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Interview Yourself: Shane

Shane Pearlman

So far we have some really funny, deep and practical answers and comments in response to the interview questions. Have you done it yet? Go to Interviewing You: the Entrepreneur and check out the questions, post the answers on your blog and link back to the post. We are giving away free publicity and your book of choice from my reading list to our 2 favorites. Don’t forget to ask a question at the end you would love to have everyone answer!

ok – my turn:

What’s your personal mission statement?

To live a life of influence and adventure surrounded by those I love.

It has rarely been a static thing. I started to think through how I would have answered this 2 years ago, or 5, or even 15. Hence, the evolution of my personal mission statement:

0-3: walk then talk.
4-7: be just like an adult with all the freedoms.
7-12: start my own religion (I’m not kidding).
13-18: a) own my own company – preferably a coffee shop / book store combo – they didn’t exist then and they should have b) travel the world.
19-21: travel travel travel – who cares about anyone but me
21-22: create a meaningful career where I can have influence and shape a company
22-25: damn the mega corp – I’ll do it myself if they won’t deliver like promised and now I can surf every day
25-27: I can provide for my family
28-current: To be of service, grow, learn and become a positive leader, help provide choices for the people I work with and embark on the adventure of daddyhood.

The change I have been going through, probably part of the maturation process, is the transition of my focus. For a long time my missions were about the bottom of the maslovian pyramid of needs. Things are pretty good now, so I get to play with the higher levels, like relationships and meaning.

What’s the biggest mess you’ve dealt with this year?

Oh lord where to start?

Early this year we committed a significant amount of resources to a project for a multinational corp. We were bleeding cash out of our backside keeping the project rolling and the client just wasn’t paying. Eventually we froze the project and told them – your project will come back to life when we get the initial 72k you owe us. We didn’t want to get stiffed, as that would have been tragic … so it was a long process of careful diplomacy. We did get paid, four months later. The big success in retrospect was the fact that we were able to keep the company running profitably and still pay ourselves enough to live, even with a 72k deficit. As I told the client when we froze the project – “I’m sorry but my other clients can no longer afford to sustain your project, so we will have to halt all development.”

Then there was accepting a project that should have been 30-50k for 5k because of the exposure. We did get the exposure and that was great, but the frustration, unbalanced expectation of the client and (our) mismanagement of timelines made this a sad ending to a great long term client. We are still friends with them though and I am sure something will come of it again in the future.

The biggest mess though:

I pissed of Lindsey, Peter’s wife, in a long term kind of way. I am sure her resentment had been building anyways. After all, Peter & I do spend a gargantuan amount of time each and every day working on the business and playing. We are best friends – heck Julie calls him the other wife.

Although I genuinely care about people, I can be very direct, say some really stupid shit sometimes and bruise feelings. Just like Julie said last night as we were making Christmas cards – “you have absolutely no internal gauge what so ever as to what would offend someone do you?” I do, I swear – it’s just a bit stunted.

This one though, was far above and beyond me saying some random stupid shit. Lindsey is a very competitive lady and we were playing cards. She aggressively was picking on Peter and talking smack. I hate to see my friends get picked on & I have very strong feelings on how to treat your spouse (not that I am any kind of brilliant role model). This had been going on too long and I finally snapped. In front of everyone. I really meant to calmly say, “Can you not do that, it really takes the fun out of the game for everyone.” What came out was “You #$%%$ Hateful #%#% Mean #%#^ Picking on Peter #%$ Divorce and Dismemberment @#$ #@$%^ #@$% How Dare You &^%#” etc etc etc. I have absolutely no idea where all those words came from. I really don’t usually say stuff like that, nor get all emotional at anyone but my wife.

No folks, it wasn’t pretty. I might as well have shaved her cats and shat in her laundry basket. And today, almost a year later, the repercussions go on. I was not allowed in their house for about 5 months. Since August, she has been making a real effort to be chill when we all hang out and be nice and civil. I can’t imagine it is easy for her and I still feel awful. In regards to the do over question that Harry asked – yes. Don’t crap all over your business partner’s wife, even if she might deserve it. Definitely my biggest mess.

All out of love (but no common sense) for my buddy. What a mess.

What current entrepreneurial efforts consume your time?

1) our software business (S&P)
3) real estate rentals.
4) the blog

Why do you do what you do? What inspires you? When do you get most excited?

I don’t know about you other men out there – but my self esteem is absolutly linked to my ability to support my family. I would clean out chicken coops with a fondue fork, I would go back to doing content, I would put on roller skates and server food and still be very happy is I knew that I was making the significant financial contribution that allowed my family to thrive. I read a booked called Stiffed, The Betrayal of the American Man, written by a very well known journalist / feminist. She postulates that manhood in our day and age is still based upon the 1950’s ideal of our ability to provide. Yet, we live in a society where a one income family has an exceedingly hard time thriving financially. So the wife goes to work. You come home as a man, “baby look at everything I’m doing for you and our family, aren’t you proud of me?” And if she is like most women I know, she looks at him crossed eyes and responds “ooohhh big man eh, I just got back from work too … and the kids want me to cook, and I clean …..”. There are fewer and fewer ways for a man to establish his sense of success in his masculinity.

So I have been blessed, by a wife who looks at our ability to run a business in awe, and makes me feel like a hero every day. Even though she works and could make as much money as I do. She is just smart and knows what is important to me.

The reason I do what I do: the look in her eyes. She sees something in me incredible. Something I am not yet, but want to be. She makes me feel like a hero and that drives me each and every day. oh and she rubs my head and I like that.

As for the other two questions: I love seeing other people win and knowing I was somehow able to be part of their adventure. That is what inspires me. That is what excites me. It is also why I do what I do. Every project we take, my goal is to make the project manager a winner in his or her organization. The better they look and the greater their success, the more satisfied I am. Every time we help a contractor grow their business, get more stable, perhaps become full time and come home to their family like we came home to ours, I know I am living my life of purpose and meaning.

Boxers or Briefs? or as Naomi says, Bikini or Thong, duh?!?

Tighty Whiteys -> Boxers -> Commando -> Boxer Briefs. Tried em all.

Given the choice I would go back to commando as it was by far my preferred MOA. But, there is a rarely spoken of side effect (perhaps Jonathan has noticed this), it lowered my sensitivity. Which, for a while was brilliant, because I had true staying power – but eventually became a problem as I had too much staying power. So, a family meeting ensued, and we concluded it was time to find an alternative. Hence the current boxer-brief state of affairs.

So my tip to you quick draws – go commando for a year or two – it makes all the difference in the world and your lady will appreciate it. Maybe. Just make sure you wash you pants more frequently.

As for a preference on the opposite sex – the low rise almost tiny shorts looking ones. Not sure what to call them.

What do you do when you’re not [designing | programming | managing | writing | toiling for the wo/man]?

I try surf every day the waves are good. Sometimes longboard, sometimes short. We don’t have a regular spot like most people, especially since the sand bar at cowell’s (the break in front of Peter’s house) didn’t form up well that last 2 years. Some days, the east side, other the west, every so often Ben drags my ass down to the beaches south of here and periodically I manage to drag someone to the north coast with me (brrrrr).

I started rock climbing again. Bouldering mostly, as I am still not a fan of heights and I really like the power moves in bouldering. It is such an amazing way to work out aggression. And it is great for those of us with short attention span. Indoor in winter and outdoor in summer.

I was pretty into wakeboarding until I tore the ligaments that connect my spine and my tail bone and didn’t walk for 6 months. That put a halt there but I still love being on the boat so I can watch Julie – she used to be a competitive water skier and is a sight to behold.

I was skating almost every day until I broke my leg last December and decided that I am slowly getting a bit to old to fly 12 feet above concrete and bounce back when I body slam into it every time I screw up.

I am an obsessive reader. Personal development, business and fantasy. In that order.

Some of you are pro bloggers. Not me. This is hobby and one I absolutly find that I love. This is my non-work time.

Cooking, video games (though I try to moderate that addiction) and building furniture from scratch with dad.

What one thing made the biggest difference when getting started?

Picking the right mentor. My mentors absolutly helped me through the numerous ups and downs of the early portion of my business. They even helped me find work, deal with irate clients when I messed up. I seriously believe I would have failed if it were not for Quinn, Tom & my dad’s direct support and advice.

What’s your exit strategy?

1) Real Estate Rentals & other diversified investment

Julie & I pretty much pack every penny we earn away with a few exceptions and are on the buy a rental every 2-3 years plan. We currently have one duplex (3br /2.5 ba on each side) which is just shy of cash neutral. That plan has us retired in 19 years from right now.

2) Business persistence and / or product development

Lorna & Tamara said it very well.

the business to become self-sustainable so that we could either walk away or sell it and have it continue to support those working for the company.

On one hand we are continually working on the systematization of our business, so that it might either be acquired or duplicated consistently.

On the other hand will be the development of products. We are in an interesting place as we do quite a bit of prototyping for some of the world’s larger organizations and get to see a lot of IP. It gives us a nice pulse on what is happening and what might be hot. We are releasing our first WP pluggin quite soon, as well as some CMSMS pluggins and even an air time clocking app. None of these are retirement plans, they are practice. But I though I’d start laying the foundation. We will definitely announce when they are live.

3) Julie

This lady is one smart cookie and I expect she will change the world some day in her charge for justice. I give it 50-50 odds she makes a fortune in the process.

What is the last thing that made you belly laugh?

Peter & I were making Holiday cards for our team and everyone we love. We sit down every year (it’s a tradition now), plow our way through his collection of New Yorker Magazines and cut out all the cartoons and use them to make cards. Those cartoons are ridiculous and they are really funny. But the best moment is when your best friend is laughing uncontrollably at something so stupid you don’ even think its funny. And eventually, it goes on so long you just can’t help it and you bust out laughing too.

Have you ever been in business before?

Yup. I’m on #4 right now.

#1 >WWBA (world wide business ads): 1996-97 – decided that small shop owners should be on the web and that we could build 4 simple template layouts and sell them at $200 a pop. Did great (sort of) until business partner’s family life went boom and my technical / business skills couldn’t carry the business. Quite a short lived venture.

#2 > PM Networks: 2001 – 2006 – my solo company building websites and online software. Eventually absorbed into S&P.

#3 > IBO w/ Quixtar: 2002-2007 – an mlm company which allowed us to refer business to a grip of fortune 500 companies (circuit city, shop.com, barnes and noble …) and make affiliate money off the referrals. Like what a bunch of you do with amazon but on steroids. We learned an amazing amount about business, sales, team building, self motivation and more. I consider our experience here a direct contributor to the current success of S&P. Died because the prices got jacked so they were no longer competitive and they decided to re-merge the company with it’s sister company Amway, which had a poor reputation in the USA and I had no interest in being an Amway affiliate.

#4 > S&P: In year 2 of our merged companies and going strong. Peter is a blessing and a great business partner. oh what do we actually do? We build teams of vetted contractors and mediate their services to our customers, specializing in user interface, prototyping and full scale online software.

At what point do you consider yourself successful?

Actually, I’m kind of stunned by how well everything is going right now. My health is great, my marriage is on fire, my business is strong, mom’s doing better and I have spent a fair bit of time with the family. But I am not someone who sits on his laurels.

The day money no longer has influence on my life.

Since I have no intentions of being an ascetic, that leaves wealth. When I get to that point I’ll pick another goal.

What was your first experience with a computer?

We got an IBM in 1983 – the first pc IMB made – green monochrome screen – I still remember the spelling helicopter game where you had to pick the letters of the word and move it around. I also have these fond yet frustrating memories of playing zork. Jump. nothing happens. Turn left. you turn left. Open door. door is locked. FUCKING HELL, GET ME OUT OF THIS ROOM AND MAKE SOMETHING INTERESTING HAPPEN. You stupid game.

Steve Jobs vs Bill Gates in a jello wrestling match, where’s your money?

I think Steve would prance around and make a big show of it. And Bill would never say a word and then with the same focused determination he does everything, he would ruthlessly demolish Jobs. But then Jobs might call his possy in and then it gets confusing. Oh wait, but Gates just grabbed one of the judges chairs just swung it into the back of Job’s knees …

Where do you do your best thinking?

In the water, waiting for waves, then on the cliff, feet hanging, watching the waves. I am a whole lot like jamie – my body is very loud in my life – I can’t think unless in motion. Julie has to take me on walks if she wants to talk longer than 15 minutes.

What does your average daily work / life balance look like? How much time do you work, play and sleep?

It is so cyclical. The software service business is a business of peeks and valleys. We sell and do proposals – busy time with a lot of socializing – it is a hypbrid play / work period. Then calm before the storm. Lots of play. Then work work work work work. Then a little burn out .. recover and play .. then back to sales. And repeat. I make the point of trying to do something physical daily.

If I could introduce you to anyone, who would it be?

My next mentor (are you my mentor?). At this point I have outgrown both of my past mentors, and out business has reached new heights. I still learn from them but it is time to find someone who has grown a service business beyond our size who is willing to listen and counsel. I am looking for someone who is currently living the life we want, who has already walked the path we are on.

What stops you from giving up when you are frustrated?

Julie, Peter and pure stubbornness.

Julie is the most determined finisher on the face of the planet. It is so strong that she is very cautious starting anything because she knows she will be driven to finish it. So telling Julie I am going to quit anything is like trying to tell the Pope that you have been thinking about it and your are going to have a little gay sex, but that it is ok and you are still a good Christian. It doesn’t matter how good your argument is. So I typically weight my fear of disappointing Julie versus the discomfort of fighting onwards. Perseverance typically wins out.

Peter is the opposite. He verbally loves on me and builds me up. He never wants to let anyone down and will encourage and pull rather than push. It is a real gift he has. He is becoming an incredible manager.

And then there is me. I’m a bit of a fighter. And I must have mule genes in my family somewhere. Because I am one determined stubborn bugger.

If Chuck Norris and Steven Hawking had a baby (hey it’s my damn interview), would you vote for her for president?

Probably. I usually pick my candidate the night before browsing the internet. I have absolutly no patience for all the whoopla and bullshit that is a political campaign. For one simple reason. You are all lying bastards, & I can’t believe anything the media says. Kind of puts me in a tough spot. Either I take an inordinate amounts of time to search and sort or I do my best in a concentrated amount of time, like cramming for a midterm, and then I move on. So, I would probably vote for her if the few sources I pick as the best attempt at truth this election framed her in a way I liked. Or she could just be an actor and save us all the trouble of voting and win by default.

My additional question

ok they were all mine but here is another: What stands between you and your next goal?

Ok, still no tired of this .. check out the responses so far

Free Promo, Free Books, and Free Insight

Me.

Shane and Peter Challenging Entrepreneurs to an Interview, Part 2

Bikini or Thong: My Response To The Challenge

Boxers or Briefs?

Shane & Peter interview the titans…and me

Interviewing me … the Entrepreneur

The Job Interview that Never Was

An Interview with Me

Interviewing Myself for Shane & Peter

Boxers Or Briefs — and other less important questions

Shane and Peter’s Interview

Few Entry, None Exit Strategy

Interviewing myself .. who is apparently an entrepreneur

Shane and Peter’s Interview

An Entrepreneurial Self Portrait

I thought I was done with interviews

My Self Interview

Shane & Peter are My Homeboyz

The Interview

Interview with an Entrepreneur

Interviewing Yourself: Me (Joshua Clanton)

Interview Yourself: Eric Davis

The Only Interview that Matters

Interview Yourself: WAH(web)Mommy

Interviewing Myself as an Entrepreneur

Interview yourself: Lodewijk

Interviewing You