Please Reply to this Bottle…

Craig Sullivan
Jul 21, 2017 · 15 min read

Thank you for reading this message — my trip was worth it!

I could write pages of stuff here but I wanted to give you an outline of who I am, what I love and what my values are. Enough to hopefully spark some interest or a conversation, maybe talk, maybe meet.

I won’t jump to the conclusion that you want a relationship with me, just because you get in touch. I welcome friendships and like minded people into my life just as much as I hope for someone special.

So here goes…

(1) Where did I come from?

I was born in 1968 in Coatbridge, Scotland and am a presentable, well dressed and I hope, reasonably attractive looking 49 year old guy. I’m Scottish and very proud of my ancestry and background — which blends russian, irish, english and scottish blood. I’m like a well blended whisky of several nationalities.

The third of four children, my mum was a teacher and my dad an insurance salesman. My earliest memories are of playing with my parents, feeling my dads bristly chin and going to my mum’s work with her at school.

I was a bright, happy and very inquisitive child — always asking annoying questions and wanting things explained. I think my parents were glad when I started going to primary school, where I could ask the teachers instead ;-o

Early primary school was in Coatbridge and was followed by a family move to Kilmarnock, further south of Glasgow. My dad was doing well at work and bought a house — extending the attic to make bedrooms for all the kids, which soon included my little sister, making 4 of us. We got our first dog, Rosby, which kindled my love of family pets to this day.

Although I was doing well at school, I was a pretty hyperactive child — and would probably have been diagnosed today as being ADDHD or suffering from a mild inability to pay attention. Although I calmed down a great deal by the time I went to secondary school, my school reports make funny reading at the time — reflecting both my curious nature, annoying questions and inability to stop asking until I grasped something.

Although I’m not writing this message as a personal history, it’s worth mentioning here that we were reasonably well off, although we had lean times like anybody. My family would probably be called ‘lower middle class’ or ‘nouveau middle class’ these days — my dad and mum were from different backgrounds but worked hard and were in the right place at the right time. I got a very good start to my education from my mother, a good school and good exam results.

My father and mother had a, shall we say, rather difficult relationship. But hey, this message is not about that time or about my father but if you get to know me, you will discover this is the root of the respect I have for women as my complete equals, as well as for my desire to end continuing bias and mistreatment at the hands of men.

During secondary school at Boclair Academy, I discovered the joy of learning, reading, libraries — and consumed knowledge voraciously. I studied hard at my subject and my mother, who had encouraged my reading and study of science and maths, invested time and her own funds for a tutor, to fill gaps in studying for exams. I got an excellent set of results and planned to go to Edinburgh University to study computer science.

My first paid job was as a 17 year old student, building code for a computer company in Glasgow. This was to be my first taste of working commercially and was the catalyst for much that followed. I even featured in an article at the time in a magazine, which I’ve kept. Please forgive my horrible sports jacket — it was the eighties ;-o

[pic to come]

(2) Where do I live?

I live in Blackheath, London, here:

[pic to come]

I’ve lived here most of my life, after moving south from Scotland at 17 to find work. I’m situated in the south east part of london (about 4pm on a clock face) and near greenwich park, where the GMT (Meridian) line runs through london and the greenwich observatory looks over the park.

[observatory pic]

I love this locality so much because it has open spaces, excellent transport links and the choice of houses to live is much better and cheaper than inner central London. I like the ability to live in a wonderful environment, easy to get out of the city, lovely fresh air and plenty of space to walk the dogs — whilst being able to get into London within 10 minutes.

I live here with Marcella, my daughter (nearly 18), Don and Coco the cats (13 and 2) Duke and Otis the dogs (4 and 2). The 6 of us love each other very much and we look after our little furries carefully, as they are very precious cargo.

The old house we live in now was built in 1690 and has fabulous high ceilings, original features and is just brimming with character. It’s also hard to heat in winter but fabulously cool in summer.

[pic to come]

We have a lovely garden to share with our pets:

[pic to come]

As well as having a nice lawn and lots of space — we grow our own (mainly organic) vegetables, fruit, herbs and salad. In summer, we have a wonderful display of flowers and the garden becomes like a giant extra room for the house.

Friends, pets and family all enjoy lunch, drinks and chilling out there. Jams, Pickles and fresh vegetables all make their way to people we know and a local restaurant takes some of the herbs!

Here is my desk, by the back window to the garden, where I often look forward to finishing work and going outside:

[pic to come]

I work, write and design stuff here — as I get to work from home a lot. I run a small consultancy firm and have flexible hours that I control and get paid well for doing good quality work. I’m not always here at home though — as I work at client offices, run workshops and speak regularly at events around the world.

One of the benefits of being asked to work with international clients or to speak in other countries — is the amazing exposure to new places and cultures I have experienced, just doing my job. I am so lucky to do something I love that has this side benefit.

I’m a natural explorer and love discovering new food, culture, places, architecture, plants, people, everything. I’ve been to over 40 countries I reckon but there are so many places I still want to go — I hope you like exploring too.

(3) Favourite Places

Where am I most happy?

In the moment —

In the garden —

By the sea, in the mountains

With people I love

Out seeking culture

Out for dinner

Cooking from the garden

Presenting On stage

Shopping

Curled up on the sofa, watching a series

Reading a great book

Walking the dogs

Climbing a mountain

Waking up at a festival

Seeing a wonderful smile that I made

Making people laugh

Falling asleep with my family

Going new places

Finding new things right here at home

(4) What stuff do I like doing?

Music — I love almost all musical genres, used to play piano and now DJ in my spare time. With more practice, I’ll actually be reasonable but I choose good music and have played at some really venues — even on the beach one night. Music is something that helps me concentrate or power up already big emotions — I love listening to new music all the time, so I’m never bored. Whether you like punk rock, bossanova, classical, house, reggae, ska or trance — I have music I love right there.

Art — I enjoy having time to really observe and look at art. I still don’t know what I fundamentally like as a style because I like so much from many different places and times. I’ve managed to see exhibitions in many cities and countries now and love photography too. I guess you could say that I’m open to most forms of art and appreciate craft, humour, skill and impact.

Architecture — I’m a big fan of good usable modernist architecture but I could point to several different styles that I love. Art deco, Art nouveau, Victorian, Georgian — there’s something wonderful in all of these. In cities like Tallinn and Bucharest in the east of Europe, you’ll find some of the finest architecture blending modern cool, medieval, brutalist stalinist and superb art deco buildings, a mixture that you won’t find in many cities these days.

Furniture — I’ve restored several pieces of furniture myself and I’m not bad at finding bargains. I know how to look for good quality and have managed to build a nice collection without breaking the bank. I enjoy something well made that’s good looking and comfortable.

Clothing— I love clothes and have worked as a volunteer with a charity shop for decades and at london fashion week when I was younger. You’ll have to trust me — a man who likes shopping as much as I do has a much higher tolerance for looking at, helping with and enjoying buying clothes. I’m not a fashion victim — I like stuff that’s good quality, not just a label and I’d be happy to take you shopping, if you help me pick stuff too.

Writing — I write a lot. Articles, research pieces, knowledge to give away and things to rant about. I have a decent following of people who read my stuff on medium and twitter — and a great sense of community with the people I work with in the industry. Writing is part of what powers my sharing of knowledge with others across the world.

Teaching — This is a big part of all my work. Not only do I provide training and workshops to corporate clients, I also provide completely free training and presentations throughout the year. About 60% of the talks and workshops that I perform are done without cost. I also work with a small group of students based around the world, providing them with mentoring, advice and support as they start their careers. Giving things away like this has given me more back than I’ve ever given away. I laugh when people tell me I should be charging people money for all this.

Learning — My mother instilled learning in me and this is true today as it was when I was a young man. I am constantly looking to acquire and integrate new and unknown knowledge. I accept that I can only see the stuff that I know — and that I have to keep looking to explore the darkness outside my circle of knowledge. I think this is one of the things that leads to people calling me an ‘expert’ — the fact that I don’t think of myself as an expert but keep trying to be one, is the important bit.

DJing — After about 10 years of practising, I can now play without clearing rooms quickly. My skills on the decks aren’t bad but my core ability is in picking great music, across a huge range of genres. I have been known to have 50 people dancing so hard the wooden floor was rippling so it does work sometimes.

Gardening — It’s more than just gardening here at play. My love of the entire ecosystem that constitutes this planet was put there by my grandfather. My garden is a microcosm of my love for the whole planet and I have learned the delicate balances and checks that nature has, which we are now beginning to break, with serious consequences. I’m a real and authentic environmentalist who is pragmatic but also passionate about those destroying the planet one ecosystem at a time.

Food & Wine— I love everything about cooking and am a good ‘from scratch’ cook these days. I like eating out a lot but not as a way of spending lots of money — more as a way to explore new tastes, recipes and sensations. I have a few favourite restaurants in london but am happy trying everything new — whether it’s a cafe next to a motorway roundabout or a michelin starred restaurant in the artic circle — if they have something worth trying, I’ll be there!

Travelling — I’ve had 5 star hotels in exotic places all the way down to a tent on the edge of a cliff. I love all modes of travel and am happy just being away somewhere, with great friends or company. I’m not one of these british people terribly bound by class — so I’m happy to fit in anywhere and talk to anyone.

There’s lots of other things I love doing — making ice cream, arranging flowers, go karting, going on impromptu holidays. There isn’t enough time to tell you or show you here, so I’ll stop now ;-o

(5) Boring crap about work

No — I’m not going to tell you loads about that. If you’re interested, you can look at my Linkedin profile. It won’t tell you much about me personally but about my career.

I’m known as an expert in my field although I would contend I’m still learning stuff every week and every month as I go. I have a big community of people that I work with around the world and lots of them are personal friends. My work is something that I LOVE doing — it’s the best job in the world where you like it this much and it pays very well.

(6) Core attributes you may want to know

A friend of mine shared the graphic below and apart from ‘dance parties in grocery stores’ — I like to think that this list is a pretty good reflection of attributes other people see in me.

I don’t really like writing stuff that’s all about my ego or how I think about myself — I’m biased (laughs). I’m a good blend of positive traits and few negative ones for a man:

I know how to make you feel like a million dollars. I’m a gentleman *and* a feminist (basically I’ll open doors for you without using this as a means to oppress you ;-o). I’m kind and caring — empathetic and understanding.I’m exciting and thrilling and have a wicked dry and sarcastic sense of humour. I’ll do everything in my power to make you laugh and I will be there for you with a deep level of emotional maturity and kindness. I have much love to give and I have no problem receiving it when deserved either. I appreciate tenderness, closeness and affection — and can do a pretty damned good massage when requested. I cook, clean and look after all the house but I can party still like I was 18 (okay, maybe 30). I retain an open, liberal and inquisitive mind. I don’t discriminate or hold (I hope) bigoted or offensive views. I’m someone who cares about integrity in their dealings with everyone and is solid emotionally, financially and psychologically — with no ulterior motives or hidden agenda. I reckon I’m not a bad choice, but that’s completely up to you.

I hope some of the attributes below or that I’ve shared in this article, are important to you. These things are more valuable to me than superficial things — what we earn, own, might get in future are not really important — it’s the quality of life that you seek out that determines how you get to live it.

(7) What am I looking for?

I don’t want to be specific — I’d rather you consider my message than make this sound like some sort of qualification process. If you like what you’ve read or seen then get in touch.

Once I start listing attributes, then I’m just increasing the ability to get something wrong — or put you off — when that would be the last thing on my mind. You may be surprised to find out that I’m free of that kind of judgemental attitude.

(8) Don’t worry

You may be thinking that you shouldn’t get in touch. Maybe he won’t like me? Maybe he won’t find me attractive? Maybe I’m not his type? Maybe he’s deluged with responses? Maybe it won’t work?

There’s only one way to find out — and that’s to get in touch. Your looks, money, assets or outward social characteristics are not important signals to me. How kind you are, the way you deal with others, your beliefs and values, the way you are passionate about and love people and things in your life — these are way more important.

Attraction is also a complicated game — I’ve learned over years of self examination that I find many things attractive. A lovely smile. The way you walk. The way your hair moves when you laugh. The way your eyes look at me. It’s way too complex to explain or invent rules for it, so stop worrying about stuff that’s you don’t have evidence for. If you don’t know if we’re attracted, how do you know now? If you don’t know if that thing will put me off, how do you know now?

If you’ve been through something tough and my articles have sparked your thinking, I’m ready to talk too. I just wanted you to know that there isn’t any set of stupid reasons for not getting in touch, regardless of what you’d like to say.

(9) Get in Touch

Any longer and this article feels like a freaking book. Too short and it feels like not enough information. I hope it was enough to get your interest and encourage you to get in touch (see below). Even if it’s just to answer a question or share your experiences, I’m open to all contacts.

If you want to do more than that, the bottle will have woven some magic. I’d like to think that if you enjoy my company as I do yours — that it will in some way have been responsible for a new chapter in my life.

Tell me everything. I want to hear it all.

GET IN TOUCH:

You can message me on twitter, facebook, email me or write a letter!

Please know that I value your privacy and mine, above all other considerations. I don’t want to share any part of what are private communications and I’m sure you feel the same way. Unless we both explicitly agree to share something, what happens stays private.

TWITTER

@OptimiseOrDie

FACEBOOK

www.facebook.com/OptimiseOrDie

EMAIL

bottlereply@hushmail.com

BY POST

You might like to go old skool Austen and write me a letter (horse delivery gets bonus points ;-o)

I’d love to reply to your letter — it’s a wonderfully slow and pleasant way to communicate. Write to:

Craig Sullivan
Apt 12133
Chynoweth House
Trevissome Park
Truro
TR4 8UN

ANIMAL HOUSE:

These little guys saved me and kept my heart full of love, even in the darkest of times. They make me laugh and see life through their joyous little personalities — a priceless gift of their unequivocal love:

I hope you get to meet my furries someday — they love meeting new people:

Duke (3 1/2 years old — Pedigree Pug)
Otis (top right) is 2 years old and is a Corgi and Pug cross. He originally came from Poland, where he was called ‘Bob’
Duke’s pedigree name is very odd — Mishwacka Butch Cassidy — but this isn’t why he makes us all laugh. The facial expressions alone are enough to keep you in stitches but pugs have bags of personality and are very kind, gentle and loving. They will follow you everywhere — I mean everywhere. It’s like having ankle elastic.
Coco — our brown/purple British Shorthair girl, 2 years old. Amazing eyes and soft coat!
This is Don — or Il Duce, El Capo — whatever you want to call him. He’s top dog in this house and nobody tells Don what to do, capische? He’s an old boy — who adopted me — and is around 13–15 years old. Loves my shoulder and is fiercely independent. The neighbours all love him too — which explains why he’s always out some nights!
Duke doing his favourite thing — sleeping anywhere
Otis is the sweetest dog I’ve known. A big heart and such a scaredy cat -hard not to love dearly.
Most pugs have a curved tongue and no snout. Otis has a massive, slightly curved tongue, that he keeps wrapped up in here, a cute little short nose. Since his main interface with the world is licking, this is a lot of tongue to deal with.
Otis and Duke are the best of brothers — they sleep together, play and go on walks. The two of them are inseparable and enjoy each others company!
Oh dad, it’s so hot!
Can’t. Keep. Eyes. Open.
Did you do this to my head?
Happy! Yeah! let’s do it! What now! Hell Yeah! Hello! Let’s go!
Coco is very timid and was maltreated in a former home. It’s taken us years of patient work to get to the stage where we can stroke, brush and sit with her without losing major arteries. She’s a lovely cat now and we’re glad we persisted.
Best Bros
Who? Little ‘ol me? Shucks? Is it me you’re talking about?
Don on patrol — or just about to poo in my freshly tilled seed bed. I don’t care — it’s easy to clean up.
Otis has this permanently happy and cute look. Don’t be fooled — he’s actually quite a clever little dog and is very easy to train and walk off the lead. Cute & Clever.
ZzzzzzZzzzzZzzzz
So damnably cute — they also love dressing up in many outfits. See www.pimpmypug.it — Duke even has a studded leather biker jacket ffs. They look so sweet here in Greenwich Park.
Wha? Who? Me? Shuddup.
Two lovely boys eh?
Otis loves the hammock in the garden — and will share it with you anytime
As the Alpha Male, he led the pack, surveying from his bunker the arrival of the birds he was hoping for…

Craig Sullivan

Written by

Conversion Optimisation, Usability, Split Testing, Lean, Agile,User Experience, Performance, Web Analytics, Conversion Optimization ,#CRO http://t.co/BSWwzHj00S

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