Never Do It For the Money

I’m back from my blogging hiatus.

I’ve been thinking about what I want to write about on this blog. For years it’s been a theme-less journey. This blog has included real-life stories, lessons, experimental writing, and more. But the underlying desire I have to writing here is to learn from my mistakes. I often find a feeling of catharsis when I do a post-mortem of a lesson I’ve experienced. Therefore, I’m going to be primarily writing life lessons I’ve learned here.

The first lesson for 2016 is one that I’ve known and sworn by, but continue to defy time and time again. The lesson: never do anything just for the money.

At some point in your life, you’re bound to have your back to the wall, in the face of much adversity. If that’s the case, then yes, do it for the money. Anything. But soon we crawl our way out of it and have to better assess if the money is worth it? The answer is always no.

Never do anything just for the money. It will suck your soul. You’ll be wasting valuable time and energy on something that you don’t love or believe in. Your time on Earth is limited and you shouldn’t waste it on something you don’t believe in. You’ll resent the work and it will be done poorly. The money is simply never worth it.

I don’t want to look back on my life and regret never having achieved all my goals because I was too busy prioritizing someone else’s work, for a small sum of money. What a wasted life that would be. Unfortunately, I’ve done far too much of that in my life to date.

Neil Gaiman gave one of my favorite commencement speeches of all time a few years ago. In it, he expressed this same lesson, only much more eloquently.

The problems of failure are problems of discouragement, of hopelessness, of hunger. You want everything to happen and you want it now, and things go wrong. My first book – a piece of journalism I had done for the money, and which had already bought me an electric typewriter  from the advance – should have been a bestseller. It should have paid me a lot of money. If the publisher hadn’t gone into involuntary liquidation between the first print run selling out and the second printing, and before any royalties could be paid, it would have done.

And I shrugged, and I still had my electric typewriter and enough money to pay the rent for a couple of months, and I decided that I would do my best in future not to write books just for the money. If you didn’t get the money, then you didn’t have anything. If I did work I was proud of, and I didn’t get the money, at least I’d have the work.

Every now and again, I forget that rule, and whenever I do, the universe kicks me hard and reminds me. I don’t know that it’s an issue for anybody but me, but it’s true that nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money was ever worth it, except as bitter experience. Usually I didn’t wind up getting the money, either.  The things I did because I was excited, and wanted to see them exist in reality have never let me down, and I’ve never regretted the time I spent on any of them.

The problems of failure are hard.


Watch the full speech:

Blogging Hiatus

I’m taking a quick break from blogging for a while. I’ve done a pretty good job the past year to blog once a week here. I’m proud of that fact.

I do enjoy coming here to write. Like I mentioned a while ago, I write for me. That’s the real value of this blog.

That being said, I’ve had a book on the backburner for two years now (I know, I’m one of those people).  I started a book called, “Relax, It’s Just Your Twenties” shortly after I turned 30. A light hearted guide for someone who is stressed out about their twenties.

Fast forward two years and I’m still only 14,000 words into the book. Being a published author is not just a bucket list item, but something I think I can be good at.

Yes, I already have a lot on my plate. Adding a book to my workload seems silly. But if I’m spending time each week to write on my blog, I have time to write for my book.

That’s why I’m taking a short hiatus to get back into the swing of things with this book.

I’ll re-evaluate things after the new year. For now, any free time I have to write will be dedicated to my book.

Dipping Your Toe In the Pool

What you think diving in will feel like.

What you think diving in will feel like.


Dipping your toe into the pool. It’s always harder than it actually is.

Think back to all the times you went swimming and you dipped your toe into the water, checking the temperature. The cold bite of the water made you yank your toe out. Afraid to go back in.

But standing on the side of the pool is no fun. It’s not what you want to do. So, you make a decision to dive in.

Giving into your fears and diving in results in a rush. A cold shock that quickly dissipates once you arise from the water and realize it’s not so bad. It’s actually invigorating.

What diving in actually feels like.

What diving in actually feels like.


The pain of constantly dipping your toe in the pool and pulling it out never gets you anywhere. Nothing happens when you don’t commit. Half-assed attempts get you half-assed results.

Whatever it is in life you’re dipping your toes in, just dive in. It’s not that bad.

I know what you’re thinking. Easier said than done. True. Very true. To this day, I still have a hard time diving in. I am currently having a hard time diving in with certain aspects of my life. But looking back at my life, the times that I blindly dived in turned out to be the best times of my life. They lead to the biggest breakthroughs I’ve ever experienced.

So fuck everything and dive in. The water isn’t as cold as you think it is.

Why The Poor Don’t Vote

via Napoleon Dynamite

via Napoleon Dynamite

Alright, I have a ton of writing to do, but I’ve been casually thinking about this topic, so I’m going to jot down a few ideas. I don’t think it’s really a novel idea, but when I did a quick search, I was surprised to see the top search results neglecting the reason why I think the poor don’t vote. Apathy.

If you scan several of the top search results, you’re going to find articles that outline typical reasons why the poor don’t vote. Voter registration, time off work, lack of reliable transportation, long lines, and poor education. These are completely valid reasons why people don’t vote.

I have missed elections because I moved and wasn’t sure where I was registered and where I needed to vote (from the time I started college (’02) and my current apartment, I’ve lived in 16 apartments.) I’ve also worked shift-based jobs, which are hard to get time off. I’ve also taken the bus as transportation. What might take a 15 minute car ride, the bus might take you an hour (one-way). Basically what I’m saying is that while the physical act of voting can be hard, I don’t think that’s why the poor don’t vote. These are (relatively) easy obstacles to overcome if you’re motivated enough. But the poor aren’t motivated. That’s the heart of the problem.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs



Back in one of my social psychology classes we learned about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It’s a theory by Abraham Maslow that states individuals have five basic levels of needs. If your needs at one level aren’t being met, then progressive needs in the hierarchy won’t be met either.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is typically represented in the form of a pyramid, with your base needs at the bottom. As you achieve the needs of a lower level, you graduate up to another set of needs.

As you can see from the graphic above, the five levels of needs are physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. Most poor people fall in the safety level (2nd), while most voting citizens are in the love/belonging level (3rd). Therein lines the real problem.

The Poor Don’t Care

via Blind Side

via Blind Side

It’s Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs that make me think most people are missing the mark as to why the poor don’t vote. I’m sure if you ask a sample size of poor people about different issues, they’ll have opinions. But at the end of the day, those opinions don’t translate to action because they’re too worried about meeting their most basic needs that they just don’t care about voting.

When you’re worried about where your next meal is coming from, where you’re going to house your family next month, or how you’re going to get a job, the last thing you really care about is finding the time/energy to vote (let alone find the energy to educate yourself on the issues).

When you don’t have food or shelter, it’s all you can think about. Nothing else matters. That’s something that nearly all of my friends and social circle can’t relate to. It’s something that (presumably) all politicians don’t have any experience with.

I think it’s important that we eliminate as many friction points as possible when it comes to the physical act of voting. Think of it as the user experience (UX) of voting. Just like tech products, poor UX leave a bad taste in people’s mouths and deter them from further action. Our voting experience is antiquated and less than optimal. That being said, these are much easier fixes than the underlying problem.

How Do You Make the Poor Care?

Is there a way to make the poor care about elections? Logically, they should. There are many issues that affect the poor and their votes would make an impact. Even if we rectified our poor voting process, I don’t think it would increase the voter turnout of the poor.

What’s the answer? Honestly, I don’t know. It’s quite the conundrum. Right now I don’t even have purely academic solutions on hand (it’s much more complicated than “help the poor meet their basic needs.”). But I think identifying the problem is the first step. How can you make the poor enthusiastic enough to vote when they don’t give a shit about anything other than their basic needs?

I hate being the guy to point out a problem without a solution. Most of the time it’s not very productive. Maybe this wasn’t a productive blog post? I agree that the voting process needs attention. It has to be easier to vote. But that’s not the reason why the poor don’t vote. Knowing this, how can we help the poor vote in their best interests, even when their basic needs aren’t being met?


American Experience: Walt Disney


I don’t watch many documentaries on PBS, but when I do, they’re great. Last year I wrote a few posts about the David Geffen documentary. It’s still one of my favorites of all time. Just recently PBS aired this very long, but very telling story of Walt Disney.

Walt Disney has always been known as a great American entrepreneur. You’ll routinely see the cliff notes of his entrepreneurial story in various motivational posters. But this nearly 4 hour documentary goes above and beyond.

I had to break it up into three different viewings, but it was worth it. Walt Disney has a great story. It almost felt Steve Jobs-like.

This embedded video says it’s going to expire in a few days. So you might not get a chance to see it for free online. But you can buy it on iTunes. I definitely recommend it.

Books I’m Reading

aziz-modern-romanceI like to read. But I don’t read a lot. Actually that’s not true. I consume a lot of media (I have a post coming up on how I sift through it all) but I don’t consider that reading. It’s a different kind of reading. I’m talking about books. Traditional books. I like to read books. But I don’t read as many books as I want (I do buy a lot of books).

Therefore, I’m going publicly write about the books I’m reading. Hopefully this will keep me accountable and in a few months (ideally less time than that) I’ll write a follow up post in the form of a review.

Last year I think I finished one book. That’s it. I bought a dozen books and started reading four other books, but only finished one. Pathetic.

We’re going to change that by talking about it.

What I’m Actively Reading

via Harper Collins

via Harper Collins

I’m currently reading two books. This means I’ve opened either book within the past ten days and have read more than 10 minutes. Yeah I know, that’s a low bar to set. But you have to start somewhere!

The Hard Thing About Hard Things

So far, this is a great book. It’s a business focused book written by entrepreneur turned venture capitalist Ben Horowitz. It’s a candid view of building a business and that actual horrors it entails. I’m 100 pages in and loving it.

Modern Romance

It seems like everyone I know is reading this book. It’s been recommended to me by a handful of close friends. I felt so highly about this book before reading it, I bought the hard copy.

Modern Romance is Aziz Ansari’s book about what dating is like in the modern world. It’s a unique blend of his humor and traditional sociological studies. I’m a fan of his stand up comedy, chronically single, and I was a sociology major (plus social psychology classes were my favorite). It’s only natural that I am drawn to this book. I’ve probably laughed at 70 of the 75 pages I’ve read.

Books In My Queue


Of the books I want to read, these are the books that I have at least picked up and read the first chapter. They’ve been pushed into the queue because of my stronger interest in the two books I’m currently reading, but my goal is to start actively read at least one of these books by Christmas.

Intelligent Investor – The bible of value investing, recommended by Warren Buffett, which is good enough for me.

Founders at Work – Written by a Y Combinator founder, Jessica Livingston, who interviewed some of the most famous tech entrepreneurs. The first story of Max Levchin was great. Looking forward to the rest.

Zero to One – This is the book by Peter Thiel, investor and entrepreneur. I bought this book twice. First as a Kindle book (my default book purchase) and then when I saw him speak and wanted his autograph. Actually I don’t care about his autograph, but I’d never met a billionaire before and I figured this was probably my best shot.

Collecting Dust, but Not Forgotten

These next books I want to read and gone so far as to purchase them. But I haven’t opened them yet. Whoops! Maybe I’ll crack one of these open by 2015, but it’s not likely.



Manias, Panics, and Crashes

The Art of War

Alright folks, let’s see how this experiment goes. I want to finish the two books I’m currently reading by the end of 2015 and I’d like to get another 50 pages finished of one of the books I have in my queue. I’ll update you in January.

TalkAnything Interview with Jean Arthur

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 1.26.17 AM

The TalkAnything podcast is back with Jean Arthur! Jean is a casting director in Los Angeles. She’s worked on nearly every type of project imaginable and seems to know everyone in LA.

I chat with Jean about her journey to LA, which started all the way on the east coast and how she became a casting director. If you’re an aspiring actor, you’ll want to tune in and tap into the mind of a successful casting director. She can give you the break you so desperately want. But being pushy doesn’t help, so take notes on how to navigate the relationship.

I loved chatting with Jean and think you’ll love her insights. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @JArthurCasting.

*I apologize if it’s difficult to hear me, but it’s a shared mic and I defer mic preference to the guest. That’s who you really want to hear.

Why I Write


Because I needed a photo for this blog post.

You can count the number of reliable BoumanBlog readers on both my hands. The number of blog subscribers I have is about equal to someone looking to cash in on Social Security. You’d think because I work in marketing, I’d care about that. But I don’t.

I don’t worry about metrics here. The only thing I care about is writing. The purpose of this blog is getting my ideas on “paper.” It’s an outlet for me. It’s cathartic. I am constantly learning and this blog helps facilitate my learning process.

I know I’m not a famous entrepreneur. Or at least a hugely successful one with cash to invest in other startups. I’m not there yet. Some people think because of this, sharing my stories and lessons are a waste. I should focus on becoming more successful. Completely valid point. But I write for me.

If someone gets value from my lessons, great. But when I write posts like “A Startup Founder’s Job” or “7 Lessons I’ve Learned Bringing a SaaS Product to Market”  it’s because it helps me solidify my ideas. It forces me to step back and really think. My thoughts become clearer, my opinions better formed.

I’ve said it before, I think everyone needs to sit alone and write. That’s why I blog. Take it or leave it. It’s not for you, it’s for me.

A Startup Founder’s Job


If you’re a startup founder, you have one job. That’s to make your company grow. That’s it.

The reason why I’m dedicating a blog post to this (seemingly) obvious topic is because I’ve seen (and experienced) several instances where this wasn’t the case. The founder was too focused on his/her specialty and not on making the wheels turn.

Designers like to design and engineers like to build. That’s what they’re comfortable with. That’s what they enjoy. That’s what they know. So it’s natural for them to focus their time on that and then delegate other tasks to their team (if they’re lucky enough to afford them). That’s what good founders/CEOs do right? Delegate?

Here’s the flaw in this strategy. No one cares as much about your company as you do. Stock options are nice, but the probability of an employee’s 1% turning into life changing money is low. If you own more then 50% of the company, then you should be leading its growth. Because it’s going to take a lot of passion to get the company off the ground.

Last week I wrote about Missionaries vs. Mercenaries. I noted that most founders are missionaries and employees are mercenaries. That’s why you can’t put growth solely on the shoulders of an employee. Even if you are lucky enough to get employees that buy into your mission, you need to lead growth/traction. If your employee fails, they just get another job. Their dream didn’t fail.

Starting a business is hard. Really fucking hard. If you want it to grow into what you think it can be, you need to lead the growth. That means knocking on doors, making phone calls, and cashing in every favor you’re owed. If you’re not willing to do this, why should someone else?

Missionary vs. Mercenary

via Book of Mormon

via Book of Mormon


If you’re on Twitter and at all interested in startups, you need to follow Sam Altman (President of YCombinator). He’s easily one of the top five people that I follow and get the most valuable knowledge.

The other day he tweeted about missionary/mercenary CEOs. It got me to think about myself and what I’m doing.

I am in a unique position, where I work at a startup by day and at night I am working on my own thing (albeit slowly). While my duties are similar (get a product to market and then traction) my roles are different (early employee vs founder). This difference gives me two different mentalities when it comes to startups. I’m both a missionary and a mercenary.

At my day job, I’m a mercenary. I don’t care about my company’s mission. I feel awful writing that, but I don’t. I’m not a developer, so making the lives of developers doesn’t give me reason to wake up in the morning. What fuels me is purely financial. Whether it’s my paycheck or stock, in the long-term, it’s the money that I care about. I suspect that many other employees are like that, if not all. As a founder, that’s something you have to be aware of. Not everyone else is the missionary you are.

But for, I am a missionary founder. But honestly, I didn’t always think I was. I always thought I’d be open to selling the company early, take the money, whatever financial security I could get, and move on. It’s a scenario I’ve run through my head a million times. I blame Techcrunch. They’ve brainwashed me into thinking about how sexy it is to sell a company. But when I take a step back, I realize that’s not what I want.

When I sold Demeter Interactive, it felt like a great accomplishment. Ignore the fact it was a services company or that it was for a terrible multiple of revenue. People buy companies for three reasons, technology, customer base, and domain expertise. Demeter was acquired for last reason.

When I joined the new company, it was exciting. But it soon turned into a nightmare. I was miserable. I hated life. For numerous reasons, it wasn’t working. While I didn’t sell my company to Google for tens of millions of dollars, I did get to experience what it’s like to sell your baby to someone else and then start working for them. I’ll never forget how depressed I was that year.

I have been working on for more than two years. It’s taken forever (you can read about my journey over on Medium). I’ve stuck with it this long because I’m stubborn and I feel that this needs to be built. I love blogging, but I think it can be easier for teams and can be more effective. That’s why I’m continuing to persevering through all the bullshit to get this product out. I don’t care how boring this problem is or that it’s not going to “change the world” like other startups claim. To me, it’s something practical that I would use and it kills me that it’s not finished yet.

I always thought that I needed a large financial exit to be fulfilled. As I’ve matured, I realize that’s not what matters the most. Yes, money plays a role (especially in LA) but it’s not the end all, be all. I’ve crunched the numbers and I know how much I need to earn in order to own a reasonable home, have a car, and take a big vacation once a year. It doesn’t require $20 million in the bank.

I want to bootstrap and run the company similar to Basecamp. That’s my ideal company to emulate. A medium-sized software company that offers a product people love, and makes tens of millions of dollars a year doing it. Some might argue that I’m building a lifestyle business, that’s ok. In my opinion, what I want to build is in between a lifestyle business and a venture backed business. That’s why I am relentless with and haven’t thrown in the towel yet. What I want to build isn’t for a quick flip, but rather for the rest of my life. So if it takes me a little longer to get it off the ground, so be it.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what type of entrepreneur you are, as long as you are true to yourself. Don’t tell yourself that you’re a missionary when you just want to sell your company in two years. It will affect how you think and the decisions you make. There is no one right way to be an entrepreneur. Ignore 99% of the advice you read. Don’t feel like there is path you need to take to succeed as an entrepreneur. Missionary or mercenary, do what you believe in and the rest will fall into place.