Sunday, November 22, 2009

Want to Start a Toaster Company?

I've always wanted to start a toaster company. We'd make toasters that cook toast (and bagels, too!) and they'd be the best on the market. Pretty much every other company making toasters would copy us as best as possible within the limitations of the U.S. Patent system. Just imagine making money hand over fist selling $20 toasters. Hell, we could make like Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn and go crashing weddings, selling our super-toasters.

You: Why toasters, Dave? That seems to be a pretty weird market to want to get in to. Me: Because I don't know anything about toasters.

That's right: I want to start a toaster company because I don't have the slightest clue about the toaster market.

But let's look at this idea with my glasses on. The toaster market's only innovation in my lifetime is making the slot larger so that bagels can go in there too. There's got to be something I can do that pushes the market a little harder. The idea ends up being to take my knowledge and experiences from one unrelated industry and putting it together with another that hasn't had much real change in quite a while. Add in there that toasters are in every single home in America and they aren't really durable goods (like a fridge or dryer). It could even be considered a seasonal product during the spring and summer wedding seasons. Looks like there could be a few new angles to approach on the marketing side too...

There's obviously great value in using people that already have specific domain knowledge for your industry. The process of getting up to speed on the toaster market would take time and energy. Learning who the players are in the electric coil supply industry take time and energy. When starting a business, it's much easier to hire those specialized people and get to market faster. Plus, I don't want someone coming in to my office that used to assemble toasters telling me that my web services I spent week developing and testing sucks because it's old fashioned and can't cook bagels.

You: Let's crash some weddings! Yeehaw!

The toaster company is just an analogy and I'm not planning on going that route in business, so don't get too excited about crashing the weddings and writing it off as 'business expenses'. It's more of an idea of finding new, (seemingly) unrelated knowledge sources and applying them to what you're doing day in, day out.

Having an open mind and actively seeking for innovation are critical to long term success in any industry. Applying principles and ideas from outside sources is a great way to refresh your mind and vigor when ideas are stale.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Example or Exception?

One of the things in life I want to be is The Man. We've covered that in a previous post, if you've been paying attention. But being The Man comes with some serious implications. For one, you've got everyone else paying attention to your every move because they're jealous. There could be many reasons for their jealousy, but the main one is probably jealousy because you're better than they are at everything they wish they could do with their lives. I say that with a little smile, but its true on some level.

The choice you reach when becoming The Man is to be the Example or the Exception.

The Example version is the guy who shows up to work early, extends himself out to peers (maybe too much sometimes), and leaves late. He got to where he is by working hard and not skipping a beat. He's busy focusing on the hard problems to help make everyone's job easier. You can't help but be envious of how much this guy fits in to a day.

The Exception is the guy who shows up to work.....unless its going to get in the way of his Yoga class. Or unless its Friday. Or unless Hopjack's ends up with some really killer special for one day only. He got to where he is by working smart and not letting anyone get the best of him. He's busy focusing on finding the best person to solve the hard problems to make work happen quickly and efficiently. You can't help but be envious of how much amazingly awesome stuff this guy gets to do (because he's not at work since he picked the right guy to get the job finished ahead of schedule).

Which The Man is better? Both have their upsides and downsides. Is there a compromise between them? If you had to pick one as your boss, which would you rather have? If you had to pick which one you'll become, which would you rather be?

I can't help but keep that damn The Who song playing in my head now. Thanks, Dave.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Power of No

How important is the word 'no'? Could it possibly be the most influential word ever conceived?

It means the same thing in different languages. Hell, I can say it in English and I'd bet good money that no matter what language you speak, you'd know exactly what I said. Now, what I'm saying no to would be a different thing...unless you just touched my bacon. You'd know that you should never touch my bacon again regardless of the words that came out of my mouth.

The 'no' I'm talking about is the one that keeps you from over-extending yourself. There's only so much one person can do and only so many hours in which to do those things. Growing up, I figured that it was nice to help out, to say yes to helping. Nice people get far, so I should say yes. Yes, yes, yes. All that made me was someone who's time wasn't ever valued. I was asked to help out or do something because they knew that I would do it. It was like I didn't even have a choice in the decision. My time was for them and all they had to do was ask.

Now, that's all good and well, but I found a better way to handle those situations: only say 'yes' when I really want to do it AND its something that they couldn't do themselves. I feel as if it has given me a little more time to do things that I want to do (like having time to write). It has helped those that "needed my help" a chance to learn something on their own and find a new skill. Then, when they get done learning and I get done doing with what I actually wanted to do with my day, it's time for a beer and more learning and good discussion.

Think about how many things you could say no to a year and the time you gain by doing so.

If you could say no to three things a year, do you think it'd be better in the long run for your stability? Would it allow you the time to pursue on more goal that's in the back of your head?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


So....about that whole 'writing every day' thing....

I know I have a huge viewing audience of 20 (when I force my friends to look at this), but I let down on a few of the things I wanted to do at the time I wrote my last few posts.

Let's review:

I wanted to be 'the man'. Guess what? I'm working on it still. I don't think it's something that just happens one day and that's a good thing. I feel like the past six months back as an FTE have been pretty solid. We've taken leaps and bounds in getting our clients taken care of and I'd like to think that I help to push that along. I've done some pretty cool projects with the big car companies and done them on time. We're pushing towards releasing a new version of one of our main products; hopefully releasing some time in February. Still haven't really gotten the down time to push new processes, but that's on its way. I've done some prelim leg work around getting better source control. Unfortunately, for anyone who works in FoxPro, you probably know it's going to be a tough battle. The options just aren't there for the VFP folks (unless you like SourceSafe). I'll be sure to update everyone on how it's going.

As for finishing more stuff: it's a work-in-progress. I've got a few projects on the burners (as always) but these MUST come to fruition. I have no other option but to make more money. But, this is almost by design on my part. I've moved from the Island back into town and rented out a pretty amazing historic home in Downtown Mobile. However, it happens to be more than I really wanted to spend per month on living. If it weren't so damned beautiful and such a great location, then I wouldn't have budged on the budget. But it is, so I did. Come stop by and be in awe.

Right now, I'm working on a Blackberry app that is in the hunting niche. Yes, you read that correctly. Hunting on the Blackberry. It's not a game; it's going to help bring new technology to an old world necessity. Quite a romantic feel to it, don't you think?

I'm also trying out the Internet marketing. I've spent years on different forms of social media. I'd have to say it started with my obsession with gopher as a kid. Then we moved to AOL (because A/S/L may have been the coolest pickup line ever). And skip forward a decade and we have twitter/facebook/delicious/digg/blah/blah/blah. I'm going to take my background studies in psychology and learn some more about marketing, blend it with the technology and see what comes out. From the looks of things in the Internet, I could start making 10K a day! Wow! damn. How about 100 bucks a month? Yes??? Great!

I think that's all I need to write about tonite. There will be more soon. I missed you blog.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Fishing Logo

Here we go's what Nick "The Merchant of Fish Death" and I drew up as a logo. Let me know what you think!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Decisions are Hard

I am not technically employed by anyone. I help people with my skills and they give me money. I like this situation, but I'm afraid it has to change. I didn't put in the time to find more jobs just in case the other ones stopped needing my help and I'm behind now. So it looks like I'll be taking up my former position as a FTE. But I want things to change. I don't want to be just some guy working there; I want to be the man.

I can already foresee this is going to be a lesson in business and economics. I know there are things we could change and produce better code. However, I think that the bosses feel that change isn't needed and isn't going to be cost effective. But it isn't their fault; they just don't know how much is out there. So if they a) decide they need me full time and b) are willing to let me try to introduce some new ideas then life will be good. If anyone reads this at the office, I missed you guys. I want to do some pretty cool stuff that I've been learning and working on. I hope to share it with you!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Beginning of the Beginning

I have finally gotten settled down somewhat down in Mobile and ready to take on the world. Looks like I may be going back to full time employment at ACS doing FoxPro work in order to make me some fishing money. Unfortunately, that means I'll be commuting between Daupin Island and Mobile almost every day (around 35 minutes each way). The Good News is that I get to enjoy time working with all of my old friends. I still will be writing ItsTweetTime, still doing freelance (although not as actively looking for stuff), and still be blogging.

It feels very nice to have a milestone (completion of my degree) to start fresh. It isn't a total complete fresh start, but its close enough to work for now. The next plans are to start getting settled into the community of Mobile again. As many know, I am a member of the Jaycees and work on the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo. I plan on trying to get involved with some other groups involved with the downtown revitalization efforts and maybe starting up a Ruby / Rails group down here. Let me know if you've got any suggestions or offers to help start up a group!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Last Lecture

Today is the last day of my college classes. I woke up pretty excited, put on my amazingly pink plaid that has made me famous, and went on my merry way to class. As I write this, I'm just thinking about how many "lasts" I'm having today. Last time to eat Chick-fil-a in the new student union (new Foy). Last time to check out all the amazing college women that the South produces. Last time to watch someone run across the Concourse naked. Good thing its the last day for that one. (Side note: he should've tried wearing more clothes and some socks in the jock).

Today is also the first day of my new life. This is the life I've wanted and wished for. New beginnings are always refreshing to me. Its like January 1st for the rest of my adult life. So with that said, I figure I should attempt at some resolutions.

1) Finish more stuff.
College took me a while to finish. I took some time off to try to fix Softec and make it work and then ended up taking a great job with ACS. However, it took me longer than it should have and I wish I had taken it a tad more seriously in my beginning years. I don't regret any of the things I did, though. I think my experiences were amazing and one of a kind. It's just time to finish out some of these ideas I've had brewing for years.

2) Be smarter than you.
I'm rather competitive. I like to be better than everyone else. Knowing more about what I'm doing can only help me, so that will be my second goal. I'm going to branch outside of my normal teachings (mainly programming / computer science and philosophy). I'm thinking about trying to find a job completely outside of my comfort zone in hopes to get some more perspectives. Programmers seem to fall into the trap of only understanding how to program. I don't want to be like that.

3) Write more.
Until this past semester, I had never written an essay worth of an A. My thoughts seem to skip over many details that are important in essays. I understand what I'm writing, but the teacher doesn't. Since starting to write publicly (this blog), I feel like I've improved tenfold. I'm going to start with a small goal of writing 100 words a day and getting them online. I don't aim to make money or provide a true focus for this blog, so they'll go here. The blog will be turning into a blog about my life. You may find it interesting or you may not. Let me know what you like and I'll try to keep your suggestions in mind.

I'll go on and stop at three things to work on. They're pretty heavy duty and broad and I don't want to overload myself. I tend to over do things and burn out (read: not finish). This is the first step towards resolution #1. Pat on the back for Dave.

The future is pretty scary as of today, but good things will happen. I'll be moving down to Daupin Island, AL which is a great town. There's only a few hundred people that live there full time and I'm excited about meeting at least half of them. I don't have a full time job as of today and that's OK. I'll be there for two months and moving again come August. I'm just looking to support myself and my vices until then while I develop my ideas and try to get ItsTweetTime up and running. Hell, if it runs at a profit by the end of July, I may just stay at the Island.

I also want to thank everyone who's been reading the blog and coming up to me and saying something about it. It's been a huge step for me to write publicly and to know you're getting at least something from it has been a motivator in my life. You're all awesome and hopefully you keep reading.

And to Auburn, the source of many good times and even more great people, War Damn Eagle. We were meant to be (WDET and WDE? Perfect Match!) I'll be seeing you in the fall for a few games where the boys play the foosball.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Non-Free Beta?

Yes, the blog is full of stuff about ItsTweetTime and the ideas recently. Well, there's no blog for ITT yet so for now the ideas go here. This is something I'd like to try out and get some ideas about, so feedback is important from you, my hopeful Paying Beta Customer.

There's two phases and two sections of ITT. The two sections are free and paid; the phases within the paid section are not-free-but-cheap and not-free-but-worth-every-penny.

The problem: I want good, solid feedback from interested users to help develop the product from beta stage to incredibly useful stage.

While the beta is in progress, the price of becoming a beta tester will be $20 bucks. So, you may be thinking....Why would I pay for a beta product that isn't fully functional and still evolving? Because by being a paid beta tester, you won't ever have to pay a monthly fee for the paid-for version! It's a chance to get in early and cheap and help influence the direction that ITT will be heading. The other option is to wait until it gets released as a functional product and pay $X per month (which is TBD).

I think this will help both of us out. I get a little money to cover server costs and you get an incredibly cheap barrier to entry on the ground level to make the product better for you. I'll only be accepting a limited number of beta testers that way I can actually keep up with all the great ideas everyone has. If you really just feel that your $20 bucks to be a tester isn't worth it, I'll refund your money while the product is still in beta but you'll have to join up like everyone else later on if you decide that the mature product is something you're interested in.

Of course, you can just try out the free version and see how you like it, too. It will be a very simplified single feature out of the premium stuff. It'll have some solid functionality, but nothing earth-shaking that you couldn't do on your own without some basic programming knowledge. It's meant to be a teaser to get you salivating to have the cool version and do cool things.

I don't know that this model is used elsewhere. I can't remember coming across it before, at least. Feedback would be great and if you think this is just a shit idea, let me know. You're my Paying Beta Customer and I'd like to make something great for you.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Its Tweet Time!

If you're following along on twitter or facebook, you may have noticed that I'm combining my Merb, Twitter, Ruport projects into one and developing ItsTweetTime! I'm pretty excited about doing something a little fun here and hopefully something that'll be very useful for everyone in the twitterverse. As time goes on, there will be a blog and some more information. I'm still fleshing out some details and ideas.

Because twitter's API is having heart attacks, I'll post the productive ITT moment of the day: the first version of the logo! Please let me know what you think on here, twitter, facebook, text, anything. I would love some feed back!

Update: This is version 1.2 now based on a few suggestions. How was I supposed to know that a drop shadow wasn't very Web2.0? Bah.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


So I decided I wanted to contribute to Ruby and the people that love to use it. It's no ninja-defeating roundhouse kick of code, but I sure enjoyed making it for everyone.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"The Most Egotistical Game"

Welcome to Programming. Here's your tools of the trade: computer, IDE, library of books and your blog. What does the blog have to do with creating software, you ask.....let's talk.

First off, the idea for this post came from a recent article at Ruby Inside "How to Get A Job at a Top Ruby Shop". I really enjoy the site and find many good articles there. After I read it, I had a feeling that people who are trying hard (but maybe not in all the "right" places it seems) are getting left out. Because I'm currently a student and a job is important to find for me, I decided to share my opinion. Twice even. Go read it.

Here's my take on what was said in the article: Programming, especially within the Ruby community, has become more than just writing good code. It has become a game of expanding your "sphere of public influence".

Is this really what is important? I obviously understand that communication skills are important because I'm playing the game right now writing on my blog, but is the time I'm spending developing these blog ideas, writing them, and publicizing them really worth it? What else could I be doing with my time that would be more beneficial towards my progress as a highly skilled developer than writing? More importantly, where do you find the time to do it?

To do something well and get a return out of it, you must spend solid amounts of time on it. For instance, this blog: for my writing to do any good, I've got to get it in front of the faces of other people. I've got to publish it on my Facebook status, make a few well-timed tweets about it, and find some places (like the Ruby Inside site) to publicize it. I spend on average 2 hours a day reading through tweets and blogs in hopes of learning something amazing and telling people about how amazing I am. On new post days, this time goes up significantly. We'll call it ten hours because math is easier to follow that way.

So, ten hours a week of my time is spent on social media. Let's say I charge $50 bucks an hour to do a website for someone and that is how much my time is worth doing anything "professional". Therefore, it costs me $500 bucks every week to try to get my name out there and voice listened to. Let's say that I've been doing this for 4 months steadily in preparation for graduation and impressing top shops with my communication skills. That means I've spent around $8,000 on blogging and tweeting. Can I really expect to get a return of $8,000?

Did you say you spend more than 10 hours a week on social media? Oh dear....break out the calculator....

I'm going to have to stop here for now and see if I can get some comments about this last part. This is what is really interesting to me to find out before I discuss more of my thoughts. I'm going to start tweeting this and finding relevant places to talk about it and see what kind of return I get.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Followup to the College Rant

Two things first: I don't like this feeling as if I've come off as a "complainer" and thanks for all of the comments (on here, through twitter and in real life).

In respect to the first point: people who complain and do nothing about their issues are worthless. You're complaining because you don't like something, so it is your duty to change it. Here's what I'm doing to correct my grievances:

1) Talking to the teachers involved and explaining my concerns.
This seems to be the most difficult thing to do in my position. I'm on the cusp of graduation. All I have to do is make it through 2 more months and I'm home free with this step in my education. If I manage to thoroughly piss off my professors, then I would be placing my graduation at risk. Of the classes I'm in currently, the grading is quite subjective, i.e. speeches and essays. Getting on the bad side of a professor could be a bad idea, depending on the moral characteristics the teacher has. I could either be appreciated for bringing up concerns or demoted to the ranks of asshole and create some sort of vendetta against myself. If the teacher proves to be morally weak, then the vendetta would almost possibly result in me receiving a failing or less than desired grade.

Looking from the side of the teacher, why would I listen to some 25 year old college dropout / drop-back-in? I don't know that I've proved my worth as an adviser, one capable of providing sound advice considering my past actions. This worries me greatly not only with respect to college, but with future employers. I don't hide anything and, in fact, I feel that I'm quite honest about my experiences, therefore I cannot give too much thought about it. I'd much rather enjoy working with people who are accepting of my qualities and look at what I can do today, not what I did yesterday anyways. Again this comes back to the moral characteristics of the teacher and the decision on how to handle my objections is solely in his or her hands.

2) Realizing that I'm learning something, even though it may not be how I want to do it.
This is the most important part I think. In my life, there's been a number of things that happened that I didn't want to happen. I'm talking about major life changing events, specifically the death of my parents and sizable lost monies from bad investments. Going through these rather heavy events has given me the courage to accept that not everything is good but, depending on your perception, it can be of great wealth. It is your perception of these curve-balls that helps define your resilience and moral resolution. My perception of this teachers gift of irritation is to understand not to do these things. If it's a presentation I'm giving, don't read off the slides. Use the medium to communicate your ideas in a different way that may appeal to others who don't like to listen to speakers. If it's being late, understand that when I'm late, I'm preventing other people from completing their tasks for the day. Chances are that the meeting between you and me not the most important event of your week. I am making notes of these things that I'm being irritated by in a notebook and thinking about when I did the same thing and how I can correct it.

Please consider this rebuttal to my own post as advice and a journal entry for future self reference. Try to make something positive out of everything, even if its already positive. It can only get better. The one word that seems to sum up what I'm thinking?


Monday, February 16, 2009

Rant on College

College is supposed to be about learning, no? A safe learning environment with professors that are meant to foster education. Then why do they waste our time? At what point are the professors supposed to truly reflect on their course plan? How may take the time to understand what they are capable of teaching effectively and thoroughly?

I don't even want to write this post. I don't wish to come off rude. But there must be some checks and balances somewhere, right? Consider this my check. Now give me my balance.

This semester compared to the last is almost night and day. I came back to school to finish my degree under the advisement of many friends and because I know my mother and father would wish me to have that piece of paper, that status object. I think they just wanted me to suffer the same things they went through so that we'd have more things to talk about in common.

So what's causing me so much grief? The University doesn't understand that my time is worth money (and I'm paying quite a bit to be here). Teachers waste time and my patience.

For instance, I have an English teacher who in the past month has (let me break out my list): skipped class without warning or apologies, failed to return or grade papers by a promised date that are neccessary for an upcoming assessment, pushed back agreed upon dates from the syllabus to cover her skipping class, not responded within a timely manner to two different emails I've sent her, and has no concept of time management. Let's also add that she reads aloud to college students. I'll get back to this one.

For instance, I have a CS teacher who: reads directly from slides, asks questions that are answered on the board (with a 15 second pause to prompt someone else to read from the slide), and teaches with less enthusiasm than a DMV worker at 4:30. Thank you, sir. I can read just fine. But thanks for helping out.

All is not bleak. I do have other teachers who are trying to teach. They're not the best teachers I've had and aren't inspirational in any way. However, they're not making me want to write blog postings about how poor their teaching abilities are.

I said we'd get back to the reading aloud thing, so here it is. If you assign something that should be read, then why are you going to read it to us again in class? Are we not capable of reading? I know it's a sophomore level class, but I think that you could give a passage page and line number and expect us to find that section. When you're not covering but half of the material you assigned because you're reading (unenthusiastically and without adding anything to the material) then at what point to you evaluate what you're doing? Clearly, she has worse time management skills than I do. Doesn't show up for class, doesn't return emails, doesn't teach all of the assigned readings to their fullest extent, and treats her students as if they were illiterate.

Don't even get me started on the curriculum for CS students. Too late. Long rant short: Pick what Computer Science is supposed to be. It's either a professional degree (i.e. producing programmers) or a theoretical degree (i.e. producing research and development). There isn't enough time to teach it all in an effective way. And that just wastes my time some more.

Why am I here? Does this piece of paper mean so much? Is it just a battle scar? I wish I had gone to a University where people wanted to teach. I sure would like to learn.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

TED (not Ted Turner)

The TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference is going on right now. If you don't know what this is, that's ok. Just go to the link and make sure you have a few weeks to sit down and have your mind exploded. Because I can't be there, I've decided to do something new to this blog: stream of consciousness notes. I've decided on David Carson's talk on Design, Discovery and Humor. This talk was given at TED 2003. Here's a link to David's bio for some background information on the speaker.

I really wish I could make a "Read more..." type thing so this isn't eating all my blog real estate.

(PS My dad's name is Ted Turner. I never owned the Braves however)

Here we go...

First off, I'm really excited to do something new. I hope people find this interesting and my musings a good addition to the talk.

Jokes are good. I like jokes to start out a talk. Shows a little humility, gets the audience comfortable.

Emotional response is the number one design element I believe. It's what makes an experience memorable. Isn't that what we're looking for when there's so much to remember already?

The End of Print? Oh how true it is. Newspapers are nearly gone. Why create with a 24-hour delay when you can do it in real-time? The incoming information is coming at real-time. Killer-app of newspapers? Saving clipings about you, your friends, or major events.

Physical communication is also important. The way you approach someone, even in random conversation, dictates the starting attitude of the other person.

"The Invention of Printing..." slide. I find this interesting because of these new mediums for communication like blogging or Twitter. Notice fame is in all caps. May need to come back to fame and why I'm doing this later....on to the video...

Preceding world? You only know what you've seen before. The way 99% of the world relates to things is how they perceive other things. It's almost impossiblle to think of something completely new without relating it to something else. Give it a shot.

NIN is a good band. Nobody knows who they are now days. Sad. Or Rush. Neil Peart is the best drummer ever.

Print to get to the web? Shouldn't we be using the cheap medium (web) to get the full effect of the expensive medium (print)?

I'm way too pale as it is. I didn't even realize there was a market for skin lightening cream.

I need those signs. Perfect for every bar in town.

Interesting that he admits (and is proud) of the lack of training. Designers / programmers seem to be especially proud of that. Saving those college dollars.

Quite a change. That kid looks like he just got to the halfway point on his PHD thesis.

Dingbat. A designer joke. Ha. Much better than finding those randoms FCKS in code.

If I were diet coke, I would've pulled my ad. Wait...take that back. Downy should've sued for placing their ad there.

Ha. This is a great idea. Glad I'm from the South, but that's pretty clever.

I need one of those keyboards. I bet it keeps alot of crumbs though. Dishwasher safe?

The importance of people? Is this really new? Why does it seem that people are just now realizing that there's other people that buy their product? Its some grand idea now to say "CUSTOMER SERVICE IS IMPORTANT". Give me a break. Even I could think of something better to say than that.

50% death chance, eh? I'd say I'm at a 10% risk on my job. But I take my Bayer to keep those heart attacks away.

Talk's over. Interesting, but not exactly what I had expected. David Graham is a smart guy, producing some good work. For tomorrow's SoC notes, I may prewatch some of it to make sure it gives me plenty of idea options.

Update to this: I didn't do another, but I am planning on it. In fact, I've watched some that I wish I would've done a SoC on. Maybe I'll pretend I didn't already watch it.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Economic Crisis? (Heads up...Ranting Ahead)

I'm not rich. I'm not really even well off. I am a programmer, but I'm also a novice in the grand scheme of things. I'm not out there charging $100 bucks an hour to make a Geocities websites hosting for 100% markup on the server costs circa 1999. Jobs don't just make their way into my inbox. Parents or friends? No money there. Just more credit cards (they'll help me out whenever I want it seems).

So, where's my economic crisis?

This could come off as naive and if you're hurting, I apologize. I'm only reflecting on what is happening in my little world. I'd like to have something written down that I can look back on. And then laugh. Everything will be alright. Life is good.

I'm eating. I'm playing. I'm buying "stuff". It has slowed down compared to other years, but it hasn't gone away. Are people having that much issues with living within their means? Did they not realize that this could happen? When places that cost $200k in Alabama are selling for $749k in California (see above picture), did you think that paying such an inflated price was worth it? Did you see true value in the house or just buying it because you thought you were going to get rich off of it? And some of these people are programmers! They can work from anywhere in the world. Yes, it's nice to live in the Valley I'm sure. But look at Atlanta and you can find just as amazing people doing amazing things. For the rest of everyone, there's jobs everywhere and fun people everywhere. Try living somewhere cheaper, getting more experience, then moving to the big city. You'll be well rounded, know more people, and be more stable. Seems to make sense to me.

Watch HGTV some time and look for "Property Virgins". These have got to be the pickiest people looking for everything with no cash in their pockets (although they do a good job at finding places, I'll give them that). They want stainless steel couches and 3,000 sq ft. overlooking the Earth. Give me a break. I yell at these people out loud when nobody else is with me. Splunk has no idea why I'm mad and thinks she did something wrong. Its awful.

Now we're spending billions and billions of dollars. Printing more money doesn't mean that we have more money, just more durable paper with faces on it. You can get a mortgage at outrageously low rates now. People used to be exited about 6.5% but now 5% is too much? We need to help the rates out some more?

On a political note (which I'll try not to do on here as much as possible), Obama is good and bad. Good because he'll try his hardest to do a great job and turn things around. Good because he's got the U.S. listening to him seriously. Good because he's very "transparent" with all of the Internet stuff he's doing. Bad because we'll be screwed once he's gone.

We'll continue to keep up these "helpful" policies and it will become a thorn in our sides (more New Deal programs anyone?). The government cannot control everything that people do. It's an overprotective mother. Guess what? Everyone cannot be OK.

Shit happens (even to amazing people like you).

All in all, life is good. This should teach some people hard earned knowledge on economics. Meanwhile, I'm going to start trying to make more money by working more and working harder. I hear it isn't easy finding a job out there right now, so I'm going to use my few months left in school (and student loans) to make something to call my own. I hope if you made it this far that if you're feeling tight around the wallet area, make some adjustments, go with the flow, and stay happy.

Don't overwork yourself. Don't stress out your partner. Happy cows make better milk.

Just remember that. It works for me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The N.O. Experiment Notes

The N.O. Experiment is overloading my mind. This is a great thing. I'm not quite sure which direction to take it, though. There's two (kind of three) ideas here.

One is to create a basic student creative learning studio. Different disciplines come together in one place to create things. I want to limit it to high tech type creativity (programmers, designers, digital arts, photographers) here at Auburn. Their responsibilities are to create things and make money doing it. My job is to provide a place to do that and have consistent jobs available. As a student, it's pretty hard to get your name out, find auxiliary people (a developer needs a photograph), find good jobs, actually get paid on them, and....oh yeah...go to class. It takes a special type of person to create at their house. I believe in a separation of concerns. When you enter your "creativity place", a certain feeling comes over you. If you work next to you sleep, you can't create that feeling. I want to teach classes for all of them so they can learn about each other's responsibilities and learn to work together. I want to help them find a "real job" after school is done. I take some money for doing this stuff, but they're making more money than they could alone, have better tools to use, and can work when they want/need to.

The second idea is to do a group of creatives working online as a showcase site. This goes back to the performing flea market. You rent a booth in a certain area, you have a stream of what you're working on feed to the site. I handle the promotion. Limit the people in each area (4 booths per area or so) and have interviews so you know the people are making some decent work. I think it would be a good place for diverse thinkers to go. A site with a little bit of everything interesting that has some quality. This is a much harder idea to accomplish in my eyes, but a much cooler project.

Third idea would be to mix them. I like this one today. Work together as a company, but list everyone as separate, independent thinkers that just happen to work together. Help the kids show off, get better, get online and get their name out there. A money-making support team for independent thinkers. Seems to sound like a hair studio when I say it like that.

Everyone needs their hair cut...

Please post if you like one of the ideas more than another. I'll also be looking for mentors (rather in Auburn area, but anywhere would be great) if I go with #1 or #3.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The N.O. Experiment

This past weekend I went and visited New Orleans. For those that haven't been (or haven't been back), I suggest you head down there. The energy is good there and things are on the up. I usually go there a half dozen times a year and this was by far the best experience I've had.

Watching the street performers is one of my favorite things to do in Nola. Down on Royal St., we ran into a group of five playing some creole / bluegrass / local music. They seemed to be dressed rather dirty, had lots of tattoos, and played worn out instruments. But something in the back of my head said they were educated students from Tulane looking to make a few bucks and have a good time. They knew there was a market there, so that's where they were. They were getting paid to work and practice at the same time. Painters do the same thing in Jackson Square. They have their booth set up, paint all day, answer questions, and hope someone purchases a painting.

Now this sounds like old news I know. People have been creating things and asking people to pay them for them for quite a while now. But New Orleans is different. Its a "performing flea market". The people around you are what make the difference. Everyone there has something special (although it may be awful).

My possible new project is going to be called the New Orleans Experiment. I'm going to try to develop a similar experience as walking down the French Quarter on a weekend afternoon. If I lived in New Orleans, I'd probably start programming down on the corner with a projector. Maybe do some digital picture manipulation. However, I am in Auburn and can't be there. I need some ideas for this. I'm going to start asking around the Interwebs to see what people have to say. Please leave some comments and let me know how we could translate the N.O. Experience to the web.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Most Amazing Speech I've Ever Watched

I hate to hype something like this, but please watch this video. It's the Last Lecture talk given by Randy Pausch. It's a little on the long side (1:16), but beyond amazing. Everyone can understand his ideas on life, but it is geared towards high tech people at some points in the talk (and shows off some cool VR stuff, too). Randy was voted top 100 most influential people of 2008 by Time. Randy's Last Lecture and his commencement speech have both just put themselves at the top of my list of things that hit home with me in a profound way.

Speaking of great talks, go to I'm always watching someone on there. Many great people saying great things. Usually around 20-60 minute talks.

I'll be doing a write up of some of the things that impacted me, but I cannot put them to words right this second. My emotions haven't calmed down enough in the past hour to do so.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What to Blog About /

When I think of writing, like many others I would assume, I find it hard to decide what is "good enough" to write about. Questions like what "what would my millions of readers find amazing enough to spend valuable time on reading" and "what would the 13 people who look at it find amusing and slightly informative on their lunch breaks".
I'm thinking that I might focus on re-blogging from other peoples ideas instead of coming up with my own. One of the great things about blogging is the breadth of information out there that doesn't get enough attention. I know this sounds like a little bit of the "easy way out" to putting my own ideas out there, but it makes sense. I'll still make an effort to come up with my own ideas (there's plenty of them) that would be good to read about, but I'd also like to share more opinions of other's opinions. Just a heads up for those in TV land.

In other personal news, I've registered yet another domain and this time it's As graduation approaches, I'd like to have some sort of online resume / portfolio for interested people. Right now it just forwards you to this blog, but there will be something up soon and I'll be sure to post about it.

So...what goes into making a good resume / portfolio? Details that make you different and expose your attitude. Something that gives viewers insight into how you perceive the happenings around you. Personality in hiring is my #1 quality to look for someone (if I were hiring someone). You must be able to get along with your team (or the other companies team in most cases).

You must be able to express yourself truthfully and confidently. By having a "good fit" personality, you can do that. By not having it, you can't.

Simple as that.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Information Overload?

The Internet.

It's probably my favorite thing I can think of. This more than my devout devotion to red meat even. There isn't anything that can't be found on there. Want to know how to cook the most perfect steak in the world? Want to know how to turn your Wiimote into a head tracking device? You can do it.

Seth Godin is a pretty mainstream blogger on ideas pertaining to business practices. He's made a name for himself in the marketing world with his Purple Cows. He just posted a recent article that said what I've been thinking recently.

You can do anything you want to a high level of execution because lack of information is not the problem any longer. It is the act of execution that is the barrier.

I'm currently working on three different projects right now, four if you count school. I work for a car dealership software company as my real job, a start-up out of Atlanta that is producing some cool stuff pertaining to realizing costs associated with programs in the enterprise business world, and my recruitment application for college Greek groups (fraternities and sororities). There is no excuse for not knowing anything within the domain of any of these projects because the information is out there. It's up to me to make the time to realize the potential and execute to the best of my ability.

Excuses are the bottleneck. Not time. Everyone has unrealized time to study these things. My latest excuse? The Internet has too much information and I want to know too much. I can't get to the meat of things because I keep reading. It seems (so far) to be a pretty bad situation because it's circular. I must find information to do something, but there's always more information to read.

Hopefully, I'll find a way around it sometime soon. I'm trying a few things, mainly using iCal to keep me on track. Eating breakfast so I have the energy to pursue all of these projects.

What's your latest excuse and how do you plan on fixing it? Perfect time for a New Year's resolution!