What I'm doing now

(This is my first attempt at a now page … inspired by Derek Siver’s now page)

July 2nd, 2019

I kicked off January 2019 in Washington DC dog sitting my God pup Fitz, followed by my first trip ever to Pittsburgh, PA, via bus to visit an old friend from Duke pre-college.

Waking up on the couch with Fitzgerald Emerson - January 2019 - Washington, DC

As January 2019 came to a close, I was able to check off my yearly goal to visit our family in Bogotá, Colombia, and surprisingly came back from South America a little more Colombian than before.

As fate would have it, while in Colombia, I ended up getting my first root canal, followed up with a custom Colombian crown thanks to my talented and caring cousin Maria Paula. In the process I saved hundreds and it turns out health tourism is a real thing y’all.

Gonz & Maria Paula at lunch in downtown Bogotá - January 2019 - Bogotá, Colombia

This trip to Bogotá was all about dental health, as it turned out, my father would also have his own dental issues during our visit.

While in Colombia, an impacted wisdom tooth of his got infected and could no longer be ignored. We learned it would require surgery from a maxillofacial surgeon and decided to most likely have the operation and recovery back in the U.S.

Tía Elvira, prima Maria-Jimena, Gonz and tía Julia pause for a photo during afternoon lunch and ‘arepas’ - January 2019 - Bogotá, Colombia

From Bogota I headed to Nashville for the start of February where I rented a room from a friend until March when the Gonzer and I headed to the Mayo Clinic for his tooth consultation.

It was at least my 4th time traveling to the Mayo in Rochester, MN, for consultation and I continue to be super grateful for and in love with the medical teams and level of care there.

The doctors at Mayo ended up operating that week on Gonzie and post surgery I accompanied my dad back to Virginia where I bounced around to various rooms in the area courtsey of Airbnb and Hotel Tonight until I found a room to rent near my father in Reston. Early April I was able to finally get back to work.

An average evening working while eating dinner at my desk/home office in Reston. - May 2019 - Reston, VA

That room abruptly ended in June when I got deathly sick from a combo sewage leak into the kitchen coupled with a bat infestation that caused me to move out. Super awesome I know. You haven’t lived until you’ve breathed bat guano I tell ya!

Snapped this after I pinned the bat frantically flying around my housemates basement room. - Reston, VA - May 2019

Gotta keep it exciting … as if getting carjacked a few years back wasn’t bad enough … I guess it turns out I needed a bat capture and release story coupled with near death from bat dung in the vents.

By now most friends are probably a little confused where I actually live … and truth continued to be told … so am I some of the time.  My nomadic ways these last couple years have been dictated more out of necessity, then full design all the time, as I continue my quest to build and bring HANG LOCAL to the world on a shoestring budget.

Less random than it looks, I continue my goal of laying roots and building my life, friendships and community in the SF Bay Area, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C/Virginia and most recently back in Nashville, TN.

Years ago I stopped believing in the social construct of living all 12 months of the year in the same city. Why wait till retirement I figured?

LOVE install at the Reston Town Center courtesy of visit Virginia/Virginia Is For Lovers - May 2019 - Reston, VA

For my west coast friends without east coast reference, Reston, Virginia, is one suburban town over from McLean, Virginia. I still have family living in both McLean and Reston. McLean is just a few miles from Washington if you follow the (Potomac) river Northwest out of DC.

Living “part time” again in Virginia is in line with my broader plan to live with and spend more time with my father. Not to mention reconnect with my OG friends from growing up in VA and participate in the lives of my ever growing family in the area.

The Langley High School Girls Varsity Lacrosse team racks up another W at home. - May 2019 - Langley, VA

Spending time in Virginia allows me to do things I can’t do from 2000+ miles away in California, like attend my niece Alexa’s varsity lax games back at my old HS.

It was a treat to witness a lot of their Spring 2019 season that culminated in this hard working group of girls taking home Langley High’s first ever Virginia Girls Lacrosse State Championship!

My niece Alexandra and her teammate friend kiss the sweetness of victory post win. - June 2019 - Richmond, VA

Still #SAXONCOUNTRY baby!

With my father, still passionate about helping the sick and practicing medicine in Northern VA, it’s not super easy to pick up and move west at the moment as I may like.

My dad and I take meditation/water break on the Sugar Land Run trails. - April 2019 - Reston, VA

When hanging in Reston with the Gonzer, we enjoy our frequent trails walks amongst the lush Virginia woods and wildlife.  You can also most likely find us tracking down a free classical concert from “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band whenever possible.

Probably the biggest news to report for 2019 is that in February, after more than 7 years of bootstrapping, I secured HANG LOCAL’s first investment from one of my oldest and closest buddies from Vanderbilt.

This was a huge milestone for HANG LOCAL and has allowed me to continue the march forward with a little less stress. It has also been great to have an old friend that both believes in me and trusts me jump in for the journey.

A mostly clean desk mid-day. - May 2019 - Reston, VA

As Founder & CEO of HANG LOCAL … my day to day usually means juggling core responsibilities like coding and improving the core product, laying down operational processes for future growth and sanity, recruiting team members to build the team and join the mission, fundraising to keep it all alive, and shipping off a few HANG LOCAL Truckers here and there to some of the coolest corners of the U.S.

I continue to also live “part time” (say ~50% time) in Nashville, TN, where I’ve recently relocated my business. You may or may not know that I previously lived in Nashville for four years while earning my undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering from Vanderbilt.

As of 2019, I’m back with new goals that include building a partnership with Vanderbilt, engaging with Nashville’s growing tech and start-up ecosystem as well as developing and refining HANG LOCAL’s core product offering.

With more than 20K Vandy alum in the Greater Nashville area and a city that continues to add more than 50+ people a day, it turns out this is the right place for me to be at the moment as I push forward building software that helps adults make friends as well as hang out more in real life.

When I originally moved to Nashville for college, I had no idea that I’d fall in love with this city, but I definitely did.  The south mid-atlantic geography is similar to what I knew and loved growing up in Virginia, however Nashville didn’t yet have all the suburban sprawl you find in the Washington DC Metro area.

In Nashville you could and still can be in the city then shortly thereafter in *THE COUNTRY* in a matter of minutes (rush hour traffic excluded these days).

The list of why Nashville is awesome really just goes on including the friendliest people in the world, some of the best music and musicians in the country, a growing start-up / tech community, a growing economy as well as a more affordable cost of living and high quality of life.

TO BE CONTINUED …