Flying drones instead of being one

Drone
noun
1. the male of the honeybee and other bees, stingless and making no honey.

2.

  1. an unmanned aircraft or ship that can navigate autonomously, without human control or beyond line of sight:
    the GPS of a U.S. spy drone.
  2. (loosely) any unmanned aircraft or ship that is guided remotely:
    a radio-controlled drone.
3. a person who lives on the labor of others; parasitic loafer.
4. a drudge.
The saved draft for this post is over eight months old at this point. I hit the “add post” button way back then to write about my idea of starting a business. Then the business got rolling and though I had every intention of returning to this post and… actually writing something… there was always something more pressing to do. I think maybe 3-4 months in I came here and added that definition of “drone”. Then it sat idle again, while I did anything but. Now I find myself racking my brain to figure out how to properly recap an extremely hectic eight months.
Going way back to when I started this blog, I had made clear that the way forward to getting what I wanted out of life was to cut expenses. The blog itself was about living cheaply and not worrying about the typical American mentality of “keeping up with the Joneses”. That mentality hasn’t changed, but somewhere along the way I decided to also pursue another avenue as well. At this point it’s lost to me exactly when, where, or how I came to the decision to pursue a drone services business, but in retrospect I can now see that the building blocks were being laid for years.
Home storm (1 of 2)
This business idea was something I had had in the back of my mind for years, back 3-4 years ago when multi-rotors were coming into common use, but before “drone” had become a household word. It was obvious that a ripe market for diverse uses was ready to be tapped, but I was busy working 60 hour weeks and doubted my abilities to successfully run a business. Fast-forward to late last year and there is at least one strong catalyst to this endeavor that I can clearly point out. I’ve had the book Good to Great by Jim Collins sitting on my bookshelf for at least five years now – anonymously inter-officed to me by someone at work. The title made it sound gimmicky and self-helpish, exactly type of book I don’t like, so there it sat on the shelf for quite a long time. I actually nearly threw it out a few times when cleaning. Then one day I needed some reading material while relaxing in the pool, so I brought it and read the preface and immediately realized that the book was not at all what I had pegged it as, and that I had been missing out on something genuinely great (pun maybe intended) all these years. The book contains a lot of very in-depth research about what makes great companies great, but one observation that Collins made really stuck in my mind. It was the idea of what he called the “hedgehog concept”. Put simply, Collins said that all companies that sustained greatness had a very solid understanding of what they could and, equally importantly, could not be the very best at. It was also something that excited them, something that was worth getting out of bed for and something they felt strongly about. Equally importantly, it was something that made economic sense – something there was a market for. This idea stuck with me and remains clear and present to this day.Heritage Center (1 of 1)
Sometime late last year I decided to dive in. I spent a few weeks studying for my Part 107 sUAS pilot certificate and passed with a 97% in mid January. In the meantime, I had ordered a couple of DJI drones to get things started. That’s right around the point at which I started this post with nothing more than title. Things progressed rapidly from there and there’s no reason for a play-by-play recap, nor was that ever the intention of this post. What is worth mentioning is the one theme that has stood out along the way. When running your own business, you are your own everything: marketing department, sales department, social media coordinator, operations manager, financial controller, customer service, etc. I have had to learn website building, search engine optimization, online marketing, social media management and many other aspects that go with running almost any business nowadays. More important though, is what I haven’t had to learn and how it ties into my belief that the groundwork for this venue has been slowly being laid for years. Thanks to exceptionally diverse professional experience as well as years spent in personal study, I already had a thorough understanding of outside sales, market analysis, operations management, managerial accounting, and operations efficiency techniques – and I knew how to fly RC aircraft. These skills and areas of knowledge became a significant competitive advantage in what turns out to be a very supply-flooded market.
At least in Colorado, drone service providers are a dime for ten dozen. The Part 107 test is easy to pass and relatively cheap to take. Combine this with low startup costs (literally all you need is a $499 refurb Phantom 3) and suddenly there’s someone on every block becoming a drone services provider. However, a certificate only makes you legal and owning a drone only gives you potential to fly. Combining those two things does not automatically give you a viable drone services business, let alone a successful one. Through social media and professional groups, I’ve watched myriad other operators flop and flounder trying to make headway in a flooded market. The market may be flooded with “providers” who have a certificate and a flying camera, but the vast majority lack direction and the necessary business acumen to create something successful. It was this observation that brought me back to Collins’s hedgehog concept. I may not have the startup capital to have the equipment necessary to shoot commercials for BMW. I have neither the time nor desire to become a professional enough video editor to compete with video production companies that also utilize drones. But I do have the business skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to be the very best at providing high-value, basic drone services.
edited 1 (1 of 7)
As Collins recommended, I have stuck to that hedgehog concept religiously, taking only actions in line with it for the purpose of furthering it. It has been incredible to watch, over the course of only half a year, the business go from doing freebies, to doing sub-contractor work, to having a few organic jobs per month, to having a few organic jobs per week – which at this point is essentially the capacity I can handle while still working a full-time job. Feedback from customers continues to validate my business approach and my hedgehog concept, as does the rapid increase in work we’re receiving.
Now I find myself rapidly approaching a crossroads. If I want to fly drones for a living rather than be one, I have to make the leap to a full-time business. But when is the right time? Hopefully it won’t take me another eight months to update this blog and answer (or at least mull over) that question.
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Want to actually check out the business? Our website can be found here: www.adventureuav.com
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Why the orange guy is the right choice

No witty or funny title, just straight to the point – like this post will be. This election has brought unprecedented levels of empty rhetoric and irrelevant bullshit to public discourse. It’s an age-old propaganda strategy called “muddying the water”. Spam so much bullshit into public discussion that people either no longer know or no longer care what is actually relevant and what is actually true. Allow me to briefly cut through it all, because there are some major issues we face in this election that are at the heart of the more often talked about issues, and none of them are getting airtime. Once you recognize these root issues and weigh out how the candidates will actually affect them (not how they say they’ll affect them), Trump becomes the obvious choice of the person capable of critical thinking. Here’s why…

#1.

It’s becoming increasingly obvious to me that this election is likely to be a referendum on free speech. It is without a doubt the most critical issue facing Americans in this election.What? Most critical issue, yet you haven’t heard it mentioned at a debate or obsessed over on a cable news talk show? That’s because the corporate owned media propaganda machine (notice I didn’t say “liberal” or “conservative” – they’re all the same) wants you to stay blind to this one. Within only the past several years, and especially with the emergence of “black lives matter” and the idea of “safe spaces” there has a been a veiled, but very concerted attack on free speech in this country. This country that only a few, short years ago valued this right above all others is rapidly transforming into a place where speaking your mind is very dangerous. Make no mistake, this is not a left and right issue. Both sides of the aisle do it, they simply have different ideas of what free speech they want to suppress. The right wants to remove your ability to criticize authority (see: anything negative about police, military, the flag, patriotism, ‘Merika, etc.) and the left wants to remove your ability to criticize… pretty much everything else (anything negative about blacks, Muslims, feminists, liberal leaders, or, if you’re white and male, nearly anything that comes out of your mouth). As they advance this agenda together, we’re rapidly losing our ability to do or say anything other than simply heading off to work every day  with our heads down and mouths shut to be a good, corporate money making drones – exactly what our wealthy masters want.Liberals never miss a chance to call Trump Hitler and claim he’ll bring fascism to American, but what could be more fascist than them using cries of “racism!” and “hate speech!” to shut down any opinion that disagrees with their own? The First Amendment doesn’t exist to protect statements that people enjoy hearing or the act of saluting the flag. It exists to protect the triggering, controversial, nasty speech on the margins of society – because those people deserve to voice their opinions too, whether you like it and agree with it or not. It exists to protect those that want to sit out the national anthem, yell “fuck the police”, and shit on the flag before burning it. It exists to protect people that want to say all lives matter, that black people commit the vast majority of violent crime, and that feminists are just angry ugly girls. Attempts from both sides to suppress this free speech are anathema to everything America is supposed to stand for. And, in an ultimate irony, these suppression efforts are done in the name of FREEDOM!!!! Because no one can argue against FREEDOM!!!! Freedom for who? “Freedom” for the people the speech offends. I’m sorry, but free speech is protected by the First Amendment. There is nothing in the Bill of Rights that guarantees you a right to not be offended.

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So, on this issue, why Trump? Whether intentional or not, Trump is returning free speech to America. All those “deplorables”? It’s their speech the First Amendment is protecting. You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to agree with it. They have a RIGHT to say it. With Trump in the public eye saying controversial and outrageous things on almost a daily basis, people are again feeling comfortable speaking their minds publicly as well – as they should. He has changed national discourse and returned marginalized voices that had been beaten down by the speech suppression machine. He has fueled the rise of free speech advocates like Milo Yiannopoulos. His public antics and his supporters’ awakening has been the first real challenge to speech suppression since its inception. Of course, it has resulted in the escalation of speech suppression rhetoric as well. Cries of “racism!” and “bigot!” are at all time highs. Think illegals don’t belong here? You’re a racist. Think we shouldn’t import terrorists? You’re a bigot. Think the disproved gender-based wage gap is… disproved? You’re a sexist. But people aren’t having it anymore. They’re fighting back. And if we’re being honest, it’s because Trump set the ball in motion. Regardless of what Trump’s policy may be in this area, his own disregard for political correctness sends the message to the nation at large that it’s once again acceptable to speak your mind. The stuff coming out might not be pretty and it might trigger your sensitive self, but that’s exactly the type of stuff we need to ensure is always free to be said.

As in all other cases, Hillary will provide us more of the same – in this case: speech suppression. Her campaign’s and supporters’ constant cries of racism and sexism against statements and actions that are not remotely either is easy proof of this. The DNC went to extraordinary lengths to ensure Bernie supporters were not heard at the convention or the voting booth, and that dissenters were hidden away behind a massive wall. Voting is the very pinnacle of free speech. The DNC ran a biased, rigged election and did everything in their power to making voting difficult. This is not a group of people who value your speech rights. As much as the GOP hated Trump, they ran a fair election even knowing it would likely result in him being the nominee.

A vote for Hillary is a vote for more speech policing, more election rigging, and more voter suppression. Whether you agree with what he’s saying or not, a vote for Trump is a vote for you to be able to continue to say what you want.

#2.

American voters like to disavow any responsibility for the results of their government’s foreign policy actions. In reality, you are directly responsible for the results of the wars and violence perpetrated in your name, by your elected government. Americans have never showed sympathy for citizens of foreign nations with violent governments, be it WWII Germany and Japan or Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. The reality they fail to recognize is that the rest of the world views them with equally little sympathy. When (not “if” or “should”) America falls from its premier world power status, our foreign policy chickens will come home to roost in a way far beyond anything we have seen. We will be held to our own standards. Vote carefully.

There are lots of claims being spammed out about Trump on foreign policy. One of my favorites is the paradox of him being both an agent of the Russian government and a tyrant hell-bent on starting a war with Russia. Surely Putin’s mind control drugs are making Trump want to go to war with Russia. Makes perfect sense… if you’re braindead. Most of the claims revolve around him being a violent, unpredictable nut that’ll nuke the world into the stone age. Cutting through the bullshit, the strong statements Trump has made are nearly all in regard to ISIS. Even though both Clinton and Trump have called for more war, it’s important to distinguish war with who and for what. Trump’s calls for war are specifically aimed at what he sees as a current, direct threat to US security: ISIS. He repeatedly calls for escalated war to eradicate ISIS – which, seemingly forgotten by everyone, was the exact same thing anti-war Bernie Sanders called for. No one called Sanders a warmonger or trigger happy. On nearly the opposite end of the spectrum, Clinton’s foreign policy is a continuation of Reagan, Bush, other Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama… more intervention, more illegal attacks on sovereign states, more imperialist wars, and the very real possibility of a war with Russia. As recently as the last debate Clinton has called for more illegal bombing in Syria. She has publicly supported a no-fly zone in Syria, which everyone with a brain recognizes as a slap in the face to Russia and a setup for an exchange of fire between our countries that would surely start a war. She has stayed silent about Obama’s increase of troops in Iraq (I thought liberals claim he ended that war?). A vote for Clinton is a vote for more of this, and their blood will be on your hands.

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Clinton and her supporters repeatedly tout her support of the Iran treaty as evidence of her not being a warmonger. Unfortunately, this is merely nice window dressing on a career littered with warmongering and the blood of hundreds of thousands (possibly millions, depending on who you go to for numbers) of innocents. In reality, it’s a way to look diplomatic, while also securing an easy excuse to go to war with Iran in the not-so-distant future (did everyone so quickly forget those weapons inspections in Iraq that justified attack after attack on them for the past 20 years?). Clinton’s wars created ISIS. They fuel terrorism. They breed terrorists. After all, that’s the whole point: eternal war. It keeps your tax dollars lining the pockets of her offense contractor donors and friends, lives of those innocents on the receiving end of the bombs be damned.

#3.

If you want to know what candidate will be best for you, the lower class (middle class doesn’t even exist anymore) voter, just follow the money. If the candidate is liked and supported by big money, they aren’t your friend. It’s become even more obvious in the last few weeks that the establishment really does hate Trump. From the beginning I questioned whether Trump was a real candidate (and still sometimes do) or just a plant to force people to Clinton. Whether he is or isn’t a legit candidate, one thing is certain: he genuinely is hated by the establishment and nearly every power figure and entity in the country and even Western world. The media are running a concerted effort to destroy him in these final days, as Clinton fails to rocket ahead as the master plan must have stated she would. The New York Times was even desperate enough to illegally publish some of his tax returns today. Lies about him and his statements taken out of context are circulated 24/7. Republicans and conservatives are running to endorse Clinton in droves. Wall St. loves her enough to pay her thousands of dollars a minute for a speech. Despotic foreign governments have bankrolled both her campaign and her money laundering foundation. Clinton’s backers are a who’s who of the ruling class from across the planet. That alone should tell you were her loyalties lie. Even if items #1 and #2 don’t matter enough to you, the very fact that Trump is despised by the powers that be should at least tell you that, if nothing else, he’s closer to truly being on your side than Clinton will ever be. Even if he is just a plant, stick it to them harder and elect him anyway.

# etc.

Many other reasons Clinton is the greater of two evils.

Of course, someone is going to point out that I didn’t mention the third party candidates. There’s good reason for that. They both suck.

Johnson’s “free market” horse shit is the fantasy of the wealthy, redneck guys in high school (or their mom’s basements), and the economically clueless. You would have to be an absolute fool or very rich to even consider voting for him. Put that fedora away, pick up a history book, and grow up from that libertarian non-sense.

Then there’s Stein… oh Stein. Always there to catch a photo-op vandalizing something or trespassing, never around to accomplish anything useful. She’d be an utter failure on item #1, likely bringing on even more sensitivity and “safe space” garbage. I just can’t bring myself to like either of those fools. HOWEVER… big however… if you are not in a swing state and your vote doesn’t really matter anyway, please vote third party to at least help legitimize third parties and move us closer to the end of this two party joke.

 

 

Climate change caused this post

If you think about it, climate change really did cause this post…

I don’t have any skin in the climate change debate. Being someone who cares about reason and holding informed opinions, I have no problem admitting that I possess neither adequate information nor the scientific knowledge to form an opinion on climate change that’s even slightly intelligent. I wish more people took this approach on a broad range of topics, but I wish for a lot of things that’ll never happen.

My lack of opinion doesn’t preclude me from stating observations about the climate change debate, rather than climate change itself. In fact, it might even make me one of the better people to do it because I’m essentially an objective third-party. So here is what I’ve observed.

Over the past year and with greatly increased frequency this summer, natural disasters are being blamed on climate change. I’m not talking about obvious stuff like flooding related to rising sea level (if that’s even happening). I’m talking any natural disaster: forest fires, hurricanes, hurricane triggered floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, droughts, Zika, plane crashes, Trump’s dumb comments, Hillary’s health problems, how bad Suicide Squad was, every time it’s too hot, too cold, too rainy, too sunny, or people just otherwise aren’t happy with something, some pro-climate change thumper like Bill Nye, Elizabeth Warren, Huffington Post, Salon, etc. never misses a beat to get all over social media screaming “climate change did it!”

Like I said, I have no skin in this game, so I’m saying this as an impartial observer (so don’t leave comments calling me a climate change denier)… get real. We’ve had natural disasters since the dawn of time. The American West has a wild-fire season EVERY year and has had one for as long as trees have existed on the continent. The Gulf area and East Coast have a hurricane season EVERY YEAR, and they’ve had far worse ones in the past. Tornado Ally is called Tornado Ally for a reason. These disasters are routine and predictable. I understand the desire to bring attention to climate change, but you do your movement no service by blindly blaming “climate change!!!” for every scary event from mass shootings to Hillary rallies. No one is buying it. You claim to be all about scientific process and facts, but keep throwing out this accusation with absolutely no corroborating evidence. Get your shit together or you’ll continue to sound as dumb and ill-informed as the deniers you hate so much.

Also, just to head off the inevitable retorts to this post which will go something like, “yea but they’re blaming it on climate change because XYZ event/season/happening is the ‘worst on record,'” I’m not any more impressed by that “evidence”. “Worst on record” in 100-200 years of records out of tens of billions of years of history is a sample size smaller than Trump’s hands and hardly powerful enough to matter statistically.

Correct the narrative

This year’s election cycle has brought us some of the most blatant media propaganda to date, email leaks that have detailed how in-bed the American MSM is with the DNC, tens of millions of dollars in spending for pro-Clinton online trolls, and what has to be the most coordinated MSM effort yet to shove a candidate down the public’s throat – all of which is based in fabricating a false narrative and selling it to the public as reality. That is literally the sole purpose of our modern Western media. So, in the light of all that and because it’ll be an easy way to throw new material and talking points out regularly, I present my new post segment… “correct the narrative”. Of course, named after Clinton’s “correct the record” Internet troll team.

For our first and current addition we have the photo of this injured child from Syria with quite an upsetting look on his face.

Here are some top headlines off Google news from the few US media outlets even bothering to cover this kid:

Wounded Syrian child sparks social media outrage

A Wounded Child In Aleppo, Silent And Still, Shocks The World

Video of Dazed Aleppo Boy Reverberates Amid Horrors of Syria

People are SHOCKED! OUTRAGED! What’s going on in Syria to get this kid so dirty?!?!

Seriously? This imperial war (never mind all the others the US is and has been involved in) has been going on for years and people are just now shocked and outraged by it because of a picture of a dirty kid with a slightly red face? Just this week we had our second, NATO bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital and literally not one single fuck was given by anyone I’m connected to on any social media. Is it testament to the tunnel vision created by social media (if it’s not trending on Twatter then social justice warriors don’t care about it)? Is it the success of the propaganda machine that’s succeeded in making Westerners subconsciously think that the only things happening in the world are what’s covered by the MSM? Are people really just this clueless or is it a herd/bandwagon mentality that says, “other people are upset about this so I am too…what’s Syria?” It certainly isn’t a lack of available information about the war in Syria. A simple Google image search for “Syria” gives results that are almost entirely pictures of destruction – a map of Syria even comes second to a picture of a bombed out city. A search for “Syria child” returned limitless results just like these…

And those are just the happy ending pictures because their bodies are all in one piece. If you’re going to be SHOCKED and OUTRAGED, then be shocked and outraged. As a tax payer directly funding this conflict and the Clinton/Obama “regime change” imperialism in Syria, it not only behooves you, but it is your responsibility to see the results of your democratically elected government at work and what they’re doing in YOUR name (then sit and try to wonder why the “terrorists” hate us). Go do that same image search and turn off Google’s “don’t show me stuff that might trigger my sensitive self” filter. It’s your responsibility, because children and innocent adults in not just Syria, but every US sponsored war torn country aren’t just getting dirty and red so they can go sit in an ambulance and look sad. That’s the censored, MSM approved face of the war because it let’s you feel sad so you can pretend like you care, but not so angry that you can’t just forget about it five minutes later. It’s like tossing the homeless guy on the corner a dollar (you generous, big-hearted person you), but then not actually taking any steps to end homelessness. You can get satisfaction feeling your feelly feels for the dirty kid, “I care. It made me sad. I’m a good, empathetic person.” Then go back to sipping your Starbucks while watching the Kardashians, confident in your vote for Hilary because, hey, she’s going to bring more of this… but at least she’s not Trump! 

How about instead you go see the real results of imperialist war funded by your tax dollars? Go look at the headless, limbless bodies of the kids that didn’t make it into the ambulance. See the parents carrying their dead kids through the bombed out streets. See the kids flattened by tanks or mangled into unrecognizable piles of meat. You want shock and outrage? Dirty kid is one snowflake on the tip of this war-for-profit iceberg.

So with all that said, let me correct the narrative and give this news story a proper title

“Very, very mild result of American imperialist policy and endless war FINALLY makes it onto the news… clueless Americans in shock.”

Not just a river in Egypt

“Trump is a danger to democracy!”

“Trump will destroy America!”

“We must ignore all the issues with Hilary and the DNC and band together to defeat this evil menace!!”

Can ​someone tell me what’s so dangerous about Trump? Is it because he’s itching to start a war with Russia… oh wait, that’s Hilary. Is it because he’s trying to reignite Cold War fears to distract from his scandals… oh wait, that’s Hilary. Is it because he’s anti-single payer… oh wait that’s Hilary. Is it because he’s anti $15 minimum… oh wait that’s Hilary. Is it because he’s been exposed as taking bribes to get donors administration positions… oh wait, that’s Hilary. Is it because he’s super pro Israeli genocide… oh wait, that’s Hilary. Is it because he’s pro-TPP and any trade deal that’ll crush our jobs and rights… oh wait, that’s Hilary. Is it because he rigged an election in his own favor and subverted the most important freedom we have in this country… oh wait, that was Hilary. Is it that he’s beholden to legions of corporate donors that oppose the progressive movement… oh wait, that’s Hilary. Is it all the people he’s killed in interventionist wars all over the globe… oh wait, that’s Hilary. Is it because he runs a money laundering agency for pay-to-play politics with foreign governments… damn it, that’s Hilary too. Is it because he’s directly controlled media in an attempt to lie to people and subvert democracy… nope, still Hilary. Is it because he hired on a disgraced party chair caught cheating in the primary… shit, was that Hilary too? Must be the private prison lobby money… nope, Hilary. ’94 crime bill… Hilary. Big drug war advocate… Hilary. Anti-transparency, whistle blower prosecutor… Hilary. Anti-regulation of large banks… Hilary. Secret speeches to Wall St. firms… Hilary. Getting caught in a new lie every week… Hilary. Deemed “extremely careless” by the head of the FBI for improper handling of government information… Hilary. 
So, for real, what the fuck is so dangerous about Trump that makes him MORE dangerous than Hilary? I couldn’t even dream up someone more dangerous than Hilary. The cognitive dissonance and mental gymnastics going on with democrats right now is just sofaking mind blowing to those of us without blue blinders on.

And you can ridicule me and throw all kinds of ad hominem shade my way for now supporting Trump (so many already have). You can call me racist and nazi and everything in the book, but one thing you sure as shit won’t do is confront me with facts – because there aren’t any. Any objective reading of reality and facts pegs Trump as the lesser of evils by A LANDSLIDE. That’s why the shillbots and blue blinded folks have nothing to offer in retort but insults and hyperbolic rhetoric making repeated references to Hitler.