Tag Archives: camping

Optimizing the Human Experience with Chris Schelzi

Listen to this episode on iTunes today!

A lot of this conversation has to do with getting ripped. Chris Schelzi knows a bit about fitness.

I met Chris in early 2015. He was working at BlackRock, Inc. at the time. The startup I was working on at the time poached him. I guess he liked the team…

Chris helped that startup raise more than a quarter of a million dollars in a crowdfunding campaign.

Now, he’s working at AppSumo, bringing you great deals on cool tools for your company.

In our conversation, Chris and I dive deep into:

  • Coffee
  • Hedonism
  • Diet and Exercise
  • Ideas for the next great health tech startup
  • How AppSumo is empowering entrepreneurs

Please enjoy this episode of Hacker Practice with my good friend Chris Schelzi.


[02:00] French Press vs Chemex

  • French Press = Full immersion, full body
  • Chemex filters do a lot of heavy lifting

[06:00] Justus’s favorite cup of coffee

[07:20] BOOKS

and Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by John Meacham

[16:00] Coffee as a vice. How to best enjoy vices in general.

[17:30] Why you shouldn’t be afraid to return things to the store

[18:30] Zen Roaster. Roasting your own coffee. Moving meditation. Coffee rituals. Chris built himself a side-table.

  • Designing and building things by hand is zen af.

[23:30] We talk about axes and camping for a bit

[26:30] Our mutual interest in health and physiology

  • Diet – How to get shredded like Chris?
    • Low carb, high fat.
  • Exercise recommendations?

Frozen Fatty Coffee Drink

Chameleon Cold Brew

[39:00] How to teach anti-science people a better way.

“Show them a cleaner glass of water”.

Bulletproof Coffee gets mentioned about a hundred times.

[43:00] Intermittent fasting. Strength training + Tabata Sprints

Diet scheduling. Fasting from protein can improve protein utilization. Lift heavy things and sprint. Keep it simple.

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants” – Michael Pollan’s Food Rules

[46:00] Isometrics workouts to build strength without putting stress on joints. On grass or in the pool. “Jack your heart rate up”.

[49:00] Chris’s $10,000 offer for a health technology product for monitoring various biological markers

  • The state of health monitoring is abysmal for the average or even extraordinary consumer
  • Idea – Implant that continually measures important biomarkers. Measure in real time.
  • Dutch testing for cortisol and other hormones
  • This idea could change the way we interact with dieting and health in general
  • What would a version one of this tech look like? Measuring the following:
    • Sex Hormones
    • Stress Hormones
    • Cholesterol
    • Fat Soluble Vitamins (A, E, D, K)
    • Glucose and Ketones

[1:02:30] What is Chris working on now?

  • AppSumo – Groupon for Geeks
  • DesignBold – Design made easy
  • SerpStat – All in one SEO tooling
  • The cult of the “Sumo-ling”

[1:05:30] What kind of company works with AppSumo

  • GREAT tools for small businesses
  • Validated by some users
  • Startups that have Product Market Fit and are looking to scale to the next level

[1:10:00] Chris’s role at AppSumo

  • Operations and Marketing
  • Focusing on retention in 2017

[1:13:00] Final requests


This conversation could have easily been three times as long. I’ll certainly have Chris on the show again.

If you enjoyed today’s episode please subscribe to the show and leave a review on iTunes.

Day 2: It’s Hot in Munich Because Everyone Smokes Cigarettes

Justus Eapen in Munich Airport

The Munich Airport has an incredible open-air shopping complex. Check out the roof on this.

I’m actually writing this in the morning of Day 3.

Yesterday I woke up at 5am and quietly packed my bags in the darkness of Anker Hostel in Oslo. My roommates didn’t stir. I ate a coffee-bar and wandered into the sleeping city of Oslo.

I had a ticket departing from OSL at 10:05 AM. My bags are heavy: A full 70L backpack and less-full 25L bookbag. I think they weigh a combined 60lbs or so.

I pay 180 Norwegian Krone for the express train to OSL. That’s like $22. Everything in Norway is ridiculously expensive. The evening before I spent $30 on a burger and fries. Not a fancy burger and fries. Just a regular bar-style burger.

Anyway, I get to the airport and get through security around 7am. I spend the next couple hours coding on a client project. My plane is delayed 20 minutes. The airport only gives me 2 hours of internet, and it doesn’t work on my phone.

The flight is great. I sit next to a couple that needs to use the bathroom a lot, and I’m in the aisle seat. They wake me up at least twice to go to the lavatory.

We land in Munich a bit before 1pm.

I take an expensive (maybe $12?) train from the airport to the Moosach station which is about a mile from The Tent.

What is The Tent, you ask?

The Tent is an incredible piece of property maintained as a civic institution for young travelers. We’re talking something like 3 or 4 acres of buildings, tents, and open campground.

Yeah, it’s beautiful.

Anyway. I get to the Moosach station with 60+lbs of gear. It is at least 85ºF. I’m wearing a denim jacket, like an asshole. The one mile walk through the München suburb is not highly enjoyable.

You might think from my tone that travel is not always fun and games. And that is true. We have a very romantic image of travel. I’m guilty of this. We talk a lot about the personal growth, cultural learning, and discovery. It might seem like that’s all that happens when you go abroad.

In fact, most of solo travel is a lonely process of problem solving:

Where am I going? What does this sign say? Where do I check in? Why is this old man in a loincloth hovering over me in the dark?

That last one happened to me on a beach in India. Story for another day I think.

I get to The Tent drenched in sweat and relieved to have not gotten lost. It’s not like I have cell service to use the GPS on my phone. I have to download maps and rely on WiFi for location data. It’s pretty effective actually.

Of course, you have to pay at check-in. Of course they only take cash.

Of course, they’re kind enough to let me set up my tent before venturing off to find an ATM.

I find a good spot and set up my two-person, four-season Alpine tent:

Yes, those are my sweaty socks drying on the vestibule.

Yes, those are my sweaty socks drying on the front vestibule.

I hate following instructions, so this is the first time I’d set up the tent. It was easier than I expected, which I am grateful for. You can see from the brown grass and shade that I did this in the scorching heat.

I find an ATM at a nearby hospital and take out €200.

I pay €99 for a 7-day campground reservation and €25 deposit. Then I settle in and code. I have a beer €2 which is the cheapest thing I’ve bought in Europe.

Dinner is calf liver and onions from Poseidon, a greek restaurant where no one speaks English. They give me a free shot of Schnapps and a huge beer. The liver is sizeable, like three times the size of what you’d get at Ma Maison in Boston. It’s not as well-prepared. They grilled it. I always fry my liver. It’s pretty good though, served with rice in a tomato sauce. They also give me a wilty salad that I drench in oil and vinegar and salt.

Contrary to popular opinion, I sometimes have a hard time making friends. Since I got to The Tent I’ve made two friends. An Austrian man named Martin. He just left this morning for Prague.

Now, I’m sitting across from an Australian woman named Cherise. She’s in town for Oktoberfest. Meeting a friend. Hails from Zanzibar. I used to yell “ZANZIBAR!” at my dogs to make them go away. I never knew it was a real place.

Here are some things I’ve noticed about Germany in my first day:

  1. Everyone smokes cigarettes. I’m going to die of secondhand smoke.
  2. The airport has an indoor pod made of glass where people can smoke.
  3. The airport also has nap pods, which is awesome.
  4. It’s cheaper than Norway.