February 4, 2015

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy on His Pricing Structure

Bonnie Prince Billy

I’ve had Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s, Beware in my collection for a while now, however until last night I had yet to give it a proper listen. While listening, I started reading various interviews with Oldham and the following excerpt from an article published in the New Yorker stood out.

Parsons wanted to know how much Oldham charged for a concert. Oldham said, “Fuck, anywhere from zero to twenty-five thousand dollars. It depends who asks.”

From The New Yorker’s, The Pretender

January 25, 2015

1973 Bell Vintage Camper Adventure Rig Restoration

Bell Mfg - Canned Ham Adventure Camper

After years of sleeping on the ground, we decided that a camper-trailer would be worthwhile investment for extending our days on the road. We’ve been considering a number of options from pop-up and slide-in campers, to dedicated rigs such as Sportsmobiles and VW camper vans, but with our current vehicle setup a bumper-pull style camper best fit our needs.

Additionally, we knew we wanted the camper to be adventure-ready with the following features:

  • Comfortably sleep 2 adults and 2 dogs
  • Beefy enough to tackle light off-roading and chundery fire roads
  • Racks to haul bikes
  • Lightweight/compact
  • Shower/hose
  • No toilet

With that in mind a variety of options and directions remained. At first we considered something along the lines of a T@B or Cricket camper, as well as the more conventional Jayco/Fleetwood breed of campers you find at your KOA & state park campgrounds. The T@B’s seemed like the best match, however, one equipped with the necessary features well-exceeded the budget. Eventually we started looking for older “vintage” style options such as Shasta’s (canned hams), Scamp & Casita (fibergless egg shaped trailers), and Airstreams (the holy grail of pull-behinds and way outside the budget). While an older camper offered an attractive price-point, it also meant putting some TLC into the restoration and bringing it inline with our vision.

I had come across Salt Lake based camper restoration company, Camper Reparadise, and contacted them with our needs and budget. Camper Reparadise specializes in bringing vintage campers back to life as modern adventure rigs, so from there, it seemed like an obvious match. After an initial consultation, they gave me the heads up on what to look for in a vintage camper, and I began the search for our future home-on-the-road. Fortunately I didn’t have to look too far, and was able to locate one a buddy was looking to unload nearby.

The camper is a 1973 era Bell Manufacturing canned ham very similar to the once popular Shasta Compact. Google didn’t yield many results, so I don’t think there were many of these guys made, and once it’s finished it will truly be one of a kind. We’ve enlisted Camper Reparadise for a full inside-out, top-to-bottom rebuild, and we can’t wait to see the finished product. Below are a few of the before photos.

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January 24, 2015

Uinta XC Schussin’ Adventure

Yellow Pine XC Ski Trailhead Uintas

I’ll save you the bitching about yet another sub-average Wasatch snow pack this year. Instead, I’ll focus on the positive – when winter gives you lack of snow, you make the best of it and search out alternative means of schussin’. There’s only so much dodging tourists at the resort one can take, so instead we took to skinny skis and free-heels in search of a path less-traveled.

Timpanogos Back Drop - Uinta XC Ski XC Ski Break

If you consider yourself a competent alpine skier who’s never experienced the utter low-speed terror that is classic XC skiing, go rent yourself a set and head to the Uintas. Word to the wise – don’t expect to slow yourself down, or even think about turning. As someone who wouldn’t think twice about dropping in on the steepest of slopes on downhill skis, I was at the mercy of the mountain, especially the trees, descending 10° slopes sans-edges. It’s a humbling experience for someone who’s been able to ski almost as long as they’ve been walking, and it will certainly give you a sense of empathy towards those learning at the resort. However, lucky for us there was no one around to laugh at our misfortunes but ourselves.

The Notch - Uintas The Notch XC Ski The Notch Bar & Grill - Uintas

And of course no excursion to the Uintas is complete without the obligatory post-adventure burger and beer at the Notch. If you’re in the Park City area, stop by and see our friends at Storm Cycles for your nordic ski rental needs.

January 6, 2015

Lessons Learned in 2014


I’ve never subscribed to setting New Year’s resolutions or goals. Which I’ve written extensively about in the past. However, I do think it is important to take the New Year to look forward on how to improve life, as well as reflect on what we’ve learned in the year past. So here’s a short list of life lessons from 2014, which personally speaking, was one of my best years yet.

  • Following your passion most often will not lead to monetary success.
  • Instead, financial freedom enables us to follow our passion.
  • No one is going to pick you to do good work.
  • There is no end-result or final destination (other than death). You must enjoy the process to lead a fulfilled life.
  • Social media is an absolute fucking waste of time.
  • Promotion is not equal to creation.
  • Winning formula: make > refine > ship > repeat.
  • Loud bars are a waste of time.
  • Everyone will eventually let you down. The people who recognize when they do are the ones worth keeping close.
  • The people you spend time with are a reflection upon yourself. Choose wisely.
  • Recognition & merit rarely go hand-in-hand.
  • Everyone has their own struggle. No one’s path is easy.
  • Comparing yourself to others is a fool’s errand.
  • These are the good old days.
  • Real experiences don’t occur on a screen.
  • Working smart > working hard
  • Vulnerability is the sincerest way to build an audience
  • Make time, not money.

December 8, 2014

On Mick Jagger’s Famous-ness

He is a famous, famous person. He looks famous, even if he wasn’t in the Rolling Stones if you saw him on the street, you’d go “Oh… can I pay money to look at you”… Those people who have played arenas just have different outlook, I don’t mean mean or diva-ish. but he never had that thing of being anything but Mick Jagger. He would never be like “Oh dude… does anybody have a laptop cord I can borrow?”

John Mulaney discussing Mick Jagger on WTF with Marc Maron

November 26, 2014

Screw Black Friday – Buy Local

Powder Day Saint Hoodie

Hoodies are in the shop and available for pre-order! Use code HOODIE15 and order before December 1 to take 15% off! As always, my hoodies & tees are designed and printed right here in Utah which means your money goes to support local artists and makers like myself, and in no way fuels the corporate Black Friday bullshit machine.

Pre-Order Yours Today!

November 12, 2014

StartUp Podcast

StartUp Podcast

StartUp is a new series with Alex Blumberg from This American Life & Planet Money that follows Blumberg as he starts a podcast company. I’ve been hooked from the beginning, listening and re-listening to episodes as soon as they come out. The series is currently on it’s seventh episode and packed full with lessons pertaining to starting a business and investing.

Give it a listen over at Hear StartUp.

November 10, 2014

In Praise of Data-Driven Design

When designers don’t know which problems to solve, we spin our wheels. We make products prettier when we could be solving customer’s needs and generating real value. So any company that’s serious about design should get equally serious about listening to customers.

What Fuels Great Design by Braden Kowitz

November 6, 2014

Are You a Commodity?

There are two sets of design professionals. The first set are commodities, and deliver value on a production level. These designers set their rates by the hour, and have a direct relationship between time and money. Typically these professionals have a fair amount of competition, and their market becomes saturated over time. They possess no un-fair advantage, and rely on self-promotion and marketing as a means to winning new work. What’s more, in the tech age, there is likely a product or service available that can accomplish what they are offering for a lower price with little-to-no disadvantage for the end-user or client.

Above I’ve described about 99% of design agencies and freelancers operating today.

The second set has de-commoditized themselves. They function on a conceptual/intellectual level, and have established themselves as disrupters in their industry. Think 2004 Apple. This set of professionals charge for the solutions they provide, not the amount of time it took them to solve the problem. Clients are willing to pay over 3x what the competition would charge because they’re providing a value, service, or product that isn’t available anywhere else in the market.

The latter is the 1%. There are a handful of designers and agencies that fall into the second category. 37 Signals, Undercurrent, Ben Pieratt, Frank Chimero, & Khoi Vinh immediately come to mind. They are offering something that is not readily available and can not be crowd-sourced. They’ve established their unfair-advantage, and bring concrete value to the table with every project. This group does not build business around self-promotion or marketing, instead the work seeks them.

With that said…

How have you de-commoditized yourself or brand? Can you measure your value outside the traditional time-for-money proposition? What is the problem you’re facing and is it worth solving? What is your unfair advantage?

These are all questions I pose to myself somewhat daily as a designer. As of yet, no clear answer has emerged, and more often than not, I find myself taking on work that puts me back in the first group. However, the second option is attainable if we reconsider our approach as well as think critically about the problems at hand. What is clear is this: If I’m doing work that provides similar or little value more than a pre-built template or crowd-sourced solution, than it’s the wrong kind of work.