Built. Not bought. (Or is it?)

Here’s something to think about.

We favor built over bought. Sweat equity adds value.

The 600hp Hellcat is an amazing machine, but its not an earned 600hp. Sure, the team at Mopar that pitched and engineered the project earned it, but the guy who just financed one for 84 months and rolls into the Friday night car show? Not so much.

And this is all coming from a guy who’s seen 2-liter four-cylinders making well over 1,000 horsepower at the wheels. We all appreciate the technology, but just because you can write a check and drive away in an amazing machine doesn’t mean a whole lot to real car guys.

Built > Bought. Any day of the week.

And yet, how many of us are actually building machines anymore?

Building—as opposed to simply entering ordering parts online and bolting them up.

It’s a subtle difference, but significant.

What happens when you can’t just grab another short block at the junkyard, let alone for $150?

What happens when all the retailers re-inventory to better serve newer models?

What happens when there’s no more fenders or headlights or windshields?

What happens when you have to figure it out 100% on your own? 

It’s one thing to tout BUILT > BOUGHT, but we need to check ourselves.

Gonna have to talk to some gearheads about this in coming months…

What to do about insane inspiration

I’ve been doing this for 10 months, now.

This is post #234 on the site. Putting that in perspective, I “only” published 700-ish pieces on Gearbox Magazine in six years. And another 800-ish on the old DR1665 site this one replaced.

I’m always working on consistency—publishing on a daily basis—but it’s not always easy. The last two weeks have been INTENSE. Family, work, and reality always come first. I don’t need to defend that, I know, but I want to go on the record with it.

So what finally inspired me to throw caution to the wind and publish half a dozen updates in an hour?

Insane inspiration. I wanted to get THIS one out there.

10 years ago, I drafted the working credo that eventually became my life and this site.

  1. A difference is the only thing worth making.
  2. Work-life parallel > work-life balance
  3. True success comes from helping others achieve success.

GBXM is coming back. Even bigger and better than I imagined. Wanna know why?

We’re taking a zero-bullshit, damn the torpedoes approach to that third piece.

I’ve been sketching and drafting resources and curriculum to help friends for years. Today, I realized I was having a deep-dive conversation with an old, gearhead buddy from wayback—that I’ve had with two other old, gearhead buddies from wayback—in the last SIX MONTHS.

I’ve probably written 20,000 words on the subject THIS YEAR. In emails.

You know how much of this stuff was in my LMS development kit?

Zero. Fucking. Percent.

Three people. Who came to me for help. With something important. Because they trust me.

Light bulb.


Bury the LEDE, Dear Megan

What a friggin’ day.

 Happy birthday, Dad!

I love you and appreciate how fuckin’ hard it had to be sometimes. Think I’m gonna be okay now, so you did a good job and can relax. (Look how long it’s been since I asked to borrow some money! Haha.)

I’ll try to make sure Penny takes that advice about saving money and not going to expensive college you gave me but that I was a know-it-all teenager and paid for it. (Personally, I hope she decides to use the money grow her own business, but that’s up to her.)

Sorry I didn’t call today.

Penny almost called, but opted to submit to a legion of lower level demons and drag us along on a 20 minute tour of the brightly colored flames of 5-year old Rage Hell. Because she didn’t want to put on her pajamas.

Oh, and we’re taking her to Disneyland next week for her birthday. It’s a big surprise and she doesn’t know yet.

Bloody hell. We’ve already spent a grand on this birthday and we’re still going to need to get to LA and back. I only paid $2500 for the truck I drive to work everyday.

Why do you always compare things to the price of your truck?

Vanessa asked me this yesterday when I compared something I saw to the price of my truck.

I dunno. I guess, partly because it makes me feel good to know I’m smart enough and have good enough friends supporting me that I don’t have to spend that much money to drive exactly the vehicle I want. “The whole shittery.”

Toybreaker John used to say that.

“The whole shittery.” We used to talk on the phone from time to time. Man. That dude had some crazy high standards, but if I’m honest I always felt like I wanted want to live up to them.

Because I know I didn’t. I mean, seriously. I’m lazy like every other commoditized sapien with the internet in his hand all day.

But I know where I’ve set my bar.

I know what it takes to be a real father. To be a real gearhead. To be a true friend. And a successful entrepreneur.

Get up.
Suit up.
Kick Lazy’s ASS.
And make a fucking difference.

I like to think Toybreaker would say, “Wouldn’t have it any other way.”

See, Dad? I’m gonna be okay. 🙂

And to Bree and Mason…

Bree, I’ve known you since you were, what, six? And tomorrow you’re getting married. Thank you for showing me that little girls–like the one I’ve got of my own, now–get cooler as they grow up, turn out to be solid, awesome people, and get to live happily ever after.

Mason, not gonna lie. My first impression of you was a fairly tired looking Audi parked in front of John and Jill’s that I figured could either reflect an honest, sincere effort limited by the same shit that gets us all or a flat brim rent-a-baller. (You’re a gearhead. You know we all do that when we see the car first.)

You immediately proved yourself the former. And you’ve only gotten better since. You’re a solid dude.

The two of you

Everyone you know, every friend, every family member–we’ve all fucked up. We’ve all made the wrong call, or forgot the important thing, or chickened out and blew it at some point.

You will too.

And it will suck.

But you will get beyond it. Whatever it is.

Because you’ve found the real thing. You know you have. You’re going to take care of it. And you’re going to take care of each other.

I’m happy for you both. We all are.

And now, if you’ll excuse me. I ran two miles before writing this–which is longer than I’ve ever ran in my life–and I was faster, too.

I guess Runner’s High IS a thing.

I just felt thankful at the end of a long, difficult day, and had a few important people on my mind.

And THAT, Dear Megan, is how you bury the LEDE. (And I remember phone booths, too, damnit.)