Posted

This is my Now page and here’s what’s up for me these days (as posted on 07/01/2020)

There are seasonal trends…and then there’s 2020.
There are typical years…and then there’s this one.
All bets are off and everything is on the table now.

I’m making some big, systemic changes this month. I think it’s a good thing!

So I’ve taken a job — like a full-time, employee, real jobby job — for the first time in over 20 years. I wrote about the reasons for taking this opportunity here. I’m excited to start my ideal new role as “Learning Technology & Analytics Manager” for ConvaTec next week!

ConvaTec? Yeah, I’d never heard of them either :)

“ConvaTec is a global medical products and technologies company focused on therapies for the management of chronic conditions, with leading market positions in advanced wound care, ostomy care, continence and critical care, and infusion devices. ConvaTec’s products provide a range of clinical and economic benefits including infection prevention, protection of at-risk skin, improved patient outcomes and reduced total cost of care. ConvaTec has 9,400 employees and does business in more than 100 countries.”

Not too shabby, eh? Though I only worked about a year in the medical field prior to this, it’s actually right up my alley for a number of reasons. It’s a fundamental shift for me in my relationship to work. And to be honest, it really feels like time for that.

As for the other stuff I was doing?
  • Producing virtual events & trainings are out
  • Technical writing is done (well, last deliverables going out this week, then done)
  • Coding is being outsourced, thank goodness
  • Music lessons have gone silent
  • Even providing coaching is something I’m letting go now, for the first time in forever…

I am still the Director of Marketing for Energy Utility Group, an energy broker providing commercial-style pricing of solar & green energy for residential customers in Texas. This month we go live to a critical new market segment that I was brought on to develop, and after that I think a few hours a week of testing & iteration can keep that rolling while the residuals steadily trickle in.

I’m still wrestling with what to do with my business of nearly 15 years, Snap Synapse LLC. As I wrote about recently, it might make sense to close it up. I am still tapped occasionally to provide high-level strategy and direct non-competitive companies to appropriate learning & marketing solutions though. So I’ll likely just put it into “Sleep Mode” for the foreseeable future but not close out completely. I dunno, I haven’t talked to my lawyer or accountant yet. I will do that soon and should have all this stuff figured out by this time next month.

And as for musical performances? Well, as you may have noticed, they don’t really exist these days. When the pandemic hit, I thought I’d start livestreaming concerts and stuff because I do know how. But what I ended up doing was helping other musician friends get themselves setup for this, and then stepping back. I am fortunate enough to have other skills and avenues for money to find its way to me. Most of my performer friends do not. So I’ll leave the performing to them and not crowd the market any more than it already is. I am still making music, but only at home for the pleasure of it.

One of the biggest struggles for me now is to leave space. I’m so accustomed to filling in all the gaps with new enterprises and projects that I have to keep reminding myself that this is a unique opportunity to do things differently, and to find a new balance that serves me and my loved ones better.

So I’m focused on habits & roles instead of outcomes & projects. Things like:
  • writing at least 10min daily, it doesn’t matter what
  • walking around the lake near where I live every day (about 2 miles)
  • getting up early (my new job will be on East Coast time, which means I’ll probably need to be at work by 7am my time)
  • being explicit about ON vs OFF time with work and with screens of all types
  • promptly replying to people who reach out to me

This last one is something that I’ve never been very consistent at, mostly because there’s never been any consistency in my life or schedule. Now there is, and I’m building in time for you. Feel free to reach out and put this to the test!

By the way, how are YOU doing these days? I’d love to know. Hit me up or leave a comment below. Wishing you all the best for this new quarter and new month of July!

Author
Categories ,

Posted

This is my Now page and here’s what’s up for me these days (as posted on 06/01/2020).

The pandemic mentality seems to have lightened up of late, and I’m getting inundated by work. Due to my own personal financial panic, I’ve stopped being picky and ended up saying “yes” to far too many things. All totally unrelated. Here’s most of what I’m working towards in June:

  1. Virtual Producer I’m producing online conferences, trainings, meetings, and other events for a few folks, including training industry goto’s like Virtual Learning Collaborative and the legendary Bob Pike. It mostly means I’m doing things getting up at 4am and providing many hours of user support to people who still can’t seem to figure out how a mute button works.
  2. Technical Writer I think that’s what this is called, but I’m actually not really sure. I’ve been hired by an innovative company called Runbuggy to produce their customer-facing knowledgebase. They’re kinda like an Uber for cars. They have an app/website that connects people who buy cars with the people who sell them and the transporters in-between. Pretty cool stuff, but not everybody gets it right away. I’m helping to change that by creating the self-serve support documentation this month.
  3. Coder This is something I thought I’d never really return to, but here I am. As part of my role as Marketing Director for Energy Utility Group (an energy broker startup in Austin), I ended up migrating their website then building out the infrastructure to support new opportunities for them to sell green power with commercial pricing into the residential market. I’m still deep in APIs, JSON files, Javascript, and way more server administration concerns and power utility politics than I want to be.
  4. Consultant/Blogger for Cox eLearning Consultants, providing marketing content & strategy to learning & edtech companies. I’m writing blog posts, providing marketing strategy, and advising an LMS companies.

What’s not getting done from last month and really can’t wait any longer is taxes & finances. Also other clients that I need to follow up with for their music lessons, coaching sessions, marketing copy, YouTube strategy, small-business networking infrastructure, and other other disparate and different projects.

It’s a lot. After getting up early and staying up late day after day after day without a break, it feels like a lot too. Hopefully sometime soon I’ll be able to pull back on the choke and power through on a few things until they’re fully done. Right now that feels like a long ways off…

How are YOU doing these days? I’d love to know. Hit me up or leave a comment below.

Author
Categories

Posted

This is my Now page and here’s what’s up for me these days (as posted on 05/04/2020).

I’m grateful to say that I’m doing fine through the continued pandemic. Yes, I had a scare in March, but I’ve been out of self-quarantine since then. All indications are that I was not sick from Coronavirus, though I will get the serology test as soon as it becomes available in my area, and I don’t regret playing it extra safe. My popular blog posts here and here describe my direct experiences in March.

More recently, the last of my grandparents died from COVID-19. My 92-year-old grandmother Mary Jane Garcia never did get a respirator. The shortages are undeniably real, folks.

I continue to go out once a week, mask and all, to gather supplies and run errands for my immuno-compromised partner and her 84-year-old mother. Other than that, I don’t go anywhere. But that’s actually alright, because I live in a beautiful place where Spring is springing, the birds are chirping, the garden is growing, and life is actually very good.

So I alternate between being outside and being behind a computer. It’s generally more computer time than I prefer, especially since they keep breaking on me (again!). Here’s what I’m working towards in May:

  1. Hosting online conferences & events I’ve been producing sessions for training industry legend Bob Pike, with several more trainings and webinars coming up soon. This weekend I’m helping produce The Alchemy Lab conference, as well as moderating a panel on podcasting and delivering a session on video production. And next week I’ll be deep in delivering the STC Summit conference. More on the horizon after that! In between, I’m helping musician/teacher/author friends make their tech work better for online delivery. I’ve got a ton of experience livestreaming, leading webinars, and teaching online. I never thought it would be the main thing I do, but I guess this is the main thing I’m doing in May. How ‘bout that now?
  2. Marketing & Coding for Energy Utility Group an energy broker startup in Austin. My title is Marketing Director, but I’ve been banging my head against some code for over a week now. So I’m hoping it will give way soon so I can get back to the marketing part of Marketing.
  3. Writing/Consulting for Cox eLearning Consultants, providing marketing content & strategy to learning & edtech companies. I’m writing blog posts, providing marketing strategy, and advising an LMS company on structural gamification.
  4. Reworking my network because my Razer Blade 15 melted last week. After frantically rebuilding and recovering data, I’m back to a 2011 MacBook Pro for the moment, which I’ve suped up with a new SSD and 16MB of memory. As I wrote about recently, I’m rethinking everything now, and will likely be building my own desktop PC soon. I did just get my NAS up finally, happily running TrueNAS (formerly FreeNAS) with Plex, Nextcloud, and BackupMyPC plugins — just not very well yet. And I’ve failed to keep my Ironic Chromebook running my Pi-hole reliably, so my Raspberry Pi is still doing that for the moment. I hope to get all this straightened out this month sometime!
  5. Taxes & Finances are still looming from 2019. I really needed that extension, but I also really want to get all that cleaned up to current by the end of the month. Like many of us, I’m living on borrowed money now. In times like this it is critical to keep on top of the money flow. I have some work to do here, pronto.

Hopefully I’ll get to do some fun stuff this month too, like maybe venturing up the canyon and camping out while looking for my long lost drone. Or making some more new music.

How are YOU doing these days? I’d love to know. Hit me up or leave a comment below.

Author
Categories

Posted

This is my Now page and here’s what’s up for me in this, uh…perfectly normal month of April 2020 (as posted on 04/06/2020).

First off, yes I’m alright :) I’m happy to say that I’m out of quarantine for a few weeks now. Turns out I did not have anything newsworthy, just a very poorly timed but non-pandemic seasonal flu. I was in self-quarantine because there were no tests available at the time and I wanted to play it safe on behalf of my more vulnerable loved ones. My popular blog posts here and here describe my exciting adventures in containment.

I live in a beautiful place between a state park and a national forest in the middle of Utah that’s pretty isolated. Basically the kind of place that everyone else wishes they were right now. We are way more prepared than most, and will be just fine distancing ourselves here indefinitely.

What am I doing from here? Trying to make ends meet. Here’s what I’m focused on this month:

  1. Director of Marketing for Energy Utility Group an energy broker startup in Austin. This month I’m migrating their website to a new platform and launching an exciting new business channel.
  2. Content Developer & Strategist for Lance Allred, TEDx star & author (also the first deaf player in NBA history). This month I’m creating & launching his new courses and webinars and website enhancements to accompany his newest book The New Alpha Male: How To Win the Game When the Rules are Changing
  3. Writer & Consultant for Cox eLearning Consultants, providing marketing content & strategy to learning & edtech companies. I’m writing blog posts, providing marketing strategy, and advising an LMS company on structural gamification.
  4. Business Consultant for Masaca Translations one of the world’s premiere Korean & Japanese translation companies. I’m helping them reconstruct their business model and internal workflows for scale.
  5. President of Clear Mind Publishing, a boutique publishing company that my business (Snap Synapse LLC) purchased a few years back. We have a small and largely ignored catalog that I’m finally getting around to modernizing this month (I hope!).

Music-wise, I’ve been holding off on livestreaming anything so far, but I’ll give in this month I’m sure. Probably going live at the last minute on my personal Facebook page or something. Oh and I’m teaching live looping classes on Lessonface now so if you’re musically inclined and on lockdown, you should totally check out this great way to play on your own and become a better musician in the process.

Of course I’d always love to hear from YOU about your thoughts on any of the above. I’d also love to know what you’re up to. Guess what the comments box is for?

Author
Categories ,

Posted

This is my Now page and here’s what’s up for me as we march forth in to March 2020 (as posted on 03/03/2020).

Btw, today’s date is unusually fun to say, isn’t it? Oh-three-oh-three-two-oh-two-oh, oh-three-oh-three-two-oh-two-oh, oh-three-oh-three-two-oh-two-oh… Say it at about 120bpm and it’s like a freight train of rhythm! But I digress.

I’d like to tell you more about what’s really going on for me than I will be able to at the moment. Please check back in a week or so for some scary honesty about that. Here’s what I can say today:

I’m acting as if = Due to my own choices, I’ve been without paying work for about six months now. When making those brave/stupid choices (not sure which yet!), I had about a six month financial runway to make some new things happen. Now that has been used up. But rather than going into debt with credit cards or personal/business loans as I have in the past, this time I’ve decided to take a bridge loan out against my 401k. Soon I’ll be paying myself a monthly stipend from there to relieve the financial strain and bypass the fear/scarcity that has been mounting. Rather than hunting for work with increasing urgency as I have been doing, I’ve decided to prime the pump by just showing up and doing some for real. I’ve been helping some folks with their businesses for the last few months, but without the “all in” serious commitment or professionalism that I would if it was a paid engagement. It’s a bad practice that weakens my value and dependability. I’m working out some back-end revenue share deals that give me the ability to pay back my loan with interest over time for work that I’m doing today. This makes it easier for people who need help scaling up to do so without paying for it upfront. So now I’m:
  1. Acting Marketing Director for Energy Utility Group an energy broker startup in Austin
  2. Content Developer & Strategist for Lance Allred, TEDx star & author with a major new book coming out next week (also the first deaf player in NBA history)
  3. Business Consultant for Masaca Translations one of the world’s premiere Korean & Japanese translation companies
  4. Writer & Consultant for Cox eLearning Consultants, advising companies in the L&D industry and writing some blog/marketing content
I do still have some other projects that I’m juggling in, such as:
  • leading xAPI Cohort Team Podcast = We’re working toward creating a new xAPI profile to allow user-specific tracking of podcast behaviors for internal corporate podcasts. Right now our all-volunteer team is working behind the scenes to get proof of concept, but check in on PodcaXt.com for more info as it becomes availalble.
  • grantwriting for Tiffany Papageorge = There’s this book called My Yellow Balloon that has quietly been making a huge difference for tens of thousands of children and adults around the globe. It helps families come to terms with loss, grief, and letting go. I’ve been loosely affiliated with this effort since before the beginning, advising at several key moments of the publishing & marketing processes. Now the author would like to scale her institutional educational training curriculum nationally, and I’d like to see her succeed! So I’m helping a bit as I can, because this is something powerful that deserves to exist in the world.
  • applying for other jobs = I just got some bad news about a job I really wanted. Hiring freeze, nothing personal. I’m “top of the list” when they start hiring again, which kinda feels good but really doesn’t help me. I still haven’t stopped looking for more direct paying work, but after putting hundreds of applications out this year, I’m scaling back to only one per day and making them much more targeted.
  • taxes 2019 = It’s that time of year again, and 2019 was the year that I adopted the Profit First methodology and changed everything about my business & personal finances, including my team. Still some kinks to work out in that transition, but I’m happy to say that this new process is working out.
  • networking infrastructure improvements = I’m getting deeper in to being my own Network Administrator. Last month I got my DNS sinkhole working, deduplicated about 500GB of mess, further optimized my PC for stability. This month I continue by diving into BIOS edits on an old machine to in order to get my 10TB CentOS server up and running. Whee!

So as I look at all that, yeah I guess I’m pretty busy.

One thing I will not be doing is going to Orlando for Learning Solutions & Realities360 as planned for later this month. I’m very sorry, but I’ve had to cancel my workshop, sessions, panel discussions, and the whole trip. I really, really hate having to cancel anything. Why did I? A couple reasons that you can probably extrapolate from this post and the current news headlines.

Of course I’d always love to hear from YOU about your thoughts on any of the above. I’d also love to know what you’re up to. Guess what the comments box is for?

Author
Categories