Do Not Call

Hiking. It can be such a calm and liberating experience. Far from the crowds and the hustle and bustle of city life. It is one of the reasons we love the RV lifestyle. We can get ourselves close to these amazing places and we can explore them at our leisure.

So quiet and peaceful. Can you picture being there? Out in the the vast expanse of nature?

Huh? Wait a minute. What’s that sound?

Oh, my iPhone.

Someone is calling.

I’d better answer! It could be something really important.

“Hello?”

“Hello, is this Richard?”

“It is.”

“This is John calling you from some latest, greatest tech company in San Francisco. How are you today?”

What? Another technology vendor call? Here, in the middle of a national park?

When I served as a Chief Information Officer and senior executive for IT, I received a lot of calls and emails from technology vendors. Not unusual to receive hundreds of contacts a week.

Since I retired, the calls and emails have continued. Somehow my personal number and my personal email had been harvested.

After another dozen or so emails that day, I had this exchange with a vendor the following morning:

Hey Richard,

Congrats on your retirement from your role. DiscoverOrg is the service we use and is how I got your contact details, but I’ll be sure to not send any further emails.

Enjoy your weekend.

From: Richard Cleaver
Sent: Friday, March 29, 2019 10:43 AM
To:
Subject: Re: Come see us at Google Cloud Next ’19

Thank you for your note. Two comments.

1. I am requesting that you remove and unsubscribe my personal email address. Not sure how you got that one. Thank you.
2. I happily retired from my CIO role last year and I am no longer attending tech conferences or taking calls/meetings from vendors. Perhaps another reason for you to remove me from your mailing list 😉

Kind regards,
Richard

DiscoverOrg.

This is an online business that scrapes contact data about executives and other decision makers within companies and monetizes that contact data by selling it to sales, marketing and recruiting professionals.

The data is scraped from LinkedIn, corporate websites, public filings by corporations, social media and business cards. In the case of business cards, salespeople are incentivized to trade the information on their stack of business cards for additional contacts.

Somehow, my personal email and my personal telephone data got into the DiscoverOrg database.

I sent DiscoverOrg a note:

This note is to let you know that you are providing to the marketplace at large my personal information including my personal email address.

I receive multiple contacts each week from technology vendors and several have pointed to your company as the source of their data.

What makes this frustrating for me?

1. I retired from my corporate role last year. Calls and emails from technology vendors waste their time and mine.
2. I have no idea how my personal information was put into your database and it is not evident how I can have it removed.

I am requesting that my personal data be removed.

Appreciate your attention to this matter,
Richard

And, surprisingly, I received a response the next day.

Dear Richard:

We have removed your information from the DiscoverOrg database. Additionally, we were able to find your information in the ZoomInfo database and have added that profile to the queue for removal which should be completed within thirty days. We appreciate your patience in this regard.

Regards,
DiscoverOrg Privacy Team

I never gave them permission to take my personal email address and my personal phone number and sell it to thousands of technology vendors to empower them to call me in the middle of a hike in a national park.

The loss of control over our personal data is unfortunate and it will only get worse over time as big data businesses continue to grow and exploit their assets, namely data about our lives.

Hopefully the removal request will result in fewer calls and emails.

And, of course, I could always leave my iPhone in the coach when we go out hiking.

Every Day Is Saturday

Every day is a Saturday. Retirement is like that. Which means that the structure and routine of daily life changes from how I used to spend my days at work.

Or does it?

It is hard for me to describe a typical day but I will give it a try. There are so many variables. Without a calendar-driven day job, there is certainly a lot of flexibility and a lot of room for last-minute outings or dinners or social times with friends.

Generally the day looks like this for me. Keep in mind that Lorraine and I do spend a great deal of time together but there are some things that she is fine with me doing on my own. After you read this post, you will likely understand why.

My alarm goes off at 5:30am. Time to hit the gym. I do this six days a week. The workouts usually last an hour. When I get back, I typically give the car a wash. Then shower and breakfast.

At 8:00am, I head to the computer. I will spend at least two to three hours on the iMac.

Email — I still receive hundreds of emails a day. And I still hit inbox zero by end of day. I might spend 30 to 60 minutes on email.

Website/Social Media — this wee website of ours does take time. I can usually expect to spend an hour or two to write up a post. Depends on the amount of research and detail. Some posts are a bit easier than others. I also have to remind myself that the site is getting a lot of hits and I am not just writing for friends and family. Must watch my tone and content! There is also Facebook and Instagram. I check the former and I post photos to the latter.

News/Research — aka surfing the web. I read through multiple blogs, forums, news, finance and investment sites. And I have to watch my time on YouTube. Although I gain lots of insight from YouTube videos, YouTube can also draw you into the pit of distraction. I seem to have a peculiar fascination with Russian dash cam videos. Those Russians are terrible drivers.

We are now somewhere around 11:00am. Time for guitar practice. I spend about three hours a day in practice. I am currently working on 100 or so songs as part of my service in worship bands in Canada and the U.S.

I usually break the guitar work up into a practice slot in the morning and then another one later in the day.

Closing in on lunch. Lorraine and I usually have a light lunch in the coach. However, with all of the wonderful sunshine and warmth down south, we often combine some errands with a meal out. If we head out, we are gone for an hour or two. Then, the most important time of the afternoon.

Flight time.

I have been learning how to fly an Airbus 320. Great aircraft. And, yes, I am flying on X-Plane, an advanced flight simulator, as we weren’t able to flat tow the Airbus behind our coach. The Flight Factor a320 is called a study aircraft by flight simmers. It is a complex aircraft to learn and fly. I do the whole routine: flight plans, charts, radios.

If I’m not careful, I might fly for way too long. Even a short hop between KSAN and KSFO can take a few hours.

I then force myself to read for at least an hour or two. Even though I have been an avid reader for most of my adult life, the Internet has made it very challenging for me to read books. So much harder to maintain focus when reading. But there is such a tremendous reward in books. I have 30 books on my 2019 reading list and I will get through them all in 2019. Six down so far.

If I have enough time before Lorraine and I eat dinner, the guitar comes out again.

Evenings vary. If we are not heading out with friends for an evening, I will often spend the time working on our investments and financial plans, post processing photography or other tasks like cleaning the coach.

Before bed, I might call up Netflix or Prime for an episode of a favourite series. I can only watch TV for an hour or so max. If it is a movie, it will be watched over a couple of nights.

To bed by 10pm as 5:30am comes quickly.

Now that is how most days go by. There are lots of other things that happen during the course of a day. Walking the dog with Lorraine. Connecting with family and friends.

Lorraine and I plan special days. Might be a hike at a national park. Might be a visit to an attraction. Even a conference. But those happen once every week or two. Not every day.

I work on audio projects, mixing music. That can take a lot of hours but it is not a daily thing for me.

I have a foot injury which has kept me off my bike for the past several months otherwise I would be out riding a lot more.

With more social connections, it is not unusual for casual get togethers to occur at the last moment. Unless we have something else booked, Lorraine and I always make time for friends.

The important point is that there is a pattern to our lives, a pattern that we are truly enjoying. And, for the most part, we get to decide exactly how we will spend our day.

Just like Saturday.

Reading List

A sunset from outside our coach. Every evening we have been rewarded with these amazing sunsets. Well, almost every evening. There have been a couple of cloudy days since we arrived at Myakka River Motorcoach Resort.

We had a chance to get together with family yesterday. Lorraine’s father spends his winters down in Florida. He hadn’t seen our coach and we gave him the tour yesterday. He took a seat in the captain’s chair, the best seat in the coach, and looked ready to take to the road.

During lunch I was asked about my reading list.

It has been part of my goal setting activities for many years now. Since 1989.

I usually take time over the Christmas break to pull my reading list together. Always a bit fluid mind you. It is dangerous for me and my wallet to wander into a book store. I seem to leave with another book or two.

I keep three bins in the coach for the physical books. Once a book is finished, it gets donated and I get to put another in its place.

Although, in the interest of full disclosure, I do have a couple of books not in a bin. Don’t let Lorraine know!

Here is the current list:

Financial Planning

The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham. This is a classic book on investing and I have read it several times before. I re-read it, especially when stock markets get a bit frothy like they are today.

Your Retirement Income Blueprint – Daryl Diamond. Being retired, I decided it was important to gain some insight into planning our withdrawals.

Retirement Income for Life – Frederick Vettese. I’ve read a few of his books on retirement. He always provides good insight. This book deals with how to effectively draw down money during retirement. In our situation, we have three corporate pensions, four government pensions, two non-taxable investment accounts, three registered investment accounts and one taxable investment account. When to start, how much to draw and how to do so tax efficiently are topics covered in his book.

Personal Development

The Happiness Equation – Neil Pasricha. I am reading this book as part of a reflection on how I spent 30 years of my life in a very demanding career. Although I enjoyed a successful career, I found the work stressful. Perhaps I missed something along the way and this book might provide some insight.

The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin. If I cannot figure out the Happiness Equation then my fallback is this book. I will be happy darn it!

Purposeful Retirement – Hyrum Smith. So many people ask me what I do all day now that I am retired. Perhaps reading this book will give me some answers for them.

The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg. A perspective on the science behind habit creation and reformation.

The Big Five for Life – John Strelecky. The publisher promises the following: “This book will inspire you. It will change your life in ways you can’t know now, but you’ll understand completely once you’re done reading it. It will also forever enhance the way you look at your role as a leader. That includes the way you lead at home, at work, in your community… and especially the way you lead you.”

Life and Work Principles – Ray Dalio. Ray Dalio heads up Bridgewater. The corporate culture of Bridgewater focuses on radical transparency. I’m not a fan of harsh and abusive corporate cultures and perhaps this one is different. The book focuses on the context and principles for life and work and how to deal with challenges and make decisions.

Perspective

Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else – Chrystia Freeland. Chrystia plays a key role in the current Canadian government. As the current government has tilted heavily to the left, I wanted to get some insight into how the key leaders are thinking about policy. Chrystia was a key negotiator of the recent free trade talks with the United States.

Wizard of Lies – Diana Henriques. Bernie Madoff committed one of the largest frauds in history. This book provides a perspective on that fraud.

The Golden Passport – Duff McDonald. This book focuses on the moral failure of the MBAs being produced by the Harvard Business School.

A Man for all Markets – Edward Thorp. He is the godfather of quants and a bit of a legend in the stock market.

Homo Deus – Yuval Noah Harari. He wrote Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind. I really enjoyed that book. Homo Deus is a brief history about tomorrow.

Black Edge – Sheela Kolhatkar. A book about those nasty hedge funds.

1984 – George Orwell. Read it a long time ago. Given everything going on in the world today, I thought I should read it again.

Pleasure

Now that I am retired, I get to read a few pleasure books without feeling too guilty about it.

The Reckoning – John Grisham. Love reading his books.

The Dead Zone – Stephen King. He lives close by us here in Florida. Must read a local author.

The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith. A retirement gift.

Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith. Another retirement gift.

The Silkworm – Robert Galbraith. The final retirement gift.

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline. Watched the movie and now I get to read the book.

Tiger Woods – Jeff Benedict. Loved this athlete during his prime years. So disappointed in his character.

Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel. A thriller in the tradition of Michael Crichton.

State of Fear – Micheal Crichton. I’ll see if it is better than Sleeping Giants.

That is my current list. Might be something of interest for those of you passionate about reading.

So many great books and so little time to read them.

The View

That is the view out our front window from our site at Myakka River Motorcoach Resort.

Nothing like a beautiful sunset to end the perfect day.

We spent the morning stocking up on supplies and then we enjoyed a wonderful afternoon with family.

I had to chuckle though. At one point we were asked what do we do with our time. So I asked the same question. Well, they said, we work, then get home, do household chores, and other everyday tasks.

We do much the same except that we don’t work so we have an extra eight to ten hours to do the other things that we enjoy doing. For me, that includes photography, music, cycling, investments, technology and, believe it or not, working on the coach. That easily takes up eight to ten hours in a day.

Most days, I wonder where the time has gone. Especially on those 10-hour driving days!

It is wonderful being retired.

As a friend told me, every night is a Friday night and every day is a Saturday.

We worked long and hard to get here.

New beginnings are just that. They are new and at this point in our lives we get to shape them without a job to set the boundaries of what we can — or cannot — do with this wonderful gift of time.

Pain Cave

It was a dark and stormy night.

Well, perhaps not as ominous as all of that. Unless you are familiar with pain caves.

A pain cave is a place where a crazed cyclist goes to suffer. Spinning for an hour or two. Sometimes longer. With nothing but suffering.

Suffer, suffer, suffer.

I created a pain cave behind our coach.

Kinda looked like this:

I’ve been racing and riding bikes since I was 14 years old. And, closing in on 62 years old, I haven’t given up riding.

Taking the bike with us on the road wasn’t easy. That smart trainer you see in the picture, the one with the word Tacx written on it, weighs about 50 pounds. My Colnago bike, an Italian steel master built frame, is a bit heavy as road bikes go. It weighs about 19 pounds. My race bike, currently in storage, weighs just under 15 pounds.

I figure I can get to the equivalent weight of my race bike by losing 4 pounds on my body.

Finding a spot to store the bike in the basement of our coach proved challenging. We spent most of yesterday finishing our unboxing and our organizing from our big move. As part of that work we pulled everything out of basement and reorganized it.

After a lot of shuffling and debate on whether to keep our pullout tray or ditch it for more room, we were finally able to make a spot for the bike and for the trainer.

Last night I went out behind the coach and I did a few sessions on Sufferfest just to see how everything would work, moving the bike and the trainer into position and getting all of the requisite measurement systems functioning.

The Tacx gets power for the sensor data that goes to the tablet from the energy I provide when spinning. The coloured lights that you see under the pedals indicate workload. The bright reddish purple colour in the second photo indicates a lot of load for the rider.

The tablet reads the sensor data from the Tacx smart trainer and translates that data into metrics: speed, cadence, heart rate, power amongst many other data points. And, because it is a smart trainer, the software on the tablet controls the resistance to the rider. When the software calls for a hard effort, the smart trainer complies. This is known as ERG (ergometer) mode. The resistance of the trainer is controlled by the software, not by the rider.

I prefer to call it ARGH mode. It can really hurt.

Anyway. Proof that you can take a road bike with you in your motorcoach and you can train outside without needing to plug into electricity or the Internet. In my case, the Sufferfest training videos had already been downloaded to my tablet and my wattage provided the requisite electricity for the trainer. When I finished the ride, I connected back to the Internet and uploaded my ride data to Strava and Training Peaks.

If a ride doesn’t get up to Strava, it never happened.