Josh Thompson     about     blog     projects

October 2016 Goals

Article Table of Contents

In the last year, I’ve fluctuated between writing every day for 30 days and not posting once in two months.

Frankly, neither of those is good for me.

I like writing because it clarifies my own thoughts. Sometimes it seems useful to others. I like to be useful (“utility” can often correspond with “market value”, which sometimes corresponds with $$$) and I like to think clearly.

Projects #

I’ve got three open projects right now:

  • Learn back-end web development. (ew. a huge and complicated and ill-defined goal)

  • Launch a three-tiered course/offering about how to climb without fear over on (Much less complicated, much more defined, than #1)

  • Climb 5.13. This has been a goal for ages. {excuse1} {excuse 2} {excuse 3}. With those excuses out of the way, 5.13 is a meaningful grade to me. Mostly, it’s quite hard climbing. 5.13 is not hard to really really good rock climbers, but at least it gets a shrug from them, so it’s good enough for me. (Simplest and best defined of all goals.)

Why did I title this thing “October”? #

I can have one meaningful goal in each of these projects, and spend the rest of the month working on it. At the end of the month, I can post an update, and then sketch out the next month of work.

This cadence might be that sweet spot of “writing for clarity and understanding” without tipping into “writing for the sake of writing”.

To that end, here’s my stab at what might be progress for the rest of the month in each domain:


I’ll finish Hartle’s Rails Tutorial, and move on to another walk-through of a specific app. TBH, I don’t feel like I’ve learned too much from the tutorial, because so much of what I’m doing is going way over my head.

I’m punching in code in the right places, and making the tests turn green, but I’ve got a ways to go for really understanding what I’m doing.

Fortunately, this is a solvable problem, so it doesn’t concern me at all.

Climber’s Guide course

Oh man. Do you want to undertake a project that makes you question your value as a person, everyone’s assessment of you, and make you wonder if you’re a terrible person?

Great. Launch a course that you will try to get people to pay you a lot of money for.

More real-talk: The price-points I’m aiming for are roughly:

  • $50 - Basic

  • $150 - Middle

  • $300 - Premium

That’s right. {scream emoji}. This is a lot of money. I’m going to ask people to pay me it.

Part of the pricing is because that’s what the product + offerings is worth. Part of it is the anchoring effect.

Quick - is $50 a lot of money? You’ll probably say “no” because you just read the price of $300. So, $50 is cheap. What if I said I was offering a course for $10, $25, and $50? Now you’d say $50 is expensive. Probably.

The scary thing is… I think it’ll be worth it. But again, there’s that thorny problem of “value, self-esteem, confidence” raising it’s ugly head.

So, next step?

  • Record a bunch of videos talking people through the program, step by step.

  • Send more regular emails to everyone that’s on the list. I’ve got about 250 email subscribers that I’ve not emailed in a few months. Oops.

Furiously google’s “Reengagement campaign”. Fortunately, I work at a company that knows how to handle this sort of situation

(I’d like to “launch” this course to a list of at least 500. I’ve got other projects in the pipe for that…)

I already have most of the videos done (the videos of the actual climbing.) What I’m missing is the “Josh talks into a camera and explains what’s going on”.

I need to annotate the videos, make it extremely clear whatever it is I’m trying to teach.

It’ll so be worth the money. I can help the right person climb 2-3 grades harder almost overnight. That same person will spend $300 on a new rope and $150 on cool climbing shoes that will help them climb (maybe) one grade harder.

It’s still sticky and uncomfortable. But that means it’s good for me, right?


Climbing 5.13

There’s a nice book written about how to climb 5.12. (I just noticed the cover image is from Jesus Wept, 5.12d, Red River Gorge. Fantastic climb, though those two-finger pockets are challenging.)

Climbing 5.12 is most likely within the genetic potential of almost every person alive today. That doesn’t make it easy, it just means “your genes will not make it impossible for you to climb 5.12 with enough time, training, and at the right BMI”

5.13 is four grades harder than 5.12, which is… generally considered hard. I’ve had mixed success with 5.12. I’ve onsighted up to 5.12b, and projected… maybe a few 5.12cs. This is a pretty bad “spread” between the onsight grade and project grade.

Traditionally, you should be projecting about four grades harder than you can onsight. I project one grade harder than I onsight. (Oh, you thought 5.14 was a reasonable goal? hah.)

Why is this? Am I really really good at onsighting? Not at all. I am comically bad at remembering my beta. (“Beta” is just the sequence of hand and foot movements that you use to move through sections of a climb)

Generally, the first time you get on a climb, you’re going to make some mistakes, as well as learn more efficient ways to climb. (“The 2nd left-hand crimp is terrible. Bump to the more incut hold, and then highstep your right foot to a hand-foot match on the right”)

I cannot remember this stuff at all. If I do the same climb three times in a row, I’ll have probably climbed it three different ways. I’m basically re-onsighting climbs, over and over and over.

So, if I want to climb better/harder, the obvious next step is remember my beta.

I feel like this might be related to my generally horrific ability to visualize things in general. I’ve noticed when I read books with vivid landscape depictions, I gain nothing from reading them, because my “minds eye” doesn’t do anything.

I just read books for content, plot advancement, etc. I’m bad at visualizing faces (I’m bad with names, too), and when I look hard enough, I find evidence of a severely under-trained “minds eye”.

google’s “how to train your mind’s eye” Wow. That got weird quick. Nevermind.

So, next steps for climbing training?

I’m going to start writing out a “sequence log” of the difficult parts of routes/boulder problems, and see if I can follow my intended sequences over time.

Additional reading: #

PS SquareSpace’s Markdown content block doesn’t work with real markdown. :( They don’t recognize # H1, ## H2, etc. Sigh.