Pulse CheckEvery quarter, I recap the past, present, and future of my personal journey and the voyage of Value of Simple.

This “Pulse Check” is intended to be an honest, transparent, and (hopefully) inspiring assessment of where I've been and where I'm going.

Are you ready for the Pulse Check from July – September, 2014?

It's Not All about SimpleREV (OK, Most of It Is)

Here's some context before we get this puppy cranked up: I feel like sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows as I write this report.

Our first-ever SimpleREV event ended nine days ago and it was amazing! I'm as desperate to tell all my friends about it as eighteen-year-old Joel would have been if he made out with Halle Berry or Shania Twain.

Like my co-organizer and good pal, Dan Hayes, I'm not prone to boast. In fact, I take my lumps here pretty often.

But fifty-five simplicity enthusiasts from across North America just gathered in Minneapolis, MN for two days camped at the intersection of simple living and community. Thirty-six hours later – after intense workshops, deep connecting, and creating reviving the world's newest oldest social platform, Huggr – there were transformations.

The SimpleREV 2014 Crew

There's not enough bold, italicized, or stylized text that's going to do SimpleREV 2014 justice.

I can now see the progress of my entrepreneurial pursuits (don't worry though, my rookie card is still fairly-valued).

For background, my first Value of Simple project launched in November 2012 when my (recently retired) online investing course, Start Investing with $100, went public. It was a flop.

Then I used my crazy, stoopid Excel skills to create The Digital Launch Playbook in March 2013. It's pretty good, gets some occasional love, but it's not what I hang my hat on.

Next came Unsexy System Sessions in November 2013, a one-on-one consulting service, which was met with the sound of one hand clapping. Feeling like I needed a Hail Mary, I spent the next few intense and sleep-deprived months snuggling my infant son, Clark, in between staring at a Word document named Experience Curating.

But something clicked when writing my book. I interviewed people for research, rounded up a small team of all-stars like Idea Architect Extraordinaire, Erin Kurup, and included this community in the creation process.

The light bulb? Mr. Giant Extrovert (that's me) should talk to and involve others in creating something cool. I needed to give others an ownership stake in executing my ideas.

In other words:

A man may do an immense deal of good, if he does not care who gets the credit for it. – Father Strickland, Jesuit Priest

At SimpleREV 2014, and for the indefinite future, I couldn't care less if people know how much I busted my hump to make the event great. In fact, I only want to be doing team sports now.

It was – and is – all about folks like:

  • Dan Hayes: my co-organizer, co-MC, resident jokester, and stabilizer.
  • Andrea Imsdahl: our social media queen, website masseuse, off-site activity coordinator, and all-around resourceful friend.
  • Erika Backberg and Eric Nigg: our eco-crew who diverted 99.86% of our potential waste from the landfill with savvy composting and teaming up with our event vendors.

  • Sarah Sheets: our SimpleREV logo and SimpleREV Declaration graphic designer.
  • Mindy Holahan: our lead ambassador who picked up workshop leaders from the airport at 1:00 a.m. and was our event concierge.
  • Andrew Yelken: the photographer responsible for all these wonderful pictures.
  • Alex Sina: our videographer who captured all the action, got great testimonials, and is doing a ton of post-production work to pretty up the footage.
  • Sarah and Chris Wehkamp: our “Whatcha need? I gotcha covered!” all-purpose idea and outreach champs.

I could have a freakin' award show for the volunteers who help us bootstrap SimpleREV, make it non-commercial, and allow us to be sponsor-free.

And I haven't even mentioned a whole slew of inspiring SimpleREV 2014 participants (I'll save 'em for another time).

Not so side note: Peta Wilson got so motivated by what we North American SimpleREVers were doing that she had a SimpleREV style gathering at her house outside of Sydney on October 5. Just watch the two minute video. Seriously.

(Reading in your inbox or RSS feed and can't see the video? Click here to watch it on YouTube.)

How nuts it this?!

The Numbers

A lot of people are interested in the stats behind Value of Simple. I am too because it helps me understand what's working, what's failing, and what I need to emphasize in the future.

But more than that, being upfront with you and sharing these numbers lets me display some core values of candor, vulnerability, and accountability. The more you know about this refuge of simplicity, the more you know whether this community is a place you want to be.

If a number is in parenthesis, it's the net increase or decrease of the same stat from the previous quarter. This also includes the income I made so you can see how this site supports my family, charities like Second Harvest Heartland, and the greater community.

Note: All numbers below are a monthly average of the past three months.

  • SimpleREV 2014 Stats (Just for You)
    • Amazing Participants: 56
    • Offers and Needs Market Post It Notes: 245
    • Workshop Leaders and REV Talkers: 10
    • Hugs: Thousands (but who's counting?)
  • Value of Simple Products/Services Income:
    • Experience Curating: $86.77 (-$102.53)
    • SimpleREV Tickets: $933.99 ($141.12)
    • Start Investing with $100: $0.00 (-$31.61)
    • The Digital Launch Playbook: $21.59 (+$0.23)
    • Unsexy System Sessions: $0.00

Note: Amounts shown are after PayPal fees and affiliate payments are made.

  • Total Average Monthly Income: $1,080.65 (-$1.00)
Check out my Resources page if you want to know why I stand by these products and services.

What I Learned (and You Might Too)

SimpleREV 2014

My man, Scott Dinsmore, said it well. Bring. People. Together.

Around a passion. Around a cause. Around a neighborhood. Whatever.

If you aren't actively building a community, join the existing ones you already dig.

Why do you feel connected to your religion, sports team, or even an employer?

The sense of belonging. Feeling a part of something bigger than just you. The shared experiences.

Why was spending a pretty penny and almost five days in Portland, OR for World Domination Summit in July a no-brainer … and will continue to be a no-brainer?

The community. The generosity. More magic than 100 unicorns.

Why do I expect almost every SimpleREV 2014 participant to leap at the chance for round 2?

The community. The vulnerability and candor. The hugs and high-fives. The accountability.

Give people something to believe in – an intentional, slow, and hopeful simple living journey in my case – and connect them with others who will challenge, encourage, and collaborate.

Light a match, let people own “your” idea, and watch the sparks fly.

What's Around the Corner

Oh, sweet sassy molassy! How the heck am I supposed to know what's next after SimpleREV 2014?

I worked full-time (and often more) for six months on the event and helping to grow SimpleREV into more than an event. Now I'm swimming in a sea of potential.

Here are some things that I think might happen in the next three months:

  • Spend about twenty hours a week on SimpleREV related projects. Maybe more, maybe less … it all depends on who gets involved (maybe you?).
  • Do some freelance project management work. Some folks are intrigued by my project management experience and my ability to implement with a big team (à la SimpleREV 2014). It's time to contribute financially again after thirty-one months of making about, oh … next to nothing.
  • Watch less football, especially the Minnesota Vikings. The sport and the controversy surrounding it are turning me off.
  • Get Experience Curating in print (and hopefully audio format).
  • Start a periodic Value of Simple column to publish curated resources on all the topics that fire me up.

I'm not sure what's next. But I'm more proud of what we're building together now than at any other time.

Leave a comment if you don't see something around the corner you were hoping to see. And thanks for being interested enough in me and Value of Simple to read this report!

Your partner in simplifying,


Photo Credit: fmgbain, Andrew Yelken for SimpleREV Related Photos