Startups and our economy - what are YOU going to do about it?

A couple months ago (right after I made a big move) I started hearing thing about the financial crisis and banks going under. Talking with my friend who travels a lot, I came to hear that when America sneezes, the rest of the world gets a cold. Another friend of mine introduced me to a film called "Zeitgeist". With the uncertainty of living in a new area, trying to gain respect at a new job, and making new friends, I started worrying. Actually worrying is an understatement, but I'll not be dramatic.

However, after hearing about Lullabot's new venture, and especially Ed Sussman's blog post, "Why Start (Up) Now?" I gained a little hope. Then I got a twitter from Kevin Rose today where he talked about Paul Graham's post, "Why to Start a Startup in a Bad Economy". I must say that I'm feeling better. Again an understatement, but dramatics really aren't my thing.

The thought of having a startup has always appealed to me. I even have friends who have done them. And though I've always played it safe by working for corporations, I've always wanted to have my own business, startup or consulting, to call my own. It's looking more and more like now is the time to get my nose to the grindstone. I'm not planning on quitting my job anytime soon, but now is the time to invest.

Dave and I have been in the middle of revitalizing DrupaLMAO (here's a quick sneak peak) to incorporate the Drupal community into our show by getting feedback from them in the form of voting upon the content on the site (via the Drupal Planet). Hopefully this will help get the community's involvement in the show as we'll talk about the things that the readers care about. We're coming out with a new episode any day now, it's taped, waiting on our editor ;) and while we wait, we're redesigning, rethinking and migrating to Drupal 6 (WIN!). Though this may not be startup material, it is nonetheless paramount to have a presence in the community... and it's just damn good fun!

Another project I'm soon to have underway, came about from the fact that I get contacted by recruiters on a weekly basis looking for Drupal talent. Drupal hackers are in VERY HIGH DEMAND and there are many corporations out there now who are willing to pay top dollar for some of the best Drupal talent. While I may not be up there on the "high talent scale", I keep a good relationship with these recruiters by offering advice on where to find Drupal talent, and how to go about it. They're quite often taken by surprise at the amount of resources that are actually out there to help them find who or what they're looking for, and some are a little discouraged by the advice I give. Especially when I tell them that they may be better off hiring one good Drupal developer who can teach a team of PHP developers how to use Drupal. Sounds like a good consulting strategy too ;) So after talking with endless recruiters, and regurgitating the same advice time and again, I'm convinced that there is a huge need to connect employers, recruiters and Drupal talent. There are no real good solutions out there that have the community backing them so in the next few weeks I'll be on irc looking for ways to get this going. I've got a good idea in the front of my mind (rather then the back) but I want to build something that is going to have the community behind it and hopefully get d.o involved, not just another lame job board.

So if you're out there looking down, thinking the end is neigh... think again. Read the posts mentioned above, and be inspired.

... read on

Californication

Drupal, you've done it again... become the vector of change in my life by presenting me with opportunities that are seemingly too good to be true. Last year it was New York and Sony BMG. This year it's San Francisco and a start-up called ParentsClick Network. Just when I thought things couldn't get any better and that maybe I've hit the height of reaching my dreams in life, another one comes within my grasp, and giving in to my free spirit, I jump at the chance to make a dream a reality.

Ted Serbinski is a guy whose progress I've followed since that first Lullabot class in Rhode island, less than two years ago (1/15/07) when the world of Drupal really opened up to me. He was a Lullabot at the time, teaching theming and some jQuery. He left Lullabot later that year to start a journey into entrepreneurship (and MothersClick) that has started to pan out nicely. I've great respect for his coding skills and believe in his business sense. So when he approached me about a job working with him in San Francisco, a place I've always wanted to live, I was very excited.

After a week of vacation, taking time to think about my priorities while spending time with family and friends in PA, and then meeting with Ted's business partner, Dietrich von Behren who is the Co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer of MothersClick, I felt confident enough to make the jump and reach for a star on the other side of the country.

My last day at Sony BMG is August 7th, 2008. I'll be heading back to PA to spend some more time with my family and friends and then back to Jersey to take care of getting rid of as much of my worldly possessions as possible. Then the week of the 18th Dave and I will be taking a cross country trip to San Francisco along RT 80. We're still looking for good places to stop along the way, so if you have any suggestions that would be wonderful! I'm also still looking for a temporary place to crash in San Fran while I get the lay of the land and figure out where it makes sense to park myself for a year (read: sign a lease).

All in all, I'm very optimistic and I really feel this is the right move. Not only because I can live one of my dreams, but also to learn about starting a business, and everything that entails. Not to mention becoming a better programmer under the tutelage of a master! Wish me luck!

... read on


What is right?

There's an ideal of late that I've seen repeated within literature and movies that intrigues me. It is that of the men and women who have ideals. Ideals that they do whatever it takes to uphold. I find this a respectable character trait that I find myself wanting to mimic. To uphold.

When you see wrong being done what do you do?

When you see something happening that you do not agree with, what do you do?

When there are ideals being upheld by the populace that you do not agree with, not becuase you are bias or jaded or just plain sick of, but because you KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are absolutely wrong, what do you do?

Some choose to do more, some choose to hide, some choose to reason that they're not the one who can do anything about those things that hide in the dark of the mind and pervert the perception of those that would stand for what is right. But YOU know what is RIGHT. You KNOW what is WRONG. And even though you doubt yourself and how you feel about the subject of the matter, you KNOW in that inner most place that is untainted, unforgettable, unmoving... you KNOW.

So do something about it! And the world will recognize as well, because they know as well, even though they may ignore it, even though they may reason it away... they know. And will support you if you are the one who champions the cause of WHAT IS RIGHT!

... read on

A much needed vacation

This weekend I'm leaving for PA for a week long vacation of nature, family and friends. Saturday I hope to be going to the Lycoming County Fair, Sunday going to see Wall-E with a friend. I'll also be using my spare time over the weekend to get everything ready for a three day backpacking trip through the mountains where I grew up. I've not been out there by myself in years and I really want to just take my time hiking through the mountains around Rose Valley Lake where I grew up.

When I return from that, I'll be heading out to the family cabin in Belleville where a family reunion is taking place, full of family on my mother's side. Great Aunts and Uncles and hopefully time enough to talk with them all to glean what wisdom I may from them. I've come to think that you have to know where you come from in order to figure out where to go next in life. And that's the big question I ask myself every so often, so hopefully some time alone, and then with family and friends will help me figure that one out.

Next weekend I'll be home at my mother's then, visiting with her, my brothers and my father's parents who will be visiting. I think we're planning on going to Ricket's Glen where there is some nice camping, a good place to hike some waterfalls, and a beach on the lake for swimming.

... read on