Saturday, May 19, 2007

Our kids.

We have two children: a 20 month old girl, and a 4.5 yr. old boy. They're both wonderful!

So far, our son is a quiet-type, and generally shy. He has a few really good friends, rather than lots of acquaintances. He loves to bike (he has a bike with training wheels, and a tag-a-long bike that mounts to an adult bike), play soccer, eat chocolate, go fishing, catch bugs, pick flowers, and talk to people he knows well (such as us). Boy oh boy does he love to talk. His vocabulary is in the hundreds I would guess.

So far, our daughter is an outspoken-type, and generally doesn't slow down for anyone or anything. She doesn't really have "friends" yet, but gets along well with others her age. She has a great laugh. She loves to "read" books (alone or with others). She likes giving kisses. She loves riding her tri-cycle, being mischievous, and always has an agenda. I'd say her vocabulary is a couple of dozen words or so.

We are so blessed to have such great children. Their hearts are filled with joy and love. They love eachother so much, and there is no greater joy in life than watching them play with one another, and help eachother out throughout the day. Big brother loves showing little sister the ropes and how to do things.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Excessive obsession: music.

While sitting down to do some work, I fired up iTunes and dug up some music. I noticed the play count for a particular song I wanted to listen to; it was really high (in the hundreds). Seeing this reminded me of other play counts for other songs I hammer on. It also reminded me of a conversation that my wife and I have from time to time. Every now and then she points out how my music listening can be rather excessive, both in terms of just raw listening time, as well as obsession around particular songs.

As with many people, music is part of me. It motivates me, drives me, influences me, makes me happy, sad, angry, ecstatic, etc. I'm not sure what I would do without it; can humans exist without music? You get my point.

Anyway, why don't I get sick of certain songs? There are songs I have listened to literally thousands of times, and often hundreds of times in a row ("repeat one") for hours on end.

I'll never stop loving and listening to some songs, but I do wonder sometimes what that says about me.

I'm currently saturating, and blowing my mind with Heartbeats by José Gonzáles.

I'm also reminded of a question I asked my mom as a child. I vividly remember the scene. We were driving out of our neighborhood, turning left on 75th St. Something was playing on the radio and I asked "mom, when does the music run out?" Obviously she didn't get the question initially so she inquired about what I meant. "When are all the songs invented, and there are no more?" She tried to explain that music doesn't bottom out that way. I spent the afternoon churning on the question I'd asked. While eventually nature/science could exhaust all sound wave combinations, you can always change the duration of the combos which essentially gives you an infinitely variable set of music.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Me.dium; it's a startup life.

Why did I leave my phat Technical Advisor job at AOL six months ago to join Me.dium? I took a 60% pay cut and doubled my hours in the process. I'm stressed to a degree I didn't know existed, and my general physical health has taken a nose dive (I can now catch a cold faster than you can sneeze).

I left my previous cushy job for a variety of reasons. I'm relatively young in my career, and several months ago I realized I didn't want to go through life exclusively in an advisory capacity from large company to large company. There is more to life. I'm also in love with my hometown, Boulder, CO, and I was spending way too much time on airplanes traveling around the world on business; multiple years as a United Airlines 1K member is a bad thing, not a good thing. I needed to establish some "local currency" as I call it. Boulder's a technical town with lots of great companies and smart people, but few of them were aware I existed in my previous telecommuting capacity; I was a ghost in my own town, and that needed to change. I needed to broaden my horizon and seek out new challenges, both personal and professional.

My first response to all of the above was to start a local AOL technology office to get control of my own destiny. In the process of setting it up, my sponsor (then AOL CTO Maureen Govern) was fired, and I had to slam the brakes on the whole thing. I had offer letters out to prospective team members, and got a hold of one of them just hours before he was putting in his resignation at his current employer, to tell him if he signed, he'd be signing into treacherous waters. I wasn't about to pull people out of their current, stable, work environments into the severely unstable situation at AOL. I gave AOL a couple of months to stabilize and it didn't. At that point I started hunting around for something that would change the world, and satisfy my needs in the process. Me.dium emerged, and I locked on.

I'm Me.dium's Director of Product, and I've done more in the last six months than I could have ever imagined. I've grown my threshold for pain several fold. I've re-learned how to work in an office environment (I had been telecommuting for 7 years); never thought that would have been an issue, geeze! I've also gained priceless experience in juggling several product lines in an incredibly fast moving environment, while being immersed in an Agile development shop.

I used to view the world almost exclusively through technical eyes. I liked to believe I was measuring and blending business priorities along the way, but I had no idea! Me.dium has shown me how rapidly priorities can change, and how to adjust quickly.

While bottomless budgets in large companies have their own appeal, it's too easy to get lazy. The pressure of financing, combined with marketplace forces that can crush you like a bug if you're not nimble and paying attention, has given me a lifetime of experience in just six months; again, priceless.

While working as hard as we are certainly rears its ugly head in the home-life now and then, I've been amazed at how useful a lot of what I'm learning about myself at work, has been at home. I'm much more accepting of curve-balls at home now than I ever have been.

I've learned more about who I am in the past six months than I had in the previous six years.

No pain, no gain.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Blending technology and marketing.

At a Me.dium company all-hands meeting the other day we talked about the necessity of having marketing expertise as well as technical expertise in order to get the job done. I've long believed all you need is good technology in order to succeed. While I still believe that you can "build it and they will come," regardless of marketing effectiveness, I've seen the light that can shine from solid, calculated, marketing/branding campaigns. When you plot out your look & feel (from color palette, to logo, to overall design) as well as your availability strategy, you can have tremendous impact on the marketplace.

I'm also re-evaluating my perspective on whether or not it's technology's fault, or design's fault when a user doesn't understand the value in a product. I'm the type of consumer/user that will jump over lots of hurdles and bad UI in order to leverage the power of a product or utility; if the value's there, I'll dig for it. However, most user's aren't like me, rather, they need to be led to the value via effective UI design. The value in Me.dium is phenomenal; we just need to ensure we get the technology & design right. Lot's to do.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Getting old

Came across the 1995 movie "Clueless" tonight. I remember when I could relate to the movie back in the mid-90's. Watching it now, I realize how old I've gotten :-). Fun movie, but kegger parties and cliques don't make sense to me anymore.