Video– Talk at Battery SF about Fix Maps

Here’s the recorded video of a 5-minute talk I gave at Battery San Francisco about Fix Maps. The talk format is called “Ignite” which calls for 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds.

Here’s the slides from the talk.

Be amazing today

How To Build A Snow Cave

Snow caves are fun to build and provide warm places to sleep and take shelter from a storm. This is a brief how-to guide to building a snow cave.

The snow cave in this example was built by 4 people near Skinner Hut at the edge of the timberline in late-December 2015 at 11,620 feet. Builders were Brett Poulin, Chris, Nick, and me, Neal Mueller. The cave we built was large enough to sleep and provide eating quarters and shelter for 4 people. It included a vapor escape for cooking.

Step 1. Find snow drift, not cornice. We found our snow drift nearby Skinner Hut at 11,620 feet in Colorado. It had a gorgeous view and was large enough for the snow cave.

snow drift

Step 2. Use shovel or hoe to excavate snow cave. It helps to have just one-person inside and a team outside to ferry loads of snow away from the entrance. TIME: Our snow cave took 4 athletic people about 2 hours to excavate.

Step 3. Use snow saw to create snow cave benches or sleeping bunks, save blocks. Keep the bunks above the height of the door entrance, or allow for a heat pocket. Heat rises. TIME: Our snow cave took 4 athletic people about 1 hour to deepen.

Step 4. Use snow saw to raise ceiling height of snow cave, save blocks. TIME: Our snow cave took 4 athletic people about 1 hour to raise the ceiling.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 11.30.20 AM

Step 5. Line and narrow snow cave entrance with sawed blocks. TIME: Our snow cave took 4 athletic people about 1 hour to narrow the entrance and finalize.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 11.10.09 AM copy

That’s it. You’re done. Now you can use snow cave for shelter or fun. Below are photos of our snow cave as it was excavated. Remember to keep a shovel inside the cave, in case you get snowed in.

The snow cave pictured above was my second snow cave.

My first snow cave was at 15,000 feet just above the head-wall on Mt. Denali with Mike Wood, Jed Workman, and Evan Howe of AMS. Here’s a picture of that snow cave. You can see me in the far back, second from the left.



Here is a snow cave diagram (book source).

Snow cave diagram

Have fun. Stay warm.

Analysis of 250 SaaS Pricing Pages

Dropbox Pricing

This guy analyzed 250 SaaS pricing pages — here’s what he found:

  • The average number of packages is three and a half
  • 50% highlight a package as the best option
  • 69% of companies sell the benefits
  • 81 percent organize prices low to high
  • 38 percent list their most expensive package as ‘Contact us’
  • The most common call to action is ‘Buy Now’
  • 36 percent don’t use a contrasting CTA color
  • 63 percent offer a free trial
  • 4% of companies offer pricing on a sliding scale
  • 81 percent of packages are named
  • 6% show a money back guarantee on-page

Read the full report.

Definition of Growth Hacker

Best definition I’ve seen of growing products on the web.

A growth hacker is someone who has thrown out the traditional marketing playbook and replaced it with only what is testable, trackable, scalable…while their marketing brethren track vague notions like branding and mindshare, growth hackers relentlessly pursue users and growth (source: Ryan Holiday).


A sign of over-exuberance

A sign of over-exuberance. What some might call a bubble. Seen in San Francisco’s Mission district.

Clever Red Bull advertising in hexadecimal

Want to know how to spell “Red Bull gives you wiiings.” in hexadecimal? Check out these two red bull advertisement in silicon valley. Here’s a hex to text converter to see for yourself. It’s not a recruiting ad, because this is the only job they have in SF. Must be just advertising to thirsty programmers. I love it.

52 65 64 20 42 75 6c 6c 20 67 69 76 65 73 20 79 6f 75 20 77 69 69 69 6e 67 73 2e

Red bull advertising in hexadecimal billboard

Red bull advertising in hexadecimal billboard

, , , ,

Apple Confidential – Steve Jobs on “Think Different” – Internal Meeting Sept. 23, 1997

Video of internal 1997 meeting 2-months after Jobs returned to Apple. He defines marketing as values. Sets the vision as something other than speeds and feeds. Launches the brand for the next 15-years, which you can see even today. The 1997 ‘Think Different’ billboards are reminiscent of the 2015 ‘Shot on Iphone 6’ billboards.

Worth the 16 minutes if you’re interested in corporate strategy and branding.

[via Mike Dauber]


Looks like someone, maybe mom, walking in New York, on a rainy day, with her army [via Fubiz].

This mountaineers review of the two 2015 mountaineering movies


Here are my thoughts on two mountaineering movies that are in theatres now; Meru and Everest. I liked both movies.

Here’s a comparison chart that I put together.

movie comparison

I recommend that most people see Meru

It might surprise you which movie I recommend that you see Meru. I recommend that all adventurers see Meru, and that only Himalayan climbers see Everest. Everest is too dark to motivate. Meru educates and motivates; it’s more uplifting and understandable by the average audience than Everest. Everest is about pushing beyond the edge and dying because of it. Everest is a phenomenal story of life/death, but the ending of Everest is so dark that I recommend seeing other stories such as Gattaca if you want to explore the topic of ‘edging’.

What I loved

Meru: Jimmy’s character

Everest: Seeing the summit of Everest in 3D, for the second time for me, and this time with a diet

What I didn’t love

Meru: I didn’t like the character development of Renan Ozturk, who is portrayed as the third wheel to Jimmy Chin and Conrad Anker. I didn’t get an emotional response from the way his injury was told. I’m unsure why I felt dead-pan because Renan’s life threatening accident and miraculous recovery are objectively amazing and should have felt that way. His portrayal isn’t compelling.

Everest: It’s a sad story that ends poorly. I’ve read the book Into Thin Air, and climbed Everest to the summit. The movie felt like a painfully slow telling of the tragedy, and didn’t leave me feeling anything more than I felt before the movie. I appreciated seeing the summit for the second time–that was rad. But it was a huge price to pay for 2 hours of watching 8 people die in slow motion.

Are the movies technically accurate? Yes.

Yes–Meru. I’m not a big wall rock climber, so I can’t attest 100% to Meru’s accuracy, but I can attest to most of it, and it was incredibly accurate. All the on-site footage is real, not reenactments. It’s a true documentary. Jimmy and Conrad are two of the best climbers in the world, who I’ve had the good fortune of meeting personally. Meru is legit.

Yes–Everest. I climbed Everest in 2005, and I can attest that the Everest movie was accurate. All the footage is reenacted, and done so very well. Everest was shot in Nepal and high in the Italian Dolomites. I’ve read that the actors in Everest were surprised how harsh altitude is on the body. You feel like you’re there. Like your face has frostbite. I felt literally cold during the movie. It’s gripping.

In summary

Meru: Meru Film is made by a fellow Minnesota and is about big wall rock and ice climbing at high-altitude. Meru is technically more difficult in every way than Everest, except altitude. The route the team of three climbed in the movie had never been climbed before–if successful they’d have a first ascent in the Himalayas, which is an incredible feat. The movie was edge of your seat captivating. I went at 8pm after a long day of playing outside and i felt more invigorated after i walked out than when I walked into the theatre. I recommend that anyone see this movie.

Everest: Everest 2015 is about the 1996 tragedy on Mount Everest, which is less recent and killed fewer people than the more recent 2014 and 2015 tragedies on Mount Everest. If you’ve climbed Everest before and want to remind yourself about the experience with the benefit of a warm and windless sea-level theatre, then I recommend seeing this movie. If you haven’t climbed in the Himalaya I’d recommend seeing Meru instead. Everest is depressing. As for the human interest story that surrounds the character of any of the climbers who lived and died on the mountain in 1996, I cannot comment because I wasn’t there and don’t know any of the climbers personally. There’s a lot of drama about whether to believe the 1996 tragedy retelling in the book “Into Thin Air” vs. “The Clymb”. I don’t know anything more than you can read in the books, but I will say that the Jon’s blanket statement that the movie is not a fair depiction is most certainly biased and it’s not cool of him to use the publicity to sell more books.

The winter climbing season is coming. Let’s stay warm up there. Berg heil.