Tuesday, October 28, 2008

If they didn't pay me I'd do it for free - part 2

I said yesterday that we'd do a little dreaming on potential PHUL jobs.

Dreams aren't always linear so follow me on this tangent, it's a bit long... Life sometimes seems to be broken in to 3 main sections, often we in the United States try to break them into 8 hour chucks each day:

1.) Sleep
2.) Work
3.) Play

Ok, I know some (many?) readers may throw a fit "I work 18 hours a day, and sleep 2 hours a night", right, but hopefully that's not the long-term goal. Humor me.

When I was younger I decided I wanted to maximize #3, play. Dropping out of school to eliminate "work" didn't seem too bright, so, when I was in middle school I started reading up on sleep and seeing if it was really needed. Theory turned to practice and in High School I was sleeping less and less thinking maybe every hour of sleep I could eliminate I could devote anew to play. I'm slow to learn my lessons and before long I was beginning a somnambulic journey through college. Eventually I found out this model just doesn't work. Those 22 hours awake on two hours sleep just aren't quite the quality regardless of quantity.

It was time for a new approach, what if work just went away? I've actually always enjoyed working on problems (though oddly, not puzzles. Problems seemed like a game dressed up as work, while puzzles were work dressed up as a game). The solution came rather quickly though, as you may have just learned parenthetically. I was reading or listening to an article on achieving goals/wealth/happiness, and the narrator said: "I love what I do, If they didn't pay me I'd do it for free." I had my new definition of success, and one that turned work into play. What if what you did, full time, was exactly the same thing you'd do if you didn't have to work at all? Or if someone gave you $10 Million how would you spend your day? Could you turn that activity into your job somehow? Suddenly we had:

1.) Sleep (8 hours)
2.) Play (16 hours)

For me, if someone were to give me $10 Million today, I'd probably do almost exactly what it is I'm doing now during the "work day" (running PHUL), though perhaps the rest of my play might be a little better funded than it currently is... We're close though.

I've found that for whatever project I want to do, PHUL is the vehicle through which it is easiest to make it happen. Thanks to the "PHUL Machine" (shown below), things just... kinda work out:

If you were to ask me the purpose or goal of my life it is: "To inspire others to follow their passions and dreams; to enable them to lead wealthy and deeply fulfilling lives."

But the purpose of this post isn't to teach about meeting your goals or living your dream life (if you want that join the PHUL Leadership Council, now that the PHUL Board is done, or let's have lunch if you've "graduated PHUL"). More practically what I do is split time between my real estate business (slumlord) and PHUL. The former hopefully will pay the bills down the line so that I can continue the freedom of working on PHUL without worrying about having to make 100% of my money through PHUL. While I believe the league can pay people enough, I don't think it's the quickest method to make anyone rich - it's just the best way I've found to live the way you would if you were rich.

Working for PHUL full time is a little odd, and freaking awesome, musically analogous to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQ-FC3DLKwc (Do me a favor, shift-click and crank it so your neighbors can hear it, music is a wonderful thing)

Ronald Jenkees (from the above clip) is an example of the idea of turning your hobby or your passion into your work. As he tells his listeners: "Keep playing stuff, keep playing even simple stuff. You can have a whole lot of fun just jamming out Mary Had a Little Lamb, K? So keep going." When you love what you do you want to share it with others and let them have similar experiences with what they are passionate about.

If you have a hobby that you'd like to turn in to a PHUL job, what would it be?

Even if you don't post or answer, give yourself a little time to sit back relax and dream about what you'd do today if today was your birthday and you could do whatever you wanted. Knowing that is a great first step to finding out where you want to end up down the line.

Monday, October 27, 2008

If they didn't pay me I'd do it for free - part 1

I've got a question to the readers today; it's not just for curiosity, I actually would like to use this feedback to build our structure over the next few years. So please consider this your (one of many) opportunity to makes demands and see if we can deliver.

How much would PHUL have to pay in a yearly salary for PHUL to employ you "full time" (20-40 hours a week, with you holding no other full time job)?

It doesn't really matter "for what". Any position in PHUL that makes any modicum of sense we could make work, so feel free to post a comment with what your position would be, if you wish.

We're certainly getting a little ahead of ourselves here, as the one full time position we have isn't even self-sustaining yet. Heck I'm not even sure it's defined yet, or if we have a name for it. That full time position is mine though, and for the record, I'd like some co-workers who can devote something closer to full attention to our shared goals. We'll do a little dreaming on this tomorrow in the next post.

The PHUL job that I have currently pays $25,000 a year. Right now it is loosely defined as "Director of Operations" + "Make the position self-sustaining". This is funded through a generous donation from Henry and Karen Thorne, but it dries up a little each year and after 3 years the money is gone. By then the hope is to have PHUL able to pay the full $25k a year. The problem with this is if I were to leave, it's hard to find another sucker who wants to do this at the going rate, unless they happen to suffer from the same affinity for this specific job that I do and would do it for free if they could. A more realistic pay is probably $40,000 a year, and we'd all like to see PHUL reach that point before we call this position self-sustaining.

If you were to come on as PHUL's second employee, what would we have to pay you? What might you want to do? Tomorrow's post will throw out my philosophy about jobs and PHUL that might help thoughts on this.

Friday, October 24, 2008

PNC buys National City, PHUL buys local

PNC Financial Services Group (PNC) today announced that it will acquire National City Corp. (NCC) for 5.6 Billion dollars. The market has been speculating on this for the past two weeks, and the PHUL Administration has been hoping for it for the past 2 years. We haven't quite had the cash on hand to buy National City ourselves, so PHUL applauds James Rohr (CEO, PNC) and PNC for this move.

National City held PHUL's first bank account, and has always been good to us, but over the past years PHUL closed all accounts with National City and moved them over to PNC. We even worked to bring the CPU (Community for Pittsburgh Ultimate) accounts over, despite some internal resistance. We just didn't feel it right to keep our cash with a bank who shares the same home with the Cleveland Browns. We are the Pittsburgh High School Ultimate League after all.

This lead to a focus in past years to partnering with local companies and our community. We created a scholarship for students attending universities in the Greater Pittsburgh Area, and housed it at the Pittsburgh Foundation. The initial boost that we needed to get the scholarship off the ground was given by local entrepreneur Henry Thorne who co-founded Pittsburgh based Aethon and Thorley Industries. Poiesis Informatics, a local company founded by 3 Ultimate players, supports that same scholarship.

PHUL moved our T-shirt ordering to Kaules Screen Works in the North Hills. Sourcing our shirts locally not only eliminated shipping costs, which saved PHUL players' money, it also allowed us a faster turn-around time for our order, and gave an opportunity for a current PHUL player to intern at the screen works company. The list goes on and we're always looking for ways to work with the community to improve our city as well as our league. As PHUL mentions to potential sponsors and partners: "Our league is here, our friends are here. We, like you, call Pittsburgh our home and are working to make it an even better place to work and play."

We're proud of the win-win situations we've been able to create with the other great Pittsburgh organizations and we're excited to find our new home in Lawrenceville, where the PHUL/CPU office is now based. We've received a warm welcome from Helen McMullen, owner of Perk Me Up coffee house, and now that we've got our morning brew, we're ready to meet the rest of the neighbors and shake this place up.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Middle School Flyer

I'm on my way out the door to guest-coach Fox Chapel for a day.  Fox Chapel is a bit of a storied program.  The team ("Sexof", or foxes backwards) lost in finals of 2001, 14-16 to Mt. Lebanon, only to defeat Lebo the next year by the same score (winning team pictured above).  They'd make it to semis in '03 and '04, and win their 2nd championship in '05.  The team fell out of these top spots for the next 3 years. 

The interesting thing to me is that so much Ultimate happens right in their back yard.  PCL this year and last, middle school pick-up, practices for Run/Burgh/Forge for the last 8 years, Summer league games, pick up,  PHUL girls skills clinics and Moxie practice, and I'm sure I'm missing co-ed and women's and masters and more that regularly used the 4 Fox Chapel fields (HS, Upper and Lower O'Hara and Squaw/McCahill) routinely.  Did this program pass up an opportunity to embrace all these great benefits right in their hometown, or have they just hit a bump in the road and are ready to become again a program of similar stature to North Hills, Mt. Lebanon and Hampton?

Well, I'm on my way to go catch a glimpse, and from the number of Freshman I've seen out in the fall, things are looking up.  Want to build your program into a dynasty for years to come?  Start 'em young: http://www.pittsburgh-ultimate.org/bboard/viewtopic.php?p=124241#p124241

Oh, and if you live in Fox Chapel, it's right in your back yard.

Monday, October 13, 2008

50 PHUL Projects

Day 5.  After running two carloads of PHUL inventory to the new office I sat down for coffee with Melissa Foxworth (PHUL Director of Outreach/Development).  Having nothing organized to talk about we decided to jot down the first 50 PHUL projects we could think of to start a dialogue about the year.  For fun, here they are, with no details, priority or logical order.  Certainly not an exhaustive list (only had one cup of coffee), but it's good to see some of it down on paper

1.) Middle School League
2.) Sponsorship Coordinator
3.) Scholarship Fundraising Coordinator
4.) PHUL Newsletter
5.) Reinstate Gym Demos
6.) PHUL Summer Camp
7.) Volunteer Training
8.) Summer Alumni Tournament
9.) Youth League/Team Organizers Conference
10.) PHUL Media Coordinator
11.) PHUL Parents Boosters Program
12.) Office DVD/Magazine lending library
13.) Reinstate Rec. Chair
14.) Reinstate Nick's Nook
15.) PHUL game discs
16.) Alumni Database/Groups
17.) Tournament in a box website
18.) PHUL Winter League
19.) PHUL and WPIUA
20.) NRG Campaign
21.) PHUL Leadership Class
22.) PHUL Field Mash-up
23.) PHUL reserved fields
24. PHUL College Fair/picnic
25.) PHUL Fall Elite Tournament
26.) PHUL 3v3 tournament
27.) Youth Summer League
28.) YMCA Youth Ultimate Programs
29.) After School Middle School Ultimate Programs
30.) PHUL Marketing Director
31.) Ultimate gear recycling program/drive
32.) PHUL Community Outreach/clean-up days
33.) PHUL general info line (staff the 1-888-500-PHUL line)
34.) Coaching Clinic (non-UPA)
35.) Video Game tournament fundraiser
36.) PHUL Ultimate 101 Videos
37.) PHUL Fitness program
38.) PHUL Blog (ok, so that's this.... but not sure where it's going)
39.) Survey Monkey account (paid)
40.) JV Commissioner
41.) "Improving Pittsburgh Program"
42.) Improved Web presence
43.) Update Scholarship site
44.) Archive all past game results
45.) Create PHUL Collateral/glossies
46.) PHUL History book/site
47.) Youth Organizers Conference Calls
48.) Rodney Jacobson Tech Support
49.) Thursday Pizza nigh at CPU Office
50.) PHUL podcast/radio (Tad Wissel)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

First day on the job

I drove my dad to the airport this afternoon; he's off to Brazil for the next two and a half weeks for business.  It may not be such a bad time to leave town for a spell, what with the S&P 500 at a five year low, and the Dow below 10,000.   People are stressed, businesses are shrinking, and the markets, both national and international, are falling.  There will be many opportunities in these lows and how markets and individuals ride them out will show much of their character.  Though today, on the 7th anniversary of my first club regionals tournament, there is one business that has set its strong foundation, that continues to grow - that, of course, is PHUL.

Today marks my first day as a full time employee of PHUL.  It starts without a bang or a grand event, as truly, working for PHUL has been a near full time preoccupation for me and many others for some time now.  There are many loose ends from the last few years that we tie up in the off season, and that's where I'll be starting.

For now, I've just finished a college letter of recommendation for Dave Berg (PHUL Board '08).  The response letter from the University of Pittsburgh for a similar letter I wrote for Colin Conner (PHUL Board '07-'08) last year hangs on my wall.  It's a poem (the response, not my endorsement), called "The Bridge Builder", speaking to setting a path for others.  I wonder as we start planning for the 2009 season, how many more lives will we shape this season, as a league, as coaches, as captains, as players.  How many more foundations will we set?  What friendships made and memories etched?  I don't today have an answer for "What's Next?" (though if you do have an opinion please post a comment), but I do know it'll be a great journey, one in which I hope as many as possible share.

Let's get started.