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Top 5 Gardening Questions We Can’t Answer

Peter 0

Winterizing Your Garden Each week, the team pulls together our favorite questions that we’re dying to find answers to, and this week we’re digging in the dirt and pulling out some fascinating questions about gardening. We know a lot of you are getting ready to save your plants from the harsh winter climates, so keep an eye on this question for tips on winterizing your plants now so they’ll be ready for new growth in the spring. One site we’ve found for great tips on this is Garden In Minutes which has a great step-by-step method for winterizing a garden. We especially love this tip: “Weeds, sick plants, and dead materials should be removed from your garden regularly to prevent disease and insect infestation. Insects WILL lay eggs in dead vines and plants, and they WILL survive through the winter and hatch in the spring. Insect eggs are resilient, therefore they must be disposed of before battening down the hatches.” A little fun fact we learned this week thanks to our experts: Some houseplants are temperamental about being moved, so be sure to take caution when prepping your houseplants for the winter. Can you help shed some light on these other gardening questions? Are all fallen leaves good for composting? What trees should I plant in my yard for the most colorful autumn in years to come? How can I start a vegetable and fruit garden in my backyard without it being too labor-intensive? What are some good indoor herbs…

How much would you have paid for good advice at your biggest life fork in the road?

Chris Martin 0

In my first two posts, I looked at what makes a good Sage and when or why you might want to pay for Sage advice.  Today, a story about a time I needed advice and how not getting that advice cost me time and money. Literally, years of my life and more than six figures.  This example is personal, and I think it reflects the kind of major life choice that people face.  When your first plan hasn’t worked out and you must pivot to something new, how do you decide the best course of action? When we met, my wife and I were both teaching ballroom dancing while pursuing careers in musical theater.  After we married, we moved to NYC to pursue that dream.  Fast forward seven years, and now we have a son approaching his third birthday.  Though we focused on auditioning, taking classes, and doing shows, we both had “day” jobs. I was managing and teaching at a ballroom dance studio, and my wife taught English at Berlitz. We had a small rent-controlled apartment on W49th street between 9th and 10th avenue. We loved everything about our life, with one exception: the cost of living. Living in Manhattan was simply too expensive for the three of us. Every year the rent went up, and our income remained about the same. I started juggling balances on credit cards. I’d apply for a new credit card and pay off the old one with the promotional 0% interest rate. But that…

Social Media Dangers to the Human Psyche – the Cost/Benefit Dilemma

Shari Botwin 0

The first social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997. It allowed users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. Two years later, blogging sites took off. In 2002 Myspace quickly became the most popular site for teens. YouTube launched in 2005, and, shortly after that, Twitter emerged. As these different sites gained momentum, people were reeling from the benefits of social media while also blind to the long term dangers. Entrepreneurs were growing their businesses. Others were connecting with long lost friends from childhood, and many people were accessing information for their physical and mental health conditions. People living in dangerous and abusive relationships finally had resources to access help. Patients diagnosed with terminal or life-threatening illnesses could turn to their social media to find out the latest about medications and clinical trials. When Facebook launched in 2004, no one knew the potential dangers and pitfalls it would have on vulnerable populations, such as people struggling with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, loneliness, or lack of a strong support system. People began flocking to Facebook and other social media platforms to connect, spread, and seek information and support. But along with opening up a proverbial world of possibilities, the world itself had also opened Pandora’s Box. The world was smart enough to quickly realize the negative possibilities brought on by social media use in teenagers but unable to find effective ways to cope with them. Around 2017, psychologists conducted research, mostly among teens, to test the…

Why Spend Money for Advice Online? Everyone is Giving It Away Free!

Chris Martin 0

Note: This is the second in a series of posts about TheSageBoard.com I have a good friend who spent the summer gutting and re-tiling a shower in his house. He spent dozens, if not a hundred, hours of research and work, buying new tools and all the supplies.  For him, doing the work with his own hands was worth the time and money he spent. Sure, he could have paid someone else to do the work in a weekend or two, but he’d rather do it himself! Recently I asked him if it was worth all that work, time, and money? He said he had no regrets, but “Now that I know how much work it was, I might have been better off hiring someone.” How much is your time worth? Everyone has a different threshold for the value of their time, but everyone puts SOME value on it.  There are online calculators to help you figure out a ballpark number. When you’re considering spending your hard-earned cash consulting a Sage, this is the balance you’re trying to find. Will spending money now on expert advice save you money in the long run?  If you have a problem that you could research in 40 hours, how much money would you be willing to spend to just get an answer?  How much do you earn in a week?  How much would you pay to save a work-weeks’ worth of free time? As easy as that? If only it were as easy…

Mental Health Coping Resources in the Time of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Shari Botwin 0

How can someone find mental health support when many offices are closed or only providing teletherapy? While hospitals and other medical care facilities continue to see patients, mental health services have not been given the same priority. Peoples’ lives turned upside down when the pandemic hit the United States. Businesses were shut down, religious communities were torn apart, grieving families buried loved ones without others present, and children were forced to go to school online. Outlets people once turned to for stress reduction were no longer accessible. Treatment halted suddenly for people struggling with mental health issues; such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addictions. People dealing with a mental health crisis had little choice but to turn to emergency rooms which were overcrowded and under-staffed. Before Covid-19 our society was beginning to recognize the need for mental health support. COVID-19 Fallout A few months into the pandemic, Psychology Today and other mental health platforms suggested that our society was facing a “Post-COVID-19 Suicide Epidemic”. Suicide rates were sky-rocketing, and people from all different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds were reporting an increase in suicidal ideation. Major contributors were economic stress, social isolation, frontline healthcare workers, and loss of a loved one from COVID. Social isolation, in particular, was called out as a required COVID prevention approach, but one that exacerbated peoples’ abilities to combat depression and suicidal thoughts. Research has also shown the importance of social connections in helping people overcome depression and suicidal thoughts. While social distancing remains an important…

What makes a good Sage?

Chris Martin 1

When you need an expert opinion, where do you turn?  How do you know who has the expertise to provide insight into your situation? Is book-learning more relevant, or do you need someone with hands-on, real-world experience? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to these questions because of the diversity of problems that would benefit from expertise.  Think about the last time you needed help with a problem – where did you turn?  A friend?  Google or YouTube? Did you go to the library and do research? How much work did you do to verify that the sources you were looking at had the expertise you need? The fundamental problem with finding an expert on the internet is trust. It is all too easy to find an opinion on the internet but figuring out the motives and reliability of opinions – not so much.  Crowdsourcing sites have been trying to help solve this problem for a while now. The idea being that more people commenting on something will tend to get closer to an accurate answer. “The wisdom of crowds.” Search engines use algorithms to evaluate the way sites link to each other, with the theory being that the sites with the most links are the most reliable. As you could deduce, an entirely new industry has evolved around gaming these algorithms.  This makes large, established brands easy to find online.  For smaller, more niche experts and subject matters, finding someone you can trust can be daunting. On the internet, nobody…

Creating Startup Momentum – Part 2

Peter 1

Marc: “Do you know the best thing about startups?” Ben: “What?” Marc: “You only ever experience two emotions: euphoria and terror. And I find that lack of sleep enhances them both.” A famous conversation between Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreesen of Andreesen Horowitz. It’s been four and a half months since a lunch meeting that changed the course of Sage from idea to realization. The amount of ground I’ve covered in the startup world in a few short months has absolutely astounded me. The strong relationships I’ve built in a short time because of shared blood, sweat, and tears are like none other that I’ve seen in my 20-year career in information technology. Founding a startup is hard. It’s a constant struggle. You’re always either overwhelmed or teetering on the edge of being overwhelmed. Having that shared experience with other founders just seems to knock down emotional walls. The age-old (sage, if you’ll pardon a pun) advice about seizing an opportunity when it presents itself never goes out of style. Six months ago, I had that opportunity present itself to me in the form of a new introduction, Jonathan Katz. Before I get to that, let me finish the backstory of how I came to meet him. After joining Philly Startup Leaders (PSL), via their Slack channel, I began to read through and post a few comments here and there. I was mostly getting my feet wet but also trying to establish relationships with new and interesting people. The startup…

Creating Startup Momentum – Part 1

Peter 0

Inertia is a funny thing. We’ve all learned Newton’s first law of motion — objects in motion tend to stay in motion AKA the ‘Law of Inertia’. The founder’s world is all about forward movement: getting to the next step, creating the next social media post, finding the next LinkedIn connection that can open new doors to funding your startup. How do I create that continuous forward motion? What are the concrete steps I need to take to establish motion? How do I recognize opportunities and take advantage of them as they present themselves? The goal of this article is to tell my story of the conscious steps I took to create that initial motion. I read any number of articles about creating goals and writing them down. But taking those goals and turning them into something real ultimately required a deliberate approach and mindset. I wanted to get Sage into motion because I posited that once I had it moving forward, it would be harder to slow it down. Five years after my initial idea for this Startup, it became painfully clear to me that it's the strategy of your strategy that moves the needle. My advice? Always imagine your ideal end state first and then work backward to plan the necessary steps to get there. An upcoming post will deal with backwards planning and the clarity it can bring to any project. It is a tool I use constantly today. Envision Your End State However, visualizing my end…

A Critical Attribute for Every Successful Founder

Peter 0

I’m sure we’ve all heard the term “blind spot” before. Whether in business or your personal life, it’s usually a jarring experience when someone refers to one of your own blind spots. Typically, the term comes up when you’re struggling with something and a “coach” or friend points out that it’s a blind spot for you. The term has many names such as unconscious bias, weakness, fault, oversight, etc. But the optimistic and most useful way to look at it, in my opinion, is to label it self-awareness or a lack thereof. When I think about a personal blind spot of mine, it’s usually in a negative fashion as a personal fault. If I think of self-awareness and not having it in a particular area of my personal or business life, it’s a skill or attribute I can learn or improve upon. Self-awareness is the single greatest attribute any successful founder can bring to the table. Self-awareness is absolutely critical for any successful entrepreneur. I’m normally pretty adept at it in my work and personal life, but sometimes I fail. And when I fail, it’s an epic fail. The concept of Sage was one of those times where I really just couldn’t let go of a thought. The thought was “I can do this myself”. How did that thought manifest itself in my own founder’s experience, you ask? Determining What is Realistic The idea for Sage came to me about 7 years ago. I was in the midst of tax…

How do you define a Startup?

Peter 0

An interesting question always pops up when I’m reading books and articles about Startups. What is a startup? What defines a startup and how do you differentiate it from any other business? The best definition I’ve seen is from Eric Ries’ book, The Lean Startup: A startup is a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty Eric Ries, The Lean Startup I think any business founder is always starting from some level of uncertainty. Startups in particular typically deal with this huge earnings upside, but also, a complete fog hanging over our ability to quantify what a business could be worth. It’s part of the fun and also, part of the challenge. It can be frustrating, but it also drives the biggest innovators to succeed. Because of this, one of the challenges I’ve always found is staying even keeled from day to day. Despite personally being a very even keeled person in life, the founder experience just seems to rattle you from time to time. It’s important to find outlets for your frustrations. To me, that should include getting a little inspiration on a daily basis. Quick aside! If I could provide one good piece of advice to other founders, it would be to get up from the computer or couch, take a walk, and find some inspiration at least once a day. Note I just came up with the idea above to use our “Sage” glasses to denote tips, recommendations, and important callouts.…