On my birthday for the last two years, I’ve made lists of the Top 24 Things I Did At 24, and The Top 25 Things I Did At 25. It’s a fun yearly tradition that I’m continuing. Hopefully, for every year I grow older I’m forced to do more interesting things.
There’s a good chance you’re reading this because I sent it to you. If I sent it to you, there’s a good chance you just asked me to introduce you to someone.
On my birthday last year, I made a list of the Top 24 Things I Did At 24. It was a fun project, and I decided I’d make it a yearly tradition. That way, every year I grow older I’m forced to do more and more interesting things.
After twenty hours of traveling, we finally landed in Vienna, Austria. The first stop on #pricelinetrip. There are four of us.
I’ve been thinking a lot about routines since last December. My friend Sebastian is incredible at maintaining routines, and my friend Tynan considers routines one of the secret ingredients to consistency, which he thinks of as his superpower.
“It’s 5:45pm. We’ll just head upstairs and get some rest. Lets regroup around 8pm and go out.The four of us headed up to our room. My friends laid down to take naps, while I worked on how I was going to get from Munich to Prague to catch my next flight.
The very first time I did any serious public speaking was the final pitch at a Startup Weekend.
TL;DR: I’m publishing a read-only version of my live To Do and To-Done list.
I recently was invited to speak at TEDxSeattle. Parkour has had such a big impact on my life, so I knew parkour had to be involved in my talk somehow. And yet, I wanted to do something bigger than just another talk on parkour.
I met someone for lunch last week, and the topic of diet came up. I’m a big fan of paleo, and this is an email I wrote to him explaining why I prefer paleo over other diets:
I run a lot of events - everything from the Hacker News Seattle Meetup to Ignite: Seattle to Startup Weekends to the Seattle Customer Development Meetup. For most of these events, I end up selling sponsorships to cover the costs. My friend is planning a conference and recently asked me for advice on how to sell sponsorships. This is my email back to her:
I turned 25 years old 88 minutes ago. I’ve been reflecting on the past year a lot the past few days, and I thought I would list 24 things that I did while I was 24. Next year, I might do a “25 things I did while I was 25” post. This might turn into a nice tradition, as well forcing me to get more and more interesting the older I get. :)
The most important part of any speaker series is the speakers. The second most important part is taking care of everything else for the speakers. The worst thing in the world is when a speaker is doing a great job… and the computer running their slides crashes. Or you put their slides in the wrong order. Often they can recover… but as an organizer of the event you’ll feel awful.
If you’re running a regular event or meetup group that charges for events or sells sponsorships, you’re going to need a plan for what to do with the money.
“If you build it, they will come.”
I’ve been in Ramallah for about 48 hours now. I ran a workshop with the accelerator, did a couple 1-on-1 mentoring sessions, and ate lunch with them. We’ve been talking about startups a lot, but also been talking a lot about life in Palestine.
Achat, shtayim, shalosh. Chamesh, shesh, sheva!
I had dinner last night with my host, a local VC, and my friend from MercyCorps who does work in Gaza, and we had a very interesting discussion about outsiders’ perception of Palestine versus reality.
Rents in San Francisco have been skyrocketing, and the people of San Francisco are pissed. It’s a multifaceted issue, but it boils down to a combination of A) A lot of very highly paid people in the tech industry are moving into the city, both from the suburbs and from all over the world, and B) there is not enough new housing being constructed to meet demand.
My passport wasn’t in my jacket. That was bad. Real bad. I spin around to see the tail lights of the taxi turning at the intersection.
My hostel in Tel Aviv offered a pretty sweet service - for 60 shekels (about $20) a day, they’d rent you a bicycle.
Between parkour, facilitating for Startup Weekend, and a general desire to explore, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to travel the world. I’ve traveled solo and with friends, for business and for fun. I’ve traveled with people far more experienced than me, and people who have never left the country.
I posted this video on my Facebook Wall this morning. It is, to put it simply, incredible. Kacy Catanzaro is one of the most incredible athletes I have ever seen.
One of my parkour friends posted a video today of him doing a big jump over the water at the Seattle Waterfront. Someone commented on the video, asking ““why he would do this,”” ““what he was thinking,”” ““what is the payoff in taking risks like that?”” and that this was ““stupid for someone with so much going for them.”These are things any traceur (someone who trains parkour) has heard before, and typically knows how to respond to. But there was something else in this woman’s rant that echoed something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.
Mike Fishbein posted yesterday about <a href=”” http:=”” mfishbein.com=”” two-big-takeaways-from-the-movie-gattaca””=”” target=”” _blank””=”“>his two big takeaways</a> from the movie Gattaca, and how they relate to entrepreneurship. It made me want to share what has become one of my favorite stories to tell.
I’ll have a full write up of this whole thing later, but a brief writeup of the last week:
Why, why are laws a thing you can buy?
They got paid off, should be laid off, re-election denied
Our web means more than lawyers, lobbies and lies
So speak up before the internet dies
From an email to my Grandmother, who asked for my Meatloaf recipe:
I just finished facilitating Startup Weekend: Iowa City. This is the 5th Startup Weekend event I’ve facilitated, but probably the 14th or so I’ve been to.
<a title=”” internet=”” freedom=”” bus=”” tour:=”” day=”” 0:=”” iowa=”” city=”” startup=”” weekend””=”” href=”” http:=”” www.zaccohn.com=”” 2012=”” 10=”” internet-bus-tour-day-0=”” “”=”” target=”” _blank””=”“>Last post I talked about Startup Weekend: Iowa City in general</a>, and why I enjoyed it so much. But one thing I skipped out on was Sunday, the Day the Internet Showed Up.
<a href=”” http:=”” www.zaccohn.com=”” 2012=”” 10=”” internet-freedom-bus-tour-day-1-startup-weekend-iowa-city=”” “”=”” title=”” internet=”” freedom=”” bus=”” tour=”” day=”” 1””=”” target=”” _blank””=”“>Day 1 of my experience on The Internet Freedom Bus Tour was amazing.</a> Day 2 started with an early departure from Iowa City. The gang was up most of the night playing Werewolf (a party game similar to Mafia where someone is the werewolf and you have to figure out who it is… before they eat you!) It was a very long bus ride to Kansas City which actually took up most of the day.
It was 1am on <a href=”” http:=”” www.zaccohn.com=”” 2012=”” 10=”” internet-freedom-bus-tour-day-2-kansas-city=”” “”=”” title=”” internet=”” freedom=”” bus=”” tour=”” day=”” 2:=”” kansas=”” city””=”” target=”” _blank””=”“>Day 2</a> when I got back to my hotel room. Which is precisely when I realized I had left my phone charger in my backpack… on the bus. Which was at a different hotel. And my phone battery was reading 8%.
As parkour has grown in popularity, a lot of companies have created and sold parkour shoes. A lot of people ask me what is the best shoe for parkour, so I’ve put together this guide to the most common shoes people might suggest for parkour. This is by no means an exhaustive list, these are just the most common ones that I have enough experience with to review.
A few days ago, I was working with Nick Hughes planning out the next Seattle Startup Crawl. One common bit of feedback about the last event was that the four locations were way too spread out (Queen Anne to Pioneer Square to Downtown to Cap Hill…), so we wanted to find four startups who wanted to participate, but were all pretty close to each other.
I have become enamored by the concept of guerrilla movements. The Princeton Dictionary defines a guerrilla as ““a member of an irregular armed force that fights a stronger force by sabotage and harassment.”” Typically, the term guerrilla refers to warfare. People who fight with guns and bombs to inspire fear and terror in the enemy. I prefer a broader interpretation of the definition, where any tool or medium might be used to inspire any emotion.
My name is Zachary Cohn, and I’ve met a lot of people from the Internet. Most recently I met my doppelganger, Zachary Cohen.
Zachary Cohn and Charles Moreland of Rochester Parkour are hosting a Leave No Trace Initiative and Beginner Parkour Workshop on Saturday, December 6th in Manhattan Square Park. The Leave No Trace cleanup will start at 2pm and will last approximately 90 minutes. Afterwards, the more experienced traceurs of Rochester Parkour will assist Zac in teaching the 90 minute beginner workshop to all of the attendees. This will be a great event for new people interested in learning Parkour, for fairly new traceurs who need to review the basics, and for experienced traceurs who need experience teaching.
A month or so ago, Bryan Augstein (Maryland) and KC Parsons (Michigan) told me they wanted to come up to visit me in Rochester. I met both of them on my trip this summer, and (through the wonders of free verizon-to-verizon texts) texted back and forth quite a bit during long bus rides. We became good friends, and so of course I was enthusiastic about having them come up! KC Decided to bring a close friend of his, Nate Manly (Michigan), and soon Jesse Danger (NYPK) and Christopher Price (Michigan) were added to the list of attendees. Soon enough… we were having ourselves a Rochester jam!
This post is an introduction to a blog series I will be publishing over the next month called “This Is How I Play.” The inspiration for this comes from a book I’m reading, Exuberant Animal, by Frank Forencich. In one of his articles he claims that we “study and test, research and measure, drilling our knowledge down to the deepest levels, and then we wonder why people find exercise so dull and unattractive. We strip human movement down to the sterile elements of anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics and then complain that no one wants to participate.”
Game: The first game is called PDQ, or Pretty Darn Quick. This is an incredibly popular parkour game, where the basic objective is to jump on peoples’ feet. This is actually one of the more complicated games, it usually takes a practice game for everyone to get the hang of it. I often play a “demo game” as I’m teaching it, so people can see the rules and their effects.
Game: This next game is called QM (Quadrupedal Movement) Tag. It’s a popular variation on regular tag, except you have to stay on all fours the entire time. These game is a lot of fun, but also is quite the workout as it encourages some mad scrambles to get away.
Game: Today’s game was invented during one of the Philly jams. It is called PDQM. It doesn’t really stand for anything, just a combination of “Pretty Darn Quick” and “Quadrupedal Motion.” This game is a combination of PDQ and QM Tag.
Rochester Parkour is planning our second Beginner’s Parkour workshop. This is a free introduction, designed to inform and educate anyone interested in practicing Parkour. It’s targeted towards beginners, but we encourage more experienced members of the community to come as well.
Rochester Parkour hosted their first “Beginner’s Parkour Workshop” in December. 35 people attended, mostly regulars. On Saturday, March 28th, Rochester Parkour hosted their second “Beginner’s Parkour Workshop.” There was no definitive count, but the lower estimate was 100 people, mostly newcomers. During the first workshop, it was in the low 30s and starting to snow. This time, it was in the high 60s, sunny, and a beautiful day.
I think to truly understand the phrase “Be strong to be useful,” you can simply modify it to: “Be useful.On Saturday, Charles Moreland and I were driving back from the grocery store. We were already 20 minutes late to our own party, it was raining, cold, and there were 30mph gusts. While at a stop light, Charles noticed a van in the intersection across from us. It was stopped in the left turn lane, cars were going around it, and all the lights were off. The lights came back on, briefly, and then went out again. Clearly, their car was dead.
Based on a forum post where someone stated that advanced practitioners were more likely to get hurt than beginners:
This is an excerpt taken from the editor’s note of the August 1986 edition of Analog: Science Fiction, Science Fact magazine. Analog is one of the longest running science fiction literature magazines, and authors from Timothy Zahn (of Star Wars Expanded Universe fame) to Isaac Asimov have written for them.
Last Saturday (January 5th) I closed a deal with a local Rochester gymnastics gym, Zenieth. Basically, we pay them a bit of money on a weekly basis, and they let us go to their gym for an hour and a half on Saturday afternoons. Today was the first time we went, and we had a blast.
Wow, a lot has happened since I last updated. Sorry for the long break. I’m planning on updating much more frequently, hopefully once a day - even if it’s just with a picture or a video.
For the longest time, I’ve always wanted to wander. Every few months I’d come up with an idea. Last year I spent about a week trying to figure out how long it would take to walk across the country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific (ending in San Fransisco, because it’s the best city that side of New York City).
So it’s been a little while since the last update. Whoops. I just wanted to fill everyone in a little on some more details about this summer:
Here’s the video I cut together for the Pittsburgh “PKFR International” Jam.
NYPK (New York Parkour) had their annual jam the 20-22nd of June. Here’s the video!
This is the video for the Chicago jam from June 28th. Over 75 people showed up, representing everywhere from Washington, Texas, Virginia, and everywhere in between.
I’m going to start posting a story from most of the places I visit. I’m going to start out with Madison, Wisconsin:
I arrived at Seattle’s airport and called Tyson Cecka, who said he was waiting outside and to give him a call when I got my bag. So I waited. For about fifty minutes. I finally saw my bag coming down the conveyor belt… when someone else grabbed it! See the pictures in the first “Where’s Zac” entry for reference, but my bag is pretty easy to identify, and not easy to mix up with someone else’s. I started running to intercept them… when I recognized who it was! It was Jesse “Hardcoretraceur” from New York, just with no hair! We went outside and I hopped in the car. Matt Perry from California, Ryan Ford from Colorado, and Tyson Cecka were already inside. After Jesse and I hopped in, I noticed Jereme Sanders from Texas jammed into the trunk.
I walked into the airport in Seattle, ready to fly to San Francisco. I was checking in, and the kiosk I was using gave me the option to change my seat. I mostly fly on the East Coast, and really only on Airtran Airways, and on Airtran it costs money to change your seat. This time however, it was free, so I decided “What the hell” and hit the button. I immediately noticed I was in the back row, all the way on the left. There wasn’t even a window, it was almost as if it used to be additional storage, but decided to put half a seat there to make an extra couple of dollars. There were two other seats open, one center seat about 3 rows from the back, and one in center of the very first row of coach. “Hot damn,” I thought, and I grabbed the seat at the front of coach.
Texas Parkour held their National Jam in San Antonio this year, Friday July 25th through Sunday the 27th. Over 75 people showed up throughout the weekend, coming in from all over Texas and the rest of the country. San Antonio, Houston, Austin, and Dallas all had a strong presence, and traceurs flew or drove in from Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, Maryland and Michigan.
I got to the train station in Georgia at 7:30pm, Tuesday the 5th. I arrived in Burlington, North Carolina at 10:00am, Wednesday the 6th. It was a looong train ride. I saw TK17/Duncan waiting for me as the train pulled up, I recognized him from his Pilgrimage video. We all got introduced, and then headed to IHOP for breakfast (my first meal in almost 15 hours). Most of Wednesday was spent resting, and I led a small training session at UNC – Chapel Hill that evening showcasing some of the different training methods I’d learned on my trip. The real adventure of North Carolina happened Thursday, though.
Interest in Parkour at RIT is exploding.
On Sunday, October 5th, I ran a free “Parkour and Obstacle Coursing Workshop” at Zenith Gymnastics in Rochester, New York.
My name is Zachary Cohn, and I have never been hungry.
Here are the Twitter updates from the 72 hour period (and a little before). In a few days, I’ll post up my reflections on what I learned, and plans for the future.
71 hours, 58 minutes into my 72 hour fast: I sat at the dinner table, my plate of food steaming in front of me. I didn’t know how my stomach would take food, so I decided to start with small, easy to digest foods: Olives, raisins, grapes, assorted nuts, steamed broccoli and some salsa for dipping. I had some chicken prepared and ready to go on the grill, but I was going to give that another hour or so.
I’m going to come out with a longer Sampler in a few weeks, once I get some more footage. Probably end of November. But for now, these are clips mostly from Philly, but one from NYC and one from Rochester. I just put some recent clips together to show people more easily than giving them 15 download links.
Sunday, we decided to make a training video. It became a 13 hour ordeal… but it is done! 4 hours of filming, (about 2 hours of eating,) and then a 7 hour marathon editing session… but I think it turned out really well.
On Wednesday, January 2nd, I hosted a group of traceurs from New York and New Jersey who bussed and drove down to visit Primal Fitness and the DC scene. Chris “Phreaknite” Salvato (spelling) is moving to Colorado soon, and wanted to visit Primal before he left. So over the course of a few weeks, we planned out and organized the trip. In the end, nine traceurs came down and joined Travis Noble, who was down visiting Primal from Michigan, and RandomPKGuy (RPG) and I for a really great jam.
In short, there is no place for the extreme sports “Go Big or Go Home” attitude in Parkour.
Artem, Bryce and I ran the Urbanathlon in NYC this past weekend. It was pretty great.
Official results came out: