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!