About Jon

Jonathan has a few foci in life: his family, helping people build organizations as a Coach, Adviser, Mentor, or Partner, and learning about success. Actively seeks opportunities to travel, sail, shoot pictures, play music & games, and create art.

StartingCube – Top Downloads December 2011

This post turned out pretty long because it really touches my life in a very deep way. In preparing this I normally reviewed one episode per day, wrote my reactions, and then let it roll around in my head until I was fully recharged and ready to go again.

#1. Cube 50 – How to Change

[mp3 – 8:16]

This is an important episode for me, since I share two clips that really affected my world view.

One of the things I intend to do in 2012 is find people who are doing something I wish more people would do & promote them. I strongly believe more people should build businesses, or take ownership in their life. Embrace freedom and liberty. This could mean being a great employee, building a side business, or building a business as the primary use of their time, energy, and brain power.

A business is simply a person or group striving to make trades so that what the business has or produces turns into more money than it took to gather or create the good or service.

I boil it down to – help people, or provide value to customers.

There are ways to make money that don’t fit into the win-win situation, but that’s not my focus. There is no fraud, corrosion, theft – I am going to promote people who see desire unfilled & fill it.

That is one of my foci for 2012.

T #2. Cube 61 – How to GTD

[mp3 – 06:45]

Many of the top downloads of this month are episodes I return to over and over. This one has been heavy on my mind since I am very motivated to accomplish some major tasks.

Some projects I pursue for a minimum amount of times, like Matt Cutts described. Other times I go through the process Seth Godin outlines.

This year I know I will do a few new things, but I also see major changes in my life … and that’s merely with the known. There is a lot still unknown, so I have to both try new stuff & leave enough room to add more later.

The final thing I’ve been thinking about is deadlines for reevaluation. Both with Seth & Matt the idea is to have a period of time, then you evaluate and move forward again. You don’t have to sign a life commitment to doing something, but you do need to act. However, I frequently see people who make life commitments with no system in place for reevaluation, and thus they keep doing something for too long … I am also very guilt of this, because I get caught up in just getting things done.

T #2. Cube 25 – How to Succeed

[mp3 – 7:47]

Success = the progressive realization of a worthy ideal

This past week I met with a friend who I had not seen in a while. We were talking & he said he thought Law School would be good for me. Law School does not appeal to me, neither does Business School, or most any advanced degree. I care about learning & this worthy ideal:

We need more businesses in the world.

With all that has happened over the past month, if not months, one thing I keep going back to – How can I help there be more businesses in the world?

I’ve learned to be financially independent & have been a non-conformist for most of my life. Now the focus is very small, first take care of my family, then after that … in the very limited time I have … help people who are providing private solutions to public problems. Most businesses and many organizations do just this.

Now that I am focusing on this, I am going to set some goals.

It’s what I will continue to think about … what is taking up time, energy, or brain power in my head?

T #4. Cube 53 – Unseen Freedom

[mp3 – 7:45]

Should some of the decisions you make be left to others?

The last statement in this clip really hit home. If we load up our lives with no room or margin then we are setting ourselves up for pain, suffering, or at least struggle down the line. It’s one thing to really push toward a goal in the short term – it’s another thing to have a lifestyle where you have no periods of rest, or ability to increase the work you do.

Due to the old English, I think this is one of the harder clips for me to listen to, but it is also a very deep one worth listening to from time to time.

T #4. Cube 60 – Overcoming Adversity


[mp3 – 06:45]

If you could not do that one thing that you really desire to do, you place your pride on, what would you do?

Some of the hardest times I’ve been through are times where the ideal path to my dreams is blocked. Something happened, good or bad, that has made life more complex. The advice of helping people, reaching out, connecting with those who support you is a great step anyone can take.


Closing Notes

The plan in late 2011 was to start a new season of Starting Cube in January 2012. Then we found out another baby is on the way, so I will be focusing on some other projects.

Cubes for the next season are being gathered, so if you find something that would fit please send it in.

The next season should begin in either May or August, with August being more likely. If you are interested in receiving news either sign up for the email list, like us on Facebook, follow on Twitter, or circle on Google Plus, wherever is natural for you.

You might also be interested in the main focus for Jonathan is  AllyNation.

SartingCube Top Downloads – November 2011

Re-listening to my own episodes is often interesting and painful. I can pick up all the little things I would do different today. It’s also interesting how the cubes mean different things depending on what is going on in life.

#1. Cube 1 – Seed to Tree

[mp3 – 1:50]
Paralysis of analysis is something that I can suffer from. Another, and opposite, issue is trying too many things.

Starting, doing some action, in a small way is important. The current book I am reading is Great by Choice by Jim Collins & one of the first things it talks about is having bounds on the minimum and maximum action you take in a period of time.

If you have been thinking or planning on doing something, action – even if as small as putting a seed in the ground – might be just what you need to make your dream or legacy a reality.

#2. Cube 2 – the Billionaire to the Millionaire

[mp3 – 3:31]
I manually do some stuff on a 401k account my wife has with her work. Most people set allocations & forget it. I consider the current setup & tell them to put new money into the accounts that are lower than my ideal. At times this can seem like a rather minuscule thing to do. Open a spreadsheet, read some numbers, adjust a couple of settings on a website, but I have added one more thing.

I’ve keep records

I can look back on graphs and see how the numbers have changed over time. I can then compare that to the data of if I had just done it the normal way & measure the difference.

The message to me, today, is not about winning or loosing – it’s keeping in mind how you measure your progress & then keep going. How do you know the start and end points of the race & keep those in mind.

#3. Cube 25 – How to Succeed

[mp3 – 7:47]

“Why do you work? Why do you get up in the morning?”

We are in a time of the year where I try to dream.

Listening to this just now reminds me of another post I did roughly a year and a half ago, here is how it begins:

You are sitting on a boat in the middle of an ocean.

You are moving.

You might not feel it – but you are moving. You are drifting.

Drifting is a terrible way to go anywhere, being intentional is much better and more fulfilling.

There are two ends of a spectrum people use when setting out into the vast ocean of life …

What do you thinking about? Where are you heading? Why do you get up in the morning? How do you spend your time?

T#4. Cube 51 – The Right Stuff !?!?!

[mp3 – 7:45]

A tale about selling your soul for too little a price.

The thing with this cube is that I doubt most employers or individuals really understand the harm they are putting themselves in. Humans tend to focus on either the current desires that are strongest, or the long term desires that are in the distance. We often don’t consider the impact of the day to day long term. Part of that is the fact there is unknown. Part of it is the issues presented in Cube 25 about a good life.

The question really is – is what you are getting the right stuff or not?

T#4. Cube 61 – How To Get Things Done

[mp3 – 06:45]
Listening to this episode after digesting the other 4 in this top 5 downloads is very fitting.

You really have to go through the internal setting of general direction before you take action, but then you have to take action.

“Small Sustainable Changes”

Sometimes you need major changes, most of the time you need small ones.

What are you going to do during the next 30 days?
If you like, send me a message – either publicly or privately. Just a simple “thanks” would be great, or tell me a change you are striving for.

SartingCube Top Downloads – October 2011

This is being released a little later than normal. Next week either here or on AllyNation something on the plans for Starting Cube, along with lessons learned shall be released.

With October, there were a couple more episodes that were tied with the others, but instead of highlighting all of them I limited the total to 6. It’s been great re-listening, thinking, and being reminded of the great ideas in each episode. You  might consider just pulling up the random cubes page from time to time and listening to one of them it draws for you.

T#1. Cube 53 – Unseen Freedom

[mp3 – 7:45]

Start small, focus on wants and needs of those who can pay & improve what you offer. This is a great business model anyone can follow, but the key is to start.

It’s encouraging to look at history and see how industries and products have evolved over time and understand that you don’t need to launch with the perfect product, simply launch with something someone is willing to pay for & build upon it. Sometimes, when you start, that someone is you – investing your own resources into the project.

T#1. Cube 25 – How to Succeed


[mp3 – 7:47]

What are you becoming?

This is a close second on the absolute all time most downloaded episode list & for good reason. It fits so perfectly with Cube 57. It outlines something that all people want & few achieve: Success

We are in a time where you have two groups of people:
1. those who want to be free to achieve & willing to work for it
2. those who want what they want & are willing to take from others to get it

This is not unique, but even if the second group is successful in forcing the wealth of the first group from them, given enough time the first group will still be better off and the second group will be in about the same place — because of what they are becoming.

T#3. Cube 29 – Freedom System

[mp3 – 6:43]

This really outlines a major difference between how I desire to build and do business, compared to others.

It’s interesting how he mentioned “what you are becoming” and focusing on needs – outlined in the previous two episodes.

I listen to this & realize there are some areas I need to study still.

T#3. Cube 34 – Life is too Complex for One Tweet

[mp3 – 6:20]

Soundbites tend to either be right what a person needs, or the opposite. People who tend to run hard at any project need to slow down, those who wait for perfection or all the green lights need to act. Just having one rule of thumb tends to have terrible results when the situation changes.

Figuring out who you want to help is a key part of doing anything involving trade or business.

T#3. Cube 49 – Price of Cheap : Paying Peanuts for Skyscrapers

[mp3 – 8:00]

Given enough time – you will hire someone to do something for you. It might be someone to clean your car, walk your dog, mow your grass, or something for your business. This episode is not exactly saying “you get what you pay for” but it is saying that if the market rate, or rate from someone you trust is significantly higher than another bid … monkeys might be involved.

This applies to both how you should price yourself, where you are not a monkey, and when hiring people.

T#3. Cube 64 – What to do Next

[mp3 – 07:30]

Some of the saddest times for me is when I go back through notes and see lessons I had realized years ago, but did not make a change.

One of the reasons I like sports is that they are always focused on achieving a worthy goal. Win the game, win the match, win the Superbowl, gold medal, or championship, but they also mirror the issues that we have in life.

I’ve learned a lot from sports, both participants and commentators, over the years about achieving success, but the biggest thing is dealing with failure.

SartingCube Top Downloads – September 2011

This is being released a little late, but for information & just the process of re-listening to each episode is really good.

#1. Cube 25 – How to Succeed

[mp3 – 10:30]
In September I took a good amount of time thinking about my thinking, which is talked about in this cube. I tried to go one step farther & wrote down both things I knew and know I do not know.

It inspired several posts, and has allowed me to relax on the release schedule for StartingCube. Even caused me to decide to take some time away from producing cubes. Now I am working on picking the things I need to do to progress towards my worthy goals.

Are you doing the same?

It’s no shock in a month with no new releases that this episode would be the highest downloaded, it’s that good.

T#2. Cube 63 – Pursuing Moving Cheese

[mp3 – 08:20]

Change happens. Ask anyone over the age of 30 and they can tell you of all types of changes in industries, technologies, and their community that has changed over time. We also live in a time where large groups of people are desiring change to occur, no matter if it is with the economy of government – generally people both desire and fear change.

This episode does a good job of sharing examples of people who have both adapted and hid in their shell, attempting to keep eating on the cheese that is already gone.

T#2. Cube 62 – Feedback & Signals: Little Things for Success


[mp3 – 07:11]

Incentives are vitally important in any organization. Feedback systems are ways to communicate the incentives to the people involved. This is something that I think about on a regular basis when working with clients, students, and partners.

T#2. Cube 61 – How to Get Things Done


[mp3 – 06:45]

This has been a great inspirational episode. Matt Cutts does a great job outlining a way to make major change in your life. The set a due date, outlined by Seth Godin, has also been used successfully many times.

I get out this episode every time I have a new idea for a venture.

T#5. Cube 47 – Culture Game : How to make or succeed in one



[mp3 – 8:05]

The right culture is important, this goes well with the incentives discussion in Cube 62 & many others.

It also applies to all organizations you might be involved with, especially those who have lasted a good period of time.

T#5. Cube 65 – Are Others Needed for Big Dreams?


[mp3 – 09:00]

Leadership is a word that many use, but often the speaker does not mean what you understand them to mean.

It’s a topic worth studying no matter where you are, for to achieve a big dream …

T#5. Cube 66 – Basics : Keys to Improving Your Results



[mp3 – 09:20]
Desperation is a strong motivator. It causes a person to develop a new and different solution to a monstrous situation.

Basics are always a good thing to review.

With Cube 66 being the last episode of Season 1, it’s a really good one to leave up for anyone, new or old.

SartingCube Top Downloads – August 2011

August is traditionally a rough month for media. People tent to be on vacations & out of their normal routine. During August I traveled a bit myself & had sick children to take care of, a sick dog too. It’s been good to take time today to review such great episodes.


#1. Cube 61 – How to Get Things Done

[mp3 – 06:45]

One of the most practical Cubes that has been released, the practical steps are steps that anyone can take to make a dream a reality.

I’m at a point where it could be easy to just settle into the life that I have, but there are desires of helping more organizations and businesses that cause me to want to add and subtract from my life. Projects I need to just put a due date on & start working. Might be a novel, might be a program. A key for me is to have enough time or margin in my life and that means I need to work on that other side & drop some demands on my time.

This is a really good episode & I can see why it was the #1 downloaded in August 2011.


#2. Cube 63 – Pursuing Moving Cheese

[mp3 – 08:20]

The phrase “moving cheese” is a reference to the book Who Moved My Cheese? a story that goes through dealing with change.

Free is a wonderful book, which I received in audio form for free, but then I purchased two copies of the physical book. One to keep in my collection & one to share with people.

A key element of this episode is that change will happen the question is will you be ready to deal with it or not?


#3. Cube 60 – Overcoming Adversity


[mp3 – 06:45]

Change seemed to be in the air in August. This one looked at what some small businesses were doing, along with one mindset of an NFL Player during the 2011 labor dispute.

The most interesting comment to me this time I listened was Ray Lewis talking about how business is about putting people together. It’s a good insight from this man who I have learned to respect a lot over the past year.


#4. Cube 25 – How to Succeed

[mp3 – 7:47]

This is a great piece that is well worth listening to on a regular basis, thus not a surprise people have shared it & returning to it again and again.

“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal.”

That’s something worth hearing again and again, too.

What are you thinking about?


T#5. Cube 59 – Do More : Building Fans & Customers

[mp3 – 10:30]

“Start Wiring Now” is a great message, and this cube shows great reasons why.

Look longer term is another message from this that rings true to me. You have to do stuff that plants crops that you can harvest later on.

See a theme of the top downloaded episodes this month yet?


T#5. Cube 2 – the Billionaire to the Millionaire

[mp3 – 3:31]

Find what works & do it over and over and over. Does not sound glamorous, it could be, but it is a key lesson & how you get to a large collection of anything.

You know who always wins.

Keep that in mind & keep striving for your dreams.


Closing Thoughts

One of the great things about how we have done Starting Cube is that the content is evergreen. An episode might hit you one way today & a totally different one in a year. That’s why the Random Artwork page is a great way to get a daily dose, just fire it up & see the suggestions, pick the image that you like & listen.


Starting Cube Special Update 2011-09

Today I have a special update. As fans have picked up on, many of the recent cubes have been about changing, improving, and failing. This has not been just due to the great messages all hitting at once, but has correlated with events in my personal & professional life. Now, a little about what has happened & what I am thinking.

Here is the rest in audio format:

[mp3 – 12:58]

When I started doing starting cube nearly 8 months ago there were a few goals:
– share great things I’ve found (or in the future others too)
– promote great things that
– help people develop solutions or offer value to the world

The idea was simple, provide a starting point & see what happens. Twice a week, a short audio podcast for people to chew on.

The style has shifted & changed over time, with more creativity of piecing together parts being the most recent focus.

The thing is that doing each episode takes a good bit of time, something we all have limits on.

Jim Collins produced a great concept in Good to Great called the Hedgehog concept. It says that the spot, area, or nitch you really want to be in combines three things:
– your strengths
– your passions
– your economic engine

My strengths are well-known, they involve organizations, systems, people, communications, processes, and other social science stuff.

My passions are pretty simple too — private solutions to public problems, I have more but that is the overarching theme.

Now economic engine.

Jim actually revised this a little for “social sector” or non-profit sector breaking it from a Profit per X into three individual sub-engines:
– cashflow
– brand equity
– time – people

I see that ringing true for all organizations & for all people.

That’s the area I have to work on, both as an individual and as an overall organization – that StartingCube is just a small mart of.

Moving forward I see three main options:

1. more people
2. less cubes per week
3. just less & random

1. more people
I would love others to be involved. If the right people appear and work with me on Starting Cube, it can continue & grow. If you want to help out, send me an email (use forum in sidebar)

2. less cubes per week – I’ve considered committing to 1 new cube per week & might go with this if I feel that some discussion or communication, or even a new podcast could be developed to help people more. This is sorta the middle ground.

3. just less & random
Bottom line is I will continue to go through audio, video and other media & want to share great stuff to people I believe it’ll help. I will continue to promote people I believe in and causes I want to see succeed. That’s just a part of who I am.

Thus, I don’t see StartingCube ever truly dying, but the release could be sporadic. The best thing one could do to keep up with releases is sign up for the email list.

Cube66 – Basics : Keys to Improving Your Results

Improving is a key to achieving a great result.

This cube looks at parts from Built to Last by Jim Collins & Poke the Box by Seth Godin.


[mp3 – 09:20] One-Click Subscriptions: Zune : iTunes : RSS


Starting Questions:

  1. What was the last experiment you tried? What will be your next?
  2. Are the projects you should eliminate from your life?
  3. What is your destination, either long term or next step?

Cube65 – Are Others Needed for Big Dreams?

Leadership is a topic that one tends to either contribute a lot to or nothing at all.

This cube looks at achieving big dreams and getting others involved by looking at leadership. First with Good to Great by Jim Collins, then Team of Rivals – looking at Abraham Lincoln, then a quotation by Vince Lombardi.

The first question is how much leadership is needed to achieve greatness.


[mp3 – 09:00] One-Click Subscriptions: Zune : iTunes : RSS


Starting Questions:

  1. Who has been someone who really influenced a group you were involved in?
  2. What have you learned about leading others?
  3. Do you need to find more people with the right skills, abilities, talent, or characteristics?

Cube64 – What to do Next

Given enough time & big enough goals – you will fail. The best news is that you will get another chance.

After missing one release date, we come back and look at Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell & NFL Films Presents episode on the Loyola Bulldogs (hulu)


[mp3 – 07:30] One-Click Subscriptions: Zune : iTunes : RSS


Starting Questions:

  1. Have you been setting goals that stretch yourself?
  2. Has something in your past been holding you back from stretching again?

Cube 63 – Pursuing Moving Cheese

Cheese gets moved, change happens, technology causes industries to disappear.
If almost all content goes to *free* – what is the secret that Monty Python & Engadget has found to making money off making content?

What you will hear is about a Dream – a dream that Monty Python had … then Chris Anderson from his book titled Free tell the story of why you could see the entire Monty Python clip for free (you can video below) & finally Jeff Jarvis on TWIG 82

[mp3 – 08:20] One-Click Subscriptions: Zune : iTunes : RSS


Starting Questions:

  1. What would you do if your primary way of earning money disappears?
  2. Are there ways you can produce more value at little or no cost to you?