not approach random backpacks on Turtleback. I, of course, had just dropped a suspicious-looking backpack, which the couple had found.

The first thing they said was, “Is that your backpack down there?”

I replied, “Yes, I’m sorry…” and before I could get more words out, the woman said, “You know there was a problem with a backpack here?”

“Yes, I know. I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking.”

They moved on, but got comfortable on another part of the summit, which left me with a dilemma. They already seemed annoyed, but I was there to fly the drone around and take videos. How long would they stay? Eventually, I just told them, “Hey, I’m just going to fly this around for a couple of minutes.” They nodded and that’s what I did.

On the way out, I looked over at them with a quick wave of acknowledgement. With a smile, the woman said, “Don’t forget your backpack!” I could only laugh and feel a bit embarrassed. I was that guy.

Thankfully, it all worked out beautifully. The weather was perfect, the drone stayed in my control and the dogs… they had no choice. Despite the effort, stress, and awkwardness, I loved every minute of making that video and I’m really proud of how it turned out.

Watch it:

Share the trailer via YouTube, Facebook or Twitter.

What We’re Watching

With so much going on between the book and house, Sachi and I often relax in front of the TV in the evenings. Lately a few shows have been keeping us entertained and I’m now realizing that these are all kind of dark and on Amazon. I guess that’s our style right now.

Here are my quick reviews of each:

Patriot (Amazon) – It sounds like a Tom Clancy novel and it has some elements of espionage, but it’s not your average spy thriller. It’s stylish, dark, unexpectedly funny, and has musical interludes, sung by the main character, that advance the story. We loved both seasons. This video captures an enduring part of the show that cracks me up.

Counterpart (Amazon) – I love the science fiction premise of this show, starring J.K. Simmons. It takes place decades after scientists discover a portal to an identical world, or parallel universe, where everyone has an “other”. The show is mostly about interactions and schemes between the two worlds. Complex, dark, and well-made.

Homecoming (Amazon) – A secretive company is working with soldiers returning home with symptoms of PTSD. Over time, you learn the company’s true intentions and the scale of their efforts. The first season stars Julia Roberts and the second, which I liked even more, stars Janelle Monáe.

The Story Behind the BIG ENOUGH Trailer

The Story Behind the BIG ENOUGH Trailer

How I created a beautiful video with a phone, drone, tripod, and two large dogs tied to my waist.

Since 2007, I’ve been a very specific kind of video producer. Namely, an indoor one. Common Craft videos are animated and mostly created on a computer. Despite making my living with videos, I have relatively little experience with live-action video.

Leading up to the launch of BIG ENOUGH, I decided I would try making a live-action book trailer and do it 100% by myself. That’s part of the Common Craft way. I love learning by doing. The idea was to go on a hike at a nearby preserve with a tripod and drone and capture footage of me walking our two dogs, Maybe and Piper.

That probably sounds fairly simple, but it was far from it. Despite being a sweet cuddler who always seems to appear on your lap indoors, Piper is a hunter outdoors. If she gets off the leash, she will disappear into the woods. So, in order to keep both dogs safe, I tied their leashes to my leather belt. This meant that everything I did that day happened with over one hundred pounds of canine at my feet.

This would be a challenge without photography, in part because of the place where I hiked. Turtleback Mountain, is, well… a mountain. The loop I hiked is three miles and about 850 feet in elevation. This is where being alone became a challenge.

I wanted a few shots that featured me and the dogs walking through the frame from left to right. To get this footage, I had to hike up a hill, set up the tripod, then hike down the hill, and walk up it again as the camera rolled, then come back down to stop the recording and then up to the next stop. All with two large dogs tied to my waist. The three-mile hike surely went to five miles.

Then, of course, I was carrying a drone with batteries and a remote. Operating the drone is always stressful because I’m worried that it will crash or fly away. I’ve had it abruptly lose control and fly into a tree in the past. What if that happened on a mountain?

I have two drone batteries that each last for about 10 minutes of flight time and it goes quickly. I had a number of locations where I wanted to get footage and this created anxiety about using up the batteries before I could get to the next location. So, I was very cautious about wasting the precious energy and tried to keep the drone in a recoverable range, should something go off the rails.

Turtleback is a popular hiking trail and I was self conscious about other hikers noticing me behaving in a strange way. I imagined them wondering why I kept walking back and forth at the same spot on the trail with my dogs. Why does he have all that equipment? And maybe, why does he look so stressed out?

At the summit of Turtleback, there is a large rock outcropping called Ship Peak and I had been saving batteries for that location. Just before reaching the summit, I dropped my backpack on the side of the trail, something I never do. I think I was overheated and just wanted it gone. I grabbed the drone and made my way to the peak.

Soon after, an older couple appeared with a worried look on their faces. That’s when it hit me. A couple of years ago, someone found a pack on the trail with homemade explosives in it. Nothing ever came of it, but all the locals heard about it and everyone was warned – do not approach random backpacks on Turtleback. I, of course, had just dropped a suspicious-looking backpack, which the couple had found.

The first thing they said was, “Is that your backpack down there?”

I replied, “Yes, I’m sorry…” and before I could get more words out, the woman said, “You know there was a problem with a backpack here?”

“Yes, I know. I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking.”

They moved on, but got comfortable on another part of the summit, which left me with a dilemma. They already seemed annoyed, but I was there to fly the drone around and take videos. How long would they stay? Eventually, I just told them, “Hey, I’m just going to fly this around for a couple of minutes.” They nodded and that’s what I did.

On the way out, I looked over at them with a quick wave of acknowledgement. With a smile, the woman said, “Don’t forget your backpack!” I could only laugh and feel a bit embarrassed. I was that guy.

Thankfully, it all worked out beautifully. The weather was perfect, the drone stayed in my control and the dogs… they had no choice. Despite the effort, stress, and awkwardness, I loved every minute of making that video and I’m really proud of how it turned out.

Learn more about BIG ENOUGH.