Author Archives: trk2n

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Dr. Dave’s Prescription for Stir-Craziness

Here’s my prescription for reducing the anxiety of stir-craziness:

1. Go visit this blog from Explorers Web- 100 Adventure Films for Free

2. Pick one film to watch each week for inspiration.

3. Start dreaming and making notes as you watch them.

4. Come up with an audacious adventure to go on and set a reasonable timeline to launch out.

5. Begin the research.

6. Save money, plan, and train.

Boom!

I’d love to, but I can’t go on all your adventures with you, so you better tag me on them or send me pics of them. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you’re planning. Hit me up. You never know, maybe I’ll know someone there to connect you with or have some intel to help.

Get after it now!

Dr. Dave

P.S. What’s my next adventure? Personally, I’m planning my first ultramarathon. Meanwhile I’m also training my 9yo and my 6yo for their first 5K’s.


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Homeschooling is Weird

I’ve always been a homeschooler, going on 15 years now. My oldest son (15 yo) will graduate high school this summer, and my youngest son (3 yo) has already started drawing and coloring. Then there’s three other kids sandwiched between those two.

We’ve always been in the minority as homeschoolers. The cops even picked up one of my kids for being out doing his PE during the school day. They thought he’d run away from school. Of course, he did have on a backpack full of bricks for a ruck challenge. He was 7 at the time.

Now we’re in the majority. Just about every kid in the world is being homeschooled. Except it’s not really that. It’s school at home, but not homeschooling.

Here’s why- both the parents and the kids are missing out on all the FUN of homeschooling.

From what I’ve seen from my nephews and others, their school at home is not much more than a series of poorly conducted online meetups, bad Internet connections, faulty devices, and school systems completely unprepared for any type of crisis.

Here’s what homeschooling is under normal conditions:

  • Free days, sometimes for no reason at all
  • Field trips are the norm more than classwork
  • Museums, battlefields, and parks
  • No set schedules unless you want them
  • Individual attention
  • Creating lessons around  your child’s interests, gifts, and passions

I wrote a book awhile back about some of the weird things we’ve done over the years. It’s free on Kindle for the next 5 days. Go grab it. I hope it helps you make schooling at home a little more fun for you and the kids during this whole crisis.

Homeschooling in the Weird

If you want to see some of the crazy stuff we’re doing during the new quarantine life, follow me on Instagram. I update often on there.

Dr. Dave, the guy that wants to make school fun, no matter where school is


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How do you prep for bad times?

Partly because of my work with Homeland Security and partly because I’ve always been the ‘be ready for anything’ kind of guy, I’ve always enjoyed all things preparedness, self-reliance, and emergency-related. Don’t worry, I’m not a nutcase like some of those folks you might’ve seen on Doomsday Preppers. Even so, if I was, I wouldn’t tell you. That would be crazy talk.

This segment of my business that wasn’t anything more than a side hustle before the coronavirus pandemic really took off to the point I had to enlist help to manage the inquiries and e-mails coming in from both individuals and businesses.

I decided to go ahead and formalize it to the point of spinning it off and allowing it to become a full-fledged operation, but I wanted to see what you thought first.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, toilet paper riots, and more in mind, if I was to create resources for normal folks who just want to be more ready for bad situations, what would you like to see?


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What do you do when conferences halt? (Best Practices for Conferences no. 165)

 

If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that things function better when there’s a back up plan.

Before the back up plan is needed.

I’m not judging here either. I have back up plans out the wazoo. I design back up plans. Even so, the speed and breadth of the COVID-19 mess still caught me a little off guard. My preparedness clients had me scrambling to activate their emergency plans while I was trying to get my own going.

I’m well-prepared for ordinary disasters, but global ones overwhelm everything all at once. One day I’m planning a conference in Florida. The next day, everything is shutting down and people are going wild in the Toilet Paper Riots.

Now that we’re all settling in just a little and getting closer to a stable routine hopefully, I want to throw out a few ideas to maximize your time, for those of you that have downtime or need to find it. Depending on your segment and business, you might be busier than ever. I know I am.

Here’s a few ideas for the ultra-busy and those stuck at home with not as much to do.

Establish a daily routine. The advice is the same for quarantine as it is for military deployments, disasters, prison, etc. Routines help alleviate boredom, craziness, and panic. I’m establishing routines now that I plan on implementing even after this is all over.

Learn more. Now is the time to add continuing education into the mix. Take in and digest those videos, podcasts, and books you’ve put off for so long. Come out of this knowing more than you did going in. Now is the time to get that speaker or meeting planner credential you’ve been wanting.

Create quality family time. We’re all going to be spending more time at home with the family than before. This can get frustrating if you’re also working from home. Many of you are now forced into homescholing as well. Create quality time so that you don’t feel bad for the times you have to say, “Get away! You’re driving me crazy!”

Take some time for yourself at some point during the day. Don’t feel bad about private time. But you better carve that out or it won’t happen. Go ahead and pick a show you wanted to watch and corona-binge that sucker. I’m finally running through the Ray Donovan series myself.

Get outside. It may not be OK to go to a park or trail, but get outside somehow in a safe way. Inside all the time will drive you crazy. I’ve found that biking with a friend is an excellent way to practice social distancing and still get out.

Keep looking forward. I realize the year is shot. I went from a full slate of speaking and training engagements to nothing. Go ahead and plan next year. Book speakers. Line up venues. Plan everything with options for cancellations and get that in the contracts, but work as if next year will signal a return to normalcy.

That’s it. I’m done. Click play on Netflix and enjoy your show.

Dr. Dave, a speaker with no gigs (for now)

P.S. By the way, I am already booking next year. Call me.


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21 Predictions for a Post-Coronavirus World (COVID-19 Special Dispatch)

After a full week into the US quarantine measures, I wanted to go ahead and make a list of predictions about the world after the pandemic. It’s going to be interesting to see how these play out and which ones hold true versus the ones that I’m completely wrong about.

It’s an odd place we’re in right now. As a friend told me the other day, “It just feels weird.” The world has shrunk incredibly at the same time it remains global. I’m going biking with a close friend avoiding other people while at the same time checking in with my buddy Ricardo in France via Facebook.

 

Now that the Toilet Paper Riots of 2020 are over, people seem to focusing more and more each day on actual needs versus wants.

Life got too busy and needed to slow down some. It’s a shame it took a pandemic to do that.

With “social distancing” being the new top phrase of the year, actual real face-to-face social interactions mean something more and are more intentional.

With that said, here’s my list of predictions. I placed them in alphabetical order so as to disguise the ones that are more important and relevant to me personally or ones that I might have a financial stake in.

Air Travel- Air travel will take a decade to recover. As the world shrinks in a way that we can still digitally enjoy other places, it won’t be so important to fly anymore. Many people will finally be wondering if it’s really worth all the screenings, fees, and security checks. Airlines will have to make major changes to attract flyers again. I predict the airlines will go retro and make it feel like a luxury to fly and not just the overpriced chore that it is.

China- China will face sanctions. At some point the world stage will try and punish China for being responsible for the last several pandemics. Measures will be taken to limit China’s involvement in bioweapons and biomedical research. China’s economy will take a huge hit as other countries try to limit dependence on them for goods of all kinds. Other countries will seek reparations against China for causing the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Church- Church attendance has been falling for a very long time in America. Being forced to stay away from church will make people realize that there are other choices beyond actually attending church in person. Unfortunately, one of those choices will be giving up on church completely.

Colleges- In-person college attendance will drop dramatically. As we recover, it will primarily only be the elite higher income kids who will continue. I’ll try to sugarcoat this one a little to hide my true feelings, but colleges are overpriced, useless bastions of tradition that aren’t responding to the times or true needs of the future. Many people will question two main things. 1. Do I really need to even be in college? 2. If I do need college for my career path, why not just stick to online school and save money?

COVID Babies- A year from now we’re going to see a baby boom. I don’t think anyone is gonna name their baby Corona, but there will be a lot of coronavirus quarantine babies coming soon.

Cruise Ships- Cruise ships will be a thing of the past for a long time. Even before the pandemic, you couldn’t go more than a month or two without reading about a stomach virus raging wild on a ship somewhere.

Eating Out- Eating out will change for awhile. If this lasts long enough, many of us will get used to not eating out and won’t return to it, except for special occasions. There will be a sharper division between eating inside places versus pick up and go eateries. Anything less than fine dining will move more towards outdoor seating and grab and go.

Food Handling in Eateries- You’ll see big changes post virus in buffet style eating and how items like silverware, straws, and dishes are handled.

Government Trust- As always, with events like this, governments from nationwide all the way down to the local municipalities will screw things up and look to increase their own power base while serving their individual self-interests. We will come out of this, not praising the government handling of the situation, but condemning them for it.

Homeschooling- Because of massive global school closures, most kids are being schooled from home. Many kids will be glad to return to the slave factory (public school), but a small segment will choose to stay home-schooled and embrace the freedom this allows. This will bring an increase into the ranks of fulltime homeschoolers that will enrich homeschool co-ops and groups with needed variety. The percentage of non-religious homeschoolers will jump.

Hygiene- At least for a while, people will strive to be cleaner and practice more hygiene than before. People who carry their own personal hand sanitizer will be in the majority, and not just germaphobes and parents (me on both accounts).

 

Insider Trading- New laws will be forced into place to make elected officials more clearly divulge financial interests or perhaps even place all investments into blind trusts when they take office. I say “forced” because no elected official will voluntarily enact a law that limits their power and their ability to make money from their position.

Manufacturing- Ingenuity will surface. As world trade slows, and many people no longer want everything as cheap as possible from China, entrepreneurs will seek methods and innovations that plug gaps in the supply chain and replace much of China’s power in the world manufacturing market. More factories will be built closer to home, even if the end product costs a little more.

Media- The media will face a backlash at some point from an exhausted American public that is tired of sensationalism and the lack of actual journalism. Credible sources of actual unbiased information will slowly surface as real journalism makes a comeback and reality TV (CNN, Fox News, and all the others) becomes less relevant.

Megachurches- A pastor friend and I have talked in the past about the potential fall of the American megachurch. It wasn’t because of a pandemic but for other reasons. I believe the megachurches of American have grown too big, and this pandemic will break them up into smaller churches. The only survivors of this megachurch decline will be the ones that are primarily made up of satellite churches and not the ones that build stadiums for their services or the ones that buy actual stadiums for them. Yeah, I’m talking to you Joel.

Movie Theaters- Movies will be different. Things have been trending toward home and digital delivery for a long time. This pandemic will be the tipping point that will kill movie theaters as we know them. Theaters will shrink and become used more for special showings and special events. Multiplexes will disappear. In the future, movies will be released primarily through pay platforms available at home. Soon you’ll see Netflix with a pay-per-view platform more like Amazon Prime for new movie releases, and all the others will follow suit. Doordash and the food delivery companies will partner with them for movie release specials. This is already happening very quickly.

Outdoor Recreation- More people will realize the joy and health benefits of being outside and will continue to enjoy it as the quarantines wind down.

Prepping- The Great American Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020 has shown a lot of people that not all preppers are nutbags and that basic levels of prepping are just sensible. More people will prep to the basic level, like having basic stocks of food, diapers, paper goods, and go bags.

 

President Trump- President Trump will win the coming election by a landslide for several reasons. The Democrats have no viable strong candidates that people trust. At this time Biden is a front-runner over Bernie, but both are considered old men already at risk or suffering from ailments that render them dangerously frail in a time when someone younger and healthier looks more viable and capable.

Professional Sports- Once this is over and crowds are allowed to surface again, I predict that professional sports will make a near immediate comeback. If you look back through American history, you’ll see that we did everything we could to either continue sports or bring them back as soon as possible. Professional sports represent a return to normalcy, just like a favorite comfort food.

Store Hours- Stores will stick with reduced hours as we return. They’ll do this for a couple of main reasons: there’s not as much need to stay open as long, workers are willing to trade time at work for time with families, and companies see the reduced expenses from not being open as long.

That’s it for now. I’ll have more predictions as this carries on, but I’d love to hear yours.

What do you predict will change in the new post-coronavirus world?

Dr. Redbeard, playing futurist for the day


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Resources to Prepare You for the Coronavirus and Other Things that can Kill You

Category : Resources

I wanted to fire this article off real quick, because I had a ton of questions after the last one about going beyond handwashing and health for preparedness.

Because of my experience in disaster zones, I have a strong desire to help people prepare for the worst. I’ve seen what happens when they don’t. I’ve been deployed to major cities in America where people were looting and killing for food and diapers when things got scarce.

It doesn’t have to be a virus from China or zombies that you prepare for. Big bonus points if you can name three of the most common events people are not ready to tackle. Do you know?

Answer: Tornadoes, hurricanes, and winter storms

It gets worse. Two of those even come with plenty of warning.

Because I want you to be ready, and not have to pay the consulting fees I charge companies, I list many of my basic resources for sale on a site called Fiverr.

If you want to go deeper, pay the big bucks, and have me outfit your compound and train your security staff, I’m your guy.

If you just want a ton of DIY prepper material to get started, I’m also your guy.

Here it is:

Food and Water Safety
Escape and Evasion
Bug Out Bags
Bug Out Maps
Digital Currency
Virus and Flu Safety
Fighting and Defending Yourself
Making Homemade Alcohol and Spirits
Survival Guide for Downed Air Personnel

Dr. Redbeard, just a guy with lots of neat experience in really bad places

Here’s an example. Following Hurricane Katrina, police in a nearby parish built a wall of cars and posted armed guards to keep out bands of looters.


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Conference Best Practices no. 21- Do you have a policy in place for cancelling your conference for the Coronavirus?

Less than 3 months after the initial outbreak of the Coronavirus, conferences and events were already being cancelled. Even so, many major events are still moving forward.

This made me wonder how many of you have a policy in place for cancelling your conference if it has to happen. It can be for any reason from…

  • Pandemic
  • Major vendor pulling out
  • Terrorist alert
  • Cancellation by the host facility
  • Natural disaster
  • Or other events outside your control

I would seriously consider being proactive and forming a policy now and before an event occurs. Your policy should be based on a number of factors to include participants, vendors, speakers, and the facility.

The fact that major conferences such as South by Southwest in Texas are cancelling events actually provides you a great deal of available research to plan your own policy. Look at what they did, how they made the announcement, why they made the decision, and what they did for attendees, vendors, etc.

For an example of a festival that did it completely wrong, check out the Arnold Sports Festival hosted by Arnold Schwarzeneggar. Their Instagram feed hosted a lively discussion from vendors and attendees. Arnold posted a video stating that all festival activities were cancelled-

Naturally, people started scrambling to cancel travel bookings that were still refundable. Then, a day later, they partially changed their mind.

Then another day passed before they issued a statement blaming it on the Governor.The Gov of Ohio, not The Governor Arnold. As many people stated, many other large sporting events were still taking place the same weekend.

As you can see, with no clear policy in place, key stakeholders (Arnold!) acting alone, and flip-flopping decisions, you can really ruin your reputation as a conference. The Arnold Sports Festival basically just reacted by ignoring all the people left in the dust and started blasting social media with pics from the ruins of the festival.

So, here are some mistakes they made that you should consider-

  1. Who is the point person controlling media, i.e. your Public Information Officer or spokesperson?
  2. Who will get refunds and how much?
  3. How will refunds be issued?
  4. Will you also give a goodwill gift? This is a great idea to consider for your reputation. I recommend a gift that can only be used at a future conference like ‘conference bucks’ to use next year for merch.
  5. What ramifications will there be to your contracts with the facility, catering, speakers, etc?
  6. Can you afford to do all this without breaking the conference?
  7. Do you have insurance for this? South by Southwest did not.
  8. Is there some way you can hold a reduced conference? This was at least one thing the Arnold tried to do right. See my P.S. below for an idea.
  9. Do you need to send out warning info prior to a cancellation? Check out part of the e-mail below from a conference I’m slated to be at later in the year…

I imagine you might be thinking about the coronavirus and PLF Live next month in Orlando… and it’s certainly on my mind as well. So first off, know that the health and safety of our PLF community and my team is paramount to me. And along with the rest of the world, my team and I are closely monitoring the situation. At this time, PLF Live 2020 is moving ahead as planned.

If you need help working on your Cancellation Policy, give me a call. I’ve designed Emergency Action Plans for government agencies for the very same reasons a conference might be cancelled. I’d love to bring that experience in to help you.

Dr. Dave, the guy who’s hoping all his out-of-town speaking engagements don’t get cancelled this year

P.S. One idea that I’ve offered to conferences that book me to speak. If you do cancel, I’m willing to serve your audience by recording or releasing a pre-recorded version of the keynote or training I was booked for. This way the attendees still get something.

P.S.S. As a last item, also consider what you’ll do if something bad happens DURING your conference. How many of you remember that year the tornado struck downtown Salt Lake City UT during the Outdoor Retailers Association conference?

 

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This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”

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Practical Steps to Avoid a Pandemic Like the Coronavirus

Though my most visible income stream is consulting and speaking about living the Big Life, I still get asked a lot by friends and colleagues to consult about how to stay safe during situations ranging from active shooter situations to pandemic contagions like the coronavirus.

I’d like to give you some of the same advice I give them for emergency action plans.

To recap my creds, I’ve held jobs since I was seventeen that required me to be armed, beginning with the Marine Corps. Most of that time, I served in the medical field, whether on an ambulance or serving as a combat medic. My last posting was as a founding member of the US Dept of Homeland Security where I was a member of a special team that responded to mass casualty incidents and national disasters, both man-made and weather-related.

Because of recent events, I’m focusing here on advice for staying safe in global infectious events like the viruses that seem to magically emerge from China every few years because some yahoo decided to sell stolen lab animals at the nearby market.

What I’m going to tell you will seem incredibly simple and sound like common sense. That’s because it is. It’s basic information that will keep you safe and infection free longer than most. Trust that if you follow my advice, you’ll have less reason for panic and apprehension. The advice will hold true now and if things get worse.

Let’s get into it.

1. Wash and sanitize your hands as often as possible.

For this you’ll need skinsafe chemicals. Stock up on items like hand sanitizerbleach, and Lysol before people panic and you can’t find it anywhere. I’m already getting reports back from clients out of the country saying that stocks of these items are already depleted.

When Amazon sells out, you know people are getting scared.

I just purchased the items shown below for a client this afternoon, but only because I had a contact that called as soon as it came in. I also picked up a bunch of immune booster for them.

2. Avoid touching things and people as much as possible in public. This is good advice even when nothing is wrong, because people are generally filthy animals. I get why, but I really hate that churches still do the old school ‘hand-shaking time’.

3. Avoid mass gatherings. This is the time to stop going to concerts, festivals, and conventions that aren’t really important to you. If you do have to go for work, follow the other rules as much as possible.

4. Get healthy now. I know the vast majority of you have been wanting to get into shape or lose weight for years. Now’s the time to do it. The healthier you are, the less chance you’ll be affected. If you do get infected, you will have a better chance of surviving it.

In a grid down situation, there are going to be a lot of hardcore preppers out there that die early from heart, diabetes, or obesity-related maladies. When they do, I’ll take their stuff (unless you get to it first).

5. Assemble or buy a bug out bag. This is a smart play even when nothing is wrong.

I design personalized bags on an individual basis, but I also sell my list if you’re interested. Just click HERE for it.

That’s it.

These basic instructions will keep you and your family safe longer. Sure, there’s a million other things you could do, but don’t worry about those unless you know the basics I’ve mentioned. These rules will change your behavior and preparedness level.

Dr. Dave, the guy that wants to keep you alive without scaring you unnecessarily

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This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”

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Access to a Nationwide Network of Cowork Offices for $20/Month

I’m not trying to sell you anything here. Just passing along an idea.

How many of you go to Planet Fitness? It’s one of the top and most prolific fitness gyms in the US. I go several times a week with my dad to hit the weights, and I don’t even have a membership.

Now, how many of you have thought about using Planet Fitness for your work office?

I don’t want to bore you with a long essay for this idea, so I’ll give you all the skinny in a few bullet points…

  • Cheap membership compared to ‘real’ Cowork spaces
  • Free Wifi
  • Access to snacks
  • Locker rooms and showers
  • Massage chairs after a hectic few hours on the laptop
  • Free food on special nights
  • A gazillion locations all over the country
  • Open 24 hours a day
  • Often near other high traffic areas where your clients might already be
  • Get a guest in on your pass, i.e. a client for a meeting

That’s just a quick brainstorm of perks. If you think of more, send them in. Send me pics of you working (not working out) in a Planet Fitness location, and I’ll enter you in a drawing for a chance to win an Amazon gift card.

Here’s the disclaimer-

  • I don’t work for them, and I’m not making any money off this idea.
  • Not all of them are the same, so not all of them will treat you the same if you’re there all day.
  • Be smart about how you do the office thing. Spreading all your stuff out and getting in the way is a bad idea.
  • Buy a drink or snack at least once every 4 hours. It’s just good etiquette.

This is me in a regular hotel gym while traveling. See how mad I am. No people to talk to and no room for me to work.

Welcome to your new mobile workspace!

Dr. Redbeard signing out


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Conference Best Practices no. 42- How many times do you use the same speaker and trainers?

This is a question that I’ve come across many times over my own speaking career…how many times do you use the same speaker and trainers?

For the sake of this conversation, let’s ignore keynote speakers. Few conferences will use the same one year after year. That’d get boring. At best, keynoters will only return to a conference after several years away and usually only if they’ve done something big that really impacts the industry.

For example, I just released a new theme called Big Life that’s getting me invited back to old clients. Usually, it’s something like a new book.

However, trainers and breakout session speakers sometimes get invited back for years in a row. It just depends on the conference and what the speaker has to offer. My running record is six consecutive years at the same conference. I’m always there presenting new material plus a repeat or two of really popular breakouts that are requested by attendees.

Here’s several great reasons to bring back the same speaker for multiple years:

  • They constantly offer fresh relevant material.
  • They offer material that your attendees need repeatedly, like a certification or skill training.
  • They’re requested by attendees, i.e. bringing them back brings in new and old attendees.
  • They are part of the conference. In other words, they go the extra mile to serve you and the attendees, and it would be weird to not have them there.

And the best for last… You love them!

So, what other reasons do you have for returning speakers… or … for what reasons do you never bring back the same ones?

Thanks,
Dr. Redbeard

I have a full slate of upcoming events, including a roofing conference in Cherokee NC, a small business gathering in Orlando, and several EMS conferences. But there’s always room for yours!

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This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”

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