My bookstore addiction

Do you like bookstores? I do, and apparently, many other people do too. Why? A bookstore is a place full of wonder and imagination. Each book can be a window into a different world, a unique story, perspective, or something new to learn. Walking around bookstores feeds my motivation to continue reading, learning, discovering, and writing. Books and magazines are, for me, more interesting than social media. There’s something about its staticity; it’s a written memory or thought captured and shared via a book or a moment captured in time via a photo in a magazine.

Bookstores are a place of happiness for me. The problem is, it is also a place where I can compulsively buy books and magazines and then not read them in a while—why? Is this a problem for you too? I do read a lot, and I mean a lot. Since late last year, I started the idea of reading a book per week, and I’ve been able to do it for the most part. Of course, I have skipped a few weeks here and there due to having a great time on holiday with the family. But even with all that reading, I still have a reading queue that keeps increasing due to buying books and magazines almost every time I walk into one of these beautiful, magical places we call bookstores.

The good news is I am balancing my reading with writing and note-taking. Reading without the writing or note-taking part is just entertainment, which is OK too. Most books I read have something in them that I want to remember or use in my daily life, and that happens even with fiction books. I am learning a simple way to develop my second brain to help me memorize pieces of information that I want to refer to later. I’ll share more details about this in a future post.

One of my current projects is to create a photo book showcasing bookstores from around the world, displaying photos of the outside and the bookstore interiors. I want to capture their essence as much as possible. And while one picture is worth a thousand words, I plan to write a few paragraphs describing each bookstore, my experience, and other information about its location, history, etc.

I have been taking photos of every bookstore I visit around the world, and already have a nice collection of pictures. I will continue to visit bookstores whenever I have a chance. This project was and will continue to be an excuse to visit as many bookstores as possible.

This photo book project will probably be done by the end of this year and depending on how I feel about it, I might continue working on it one way or another. A website where I keep adding bookstore photos and description is also an option.

Maybe one day I will satisfy my hunger for bookstores by opening my own, but it is perhaps the experience of traveling and visiting different bookstores that I enjoy.

“Just start”

Surely you’ve heard something like “just do it” or “just start,” but in many cases, starting is one of the most challenging tasks in life. In this post, I will share my own experience and struggles when starting and finishing projects.

It used to be easy for me to start and work on multiple projects. I remember staying up late often to work on these projects. Starting these projects was easy then; completing them while challenging was possible in most instances. For example, I developed a website where startups and small businesses could sign up, add their location, and then be shown on a map. Before that, I created a meetup group where I helped people find co-founders for their startups, and both were quite successful.

Those are just two examples, but over the years, I also started a successful blog back in the mid-2000s to talk about anything related to startups and technology in Austin, TX. The blog became a Meetup group that grew to over 3,000 people, and more than a hundred met monthly.

However, over time, I stopped working on these projects for different reasons. And while I thought of new projects and ideas all the time, I ended up with zero projects at some point. And I remember thinking. It’s okay. It is time to focus on my job and dedicate 100% of my time. Well, I got too complacent over the years. Working on a project besides your day job is healthy, and your day job could benefit from this.

Starting new projects is difficult, and there’s always an excuse, such as I need more time, my idea needs to be better, or I need to know where or how to start. The reality is, at least in my experience, that fear plays a significant role here—fear of not feeling capable enough, not competent enough, or not experienced enough. But guess what? Starting doesn’t require any of those things.

Start anything, work on it for some time, and then start something else. Ideally, you’ll finish what you start, but you’ll learn much from that experience even if you don’t. For example, writing my thoughts about an idea is a good start that works for me. The next thing I could do, depending on the project, is to manually create something to help the project, a social media account, a web page, and a list of items to complete. And if you need customers for your new project, start talking to potential customers, one at a time.

If you feel stuck and unable to start or move forward with a project, it may be time to think about why you feel that way. I fear wasting time on something that might not work, but deep down, I know there is value in starting and working on new projects. At the minimum, it is a learning experience, but it takes work to convince yourself of that.

Fear is the reason many dreams never come true. Of course, fear is not necessarily bad, but if you let fear drive your decisions, you’ll end up with many regrets and missed opportunities.

I started a new project a few months ago, the first one outside my regular job in many years. I am taking it slowly and am excited about the journey without overthinking the end result.

Not fearing the outcome of a project or an idea is my goal, and I am not comfortable feeling comfortable anymore. Maybe it’s my age, or my project ideas aren’t as exciting as before. Nevertheless, I will continue to do what I can to keep things interesting with these new projects.

I posted a tweet days ago mentioning that my goal this year is slowing down when traveling, eating, talking, etc.

This does not mean I want to be lazy. On the contrary, I want to focus on each task and give it all my time and dedication as I am doing it. This, of course, will include my new project. Cheers.

A photo of McNally Jackson Books

The Bookstore Project

I have liked books for a long time since I was a kid. I remember getting Jules Verne’s book Journey to the center of the earth when I was around 8 years old, and I loved it. My uncle Carlos had a small bookstore in Guadalajara, Mexico and my Dad used to bring me when he visited the bookstore to exchange his books and get a few magazines. And since then, I was always thrilled to go to this bookstore and look at all these book covers, magazines, etc. It was magical to me.

Verne’s book was a treasure for me, and while I don’t remember what happened to that book, it definitely was essential in awakening my interest in reading books. So as I am writing this, I did a quick search and found that the book is still in print, and I will definitely buy it – but not online. So instead, I will aim to get it at a small bookstore.

Like many people, I have many books around the house that I haven’t read yet. For me, it’s hard not to buy a book every time I go to a bookstore. While I don’t read all books immediately, I do read them. But the experience of visiting a bookstore, looking at all the books, decorations, and everything about them is very romantic.

A few years ago, I watched a video on YouTube where Max Joseph visited beautiful bookstores in Portugal and Argentina. In his video, he travels to Portugal to visit what’s considered the most beautiful bookstore in the world, while also talking about how to read books faster, and create a habit of reading. It’s a great video, and it’s very inspiring too.

I decided to watch the video again, and since my son had asked me to go with him to a Barnes and Noble near hour house, I was excited to go. While visiting the bookstore with my son, I found a book titled “Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores,” it is as if the universe had a plan, and was laying it in front of me. I bought the book.

With newly found inspiration and ideas from the YouTube video and the book about the world’s greatest bookstores, I decided to try a new project. The idea is to visit the most unique and beautiful bookstores worldwide and take some videos and photographs of these bookstores. This isn’t going to be a single trip around the world, but instead, I will try and visit at least one or two bookstores in every city I land. And since I travel often, this should be doable, and also very fun.

This summer, we are traveling to Europe, and one of the first places we’ll visit is Porto, Portugal. And guess what? Porto is home to what is considered one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Yes, the same one featured in that YouTube video. This bookstore is also where it is said that J.K Rowling got the inspiration for some of the Harry Potter decorations. This bookstore will mark the beginning of this project, and I am really excited about it.

I don’t know what this project will be like in the end. Maybe it will be a collection of photos, videos, or both. Perhaps it will be a collection of essays where I write about each one of these bookstores, their story, etc. I don’t know, but having a specific project like this to focus on is exciting to me. It also gives me yet another excuse to find and visit more bookstores everywhere I go.

Do you also like visiting bookstores? Do you have any recommendations? One of the coolest bookstores I visited recently was in downtown Brooklyn, NY. The bookstore’s name is McNally Jackson Books, and it is beautiful. They have a large collection of books, and the place is amazing. The photo featured in this blog post is from that bookstore which I visited in May of 2022.

Your North Star

What do you want to be when you grow up?

As a kid, this is something we are asked often, and often we have an answer for this – an astronaut, a firefighter, a policeman, a pilot, a veterinarian. However, is there anything more complicated to answer than this as an adult? Think about it. The question makes you think about your education, work, hobbies, your life.

Are you doing what you love?

Why is this hard to answer? It reminds us of the things we love and that we are not doing. It’s hard to realize and accept that we are not following our dreams and are not on the right path to achieve them either. It’s always easier to avoid thinking about this and continue to do what we are doing.

I don’t know about you, but I am not doing anything remotely to what a veterinarian does. That’s what I said I wanted to be when I grew up. But it’s also true that I don’t want to be a veterinarian today. My goals and dreams grew as I grew older.

Life takes you to places you didn’t even imagine when you were a kid. Sometimes you are lucky and have more support available to you as an adult to pursue what you said you wanted to be, but you often don’t. Instead, life necessities get on the way, and you work doing something that pays the bills but that you don’t love or like at all.

This is fine, as long as you keep your dreams in front of you, as long as you still have your North Star, it’s okay to do what you need to do while you work on getting to where you want to be one day.

Avoid doing the same thing while expecting different results. If you are not progressing towards your dream of becoming something else, then you are on the edge of insanity, as Einstein said…

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Albert Einstein

Overtime our goals evolve, we evolve, and it is essential to check with ourselves about this question again and again. What do you want to be when you grow up? This has nothing to do with age; it’s more about what you want to be doing next, on the next phase of your life. I’d expect that most people’s answers to this question will continue to change.

If one day you ask this question and the answer is equal or similar to what you are doing, and this doesn’t change in the future, you’ve arrived at a place in your life where you are contemptuous with who you are what you are doing. Congratulations, you are in the minority.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Ask yourself this question often, and make the necessary adjustments to your life if what you are doing is not what you want to be doing. Our time is finite, and it’s easy to go through life without stopping to see if what we are doing is what we love.

We go through life worrying about our family, paying bills, global pandemics, wars, social media, the latest Netflix series, etc. But in comparison, spend very little time and effort on our North Star, which is ironic because this is where we have real influence and the possibility of change.

It takes patience and consistency. It is necessary to have clarity of mind, passion, hard work, and luck. However, the thing with luck is that the more patient you are, the more consistent you are, and the harder you work towards your goals, the greater the surface area of luck you’d have.

Am I doing what I want to be doing today?

Not yet, but I am close. It has taken me years of work, luck, learning, and perseverance, but I am not doing what I wish I was doing professionally 100% of the time, not yet. But I am happy, and this is because I know I am on the right path to achieve it. There is more learning to do, more focus, and more luck.

What about you? What do you want to be in the future?

*North Star: It’s a metaphor. Your North Star is your personal mission statement. It’s a fixed destination that you can depend on in your life as the world changes around you.

Introducing Webmica

It’s been a while since I launched a whole new project, the last one was Startup Interns, and that was about a year ago, and the project is doing pretty well. Today I would like to announce Webmica, a company offering subscription-based and one-off services related to WordPress and targeting entrepreneurs, self-employed individuals, small to medium size businesses.

What is Webmica?

Webmica is going to be the fastest way to get a WordPress site up and running without having to worry about settings, configuration, plugins, security, etc. The best way to explain that is with a little tour.

Step one. Visit Webmica.com and select a plan.

Step two. Tell us the location of your current site.

Step three. Visit a demo site showcasing your existing content (we’ll create this site).

Step four. Provide feedback, approve. That’s all!

We will take care of your website so you can take care of your business. See some of the services included in every plan: Continue reading →