For those of you new to “The Coaster”, it’s my approach to New Year’s Resolutions. Usually I try to gather a group of people and get them to set goals outside their comfort zone, but social distancing and Zoom fatigue meant that Leigh and I set them together. For more on the tradition, see my blog post from 2015.

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As a child, some of my favourite commercials were for Rainier Beer. Strangely, I don’t think I’ve ever had one.

As usual, I set 9 goals this year. The 2021 goals are not nearly as ambitious as in years past. They will not be affected by whenever borders open up or how locked down we are. …


14 days in one hotel room with my own ego

After six weeks in the US caring for Mom, I was lucky that 90% of what awaited me upon my return to Sydney was no surprise. Leigh had just exited quarantine so I had great intel on the basics.

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This is the Captain speaking. We’ve landed in Sydney. Now after spending 24 hours in a small space, you’re about to spending 14-days in an even smaller one.

Kept together in the herd

Overall, it took “us” 2 hours to exit the airport. Our flight (all 20 of “us”) was kept together the entire time — you don’t mingle with other flights to avoid cross-contamination. To master the airport quarantine shuffle, just learn these six easy steps:

  1. Wait an hour for the flights in front of you to clear the Health Interview. …


I mentioned in my last blog post that I was coming out to the US to help care for my mother.

I’ve never been a caregiver in my entire life. I don’t have kids, and I’ve avoided dependent relationships. The last month has been one long “teachable moment” for me.

What happens if your Mom falls and no one is there to notice?

Mom had been living independently since 2001 when my dad passed away, first in apartments in Florida, and then relocating to Northern Virginia to be near my sister. At one point, living in Austin, I pitched Mom on moving to Austin to be near me. Mom said, “Oh Bryan, you may move around the world at some point.” …


tl;dr I am spending six weeks in Virginia to care for my mom. While the US is the last place I want to be right now, it’s the right place to be for my family. And yes, during the US Election to boot.

I don’t miss the US medical system

When we first contemplated traveling to the US, we weren’t even sure how it was possible. After calls with Ajuria (the best immigration lawyers I’ve ever encountered), they helped us understand that getting to and from the US because of a medical reason was very doable, but would take some work.

What I thought would be the easiest hurdle (“a letter from my mom’s doctor”) turned out to be three weeks of frustration with the US medical system. Having spent two years working inside the medical/insurance industry before I came to Australia, I should have know that this would be like leg wrestling with a drunk rhinoceros. …


tl;dr —📣 I’ve joined Grok Ventures as an Operator-In-Residence to work hands-on with their portfolio companies, most of whom are focused on tech that helps with the challenge of climate change.

The Journey

In June, I was approaching the anniversary of my re-entry into Australia after my worldwide sabbatical and decided to take stock of what I’d done in the last year and what I wanted to do next. I’d written An Update on Chapter 2 to help catalog what I’d been up to over the last year.

Working with a variety of entrepreneurs last year had been amazing — they’d taught me so much: They’d been great at helping me understand where I had helped them (and more importantly where I hadn’t!). And entrepreneurs are quirky and just a ton of fun to spend time with. …


Immune Suppression Social Distancing

While during lockdown, the NSW government had asked all residents to limit travel and stay local, and our hikes along the paths in the Eastern suburbs had become overcrowded.

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Can’t see the forest for the trees. And that’s a really nice thing.

I’d become a little paranoid about all the people in our neighbourhood. People around the beaches hadn’t shown the best sense of judgement when the pandemic began. Being a kidney transplant recipient, I take drugs (drugs!) to suppress my immune system, so Leigh and I were being extra careful. The one study on the mortality rate of transplant recipients was scary (28%), though I know I’m much healthier than the average transplant recipient. …


Since returning to Australia in July (yikes, almost a year ago) I had embarked on Chapter 2 of my life, which meant “1) advising clean tech startups and 2) working with advocacy groups to change the economics of climate change”.

While I’m largely on the same trajectory, a lot has happened!

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Every once in a while you need to use an image that is completely irrelevant to the topic at hand, but simply reflects your mood at the time of writing.

Shortly after I wrote the “Chapter 2” blog post, a number of things fell into place, and I made a number of key decisions:

  1. The number of startups that I could work with simultaneously was no more than 10. Oh, wait… no, more like 6 or less. Okay, actually, it’s 4, with each getting 1 day per week. …


Brace yourselves. An onslaught of “20/20” vision jokes are about to unleash themselves upon humanity. Expect an eyeful of visual humour, with reflections on the old year, gazing into the future, and myopia about how trite the metaphor is. Will 2020 have a blind spot? Will we be seeing double? Will we focus? Will the year rush by in a blur? Will these questions ever end?

2019 in Review!

Let’s rehash the past, because we’re told it’s good for us instead of just burying it deep into our poisonous-cotton-candy-filled psyche so we explode at inopportune moments like when Google Pay refuses to cooperate with the PayWave machine, and we start hitting the card machine screaming “contact this!” …


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The best parts of the track are the wide open views of the entire Cradle Valley.

Since I’d first visited Cradle Mountain National Park during my second year in Australia (with my sister and my nephew Ben), the Overland Track had cemented itself near the top of my Oz Bucket List. The terrain reminded me of Alaska, and the mountain trails felt like home.

My Nephew Jon and wanted to do a multi-day hike together, and this holiday season seemed like an ideal time for him to visit Oz and tackle the Overland Track together.

Day 0 — Sydney to Tassie

We flew into Launceston, checked in at the hotel, and headed to Kathmandu since it was the only outdoor store open past 5:30. Their fuel canisters only worked with their stoves — what? Given my recent experiences at Kathmandu, it’s pretty clear: nice employees, really bad gear. It’s not the REI of Australia. It’s the backwards, expensive Walmart of outdoor gear. …


Two years ago, I drove up the East Coast of New South Wales and into Queensland.

Over the first nine days of December, I repeated parts of that trip, for four distinct reasons:

  1. I wanted to think about where my “home” in Australia could be.
  2. I wanted to visit three good friends of mine.
  3. I was running a leadership offsite for a company I have been advising.
  4. I wanted a contrast to my trip from 2017. While I returned in 2017, telling myself “it was an amazing trip,” that was only half the story. …

About

Bryan J. Rollins

A man. A plan. Subscribe via email at http://eepurl.com/dhhmvr

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