Life Life Love | Volume Eight

Hello Everyone,

Isaac Asimov once said, “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ but ‘That’s funny…'” I mention this quote because many of you have asked what I have been working on with my father (that I briefly mentioned in last quarter’s newsletter). We have been working on a hangover remedy. We are still very much in the design phase as demonstrated by the following short tale: I administered our first version of the hangover remedy formula to my friend Micah, his aunt, his cousin and myself after a night of libation on Catalina Island (over the Fourth of July weekend). To my dismay it was discovered in this ad hoc human trial that the amount of sodium bicarbonate that can be tolerated after a night of drinking in a normal human had been significantly over-estimated. You can imagine where this is going. Micah’s cousin and I felt relief. Micah and his aunt on the other hand had adverse reactions: acute intestinal distress and uncontrollable burping respectively. In retrospect it is funny, that day however it was a little uncomfortable on the island. It continues to be a fun little side project. New evidence about the effectiveness of asparagus leaf and shoot extract (in the treatment of hangovers) has us playing with the formula once again. I’ll keep you posted on our efforts.

The other good news to report is Anna and I are moving to the Bay Area. Anna has secured a great job with Levi’s and I am surfing up north on her coattails. I owe a debt of gratitude to those of you that have either helped or offered to help in my job search. It is my pleasure to report that things are on the upswing.

Adhering to the parameters of the Live Life Love project I conducted two more excellent informational interviews. The most surprising reveal from this effort is that when I asked the two gentlemen (experts in the field of fitness) what excited them the most about the future of exercise they both basically stated, “a throwback to the importance of functional training.”

For my business interview this quarter I reached out to Mark Friedman, co-founder and president of Perfect Fitness, LLC, the creators of the Perfect Pushup and Perfect Pullup. Mark’s entrepreneurial journey is quite aspiring and he graciously agreed to sit down and talk with me. My interview with Mark about innovation can be viewed by clicking here.

My wellness interview this quarter is with Tom DeLong. Tom was one of my professors at UCLA and is an expert in kinesiology. He is currently working on authoring a book chapter on biomechanics for Human Kinetics but took time out of his busy schedule to talk with me about fitness innovation. My interview with Tom about sports technology can be read by clicking here.

As one can imagine money has been a little tight in these economic times for me and Anna, so one of the prerequisites in partaking in this quarter’s life experience was to keep the traveling costs down. I discovered that you can find great deals to areas of the world that are going through political upheaval. Hello Honduras! All joking aside, Honduras is a wonderful country. We went to the island of Roatan and had a blast… awesome diving, great people and very relaxing. We even got to swim with dolphins.

Swimming with Dolphins | Roatan, Honduras | Michael Rucker

Swimming with Dolphins | Roatan, Honduras | 2009

A tip for those of you looking for budget travel, I highly recommend Vacation Rentals by Owner. We got a $400 a night luxury condo for less than 25 percent of the asking price. There are some unbelievable deals on this site.

Lastly, it is an honor to continue to help those of you pursuing athletic achievements. This quarter I was able to contribute to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through donations to Kristin and Jeremy and the Make a Wish Foundation through a donation to Nick. Strong effort, great causes, that is what it is all about!

Warm regards,

Life Life Love | Volume Seven

Hello Everyone,

This quarter has been an interesting one. My wife lost her job last month and my primary engagement is winding down and will conclude next month. We are comfortable enough to weather the storm so we feel quite fortunate, especially considering what many families are going through. It is times like these that allow you to get back to basics. In my spare time I have begun to work on an exciting project with my father, which has allowed us to connect in a way that we haven’t been able to do since my youth. I am also getting to watch my wife enjoy renewed passions, such as Spanish and yoga, which were somewhat unavailable to her before due to the rigors of her career. Even in turbulent times, there are always benefits if you pursue them. I am also using the free time to rip my long term goals back down to their foundation and reevaluate and architect a sounder and more optimized path to getting the things I would like to achieve accomplished… more to come on that next quarter.

In the meantime, I am using my fresh budding autonomy to complete some pretty exciting stuff. By the time I write the next newsletter I will have completed my fitness certification from UCLA, received my American College of Sports Medicine accreditation and attended the first IPPA World Congress on positive psychology in Philadelphia. It should be a fruitful next few months.


Entrepreneurship: To commemorate Web 2.0 becoming the official 1,000,000 word in the U.S. vocabulary I reached out to Web entrepreneur Todd Dipaola, the co-founder of Vantage Media, which in 2007 reached 31 in Inc Magazine’s annual 500 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America List. Todd is now the president of Pier Alliance, a company that he has founded with former executives from Yahoo and Google. The transcript of my discussion with Todd about Internet search can be found here.

Wellness: I was especially honored this quarter to get to sit down for half an hour with running legend Jeff Galloway. Jeff has helped over 250,000 non-elite runners achieve their goals through coaching and instruction and authored the best-selling running book in North America entitled Galloway’s Book on Running. Click here to read my write up of the interview between Jeff and me about running.

Life Experience: I used one of my last remaining “hall passes” from Anna to go to the Wounded Warriors Project benefit at the Playboy Mansion. As many of you know I have kept a list since my youth of trying to hit every major party spot around the world. This was the last destination to check off the list.

Playboy Mansion | The Grotto | Michael Rucker

Playboy Mansion | The Grotto | 2009

Contribution: Along with the contribution to the Wounded Warriors Project, I proudly contributed to the Steve Larsen fund. As you might recall last quarter I was able to interview Davis, CA legend Dave Scott. For those of you who don’t know Steve Larsen, Steve was another Davis legend that contributed tremendously to the world of cycling and tri-sport. Unfortunately, while training Steve’s heart failed and they were unable to revive him. If you are interested in contributing to help out the Larsen family you can do so here.

So it is back to the lab again. I am going to spend July finishing up some contract work and clearing out my surplus of reward points by doing a little traveling and then start job hunting in August.

Before I go I would like to give a plug to my friends over at ElliptiGO. They are a start-up that has created an outdoor elliptical product. It is an extremely innovative product. We were giving test rides at the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and people just loved it. If you have any interest, check out the ElliptiGO website.

If I do not see you before the next newsletter, please enjoy your summer! And as always, let me know if I can help you with your goals in any way.

Warm regards,

Life Life Love | Volume Six

Hello Everyone,

I hope the New Year has brought you new found optimism. As for myself, I have been staying busy so I apologize that this portal remains so vanilla. This project is my favorite hobby, but because it is a hobby it ultimately has to get subordinated to other priorities. There is no lack of substance, but I am still deficient in design.

I was also made aware that women were unrepresented in my knowledge database. As reparations for this lack of female perspective I reached out to Kristi Frank this quarter. Kristi is the founder and CEO of Saturday Morning Success, which is an online-based company that helps women entrepreneurs live out their dreams through tele-seminars with the country’s top female CEOs, experts, and entrepreneurs. You have probably seen Kristi before either on Donald Trump’s The Apprentice, Oprah, MSNBC, The View, The Today Show, or one of her many other television appearances. Kristi’s interview about mompreneurs can be found here.

This quarter’s wellness interview is with Christopher Talley. Chris is a sports nutritionist who specializes in the unique requirements of ultra-elite athletic performance. He has more than 22 years of experience in the fields of nutritional science and exercise physiology, and his clientele include 3 NBA MVPs, 2 NFL MVPs, 2 MLB Cy Young award winners, world record holders in 4 Olympic track and field events, 2 Heisman trophy winners, and a host of other household-name athletes. The interview with Chris about sports nutrition can be found here.

I have to thank the Live Life Love project itself for this quarter’s life experience. If it wasn’t for the self-imposed mandate of doing something new and exciting every three months I wouldn’t have gone to the Grand Canyon last week, but because I have made this commitment to myself, my wife and I got in our car and drove to Las Vegas where we hopped on a helicopter to take a look at this amazing place.

Grand Canyon | Las Vegas, NV | Michael Rucker

Grand Canyon | Las Vegas, NV | 2009

Grand Canyon | Arizona | Michael Rucker

Grand Canyon | Arizona | 2009

To honor giving back this quarter, I once again helped aid the athletic sponsorship efforts of a couple of you, specifically Charlie and Nicole. Good luck in your respective races ladies! I also acted locally by donating funds to help a leadership program I was involved in buy a Big Belly for the city of Manhattan Beach.

This is a powerful time to consider starting a new endeavor. Globally I believe the pendulum is going to continue to swing in the wrong direction for at least a few more months (as a nice supplemental to Scott Bell’s interview last quarter regarding the economy watch Jon Stewart skewer Jim Cramer here), but if you proactively prepare now to catch it when it starts heading back in the right direction you will be ahead of the curve. As always, please continue to reach out to me if I can help you in any way with your worthy pursuits. As I mentioned in the interview with Mr. Talley this quarter, I do believe that when we try to pick out anything by itself we find it attached to everything else… which makes helping one another that much more important!

Warm regards,

Life Life Love | Volume Five

Hello Everyone,

Happy Holidays! I have added some new names to my quarterly musings through my Facebook and LinkedIn contacts. At the end of 2007 when I started the Live, Life, Love endeavor I was filled with elation. Unfortunately, the end of 2008 has been quite tumultuous for me as I am sure it has been for many of you.

It is important in these times we keep our head up, surround ourselves with propitious people, and make sure we reciprocate in kind… but don’t take my word for it, check out this article from Science News.

I found myself in one of the corporate offices of Nike recently and I was taken back by a marketing slogan plastered across the entry wall: Training is the opposite of hoping. The message really resonated with me. As many of you know, I have been a staunch critic of people who interpret and/or peddle the Law of Attraction to mean that you can manifest anything in your life without action. This was further reinforced this quarter through my physiology studies at UCLA. I was surprised to learn that at the muscular level the notion of “muscle memory” is a complete fallacy. After three days of inactivity we begin to lose the positive effects of adaptation and there are limited accelerants to help regain what has been lost. This applies to both anaerobic and aerobic conditioning. In short, the feast and famine training approach I’ve adopted over the years has probably hindered any real progress towards achieving some of my overall fitness goals. I am going to implement a more well-rounded and continuous approach in 2009. I’ll let you know how the experiment goes.

And with that introspective let me introduce the fifth fitness leader to contribute to the Live, Life, Love knowledge database, Dave Scott. Dave is one of the “local boys done good” from my hometown of Davis, CA. He is a six-time Ironman World Champion athlete and the first inductee into the Ironman Hall of Fame. Dave continues to live up to his distinction as “The Man” through his various speaking engagements, sport clinics, and race sponsored activities. It was a true honor that he took the time to answer my five questions. The interview about fitness training can be found here.

The fifth business leader tapped in my quest for knowledge is Scott Bell. Scott spent the last ten years at one of the largest and most revered firms on Wall Street. For legal reasons the company shall remain unnamed but it shares a commonality with my favorite rum (a hint for the truly inquisitive). In 2008, Scott left this firm and started the company Gross Domestic Product. Within less than a year’s time he is already managing over $25 million in personal assets. I am equally honored that Scott took the time to be interviewed, given his profession and the understandable time constraints placed on him over the past couple months. My five questions with Scott about wealth management can be found here.

The life experience for this quarter was going to Oktoberfest in Germany. It was the first time I got to share one of these adventures with my brother and we had a great time — a beer drinker’s dream!

Oktoberfest | Munich, Germany | Michael Rucker

Oktoberfest | Munich, Germany | 2008

As for giving this quarter, I helped aid the efforts of few of you, like Melissa, Stephanie, and Mark but I think my favorite was sponsoring Todd’s mustache growing efforts… part of the proceeds Todd collected went to helping fight male depression so it was a truly worthy endeavor (click here to learn more about Movember). Anna and I also donated our old cell phones to the Cell Phones for Soldiers program.

Once again, thank you for being a part of my journey (and sharing in this fifth installment). Please continue to let me know if I can help you in anyway along your path. Wishing you nothing but the best in 2009!

Warm regards,

Life Life Love | Volume Four

Hello Everyone,

Can you believe as of today there is less than 100 days left in 2008? Are you on the way to accomplishing what you set out to do? Do you like where you are currently sitting?

As for me, I happen to be sitting in a hostel in Vienna, Austria sipping on a Pittinger with my brother getting ready to travel to next quarter’s “life experience” pondering my success in Yahoo Fantasy Football this week — given New England’s dismal effort against Miami I should have lost (for my friends interested in fantasy football, I was using New England’s defense this round and just got wind of my week’s tally).

Lately a few of you have asked me how I have been able to architect a life that enables me to do what I do. So in the spirit of my miraculous fantasy football victory this week, I offer you the following two analogies:

  1. I don’t score too many touchdowns but I have mastered the art of first downs. I did not start at a top tier school, I did not knock high school out of the park, I don’t make a ton of money, etc. etc. I have also been known to fumble the ball, in fact I have done so in grand fashion rather recently, but I don’t give up and I try hard to reset the sticks. This approach — in my life at least — has proven to get me to the elusive “touchdowns” more than if I had been trying to throw Hail Marys the whole time hoping for the best.
  2. I have been blessed with the resources and happenstance to acquire a great team: a terrific wife, great friends, influential teachers and outstanding mentors — life becomes a lot easier when you have the humility and support to work around your own shortcomings.

With that said, let me introduce this quarter’s interviewees who both have been a big influence in my life. First, in honor of the Summer Olympics let me introduce Jeff Atkinson. Jeff is a world-class athlete who broke the fifteen-hundred meter record at Stanford University in 1985. Jeff represented the United States in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea. He ran professionally for 10 years, earning spots on eight U.S. National Teams. Jeff currently trains athletes at all levels (myself included) in the Los Angeles area under the banner Olympian Fitness. My five questions with Jeff about running can be found here.

My business interview for the quarter is with Olav Sorenson. Olav is a prolific academic professor with an impressive resume. His current research agenda sits at the intersection of organizational ecology and social networks. He is an expert in business strategy and has guided me through several entrepreneurial problems. My five questions with Olav about business strategy can be found here.

I have two exciting life experiences to report this quarter. One was visiting the San Francisco de Asis Church in New Mexico, which many have claimed as a “must see” in the United States.

San Francisco de Asis Church | New Mexico | Michael Rucker

San Francisco de Asis Church | New Mexico | 2008

The other is attending my first Burning Man in Nevada, which I will boldly claim as a “must see”.

Burning Man | Black Rock City, NV | Michael Rucker

Burning Man | Black Rock City, NV | 2008

My primary donation for the quarter went to Graeme Staddon who undoubtedly will be featured one day as a wellness expert (as a part of this project). Graeme has thrust himself into the challenge of a lifetime by committing to cycle across the Pyrenees (in France) from Biarritz to Banyuls in just 8 days, climbing 2,000 meters each day.

As I finish my beer I send to you a virtual cheers — to a fruitful last 99 days of 2008!

Warm regards,

Live Life Love | Volume Three

Hello Everyone,

We are already halfway into 2008, I hope that as we move past the middle of this year you find that you are reaching the respective goals that you’ve set out for yourself.

It has been an interesting three months for me since the last newsletter. Work has been very intense but also very rewarding. I’ve had limited time for outside endeavors and as a result I’ve had to pick my battles this quarter.

However, I’m excited that the distribution list for this newsletter continues to grow; even more endearing to me is that a few of you have even noticed that I am a week late. This project is a true pleasure for me and I continue to extend my appreciation to you for letting me share it.

As far as this quarter’s interviews, it doesn’t get much better than this. On the business side I was able to interview David Allen who is an international author, lecturer and, founder and Chairman of the David Allen Company. In the last twenty years he has developed and implemented productivity improvement programs for over a million professionals in hundreds of organizations worldwide. He is basically the godfather of the Getting Things DONE movement. My five questions with David about productivity can be found here.

My wellness interview for the quarter is equally as exciting. I got the chance to throw five questions at Sean Waxman. Sean is a former National level Olympic Weightlifter and highly regarded coach. He has spent nearly a decade of his life immersed as an athlete in the world of Olympic Weightlifting under the direction and guidance of USAW Hall of Fame Coach Bob Takano. He was one of the top Olympic Weightlifters in the country from 1995-2001, earning himself a spot on the National Team, a National medal and five California state championships. My five questions with Sean about weight lifting can be found here.

The exciting life experience for me this quarter was running my fastest marathon to date in Atlanta, GA on April 13. I finally was able to break the 4:30:00 barrier. I still have a long road to get to Boston, but it was a nice milestone to hit none-the-less.

Atlanta Marathon | Atlanta, Georgia | Michael Rucker

Atlanta Marathon | Atlanta, Georgia | 2008

Regarding contribution I made a donation to the Joe Bieschke Memorial Fund. I also donated my time at the Manhattan Beach Earth Day Event on April 19 — and on the subject of being green I have to call out — if you want to stop getting junk mail, and as a result help out the environment, then you have to check out this site.

So it is the start of the fourth quarter of this project and I am already a little behind schedule, but that’s all right — it just means I need to make an extra push over the next three months. The good news is we are all getting happier. I hope to hear how all of your respective projects are coming along and help where I can.

Lastly, have a great and productive summer, you deserve it!

Warm regards,

Live Life Love | Volume Two

Hello Everyone,

Can you believe it has already been three months? It is crazy how fast this year is going, already time to release the second volume of the Live Life Love newsletter.

I am very excited that I started this project. Thank you for all the positive feedback. It’s so awesome to interact with all of you and share information and experiences. From my best friend’s mom contemplating taking the risk of starting her own business, to my brother losing almost 100 pounds, it is a good feeling to know forward momentum is contagious and that already a few of you have espoused my vision.

This is especially important given that new research shows our level of happiness will most likely follow a “U” shaped curve, with our most unhappy years falling somewhere at middle-age. “One possibility may be that people realize they won’t achieve many of their aspirations at middle age,” the researchers of this study say. If we stay cognizant of what we want in life and develop a proclivity towards those goals, I feel that each of us can combat disappointment and pessimism and avoid this.

In the next three months my aspiration is to flesh out a Web portal to document the goals of this project (for those of you new to the newsletter the goals are: learning from 100 wellness leaders and 100 business leaders, experiencing life in 100 new and exciting ways and giving $65,000 and 2000 volunteer hours to charity). My hope is to create a system of capturing the elements of this project that provides value to other people.

This quarter I got the chance to catch up with two old friends, Luke Aguilar and Jamie Ramsden. They are the interviewees of this volume and after reading their pedigrees I think you will understand why I chose them.

Luke Aguilar is the second wellness leader lending his knowledge to this project. Luke is the All-South Texas Cross Country Coach of the Year for two years running. He has ten years of Track and Field experience spanning the high school and college level. He is a Level One Coach with USA Track and Field and has been a certified Personal Trainer with the American Council on Exercise since 1995. My five questions with Luke about running can be found here.

Jamie Ramsden was chosen by me to be this quarter’s business leader. Jamie is the CEO of Goodridge USA which is an automotive company that supplies high performance products to the automotive and racing industry. Jamie is a Certified Executive Leadership Coach and ad hoc faculty member at the Center of Creative Leadership. Jamie also manages his own consulting firm, Adastra Consulting, which specializes in the development of executive talent and leadership potential. My five questions with Jamie about leadership can be found here.

My exciting life experience to report for this volume is vacationing in Paris, France for New Year’s 2008. My wife and I got to spend the night with some Stanford MBA candidates at a private club near the Saint Germain district. It was a great night. We stepped outside the club just before midnight for the countdown and watched the Eiffel Tower light up to cheers from the crowd while drinking French wine and celebrating another year gone past (silly tourist picture below).

Eiffel Tower | Paris, France | Michael Rucker

Eiffel Tower | Paris, France | 2008

As far as charity this quarter, I have donated twenty hours towards Project Lifesaver as the Lead of Corporate Sponsorship for this project. My team has raised close to $10,000 towards providing lifesaving tools to members of the Southern California, South Bay community. However, we still need more funding, so if you happen to think your company would be interested in some positive exposure and PR by donating money to a worthy cause please contact me.

Thanks for taking the time to listen to me once again. The Internet is such a great medium for staying in touch. Next quarter’s volume ought to be good. I have secured an interview with productivity expert David Allen (of Getting Things Done fame). It should be extremely interesting.

Warm regards,

Live Life Love | Volume One

Hello Everyone,

Happy Holidays! I hope 2007 has been as great a year for you as it has been for me and Anna. We bought our first home. I landed a great new job. Anna became Director at her company. I finished the Burrito Project and put three more marathons under the belt.

When I last reached out to everyone regarding the end of my previous “Project” some of you took notice that I used a different email address other than my norm. The reveal is I have become an enthusiast of Stephen Covey’s four dimensions of renewal (physical, mental, spiritual, and social/emotional) and have been looking for an efficacious way to progress in these four areas. Voilà! I created The Live Life Love Project as a de facto lynchpin to address them all under an umbrella concept.

The short version of the new project is I am creating a personal 25 year plan. In that time I want to meet and learn from 100 wellness leaders and 100 business leaders. Experience life in 100 new and exciting ways and give $65,000 (plus volunteer 2000 hours) to charity.

It has been said by some that the strongest commitments are publicly made, so the idea is to check in with you once a quarter for the next 25 years and let you know how things are going.

The first wellness leader is Dr. Michael Gervais. His forte is developing systems and strategies for improving performance for individuals and organizations. Dr. Gervais, as the CEO of Pinnacle Performance, Inc., is an authority on the psychology of performance excellence. Throughout the past ten years Michael has consulted with numerous NHL, NBA, NFL, MLS, AVP, MMA, Olympic, collegiate, and high school athletes. He is an internationally recognized speaker on issues related to human performance. My five questions with Michael Gervais about Sport Psychology can be found here.

The first business leader is Stuart MacFarlane. Stu has been a good friend to Anna and I and was very patient as my first subject (so thanks Stu). I singled him out because of his recent work on a fairly new development platform (Ruby on Rails), which I believe is going to do for back-end Web technology what Flash did for front-end Web technology. Stuart was the COO and founder of MXG Media, an executive at idealab!, and the CEO of Insider Pages (one of the first large scale Ruby on Rail commercial projects). He is now Managing Director at Momentum Venture Management where he aids early stage technology companies gain the necessary traction to turn their ideas into successful businesses. My five questions with Stuart MacFarlane about Venture Capital can be found here.

My first exciting life experience to report is going to La Tomatina in Spain. The festival was absolutely amazing and definitely a must for everyone’s “bucket list”.

La Tomatina | Buñol, Spain | Michael Rucker

La Tomatina | Buñol, Spain | 2007


As far as charity, I am not going to give myself credit for any of my volunteer work to date but I am going to count the recent monetary donations I gave Adrene, Pat, Roger, Karen, Tracey, Ashley and Mark for their athletic achievements. I know first-hand that it is not easy to ask your friends for money. I don’t have much to give but if a few bucks gets my friends across the finish line then I have helped them knock out a few of Covey’s dimensions and helped myself (through reciprocity) too. What a bargain!

Thanks for listening to my ramblings. Being the extrovert that I am, reaching out to you is what keeps me going. If I can help you at all in your journey, please let me know.

Here is to a great 2008!

Warm regards,