Busy summer so far!

I haven’t been posting much, mainly due to lack of time (and even sometimes interest). While I love having this blog, sometimes I really feel that writing a post isn’t as good as just generally describing whats going on. I’m starting to think, especially with the insane growth of social media, personal blogs aren’t that interesting any more. Not that I’m saying I plan on stopping, but I really have been thinking more and more of turning this site into a general ‘life stream’ of what I’m doing, be it posting a message to twitter, taking a picture, blogging here or on my tech blog, or anything really.

Since I last really updated about whats been going on:

  • Have had the worse sinus problems ever I think during the summer.
  • Finally got outdoors and went mountain biking on local trails with friends. Other than hitting some logs wrong and eating dirt, it was a blast, and ready to get back out.
  • Did all the core work needed on GamingTweets.net.
  • Been working with a few friends to make some really cool things on the web. Still have plenty of work.
  • Worked on some really cool things at work!
  • Spent a short weekend in DC, and had a blast!
  • Working much harder on what I eat, and already starting to notice differences. Now just to loose 60+ pounds.
  • Got to visit a great friend in Hampton, and spend a few hours at the beach.
  • Have grilled so many times already this summer I have lost count.
  • Every week has gone from rather empty to PACKED in a day. Looking back at my calendar for the last 2 months, something has had to happen nearly every night.

Its crazy that its already August. Deborah’s birthday is just a month away. I’ve almost been at my new job for a year in a few months. But its amazing, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Stop wasting your time and just do it

37Signals, the people who make amazing products like Basecamp (a project management suite) and Backpack (a wiki like web application) and also pretty much designed and developed Ruby on Rails, have a great blog called Signal vs. Noise. They posted a harsh, yet very real post today that ‘there is always time to launch your dream‘.

To many people today want to make a quick buck or have everything handed to them on a silver platter, like they deserve it (similar reasoning to why I made this tweet earlier today). Yes, I personally have complained about ‘not having the time to do something’, but I take full responsibility in the fact that I just didn’t want to use the time doing that particular thing. 

But in recent months, I have realized that I should just stop wasting my time and get the job done. In some cases, this can actually be very rewarding in the end. For example, I have seen at least 3 ideas I have had come to fruition in the last year (and not by me), where I could have had a very similar product MUCH EARLIER  if I had just taken the time to flush something out. Or, one could finish a product and get it distributed (whether its a website, mobile application, or even desktop application) and start making money – its obviously not going to make any money if its not released.

This can go both ways as well. It’s like when you were a little kid. Get your chores done and you can play with your toys. Not to long ago, I was working 70 hour weeks all the time. And since I just had so much work, friendships, relationships, and even other job opportunities suffered. Now that I have a job that I love, and don’t nearly have to work as much on that, all of the above can thrive. 

If you are passionate about what you are going to do – it feels less and less like work. As said in the article, ‘If you want it bad enough, you will make the time’.

2008 – My Year In Review

In some weird ways, I have a love/hate relationship with ‘Top 10 lists’, which we see a lot off at the end of the year. Most of the time they seem to be nothing more but a way to get more traffic to your site, but I still fall for it and what to see (and compare) my lists! One thing I do like doing at the end of the year is looking back at what happened. While your not any different on 12/31/08 11:59 than you will be on 1/1/09 12:01, the new year obviously gives a fresh new look on life.

While 2008 for me wasn’t as busy as 2006 (got married) and 2007 (new job, new house, promotion), it was still a great year:

There were some accomplishments this year that I’m pretty happy about (though didn’t plan):

  • I dramatically grew my professional and personal connections, which has so many different possibilities for the future. Many people I met professionally are also great friends, and great resources as well. In the last year, I managed to meet and know many great people.
  • I learned a ton of new topics and web technologies. I think the single largest topic that really sparked my interest was SEO. Id love to do something like that professionally (or consult with those that need help).
  • I gained confidence in my ability to do stuff around the house without burning it down or destroying it (too much).
  • I gained confidence in sharing my knowledge with others and knowing that they may rely on this for business decisions. And then I became very happy seeing that my sharing of knowledge not only made them more profitable, but built up my confidence for being able to answer questions others may have and knowing I’m right.
  • My site almost doubled in traffic last year! This is mostly thanks to my READERS! This sparked my interest in moving my site to my own hosting platform in the possibility to monetize my efforts. This also lit the fire under my other passion, Photography, and wanting to expand my other blog.

All in all, a lot of the year was a blur to me with everything going on at work especially. But after seeing the results of last year’s haphazard blur (without any planning), I want to set certain goals/plans:

  • Actually finish another (or couple more) projects around the house
  • Learn Cocoa/Obj-C, and write my first Mac app in a LONG time.
  • Produce at least one meaningful app for distribution, either for Windows, Mac OS, or the iPhone. I would also like to create at least one plug-in for an already existing platform, like WordPress.
  • Get a better handle on our finances and investments.
  • Start getting healthy. Loose weight, eat better, feel better.
  • Continue to grow my professional and personal contacts.
  • Further develop and start to promote my side work, including freelance web and app development, hosting, and photography.
  • Learn everything I can.
  • Be an even better husband/son/friend/brother/person.

Freelancing, work, and life!

Life’s been pretty busy for the last few weeks as I get adjusted to a new job (and new schedule), the holidays are fast approaching, and making changes on this site! I have a few drafts that I started putting together to post in the next week or so from things I have learned, and some of my new projects!

  • The new job is amazing. I get to work on cool software with a cool language, and have a fun time doing it. Im still getting up to speed on quite a few things, but already making progress on quite a few of my tasks.
  • My work on Alexandria.com is coming along nicely, especially thanks to Deborah, for working on some hotels in her free time. I plan on spending some time this weekend on it, and creating a plan of execution in the short term. Im hoping we can launch around the first of next year!
  • I have a new personal project im starting up ( a forum ) but haven’t had much time to invest into it – more on that later.
  • I’m freelancing to make some extra money. I actually didn’t expect it to be this easy. I already have clients coming to me by word of mouth, and I haven’t even advertised myself yet. Im mostly doing ASP.net development, SEO work, and just helping people find a web presence,  so if you are interested, PLEASE contact me! I just finished my first large project!
  • This should be the last weekend with Toby. We actually have 2 more people interested in him, and he also goes and meets with the SPCA on Monday.
  • While I wanted to start really learning PHP and Perl, it looks like Cocoa/Objective-C may be first. I went to my first Richmond Cocoaheads meetup last night, which was awesome. While im VERY new to cocoa (the last time I really programed on a Mac that wasnt BASH scripts was with MPW and C++ console apps.
  • Many parties and other events going on this weekend and next week, all the way through the holidays. I hope to take tons of pictures, this time of year is always so beautiful.

Listening To: ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ by Led Zeppelin

On Richmond.com and my last week…

Well, as im sure many of you have heard by now, Richmond.com has been sold, and this week is my last (though, they were two separate events, and oddly enough, not related. I announced my departure a little over 3 weeks ago, and just knew about this a little under 2 weeks. (For those that don’t know that are visiting the site – I have been working in Technology over there for a bit over 1.5 years).

It was a shocker. I could go on and on about what I feel about the situation, what I did/didn’t know before the announcement, etc. I just don’t think this is the place. If you are curious, and do want to discuss, then email me. Though, please realize, this is becoming more and more ‘distant’ to me as I prepare to move on, and not really sure if I even want to THINK about it anymore.

It sucked. Friends lost their jobs. Things had been rough for all of us for a while, and towards the end, just outright confusing. Obviously there were things I couldn’t talk about, and then keep on going as if things were ‘normal’. I made it though, and so did they. Its a crappy economy, a crappy time, and if you don’t adjust to what needs to be done, you won’t be able to go much further. Of course after everything happens, we still have to keep our heads up and march on. Half the people did keep their jobs, but who knows doing what once moving down to Franklin street.

I don’t think it was ever competition. Yes, all these sites are awesome. I personally love rvablogs and rvanews. If you haven’t been using them, you should. Same with inrich.com. Yes, for a while, they were ‘the enemy’, but they had some amazing resources we didn’t. First, its just coverage – they are a newspaper, and of course have the editorial resources readily available. Then you have technology. You have amazing people like Tripp and Tess (although Tess not for much longer). We obviously had amazing people too, and for a small team, I think we did really well against the ‘big guys’. Of course with Ross and all over at Rvanews/Rvablogs, I have always thought these guys were brilliant and ‘knew whats up’. There’s just tooo many smart minds in this small city of ours, but obviously this is a very good thing.

Other than those in our company that had to move on (and those after the next week I will no longer be working with), Im also really going to miss those I have met through the Associated Cities. They are a great group, and I just wish there was some way to stay with them, although i’m no longer affiliated with a geodomain. These guys are doing some amazing stuff for those with geodomains, and everyone should keep an eye on them for the good stuff that is still yet to come.

I had been super stressed out trying to keep all this in. So sorry if I pissed anyone off or have seemed ‘odd’ for the last few weeks, life has just been a mess. But we are just counting down the hours now…

So who knows whats next. Obviously people have their rumors, and I can neither confirm nor deny what you here. And hell, after this Friday, I won’t know any further, and will just step back and watch (though, Im pretty excited to start doing ‘my own thing’ as well). All I know is that for the next week, i’ll be working for this new company, pretty much assimilating all knowledge I have built up over the last 1.5 years, to pass on to the next person. And now that ‘its all out there’, I think this last week will be a lot more comfortable, for all (other than those that they didnt keep), than the last few.

Finally, I want to leave a few links of coverage, from all over the country, covering this news…

Listening To: ‘Under Your Spell’ by The Smashing Pumpkins

Moving on to different things…

Im writing this post with pretty mixed emotions, but overall its for the greater good.

I quit my job today. My last day is a little less than 4 weeks from now. While things are really hectic, I was offered a great job with the local county government being a developer on a pretty cool team. While I can’t go into detail with what I will be doing, Ill be writing software, and specializing in .net, and beginning professional work with .net 3.5,  and really exploring the powers behind WCF, WPF, LINQ, and more!

I’m ready to settle down a bit, do something new, and also give even more back to the region I have grown up in. Unfortunatly in the move, I end up leaving a company I loved to work for, a possition that I loved, and great people I have grown great friendships with.

I wont be moving any time soon, so thats another big benifit. Plus I also will be working less than 2 miles from home, and could pretty much walk to work if I watned. Im also going to have a LOT less stress, since I won’t be managing a team anymore, nor have to work on hardware, etc. Ill be able to just focus on my code :). This focus is something I have wanted for a while as I grow my carrer as a developer.

Im sure things are going to change over time. Since I will have more time, I plan on getting a lot more work done on our house. I also may even be still contributing code to my old job when needed. Finally, I am hoping to move back to a ‘real’ hosting environment, and start building out some of the ideas I have been having!

Listening To: ‘Time To Burn’ by The Rasmus.