Further Background and Links
You might be wondering what I do outside of work.
One of my biggest passions is for adventuring, especially with my kids. In my mind, adventuring covers a wide range of activities. From simple day trips around the Bay Area to camping at the Pinnacles, maybe backpacking at Point Reyes, or possibly a road trip up and down the west coast.
I have some side projects that relate to this passion of mine and am slowly growing it over time.
I’ve been working on a series of non-fiction books centered around getting my kids out for regular weekend adventures. The books will be self-published in 2018 as e-books and print on demand.
Growing up and living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I feel incredibly lucky to have so many wonderful options to take my kids out and do amazing things that are less than an hour drive away. I like to record as many memories as I can and tend to post a lot of pictures to social media. Other parent friends of mine constantly pull me aside and ask how I get the kids out so often to so many interesting places.
I got the idea to start putting together small PDF based travel guides that would cost about the price of a mobile app that had plans focused on one area, gives some suggestions for walks or hikes, some history, photo tips, interesting facts, coloring pages, games, and other things to keep the kids interested and occupied while out having fun.
On a recent trip to the city, we visited the SF MOMA museum store and found this interesting little game about building princess castles. It was a fairly inexpensive travel game that had customized wooden castle pieces and 6 color dice (instead of numbers). I had purchased it thinking it would be fairly boring, but we had an hour train ride home so I thought why not. Sitting on one of the newer Caltrain cars (the 3 of us at a 4 seat table section) we proceeded to play several games. My younger daughter even invited someone to come sit and play with us also.
I ended up thinking about this game quite often over the next week or so. It was a simple albeit interesting game mechanic I thought could be applied elsewhere. All it really involved was rolling a 6 sided dice, getting your 1-5 pieces in place, then rolling for the 6 first. I didn’t want to manufacture something and try and sell it, and I liked the idea of the kids with a DIY (do it yourself) project, I came up with the idea for The Train Game and proceeded to put together several prototypes that would fit within an Altoids mint tin.
The game is also the price of a mobile app and is something you can easily replace if lost or share with friends and family. The Train Game is the first version of this mechanic for sale, and others are currently in the works.
A Smarter Parent started as a personal blog to share fun ideas with other parents about things to do with their kids, ways to explore their world around them, go out and have adventures, and just enjoy each other. For a variety of reasons, I never was able to put the effort into the project that I would have liked to.
Recently I came to realize that I wanted to work on a variety of things that were significant undertakings that deserved their own unique attention, but I wanted to bring these projects back under one umbrella. I decided to revisit this orphaned project to create a hub for other related projects. A Smarter Parent was the motivation for me to go on and keep trying things, more focused projects that might amount to something down the road.
I do make more updates here now, and this is the place to come if you’d like to learn more about some of my other efforts.