Rick Cogley has been sticking out like a sore thumb in Japan since 1987! 日本語もOK.
CEO & Founder, eSolia. I coding & scripting, calisthenics, cycling, running & yoga, our Shiba "Maru", photography. Yokohama <> Tokyo

Last Modified: 2022 Nov 14

Now Professionally

eSolia, 22 years old as of July 2021 also had 10 years in our location in Toranomon Tokyo. We took the difficult decision to move, after watching the office remain largely unused for months on end. It is simply too expensive to maintain something that people are not using, and, we have discovered we don't need it to be successful. Instead, we have moved into a shared facility run by Mitsui Fudosan (also our client) called "Work Styling". It's a cool modern facility that suits us, albeit, a lot smaller. The difference is, staff can reserve space at locations around Tokyo, which is convenient and flexible. Apparently, a lot of companies are shuttering their expensive fixed offices. As of fall 2021, it's only getting worse.

As a professional services company, we need to increase our process maturity so our success depends less upon individual quality, rather having that quality built in by default. It's truly a sea change to move from a regular office situation where there are fixed assets, to an all-virtual one, but we are adjusting. We have rolled out several relevant policies, and are working on documentation. There's just no continuity with file servers full of docs that are not really searchable, so remote work really makes a good wiki app indispensable.

We have been seeing how we can manage work in as friction-free a way as possible. Our ERP system is capable, but it's record-centric, so you need to open, edit, save each record; that's quite different from something like Excel. We are now using Wrike as a work management system. It is not the do all and be all, but, it works for us so far. We have been using the truly excellent webhook.site to seamlessly integrate between Wrike and our ERP system, and another truly convenient app suite from https://apex.sh (n.b. "up" and "ping") to get our sites and apps up to amazon AWS without too much rigamarole. Both save a lot of time and reduce friction for us.

Some superior services I'm working with recently are Postmark for sending transactional and broadcast emails, ImprovMX for flexibly receiving and forwarding email, Bouncer for validating and verifying email addresses, and Vercel for efficiently hosting websites.

Now Personally

We've had some illness in the family, which has been a bummer to say the least, but both members who were hospitalized are out and on the mend. I'm trying to stay positive! 🍀

We're enjoying watching "The Great British Bakeoff" and its "Japan Bakeoff" spinoff. Baking seems really hard! 😻

A year ago in May 2021, our Shiba "Maru" came to our home, and it's been big lifestyle change with him in our lives. We have finally fallen into a rhythm with him, and have found a day care he loves to go to - Petcare House Green, in neighboring Fujisawa. Although of course we love him to bits, it's sometimes good to have a day to reset and not worry about walks and so on. We tried various other places, but he didn't take to them for whatever reason, so we are really glad to have found "Green". 🙌🏻

The whole family has had two COVID vax shots and a booster. It's still unclear what works and what doesn't, but getting jabbed and maybe a bit of side-effect is far better than actually getting COVID. Idiots who deny that should not go to the hospital when they get sick!

Our new house is still holding up well, also it's a bit worse for wear with Maru sometimes trying to eat the walls or floor. 😮‍💨 Our renters got a small dog, which is friendly with us and with Maru, so that's a blessing. The house that was built on the plot we sold across the street has moved in just this week, and they seem like a really nice couple. The bamboo forest behind us is finally being razed to make way for a "SD Create" pharmacy / small supermarket. It'll be convenient to have it there, but, traffic might be an annoyance.

I've been kind of tired and not exercising much other than relatively slow walks with Maru. He got injured, probably from too damn much running, so we're taking it slow. He seems to be on the mend and the weather is getting nice, so I think it's time to bust out the jogging shoes.

I continue to be impressed with my Ultimate Hacking Keyboard 60 v2, a split design where one's wrists can be kept straight. It has helped with my wrist pain.

Wise Words

“Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone.” ― Joni Mitchell, "Big Yellow Taxi"

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” ― Frank Herbert, Dune, "Litany Against Fear"

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” ― Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

“It’s probably not just by chance that I’m alone. It would be very hard for a man to live with me, unless he’s terribly strong. And if he’s stronger than I, I’m the one who can’t live with him. … I’m neither smart nor stupid, but I don’t think I’m a run-of-the-mill person. I’ve been in business without being a businesswoman, I’ve loved without being a woman made only for love. The two men I’ve loved, I think, will remember me, on earth or in heaven, because men always remember a woman who caused them concern and uneasiness. I’ve done my best, in regard to people and to life, without precepts, but with a taste for justice.” ― Coco Chanel

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubt, while the stupid people are full of confidence.” ― Charles Bukowski

Our Shiba "Maru" at 9 Months
Snake Eye Sushi near the office in Toranomon Tokyo
Sweet "Sweet King Mikan" tangerines
Extra Slow Bikes on the Kashio River in Totsuka Yokohama
Kushi Katsu joint next to the office in Toranomon Tokyo
Cats sizing each other up in Yokohama
A very yellow building but you can't know that...
Uh oh, the rent will go up now in Toranomon
A very interesting pudding that comes in a latex sheath
Cute cable bite from my daughter