All Posts By

Lachlan Nicolson

Your tech gear bucket list for 2017

By | Buckets | No Comments

Forget about 2016 – this year boasts a lineup of great new tech gadgets. 2017 will be a year where our homes, phones and bodies are all becoming connected through a suite of new tools now available. We’re also seeing a refinement of Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence and a new dimension of video recording such as drones and 3D capture.

There’s so much to get excited about this year if you’re into tech. Here’s six new gadgets to add to your tech bucket list for 2017:

tech gear bucket list

Ricoh Theta S

2D photos are sooo 20th century! When the Theta was released it was a one-of-a-kind camera that allowed you to capture the world in a new way. Last year we saw many new products compete, but none have surpassed the quality and ease of use as the Theta S. With Facebook 360 opening up and YouTube now allowing 360 degree video uploads, now is the perfect time to grab one of these for your next adventure. The Theta S starts at US $349, AU $459.

 

top tech bucket list apple watch

Apple Watch 2

The AW Series 2 is the best smartwatch you can buy right now. With water resistance, GPS and a a fast new processor it’s at the top of the game for fitness and health tracking. Only downside – Apple Watch S2 is on the expensive side, starting at US $369, £369 in Europe or $529 in Australia.

 

mavic pro bucket list

DJI Mavic Pro

There’s been a lot of drone releases in the last twelve months, but DJI has taken the lead with the Mavic Pro. This tiny foldable drone makes it easy to slip into your backpack when on the move. It’s packed with a high end 4k camera along with sensors and stabilisation for a smooth and safe flight. The Mavic can reach speed of up to 40mph and fly for around 30 minutes on a single charge. The price is cheaper than the popular Phantom 4, starting at US $999 or AU $1799.

 

bucket list oculus rift

Oculus Rift

Virtual Reality is here! There’s been a huge wave of products hit the market in 2016, with Sony, HTC, Samsung and Google all competing for the top. The Oculus Rift was first to trail-blaze VR since their launch of the concept, and has delivered a superior product with breathtaking graphics and games to back it up. Prices start from US $600, £499, or $859 in Australia.

 

google home tech bucket list

Google Home

Given the surpassing success of the Amazon Echo, Google Home is has been voted by many as the best Smart Home device for 2017. There are now a lot of devices out there for the home, from speakers, to security and even lightbulbs. “Okay Google” is all you need to start with Echo. The voice powered AI can search the web, stream your TV show, turn off lights, play Spotify, check traffic and more. Google has connected Echo with a heap of third party services and products, and for a competitive price of US $130.

 

Macbook Pro

While it received some very mixed reviews from the media, the latest MacBook Pro with Apple’s new Touchbar has outsold the Microsoft surface for the first 5 days since its launch in November 2016. The pricing has been the biggest question over the new upgrade, however, the specs and features clearly point to this being the best MacBook on the shelf for the year ahead. Pricing starts at US $1499.

 

See something you like?

Add it to your bucket list! We’ve pre-made this in our app: Download Squirrel

achieve-your-goals-in-2017

Keys to achieving your goals in 2017

By | Goals | No Comments

Hey Squirrellers. It’s Lachy from HQ here… As we approach a new year I wanted to share some thoughts on goal setting for 2017. I hope this post encourages and inspires you.

We’ve all at some point set a new years resolution, and then failed to follow though… and miserably to be honest. (Hands in the air?!) As the new year creeps in, we push aside the goal, let our expectations lower and try to move on. The good news is this doesn’t need to happen again for next year! No, the buck stops here – reader!

Here are three things I learnt from my wins and loses in 2016, that I believe we can apply to our new year and see great long-term success:

1. Break it up daily

One of the reasons we slip back into old habits and let ourselves down is rooted in the way we think about goals. We tend to approach goals on a long term macro view, but fail to recognise that it’s the daily micro wins that get us there. Imagine you had a productive day… Great! Now if you times that by 365, wouldn’t that lead you to the most productive year – ever? Duh.

It’s simple, but we do overcomplicate it. We’re funny like that, hey?! The key point is to break your goals into daily steps. Write down two-three tasks and commit to the small wins. Think of each calendar day as painting a brush stroke on the big wide and open canvas of your year.

Change this mindset and you will free yourself from being crushed by the weight of a big goal. Why burden yourself with tomorrow, or the whole year – when we’re called to live present in today? …Today matters.

I love what John C Maxwell says about today:
– Attitude: Today’s attitude gives me possibilities.
– Priorities: Today’s priorities give me focus.
– Health: Today’s health gives me strength.
– Family: Today’s family time gives me stability.
– Thinking: Today’s thinking gives me an advantage.
– Commitment: Today’s commitment gives me tenacity.
– Finances: Today’s financial decisions give me options.
– Faith: Today’s faith gives me peace.
– Relationships: Today’s relationships give me fulfillment.
– Generosity: Today’s generosity gives me significance.
– Values: Today’s values give me direction.
– Growth: Today’s growth gives me potential.

Divide and conquer your goals day by day!

Divide and conquer your goals day by day!

2. Consistency works

Jerry Seinfeld, notably one of our generations’ greatest comedian was interviewed on how he made his millions in comedy. He responded with the analogy of a goal chain… Where by setting daily goals and staying consistent to them was the key to success. For Jerry that meant writing jokes each day. Instead of focusing on how good the jokes were, he focused on not ‘breaking the chain’. Over time, day by day, his jokes got funnier and funnier because of consistency in his practice. See the pattern?

Top performers in every field of life have this in common: They show up every day to deliver. This sets high achievers apart from the rest, bogged down in a battle between procrastination, motivation and feeling overwhelmed. There’s huge power in consistency across all spheres of life that’s currently underrated.

Focus less on the workout, and more on working it out daily.

This mindset switch will free your from performance issues that can demotivate and wipe you out from a few bad days (which we all have!). Stay in the game, don’t give up… Consistency wins in the long-form.

3. Apply daily gratitude.

Gratitude is surely the secret sauce of it all… It can be frustrating sometimes when you don’t achieve a goal by your own set of perceptions or standards. In my own journey, i’ve learnt that gratitude is the antidote to this frustration. We can be so hard on ourselves so quickly! Fortunately, being grateful daily keeps us going and also improves our patience.

It’s recognising the good in each day, and encouraging ourselves to go the next… We can’t always “win” the day, but we can choose to give thanks, take hold of the good, and move forward with a smile.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it was built daily

Gratitude lowers our stress (scientifically proven) and helps us refocus from striving in the short term. Practising daily gratitude reminds us that consistent steps forward are better than none at all. The dream is free, but it costs you something each day to walk it out.

Keep moving, don’t quit, and give thanks on the way. Happiness isn’t in the destination, it’s all throughout the whole journey. Make it count.


 

Enjoy this article?

Pay it forward to your friends using the share buttons!

+ Get ready for the next version of Squirrel app. It’s releasing internationally before Christmas! It’s nothing short of incredible, and will be your go-to app for achieving goals! #EXCITED

how to fly over antarctica

How to fly over Antarctica at stunning close range

By | People | No Comments

At Squirrel HQ we’re always on the lookout for new and exciting things to add to the bucket list. So when we discovered that this Australian tour group is offering flights over Antarctica – we got really excited.

Anyone who is nuts about flying and stunning scenery, this is one to add to your 2017 bucket list…

how to fly over antarcticaHow to fly over Antarctica

AntarcticaFlights have partnered with Qantas to charter a Boeing 747 jet over each summer season. The twelve hour day flight journey begins from either Melbourne or Sydney depending on the date you select.

This beautiful antarctic tour allows you to hover over the ice capital of the world, without a jacket, scarf or even a passport. One of our Squirrellers who’s tried it first hand has given the 5/5 nuts (star) recommendation to anyone wanting a unique experience.

Our top tip is to bring an empty camera SD card and a zoom lens! Get ready to take jaw-dropping pics for your instagram…

Want to go? We’ve got it ready as a featured Bucket List in the Squirrel app:squirrel app bucket list

More than just looking out a window…

No matter what seat you book, you’ll experience the spectacular views combined with food, drinks and entertainment. Onboard you’ll be able to meet and talk with antarctic expeditioners and experience live crosses to research stations on the ground.

During your flight you will be served with two main Qantas meals, snacks, and a full service bar for drinks. You can also put your feet up and watch some antarctica documentaries on your entertainment screen. On departure everyone will receive a Explorer Kit, marking the flight journey with maps and statistics to share with others and reflect on.

squirrel app bucket list antarctica flight qantas

Watch the video

Here’s what blew us away…

Have you travelled on this flight? Comment below or jump in the conversation on our Facebook

Got something cool you want to share? We shout out to anything that’s bucket list worthy in the world, so just squeak up to our team! gonuts@bluesquirrel.com.au

The Akrasia Effect: How to finally complete our goals

By | Goals | No Comments

Story time!

During the summer of 1830, a French author named Victor Hugo was facing an unbearable deadline. Hugo had made an agreement with a publisher twelve months earlier that he would write a new book ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’.

Twelve months passed, and yet Hugo had not written a single chapter. Instead, he spent his time entertaining guests, pursuing other projects and stalling his work as an author. Hugo’s publisher became so frustrated by his repeated procrastination that he set him a fearsome new deadline. He demanded Hugo finish the book by February of 1831, leaving him just under six months.

In the face of a new deadline, Hugo developed a plan to beat his procrastination. He told his servant to gather all his clothes from the chambers and lock them away in the basement, leaving him nothing but a old grey shawl to wear. Hugo knew he could never appear in public wearing the knitted shawl. His new hideous wardrobe choice forced him to stay indoors (and alone) to complete the deadline.

The plan worked. Hugo published Notre Dame two weeks early on January 14, 1831. Today, Victor Hugo is regarded as a leading figure in the history of French literature. His best novels include the well known Les Miserables that we still teach our kids about in schools. His work not only contributed to the Romantic Movement in France but also gained international fame for his efforts towards establishing the Third Republican and democracy in the country.

Here’s a selfie of the guy:

Victor Hugo in 1876. Seem’s at this point he finally put his clothes back on.

 

The Akrasia Effect

Many of us go through life with a growing array of undone tasks and incomplete goals. Our intentions begin good, though human impulse bears to succeed our best conventional mindsets. Just like Hugo, we being to derail from our goals and go against all rational thinking. But why?…

Ancient Greek philosophers developed a word to describe this very behaviour: Akrasia.
Today we still refer to Akrasia commonly, but through a new word: Procrastination.

Humans love to procrastinate, and we’ve been up to it for centuries. So where does it begin and why is it so strong to overcome? Why is it we (like Hugo Victor) can set a strong goal, and yet fall flat to complete it?

When you create a mental plan, there is a battle going on between your present self and your future self. This tension stems from what behavioural scientists call a ‘time inconsistency”. Simply, our brain loves to value immediate rewards over future rewards. Yep, that definitely sounds like us!

So when we set goals like learn a new language or lose 10kg we’re actually setting it for our future self. That’s why when the time comes to make a decision, our brain struggles to choose in the future self best interests. Research suggests that ability of ‘delayed gratification’ is a big predictor for success in life. Think about that for a moment…

 

New wardrobes

So how do we beat Akrasia? Just like Hugo, we need a plan… We need a new wardrobe. Here are three carefully chosen strategies used to beat procrastination and help you complete what you set out to do:

1. Get a commitment device.

Psychologists refer to what Hugo did with his clothes as a ‘commitment device’. This is a great a way to design your future actions and follow through with them. Commitment devices simply limit bad behaviours alternatives, in order to make good behaviours easier to opt in.

For example: You can deter a shopping addiction, just by intentionally leaving your credit cards at home.

Want to watch less TV? Remove it from the bedroom, or leave it unplugged as a default. Now if you want to watch some TV you have to reach over behind the cabinet to plug it in.

Want to read more? Charge your phone in the kitchen and place a pile of books next to your bed. All of a sudden when you crawl into bed each night you will find it easier to pick up a book instead of your phone.

Saving for a holiday overseas? Set up automatic payments the day of your income to a separate account. Now you’re saving without even thinking about it! Commitment devices are brilliant and worth falling in love with. Get a paper and pen and start thinking about how you can apply them to your current goals…

Courage, will-power and confidence in your abilities will carry you to greater heights...

Courage, will-power and confidence in your abilities will carry you to greater heights…

 

2. Get accountability.

Over and over again research has shown that setting a goal with another person significantly increases your likelihood to follow through to completion. When you think about it, we can’t be easily trusted to just our own self devices. We need accountability to others. Researchers found that it’s more than a science of goals, it’s a science of people. When we set goals that are known to others, we’re more likely to follow through out of simply avoiding social embarrassment or disapproval. Not a bad motivator when used appropriately?

Get together a few trusted and loved friends and share together your goals. Hold each other accountable either verbally or with a physical penalty (i.e $100 to a charity).

Don't be fooled into thinking that you have the capacity to achieve your best on your own. A training partner in the gym is a great asset because when you think you have reached your limit, there is someone who can push you to go further.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you have the capacity to achieve your best on your own. Like you would at the gym, a training partner in life will help push you to go further…

 

3. Get going, get momentum.

The guilt of procrastination is never found in the work but of starting the work. It’s one thing to have a dream, but it’s truly rewarding when you hit the ground running towards it. Beginnings are simply beautiful. We must fall in love with starting and trying new things, breaking out and taking new ground. The problem is, it’s difficult. Our brain craves stability and comfortability, so we must make it easy on ourselves to begin.

John C Maxwell said it best, “If you’re always growing, you will always be out of your comfort zone”. Change is inevitable, but growth is optional. To get momentum you just need to get going! Don’t give your brain time to run through all the reasons why it won’t work, and start encouraging yourself as you begin to find ways it will work. The only guarantee of failure is when you stop trying. So get your Nikes on and just do it.

 

Bringing it back home

At Squirrel HQ we exist to help you tick off your bucket list goals. It’s what gets us out of bed each morning! Our vision is to help millions more get more out of life, and so we hope you will join us on that journey. It’s the reason behind why we built the Squirrel app – so if you haven’t tried it yet… Download it here! It’s free for iPhone, and we think you’ll love it.

I hope this post inspired you to tackle procrastination and step out successfully in achieving your life goals! If you enjoyed this, please share it with friends and share us your bucket lists from the app! Just squeak up to us over social media – we’d love to encourage you! Twitter  Facebook  Instagram

Want more cool posts and bucket list ideas? Join the monthly email digest! No regrets.

A here’s our favourite quote for those who read to the end:

quote-maxwell

There’s no better time to see Australia

By | Buckets | No Comments

Spring has arrived, our sun-scorched land of Oz is warming up to a busy tourism season – and so should you! Laced with natural splendour and multi-culture, our great big backyard has so much to put in your next bucket list!

From the white sandy beaches up north to stunning sunset views along the Sydney Harbour. Whether you’re an adventure junkie or urban dweller, there’s plenty to see and do this season. So get get packing and start Squirrelling away towards these Aussie adventures:

 

Relax on Hayman Island

Nested in the north point of the Whitsunday archipelago, Hayman Island sits in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. If you’re looking for indulgence and rejuvenation then book yourself into the One&Only Haymans resort. Beautiful villas, fresh seafood, striking beach surroundings, coral reef snorkelling and mountain trails are just some of what’s on offer. To top it off – you can fly directly with Qantas to Hayman Island from Brisbane and Sydney. This is the ultimate relaxation bucket list.

Hayman Island. Credit One&Only Resorts

 

Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge

If you’re love a great view and some exercise then climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is a great match to cap off a visit in the city. Soak up the world around you as your step up to the peak with panoramic views of Sydney and the harbour at 134 metres above sea level. Admission starts at $250pp. We recommend climbing at twilight to catch the sunset and city night light views.

bridge

 

Ride camels in WA

Cable Beach in Broome Western Australia is famous for its 22 kilometres of sun-kissed white sand, turquoise water and spectacular views of the Indian Ocean. The flat beach with gentle rolling waves is perfect for swimming and sunbathing on, and also something unexpected: Camel riding. Yep, you can ride your own camel on a beach tour during sunset! There’s a story for you to bring home…

camelsWA

 

Discover lush and green Daintree

Heading up to northern Queensland? Step into Australia’s largest tropical rainforest, Daintree. Noted as one of the oldest and most beautiful rainforests in the world, the Daintree spans over 1200 square kilometres boasting wet-tropical and coastal scenery. Take a day to hike or bike through the trails, stay the night in Cairns and experience the region including the almighty Great Barrier Reef.

daintree-foest

 

Wander down Melbourne’s laneways

Melbourne is known around the world for it’s unique street art and culture, along with some damn good coffee. The city laneway culture offers a feast of colour, ideas and energy. Inner city Melbourne by foot is the best way to explore the al fresco eateries, one-off shops and cosy alley-way cafes. This city is also packed with arcades, public art, stunning monuments and historical buildings, and live music and buskers on every corner.

melbourne

 

Get the birds eye of Canberra

Visited the Capital yet? Or looking for a romantic gesture for that special other? We found something breathtaking in Canberra you can add to the bucket! Float along the nations capital landscape in your own air balloon, taking off at dawn and gently floating for 45 minutes as the sun rises. You can also add a romantic breakfast to complete the splendid morning. After your romantic morning you can explore the city region, stroll into the National Portrait Gallery, stop by the Australian War Memorial, or maybe even snap a selfie with a politician? Just make sure you tag us! #Squirreller

canberra

 

Drive the Great Ocean Road

Up for some big nature? Immerse yourselves in one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives. See the twelve Apostles, walk along the very bottom of Australia and explore the local seaside villages. There’s plenty to experience and admire down south, including fine dining and local winemakers – if that’s your thing.

Helicopter ride over the Twelve Apsotles

 

Surfers and SkyPoint

Dying to get back to summer beach vibes? Head to Surfer Paradise on the Gold Coast for a few nights and relax with rolling waves, sunshine and stress-free accomodation. While you’re at ‘the Goldie’ check out the local inland national parks, or if you want an adrenaline rush then hit up Australia’s best theme parks (just up the road). For panoramic views of the coast go up the Q1 tower to SkyPoint. At 225 meters levels high the observation deck gives a full view of the entire Gold Coast and hinterlands region.

skypoint


Got something to add to this story? Share with us on Facebook or Instagram. Send us your buckets right from the Squirrel app using the share buttons and tag us on our social channels

#Squirrellers #DoMoreYou

Q&A with our development team

By | People | No Comments

 

“Testing 1, 2 , oh damn I crashed it again.”

Building an app is never a straight path… So much can go right and wrong – all in the same working day. Over the last 3 months we’ve been working hard at our Squirrel app with help from our friends at Hall & Co Digital.

Through the development season we’ve learnt so much across the large scope of designing, construction, managing and implementing an app to the Apple store. Working as an intentional tight-knit team we were able to move fast and be nimble to the ever-changing MVP. We found that using a good agile workflow and combined with regular communication between leaders kept us on track.

I sat down with Michael Hall (our project manager and founder of Hall & Co Digital) and asked him a few questions about the journey of the last few months…



questionMichael, what were your first thoughts after we approached you with the idea to build Squirrel. Had you ever developed an app before at this scale, and in such a small time frame?

My first thought? ‘This sounds like an exciting idea and something we could do!’. Regarding scale, we always build with the concept of scale but generally only action scaling when things start to get stressed so planning from the start to support a large number of users is not something we had done before. Thankfully there are so many resources available now that are easily accessible and affordable to use for scaling. Gone are the days of spending months planning hardware purchases and configurations. Startups have never had it easier.

The timeframe was always going to be a challenge but the best thing any developer can do is be honest up front about timeframes and workload so the management team doesn’t have unrealistic expectations. We don’t always get it right but we tried to be as realistic as possible and in the end, from our point of view we achieved much more than we expected.

 

hall and co digital squirrel app


questionHow did your team adapt throughout the process. How did you manage the change and increasing workload?

I think any decent developer has the ability to continually learn on the job and thats what we always try to do. I would say it would be hard to keep a job if you didn’t. As usual we managed the workload with an unhealthy amount of energy drinks and coffee! ha but seriously, in any project the only way to get through it is to break it down into manageable chunks. We started at the top; looking at a large feature set but once we broke these down into sprints and had the overall system design in place it was just a matter of chipping away at it consistently.

 

questionWhat were the most challenging aspects of building Squirrel?

Time, it has to be time. Given enough budget (time/money/resource) we can build nearly anything but trying to deliver so many features in a small timeframe was really challenging. I suppose the other challenging part was working through parts of the app and realising we needed extra services like a ‘read only web app’ site for sharing content and an admin tool all required before launch, we had to react quickly and put together tools the business could use to effectively manage content.

 

the-wall


questionDeveloping an app is a crazy process with many steps to take. What’s your advice taken from this project to give to other entrepreneurs out there about to go on this journey? What would you want them to know before they start?

  • Don’t be afraid of new technology, hug it and just start very small and simple. It is way too easy to get overwhelmed at the choice of tech available and your ideas list but start simple and iterate. The worst case is you might fail but so what? you will regret not trying more than trying, failing and learning from it.
  • Be really really super amazingly Agile. Agile Development suits startups for a reason, you will get a better product if you build usable software, release early and release often, market validate the product and keep in mind users will give honest feedback get your app in front of unbiased eyes.
  • Whatever platform you pick read the terms and play by the rules, this applies primarily to Apple, nothing worse then finishing a build to realise Apple will never accept it!

 

the-office-3

Thank-you to Michael, Joel, Nhi and the team for working tirelessly and around the clock to bring Squirrel to life. Your brought our bucket list to life!

Have you tried Squirrel yet? Download the app here and start turning YOUR bucket lists into reality! Want to be in the know for future updates and releases? Sign up for our Squirrel email list to get updates on all thats happening here at HQ!