Best Sights to See in Kansas City

Hello everyone! Michael Gortenburg here. 

As a lifelong Kansas City native, I’m always eager to show off the sights that make this city special. Though the Midwest can sometimes be overlooked for its vacation appeal, there’s plenty of hidden treasure to explore, especially here in Missouri. Here are some of the best sights Kansas City has to offer. 

Arabia Steamboat Museum 

The Arabia Steamboat Museum offers an in-depth look at the historic sinking of the Arabia in 1856, as well as its recovery in 1988. The Missouri River claimed hundreds of steamboats along its 2,500-mile route throughout the 1800s. When the Steamboat Arabia originally sank in 1856, it brought down 200 tons of unknown cargo. Over a century later, the recovery of the ship brought with it a modern-day treasure-hunting story. Visitors get a glimpse into the past through the Arabia’s uniquely preserved materials. From clothing to fine china to children’s toys, this museum will capture the attention of all ages. The Arabia’s preservation is still in progress, so you always have more to look forward to in future visits. 

Kansas City Zoo 

Founded in 1909, the Kansas City Zoo has reigned the wild into the city for locals and tourists alike. The Kansas City Zoo is home to over 1,700 animals. They even have cameras for a live look at the animals after zoo hours. Their website offers a sneak peek at the more than 200 species represented at the zoo so that visitors can familiarize themselves before getting to meet them in person. From Allen’s Swamp Monkey to the American alligator, the Kansas City Zoo has everything an animal lover could want.

Kauffman Stadium 

Another must-see, especially for any baseball fan, is the Kauffman Stadium. Originally opened as the Royals Stadium in 1973, Kauffman is the sixth oldest stadium in the country. It gained its new name in 1993, in honor of the team’s former owner, Ewing M. Kauffman, and his contributions to the team. I recommend taking the chance to watch the Kansas City Royals play at home during their 50th season. Kauffman Stadium has seats that can accommodate any price range and guarantee an exciting ballgame experience for everyone. View the Royals Hall of Fame or book a stadium tour. 

The Money Museum 

If you’re looking for the “billion-dollar experience” at no cost, visit the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The Money Museum shows visitors how millions of dollars are processed through the Federal Reserve Bank each day. Guests can view Harry S. Truman’s coin collection, lift a genuine gold bar, and interact with numerous digital exhibits. The Money Museum is a fun and free way to learn more about the U.S. economy. 

Kansas City has something to offer for all ages and interests. 

If you start to get a little hungry along the way, check out my favorite spots to grab a bite to eat.

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing

Is McLaren Diluting its Hypercar Brand?

A Sunny day on a highway with a 2019 McLaren GT Super Car

Hello everyone! Michael Gortenburg here.

I have always had a passion for cars. As I mentioned in my previous blog, I love iconic cars from the 1950s and the feel of a vehicle that time has made a recognizable classic. I’ve always been fascinated by the freedom and excitement you can only get from an automobile. Whenever I see an exotic or a vintage car, it’s because something about that car’s soul speaks to me. Each car provides a unique experience, like an old memory that I can recall instantly.

Recently, I’ve been paying attention to the ever-competitive world of hypercars. Not because I plan to buy one, definitely not, but because I enjoy watching the competition unfold among the five or six manufacturers who are competing for the wallets of a very limited and selective group of people. There are plenty of wealthy people in the world, but not many who are willing to pay over $1 million for a method of transportation.

These are just my thoughts on the latest and greatest in the car world and I hope you enjoy it! Let’s start off with a brand that everyone is paying attention to right now: McLaren.

McLaren has been putting out incredible cars for years, and many people consider the McLaren F1 to be the greatest automobile ever built. It seems like more and more people are agreeing with that sentiment, as they are currently fetching somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million at auction. Is a car ever worth $20 million? I guess it is if there is nothing else quite like it on the road.

The F1 is unique in that it has no fancy electronics, no tricks. It is a pure machine made to go fast and nothing else. The driver’s seat is centered in the middle of the car, with two passenger seats on either side. They say the feeling of driving one is like piloting a fighter jet.

While very few people will get to experience the McLaren F1 themselves, there are plenty of other McLaren models that will give you a similar sensation. We’ll leave out the Mercedes SLR because that was really more of a GT car, not a pure performance machine, in my book. Besides, there are plenty of others to choose from.

Right now, the McLaren lineup consists of twelve different models, which is an astronomical number for a hypercar manufacturer, to be honest. They include the 620R, the 540C, the 570C, the 570S and the GT, the 600LT/600LT Spider, the McLaren GT, the 720S and the 765, the Senna, the Elva, the Speedtail, the Artura, and a few other versions of these for racetrack use.

Is that too many? A lot of people are saying that, yes, McLaren is diluting itself by making so many variations. What is special about a McLaren if you have so many different versions of them floating around, right? Well, I happen to disagree.

What I like so much about McLaren is that it is not as obsessed with status as some of the other brands that are out there. To that end, the cars tend to be a bit less flashy (with some definite exceptions) and less recognizable than say a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. The people who buy McLarens are more interested in an incredible driving experience than rolling up to a fancy restaurant and attracting attention.

That’s why it makes sense for the company to have so many models. They are giving drivers the ability to select exactly what suits them. They can provide an extreme hypercar like the Senna, or a fun weekend driver like the 540C. You can get what you want without being labeled as a certain type of person. That makes sense coming from a company with a strong racing tradition that takes itself extremely seriously.

Now, I don’t own a McLaren myself, nor am I particularly interested in acquiring one. But I do respect what they are doing. In time, I believe that other manufacturers will start to democratize the hypercar experience by creating high-performance electric machines at low cost. These would be cars for people who are less interested in status than experiencing the thrill of an open road. You can definitely count me among them.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more coming soon!

– Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City Missouri

Are resto-mods a cardinal sin?

Hello there – Michael Gortenburg here.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a soft spot for automobiles (you can check out my previous blog on this subject here). I love that each one provides an entirely unique experience. A car doesn’t need to be fast to give me a thrill. All it needs to have is soul.

What does that mean? It means a car that is itself an experience. A car that has its own personality, its own flaws and defects, its own unique way to move along the road. A car that reminds you at every moment that you are in something special, and the experience is yours and yours alone.

Modern cars with all the bells and whistles can give you that, and I’ve driven some incredible ones that use hybrid technology. The electric motors provide tons of torque while the engine gives it power once you off the line. There is nothing like being pushed deep into the seat by the g-force of a launch. It is invigorating.

At the same time, old cars (most of which are pretty slow by today’s standards) can provide unique experiences as well.

Recently, I’ve been interested in something that bridges the gap between old cars and new – they are called “resto-mods.”

Resto-mods are essentially old, classic cars that have been completely stripped down, then rebuilt using modern parts. So, for example, you could have a 1969 Lamborghini Miura, an absolutely beautiful car but with incredibly unreliable performance, and replace its engine, suspension, transmission, and brakes with modern parts from a contemporary Lamborghini. Is this sacrilege? To some people, yes absolutely it is. But if you are more concerned about enjoying your car than getting the approval of others, it could be a good option. After all, would you rather spend your time fixing your car, or driving it?

Resto-mods are still considered the black-sheep of the car collecting world; however, but I believe that is going to change. Younger people are used to driving reliable cars and most are completely unaccustomed to doing their own repairs. They want immediate gratification, and a resto-mod can give that to you.

Most of the resto-mods currently on the market are American cars, especially muscle cars from the 1960s and 1970s. That makes sense because those cars are notoriously easy to work on. Large engine bays mean you can reach everything without removing half of the bodywork, and simple engineering with minimal electronics makes doing things like engine swaps a lot easier.

Now most of those resto-mods are done by home mechanics, so just imagine what you could accomplish if you used the kind of resources that could pay for a hypercar. You could have one of the most unique classic cars around, with modern-day performance to match.

Imagine a Jaguar E-Type from the 1960s with a reliable and efficient drivetrain. Or a Mercedes Grosser with a Bentley W12 engine. Or, for a laugh, how about a Volga with a new Porsche engine and carbon brakes? You get the idea. The possibilities are endless and there is nothing wrong with having a little fun, no matter what the purists say.

What do you think? Do you think this modern twist on classic cars is a cardinal sin? Or are they ok in your book?

Talk soon,

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri

Top 5 Books for Business Success

Hi everyone,

Today I wanted to talk about a key element of success — reading. It’s no surprise that reading is a common denominator amongst many of the biggest names in business, and almost all entrepreneurs have a book or two they accredit to changing their lives and shaping their careers.

Warren Buffet credits his business philosophy to “The Intelligent Investor,” by Benjamin Grahman; Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy changed Elon Musk’s life — and boy, did it! Sometimes it’s not a business book that gives you your “Eureka! Moments,” but nevertheless, it’s important to be constantly consuming new content to stay sharp and creative if you want to succeed. Bill Gates takes up 50 books a year, Warren Buffet reads 500 pages a day, Mark Zuckerberg challenged himself to read a book every other week and Jeff Bezos is also an avid reader.

With that, I thought I would share some solid recommendations for you to check out:

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

It is a common book suggested by business leaders, but it has such fundamental lessons that I would be remiss if I did not mention it. This 6th century BC book is still used for military strategy today and has direct translations for business strategy and management. Based on Chinese warfare and military thought by the legendary general Sun Tzu, this book can be used to gain advantage of opponents in negotiation, understand office politics and foster a sustainable and positive corporate culture.

Check out some of these quotes to get an idea of its timeless insights:

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War

“Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Some strategies don’t change within 25,000 years. This is a must read.

The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail by Clayton M Christensen

There’s nothing better than using your predecessors to guide your own success. There’s a reason why Isaac Newton said: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” This book offers the success and failure stories of the world’s biggest firms and creates a guide for capitalizing on innovation. It encourages you to strategically think about the best times to take big jumps in your business — especially as it pertains to technology. It also covers situations when demand might not meet your innovations, which could destroy the business you already have.

This book is a great guide for when you come up with your next big disruptive innovation idea.

Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

This book is championed by business schools around the country and illustrates a simple strategy that revolutionizes how people think about how to beat competitors.

A good takeaway from this book: avoid the cutthroat competition of going to a business market (or a bloody “red” ocean) and instead look for bluer waters, where you can swim to success unbothered. Sometimes it is much easier to become top in your field by finding your own niche than by trying to directly compete against more established enterprises that already own their respective markets.

Check out the full read for more insights into this idea.

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This classic book is perhaps the most well-known from Carnegie, and for good reason.

It gives practical tips for establishing relationships in business and in your personal life as well. Relationships are the foundation for success in many ways, so learning skills that allow you to cultivate meaningful and impactful connections with those around you is something that pays for itself many times over.

This book shows you how simple it really is to do — although getting yourself to follow them is a different challenge.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey

All of the habits that Covey suggests in this book seem simple — but they have a profound impact.

The one I want to stress the most is the habit of continuous improvement that Covey calls “sharpening the sword.” Covey stresses that through meaningful progress and growth, you will propel yourself along a path of personal freedom and success. One of the main things you can do to “sharpen the sword” is read! So by reading Convey’s book, you will be already starting to develop one of those highly effective habits.

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In business, the best way to be on top of the competition is to diversify your perspective, reimagine solutions to our world’s biggest issues and do things that spark your creativity. Reading the worthwhile thoughts of great thinkers is one of the best ways to do just that.

So while we are still stuck at home for the time being (although it is exciting that we are slowly opening up in Kansas City!), I suggest you spend some time reading.

This lists is a great place to start and will help give structure to your thoughts and your business ideology, but business ideas can come from anywhere. Start with whatever you have on your shelves, and who knows, you might think of your next big venture or inspiring idea.

Until next time,

~ Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Support Local Kansas City Restaurants

Hello folks – Michael Gortenburg here, checking in from Kansas City.

As we slowly make our way out of quarantine conditions and our city businesses have reopened to more capacity, I thought we could chat about something that everyone’s been missing: our beloved restaurants.

It has been a tough time for restaurant owners and workers – so it is important to support them and other local businesses now that we have the ability to do so. I’d like to take a moment to spotlight a few of my personal favorites. That being said, this is only a select list which does not nearly encompass all the wonderful places Kansas City has to offer.

Jack Stack Barbecue

I’ve talked before about how Kansas City knows its BBQ — and Jack Stack’s BBQ is one of the best. They have five locations around the city and are renowned for the barbeque style dubbed for our city, Kansas City BBQ. People travel all around the world to get a taste of their ribs, cornbread and local brews. If you don’t feel comfortable enough to eat out just yet — try their curbside pick-up.

Cascone’s Italian Restaurant

This Italian eatery has been family-owned and operated since 1954. There are four generations working at Cascone’s and its fresh and delicious traditional Sicilian meals has drawn regulars for years. This is the perfect place to go with family or have big celebrations. The meals are hearty, but I promise you, you will finish your plate.

La Bodega

Tapas anyone? From tortilla espanola to patatas bravas to pintxos de higo – transport yourself to Barcelona with La Bodega. The restaurant atmosphere is reminiscent of Gaudi with colorful mosaics on the tables and the opportunity to have paella in an authentic pan! As of June 1st, you can visit the restaurant with patio and sidewalk seating. After a few glasses of sangria, you’ll believe you’re in a Taperia on Las Ramblas.

Grunauer

This Austrian restaurant has a delicious array of eastern European options. I suggest ordering one of their locally made bratwursts with a side of sauerkraut, washing it down with one of their selections of beer, and finishing the night with one of their traditional apple strudels for dessert. You’ll be still thinking about your meal the next day.

Seva Cuisine of India

If you’ve never tried Indian food before — this is the place that will have you ordering Indian cuisine every week. Seva’s is one of the most top-rated places in all of Kansas City and it’s no secret why: they have a great selection of tasty savory traditional Indian dishes. It’s a great option for lunch with their signature lunch buffet, but that might not be available currently. They also have fantastic and complimentary Chai tea! Portions are generous and prices are reasonable — what’s not to like?

Minsky’s Pizza

Since 1976, Minsky’s has offered some of the best pizza Kansas City has to offer. Their slogan “Gourmet, and going to stay that way,” wholly encapsulates Minky’s. Their dough is baked to perfection, the cheese is bubbly and gooey, and the toppings are always fresh and locally sourced. They also have other delicious offerings like hot sandwiches. Minsky’s is a great option for lunch or dinner.

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These are just a few of the many wonderful restaurants we have in Kansas City.

We are fortunate to have such a great array of diverse cuisines, and we’d like to keep it that way! So if you don’t feel comfortable going out to eat yet, consider ordering in, and please make sure to leave a tip. Workers have struggled unbelievably over the past few months, so they need all the support we can give them.

Enjoy!

~ Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri

How to be Productive Working from Home

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all are continuing to stay safe and healthy.

Here in Kansas City, businesses and retailers are starting to reopen as the city eases its coronavirus restrictions, but like many of you I am not rushing to return to a shared office space just yet.

Working from home is great for reducing your daily commute and is obviously ideal in terms of practicing proper social distancing, but it can also be challenging to remain focused and connected to your work when the lines between your personal home life and your work life are so blurred.

With this in mind, I wanted to share a few tips with you that help me maintain my focus and more importantly my mental health while navigating these new workplace dynamics.

Set up a Designated Workspace

Whether you have a home office or not, make sure you have a space in your house where you can spread out and concentrate without disturbing other members of your family or letting them disturb you. Going to this same space everyday ensures that your mind will associate this space with work and not the personal tasks that are so temptingly close.

Dress Up (Sort Of)

As much as most of us are living in sweatpants right now, it’s still important to maintain some aspects of your morning routine to get you in the work mindset. No need to commit to putting on a suit or heels, but at least change out of your pajamas, brush your teeth, and go through any other steps to make you feel ready and awake for the day.

Take Breaks

Part of being productive is learning to step away from work to refocus when you’re in a funk and can’t seem to be making any progress. Get away from your screen and take a walk outside, talk to a friend or family member, or even do some spring cleaning. When you return to your desk with a refreshed attitude, you’ll be more prepared to maximize the time you do have to work.

Stay Connected with your Coworkers

When working from home, it’s easy to feel isolated or disconnected from your office. Make sure you’re utilizing instant messaging and videoconferencing tools to stay connected to coworkers both for your own personal health and the greater health of the company.

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone if you feel that you aren’t being heard – sometimes words can be misinterpreted over text. And remember to share the occasional funny email with coworkers to lighten the mood.

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There are plenty of other strategies for maximizing your time when working from home, but these are a few that I have found to be the most helpful for me. Ultimately, I would suggest using trial and error to figure out what functions best for you, since every person works differently.

I would also love to hear from you about how you work best from home. Out of the box strategies are especially encouraged.

Please continue to make smart decisions both for your own health and the health of others. I know it is difficult to picture a life after the pandemic right now, but I am confident that together we can carry each other through this difficult period.

Talk Soon,

~ Michael Gortenburg, CEO and Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Coronavirus Vaccine Before 2021?

Hi Everyone,

As many of you are aware, there’s a race going on worldwide to develop a coronavirus vaccine. Before I share my thoughts with you, I want to make clear that I am not a scientist nor a medical professional. I am just a concerned citizen like all of you, hoping to return safely to our pre-pandemic lives as soon as possible.

Status of Vaccine Development

There are currently over 100 vaccines in development globally, giving people a sense of optimism at a time when many feel completely helpless, especially when considering that recent statistics have shown that more than 5 million people have been infected with COVID-19 and over 300,000 people have died.

Pharmaceutical companies and researchers have approached the development of a COVID-19 vaccine through a variety of methods. Some are relying on cutting edge technology using mRNA, others are using more traditional methods to study fragments of coronavirus protein, and one team of researchers is conducting a trial on monkeys to show how a prototype vaccine could protect them from infection.

Phase 1 trials of some of these vaccines have recently produced positive and encouraging results: test subjects developed antibodies similar to those found in people who had recovered from COVID-19. Some scientists consider coronavirus to be a stable pathogen, meaning that it is less likely to have significant mutations and therefore will respond well to a vaccine – however, there have also been studies to suggest otherwise. We are still very much in the research phase of this novel virus.

Possible Good News

However far off we are from understanding COVID-19, there seems to be a feeling of optimism in the air regarding the future of the pandemic. According to a Pew Research study, 73% of adults believe there will be a COVID-19 vaccine within the next 12 months, and 72% of adults say they would get the vaccine if available today.

And while this is certainly optimistic – vaccines typically take years or even decades to develop, so developing a vaccine in such a condensed period is practically unheard of. That is not to say that it is not possible, but rather that we should manage our own expectations to realize that a return to “normal” life won’t be immediate.

One thing I do think is fascinating to see is how the world has mobilized to fight this virus on a united front. Scientists and medical researchers across the globe have joined forces to share information, test theories and work together to develop treatments and find a possible vaccine. That is a reason to be as optimistic as any, especially when you consider the history of pandemics and how past generations have had to simply live with dangerous illnesses as a normal way of life.

While we wait for the world’s brightest minds to develop a reliable treatment or vaccine, we should all do our best to follow guidelines and best practices as recommended by our leaders and experts. Even if we do not fully understand the virus, we should behave responsibly to avoid passing it along to a vulnerable party.

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What are your thoughts on a potential COVID-19 vaccine? I’m sure many of you, myself included, want this period of uncertainty and isolation to be over sooner rather than later. I hope sharing some of my thoughts will give you a perspective you might not have considered.

Also, try to remember when talking with friends and family about coronavirus that having different opinions is okay – everyone is trying to do what they feel is necessary to keep themselves and others safe and sane.

Take Care,

~ Michael Gortenburg, CEO and Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Maintaining Health and Avoiding the “Quarantine 15”


Hi gang – Michael Gortenburg here, checking in from Kansas City.

I recently shared my list of favorite tech items to have on hand during this time when many of us are stuck at home. And while they certainly help to keep you occupied at home, it is important to also spend time maintaining your health.

As such, I thought I would share some tips that you can use to stay healthy and fit while the gym and public spaces are closed.

It All Starts with Optimal Nutrition

One of the biggest factors in staying healthy is the nutrition and vitamins that your body takes in on a regular basis. A body with access to high-quality foods and supplements is one that is infinitely more prepared to ward off viruses and ailments. Luckily, these are readily available at any health food or grocery stores (provided they are still in stock).

According to health officials, these are some of the best options available for maintaining the immune system:

Zinc – a common mineral that is used to fight inflammation and improve your cells’ ability to function properly. It is an essential addition to your daily intake, especially if you are older, and has been found to be particularly effective at preventing respiratory tract infections.

Vitamin C – this vitamin is famous for its health properties and has been used to nurse the body back to health from the common cold for decades. It supports cells that are responsible for immune health and is a powerful antioxidant. You can get vitamin C from several foods like broccoli or kale, but I would advocate for supplementing with powder packets that you can also find at the grocery store.

Vitamin D – another common nutrient that is especially helpful in boosting your body’s immune system. Vitamin D supports white blood cells, the cells responsible for fighting pathogens like viruses, and is also an anti-inflammatory agent.

Garlic – this isn’t just a great addition to your favorite dishes; it also has many anti-viral properties to keep your immune system strong during this time.

Don’t Neglect Physical Exercise

Physical exercise is a great way to boost the body’s immune system and will help you avoid gaining the “Quarantine 15.”

Most Americans have a bad habit of neglecting physical exercise throughout the regular year as it is. But now with the quarantine, there is a real danger of gaining extra weight as we move around even less. If you fall into this camp, NOW is the perfect time to pick up a simple routine that you can do from the comfort of your home. And the best part is, it doesn’t have to be complicated or require expensive, bulky equipment.

For those of you who frequent the gym, you may also find it enjoyable to switch things up with home workouts.

Push-ups – one of the simplest and perhaps most effective ways to stay in shape without going to the gym. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that men who can perform at least 40 pushups in one go have a better chance of avoiding heart disease. This exercise will help work out your chest, arms, shoulders and have many variations that you can use to target different areas.

Jump Rope / Jumping Jacks – almost everyone remembers playing with a jump rope as a kid. Well, it turns out that this activity is one of the healthiest and easiest ways to get your cardio in at home. If you don’t have a jump rope laying around at the house, you can substitute with simple jumping jacks. Aim for doing as many as you can to keep your heart rate up.

Sit-ups – a basic exercise and a perfect way to target your abs while you’re stuck at home. Sit-ups give you a chance to hit those areas that you might have neglected over the years. They also have a multitude of variations that can change the difficulty depending on your goals.

Squats – a powerful exercise for targeting your legs. You can perform these in any area of your house, but for added difficulty, find a wall to lean up against. Make sure to stand about one foot away from the wall and squat down as low as you can and hold this position for as long as you can. I guarantee you will find this a lot more difficult than you would have expected.

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There are many more exercises that you can perform while stuck at home during this pandemic, but these are a handful to start with. I would recommend loading up some of your favorite music, finding an isolated spot somewhere in the house and getting started on a daily routine.

Also, be mindful of the types of foods you are ordering online. Restaurants are great, but now would be the perfect time to focus on an overall healthier diet and finding ways to work in some of the above nutrients.

Until next time,

~ Michael Gortenburg, CEO and Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Best Tech Devices to Have During a Quarantine

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all doing well as we ride out this coronavirus pandemic. I know that this has been a difficult time for many of you, and large parts of the country are sheltering in place to practice social distancing.

Here in Kansas City, we have been under our mayor’s shelter in place order for weeks, so I thought this would be the perfect time to check in. With all of this time spent inside, it got me thinking about the perfect things to have on hand in the middle of a prolonged quarantine.

As an avid tech connoisseur, I’ve prepared a small list of essential items that might make your time at home a little easier. Check out my list below.

Firestick

With all of this time spent inside, you will definitely need a way to catch up on all of those shows everyone is talking about, including the ever famous “Tiger King.” The firestick plugs directly into your smart TV and grants the user access to thousands of apps and streaming services.

This little device will give you access to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus and more. With all of these options, you could last months or maybe even years without ever running out of options. And while tempting and somewhat understandable given the circumstances, I would not recommend spending more than a day or two binging on programs. It is important to maintain balance, even during a quarantine.

Ring Camera

Not everybody is staying at home during this quarantine. Criminals know that all of us are ordering products online and many of them are out patrolling neighborhoods looking for packages that sit on front porches/driveways.

Ring cameras help protect you from these predators – now during the quarantine, and throughout the rest of the year. These are tiny cameras that you fit on your front door that show a real-time feed of your front yard and record footage for later watching. Most notably, they can be linked up to your mobile phone, so you can view from anywhere you happen to be. In the event of having any packages stolen, or if you have unexpected visitors that you’d rather not greet at the door, this is a perfect option to have.

They also have a number of smart products like security cameras, smart lights and cameras you can use specifically for businesses.

WIFI Extender

Being forced to stay home doesn’t mean that you should be forced to sit in one room because of a weak WiFi signal. WiFi extenders boost your home’s internet access area so that you can get online from anywhere on your property. This is especially helpful if you have a hard time accessing your network in upstairs locations or from outside.

With a WiFi extender installed, you can move your home office to any part of the house where it might be quieter and easier to get work done. Or, you can lounge outside in your back yard and soak up some sun while still listening to your favorite music.

Kindle

How many times have you put off reading a great book because you just never had the time to sit down and read? Well, with a quarantine underway and with everything closed – all you have is time. That’s why a Kindle is the perfect companion to have with you while we ride this out.

Amazon’s Kindle gives you immediate access to digital versions of virtually any book you could want. Simply purchase them from the Amazon store and it will download onto the device for instant reading.

The Kindle has been perfected over the years to be intuitive and fun to use, so even if you enjoy physical books, this is a great option.

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Well, that’s all for now. Hopefully, you can use some of these items to make your quarantine a little easier over the next few weeks.

Please, stay home and stay safe.

Even if you don’t think you have anything to worry about, you could potentially spread something to someone who is vulnerable. Let’s all do our part to get through this together and we will return to our normal lives in no time.

Take care

~ Michael Gortenburg, CEO and Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Travel Notes: Croatia

Hello fellow travelers!

Today, I wanted to share my take on one of the many places that I’ve been fortunate to visit within the last couple of years: Croatia. It is a place that many people in the United States might not know much about – as it doesn’t get a lot of attention in movies, TV shows or other forms of media. Yet, it is a place that I consider to be one of the best destinations for those who like to explore.

When most Americans think of traveling to Europe, they think of the usual tourist destinations like London, Paris, Rome, and Berlin. And while these typical locations are certainly worthy of praise, frequent travelers might want to consider trying something new and venturing further east to Croatia.

Undiscovered Gem

With a population of only four million, Croatia is located in Southeastern Europe, far from the typical European tourist destinations, in an area known as the Balkan States. This “out of the way” placement has allowed Croatia to quietly develop into a unique destination of its own, without being overrun with tourists.

The country is set along the Adriatic Sea (a part of the Mediterranean) and has many charming towns and natural landscapes. Whether you’re looking to hike lush forests and trails that provide you with unmatched views, or if you would rather be sitting seaside basking in the sun – there’s something for everyone.

Coastal Towns

As opposed to a sprawling metropolis like Paris, Croatia’s biggest draws are its relatively small coastal towns. Perhaps the most popular of these is Split – a beautiful seaside city with a large port where cruises will often stop for a day. Split, like many places in Eastern Europe, has a sort of “old world” feel to it. The town is surrounded by white stone walls, and the orange tiled roofing of almost all of its buildings give the area a distinct Mediterranean quality.

Other worthwhile places to check out if you’re in the area include: Rovinj, Zadar, and Rab. You’ll notice that these types of towns have a consistent feel to them; however, they are uniquely Croatian.

I would recommend enjoying these towns during the sunny and breezy summer months. Croatia stays fairly sunny year-round – but it can get a little chilly during the winter. However, Kansas City gets far colder!

Living the Best Life

As I mentioned before, there is a sort of old-world appeal to Croatia and when you visit, you will learn to appreciate its slower paced lifestyle. Almost all of the areas I visited are very walkable or accessible by mass transportation, so traffic is not really an issue. There weren’t any booming car stereos, fast food chains or a Super Walmart.

Many Croatians enjoy a calmer, more peaceful approach to life. Many work in artisanal shops, walk from place to place and have a more modest view of things than many of us here at home.

As for food, Croatian cuisine is delicious. Their seafood is incredibly good, and their desserts are even better. I enjoyed several different types of desert pastries, cakes and other sweets. Amazingly, Croatians remain very healthy despite all of the tempting food – it must be the frequent walking.

*****

Ultimately, I rank Croatia as one of my favorite places to visit. It is such a unique experience for anyone coming from the United States, and its distinct culture allow Croatia to remain a place that is truly its own. It is certainly worth a visit from any traveler.

~ Michael Gortenburg Kansas City, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG)