Andre Durand

Discovering life, one mistake at a time.

Archive for the ‘Life’

A long ways to go…

November 30, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life, Musings

Over the weekend, I got a call from a very close friend who is on the verge of losing his home. I have several other friends who are on the brink of their own financial meltdown. I have other friends in the commercial real estate sector who confirm for me everything I’ve been hearing about the impending commercial real estate collapse. And now we’re beginning to understand how all of the craziness we’ve read about for years with private equity firms buying up various corporations is going to come crumbling down under the shear weight of the debt they brought on their various acquired companies.

And I can’t tell you how many baby-boomers I know of who have little to no savings, or have been riding the good times on their over-inflated home valuations.

All of this to me spells a lot of pain in our financial future as a country.

I’m sick and tired of seeing new shopping malls erected. We need more real businesses producing real goods that compete on the world stage, not more ways to spend money we don’t have.

Health Care Reform

November 02, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life


I’ve done a poor job keeping myself informed on the current status of many of our nations most pressing debates. Health care is just the most recent. And then I came across this 54 slide presentation, which BTW was apparently voted one of the best presentations in some recent contest.

King of Pop = Gifted + A LOT OF HARD WORK

October 31, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

mgWent to see the new Michael Jackson movie that just came out with the girls last night. I highly recommend it. Not because it’s entertaining, but because you get a glimpse into the mind of clearly the most talented pop singer ever. No question about it. The guy’s talents are so off the charts he might as well be from another planet.

But that’s not the inspirational part. A guy like Michael could easily just decide to walk on stage and free-form a concert, no problem, but the amount of work he put into practicing every single move (all 50,000 of them), the lighting, the music and his crew is so ridiculously insane so as to be nearly unbelievable unless you saw it.

Want to be great? You’ve got to do the work. Want to be a superstar? You’ve got to have Gods gifts, AND do the work. The bar is high to live that large.

Lake Powell 2009 with EO Forum

October 22, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

Once a year I get together with 8 of my fellow entrepreneurs organization forum members for a retreat of self-exploration, reflection and goal setting. The entire group is amazing, and the trust we’ve built over the years is rare and special.

This year was my turn to organize, so I took them to Lake Powell on our off-season week. It was a bit of a crap shoot, the weather could have been 40 or it could have been 80. We lucked out, and got the 80 degree weather.

Here are a few of the memories.

See you at Digital ID World – Vegas

September 10, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

We’ll be working of course… but also having some fun. Thanks to Mike for finding a picture that captures my future.


Forget About Winning (you’ll win more…)

August 19, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life


I’m competitive. I can’t help it. Growing up, I played competitive tennis, fueled in part by the fact that my father really pushed me. 8 to 12 hours per day of tennis was the norm. As a child, competition and winning consumed me, and it manifested itself in really nasty ways — I lost friends over it.

I never thought about how I thought

With all the emphasis on winning, I spent every minute learning the physical game of tennis. Never once did I ever spend a second on the psychology of competition or the mental game of playing. As a result, I would essentially blow the critical points. I would think, “…this is important, I better not screw this up!” Then I played it safe, hoping to keep the ball in play. Some times it worked, but the result was that I played under my potential. Short-term gain consumed me.

Playing not to lose

With so much emphasis on the outcome, winning, I wouldn’t play to win when it counted most, I’d play not to lose. I had it all backwards. I never really grasped the mental game of competition.

Letting go of the outcome

My breakthrough came when I started to ignore the outcome, and simply focus on how I played. In life, when the outcome mattered more, I started to invest less in the future and take fewer risks.

Realize a higher potential

In retrospect, I wasn’t limited by my physical abilities as a child, I was limited by my mental game, and how thoughts of winning essentially weakened me during critical moments. I essentially beat myself.

Doing the opposite of conventional wisdom.

Lately, I’ve started to let go of the outcome. I’ve started to play every point like it was just practice. (I’m actually losing more right now, but not because I’m beating myself per say.) I’m losing more right now because I’m just not as physically good as I think I am. Given enough practice, I’ll become a better player overall. My limits are now tied to my real limits (physical and mental), not simply my mental limits.

Skooby snacks for the brain.

The key to changing my behavior was subtle. It essentially boiled down to how I rewarded myself. Before, if I won a point, I was happy, if I lost, I was angry. I was mentally rewarding myself on the outcome, not the play. I’ve since reversed this, and it’s made a big difference. Reward yourself when you know you gave it your all, when you risked it, and it mattered. Let go of the outcome, and you’ll play better. Trust me.

Happiness Quotient

August 19, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life


I’ve had my share of good times in the past spending excessive amounts of money in the pursuit of happiness. Nice cars, expensive hotels, fancy vacations. I don’t regret them, and I enjoy the pictures now and again, but I’ve really come to appreciate what I refer to as my Happiness Quotient.

My happiness quotient from any particular purchase is essentially:

Derived Happiness from Purchase / Price

For example, every year I’ve gone to Lake Powell for a 1 week vacation. It’s not expensive, perhaps costing me $1k/year. I derive a lot of pleasure from that vacation, but what makes it even better is the fact that it’s cheap. If the vacation cost me $10k, I’d be 1/10th as happy with it.

Several of my purchases over the years have bubbled to the top of my happiness quotient. My hot tub for example cost me $2,200 on Craigslist. Every time I get in it, it puts a smile on my face. Now, I love hot tubs, so I have no doubt that I would have loved a new hot tub costing twice as much, but every time I get in this particular hot tub, I think ‘what a great deal this was…’, and I’m 2x as happy as if I’d paid double for a new one.

If you’re happiness is somehow derived from ego, and you allow judgment of others into your happiness quotient, well then, you had better make a lot of money, because you’re going to spend it to get to the same amount of happiness per $1 than me!

I for one have learned that the simple, random or unexpected event (because of how my expectations are non-existent) is often where I derive the most happiness. Spending a lot and expecting a lot often produces a less than optimal happiness quotient for me.

Pure Diamond

August 15, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

Every now and then I meet a pure, untainted, diamond in the rough entrepreneur. If you’ve ever met one, you know what I’m talking about. These people are bursting with positive energy and an optimistic can do attitude. They are going to change the world, and no one is going to stop them.

Many of these entrepreneurs have a difficult time raising money, so to build their businesses, they’re forced to do it the old fashion way, hard work, revenue and persistence.

Howard Ryan of Desktop Alert is one of those entrepreneurs. He’s worked and struggled for years, but his persistence is starting to pay off. His company, Desktop Alert, provides real time desktop alerts to US Defense agencies, and he’s kicking ass.

I love seeing success stories like this. People like Howard deserve the success they achieve.

Failing one Tweet at a Time

July 27, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

Several years back I was talking with Perry Evans (founder of MapQuest) as he described the scramble they had to go through to effectively re-architect their entire service in a weekend because usage was going through the roof.

I reflect on my experience of other major consumer sites as they reacted to ballooning consumer demand and can’t help but think that Twitter is a service destined to fail if they can’t get their act together.


Lance Armstrong Strategy

July 16, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

I asked Nate Llerandi, a world-class cyclist what he felt was Lance Armstrong’s strategy in the Tour this year. We’ll see how his prediction plays out.

His teammate, Alberto Contador is 2sec ahead of Lance in the overall standings right now. The rest of the stages through Saturday probably won’t determine much. Tomorrow and Saturday are basically flat stages for the sprinters. Friday’s stage is considered “low mountains”, but there are 2 Category 1 climbs (2nd hardest categorization) with the 2nd one coming 20km (12.5mi) before the finish line.

I would expect some overall contenders (GC contenders; ‘GC’ being General Classification) who need to make up time to try something on Friday’s stage on the last Cat 1 climb, the Col du Firstplan. These folks will need to start trying to gain back the time they lost in the first week due to the opening time trial, the stage where the wind split the field and in the team time trial – folks like Carlos Sastre (who won last year’s Tour), Andy Schlek and Cadel Evans. Expect Lance and Alberto to follow these guys if any of them attack.

I predict that Sunday is the day Alberto will gain the yellow jersey. It is the 2nd mountain top finish of 3. Expect him to attack everyone and expect Lance to follow. Lance is 2sec behind Alberto and will be content to stay there and let Alberto shoulder the burden of wearing the jersey. Lance will then help pace Alberto and protect him in subsequent stages. His goal will be to limit any more time gaps and keep his deficit to a matter of seconds.

Then, in the final time trial on the 23rd, expect all hell to break loose. Lance will look to bury Alberto and take over yellow. If he succeeds, then Alberto will be forced to work for him on the penultimate stage which finishes atop Mont Ventoux.

So, that’s how I think this will all play out. If Lance has the legs to win, this is the only way I see victory unfolding for him unless Alberto has a bad day, which could happen.