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  • Leon Apel 5:37 pm on November 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Early Thanksgiving Appreciation 

    Early Thanksgiving Appreciation: Thursday, November 26

    I think I should be more thankful to all the positive influences in my life.  If I forgot to thank someone it may be purely accidental Without further ado, I’d like to thank all of the following people (while preserving confidentiality):

    • Banks for providing me with the credit card facility I needed to start my business
    • Technological innovations which I’ve leveraged to build companies
    • Chess and video games for teaching about strategy
    • My father, mother, and one of my siblings who have been very trusting, generous and supportive despite coming from a humble immigrant background
    • My business partners who I expect to become increasingly successful who also believe in treating all stakeholders well
    • My team members who I’ve trusted for years and produce amazing quality work
    • All of my suppliers I used who have been very reliable and honest
    • All of my customers who trust the products/services I provided
    • All of my expert advisers
    • Philanthropists who sacrifice lifestyle to continue re-investing and solving hard problems instead of coasting on their previous success
    • Entrepreneurs who I’ve supported and want to help succeed
    • Scientists who apply their problem solving skills
    • Multiple countries that have been open for business and entrepreneurship

    I simply posted this to remind myself on all the positive influences.  I think the common element of the people I’m thankful for are people who are hard working and want to solve problems.

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  • Leon Apel 3:43 am on September 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Friendly Vs Unfriendly Countries 

    This post is purely based on my anecdotal experience as a Canadian tourist, student, and entrepreneur. I think I’m a fairly “low risk” Canadian tourist. Based on my experiences, I find certain countries to be much better to travel to than others where you are treated reasonably by border security.

    The following is a list of countries that are friendly to travel to as a Canadian:

    • Canada
    • Thailand
    • Hong Kong
    • Macau
    • Singapore
    • Spain
    • Panama
    • Switzerland
    • United Arab Emirates
    • France
    • Netherlands

    I’m neutral on the following countries:

    • Colombia – While my experience was fine, it appears that it may have become less friendly to Canadians.  (Effective December 1st, 2014, Colombia will begin charging a reciprocity fee to citizens of Canada arriving at an airport in Colombia. The fee of approximately $88 CAD (or 160.000 Colombian pesos) per person is valid for a single entry into the country, and is payable by international credit card or debit card.).
    • Israel (While my experiences have been fine, I’ve heard stories from others)

    The following are some countries that may need improvement:

    • United Kingdom  (eg. aggressive questioning to a low risk tourist who has a Youth Mobility Visa)
    • United States (eg. second rounds of questions to low risk tourist who has a Visa)

    Note: Some of my experiences with the above countries have been fine and I completely understand their rationale behind screenings but I think that having to wait an extra 10 minutes-1 hour is a significant inconvenience.

    While I like the countries visited above, I’d feel like a more comfortable travelling to them as a tourist if they were friendlier. Further, investors and entrepreneurs who create jobs want to feel comfortable travelling to their desired country and will be a lot more hesitant to create opportunities in a country that are unfriendly.

    I think countries most countries want to attract tourists and entrepreneurs. I was particularly impressed by a few Asian countries where you can use a tablet display to rate your travel experience through border security and your overall airport experience.

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  • Leon Apel 4:01 am on December 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Positive/Optimistic/High Energy Songs 

    The following are random songs to get in a good mood:

    1. Reload – Sebastian Ingrosso, Tommy Trash, John Martin
    2. Forever – Drake, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Eminem
    3. Guru Josh Project
    4. Where the Party’s At
    5. Kid Cudi Dat New New
    6. Otto Knows – Million Voices
    7. Wiz Khalifa – Work Hard Play Hard
    8. OneRepublic – Good Life
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  • Leon Apel 6:53 am on September 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    On Becoming a Pescatarian with a Twist 

    I’ve decided to become a pescatarian–“the practice of a diet that includes seafood but not the flesh of other animals. A pescetarian diet shares many of its components with a vegetarian diet and includes vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains, beans, eggs, and dairy, but unlike a vegetarian diet also includes fish and shellfish.”

    This was a gradual transition where I mentally don’t enjoy unhealthy foods because I immediately think of the long term implications of eating the food. For example, if I look at a cookie or cake, I just think of the poor energy it will provide. It’s like a simple video game decision to me – I don’t feel compelled by cravings.

    The following are more foods I try to cut out:

    • Sugars:?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM?”Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, explores the damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin”
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Soy products because apparently they mimic estrogen
    • Milk products – it’s hard to cut out cheese entirely since many salads I like have cheese so I eat it sparingly

    The following are some products I consume instead:

    • Seafood: Everything from fish, to shrimp and mussels
    • Drinks: Water, tea, and coffee (best french-pressed)
    • Deserts:?Almond milk ice cream, and?occasionally?chocolate
    • Vegetables (major influence: Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead -?http://www.hulu.com/watch/289122): Vegetables probably are close to 50% of my diet. I pick up trays/platters of vegetables to save time. I love most vegetables including spinach, asparagus, beans, avocados, olives.
    • Fruit: I like many varieties but I like a lot of nectarines (I like the texture/taste), watermelon, apples, grapes and berries.?I’ll add tomatoes as another major fruit I consume.
    • Nuts: Almonds, peanuts, and cashews

    Still, when with friends and colleagues I’ll be open to breaking my general guidelines/eating habits.

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  • Leon Apel 7:29 am on February 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Quick Way to Organize Priorities/Tasks 

    Quick Way to Organize Priorities/Tasks

    1. Use at least two computers, each designed for a specific type of project (eg. work only vs. recreation only)
    2. For Windows Users: Use a unique “user” login for each project you do, so each new user is instead a “unique project.” I’ve found this very helpful for ensuring my computers run quickly because each user has a unique set of programs installed with much less unnecessary software running in the background.
    3. Use a tool like Springpad/Evernote to take notes and create a new notepad for each new major project
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