"Ted, where the hell did you go?"
I've been getting this message periodically over a variety of private channels, asking if I've abandoned my blog and/or if I'm ever going to come back to it. No, I haven't abandoned it, yes, I'm going to come back to it, but there's going to be a few changes to my online profile that I'll give you a heads-up around... if anybody cares. :-)
First of all, as I mentioned before, LiveTheLook and I parted ways back at the end of 2013. Sad, but every cloud has a silver lining in that I found a new home as the CTO of iTrellis, a custom software development and IT continuous improvement consultancy. And therein... lies the root of my problem.
Truth time: I'm ridiculously busy. And even more ridiculously happy.
For years now, almost a full decade in fact, people have been asking me when I was going to start up a consulting company. (In fact, before I jumped in to LiveTheLook, I interviewed about a job at GitHub, and Phil Haack, who's known me for years, expressed outright surprise at the idea. "I've always pictured you as the consummate consultant--what makes you want to go work at a product company?" And truth was, he was right--the idea of working for a product company (like GitHub) wasn't really a strong appeal. What was appealing was the idea of growing a team, managing a group of developers, making them better as a group in a variety of manager-y ways. That was a large part of the attraction of LiveTheLook, though I never got to the point of hiring anyone to work with me there.) My response to people has always been the same: I believe that a company needs a triumvirate of people at the top--one to handle sales/marketing/business development, one to handle the technology, and one to handle the operations. I could never seem to find a great biz-dev guy, nor a great ops guy, and so thoughts of building a consulting firm were pretty far off in the distance.
But after LtL, a mutual acquaintance heard that I was looking, and he knew two guys who were looking for a CTO for this new consulting company they were spinning up. Chris (CEO) and Paul (CFO) and I met a few times. Chris and I in particular spent a fair amount of time talking, weighing the mutual decision to jump into this thing together, because it was obvious from the very beginning that he and I would need to be able to work well together--if he was going to go off and do biz-dev, he had to trust that I could carry the implementation through, and I needed to trust that he wasn't going to sell a bill of goods that was impossible for me to deliver while he did it, and so on and so on and so on.
Six months later, we're at four current clients (with a fifth one scheduled to spin up in July), five billable consultants (including Chris and I, working together to do an IT assessment project for a $10bn business unit of a $100bn company out on the East Coast), and there's strong evidence to suggest that we'll crest the $1mn mark in our first year of existence.
Yeah... it's been a fun ride so far. :-) And neither Chris nor I have any intention of slowing down any time soon.
But, what I'm finding is that between billable hours, biz-dev meetings, implementation meetings, one-on-ones with my people, speaking, and writing for the various publications I still write for, I have almost no energy left to blog. At least, for now.
I have plans, though. Here's what I'm looking to do:
- First, we're going to stand up an iTrellis blog, and a lot of technical content I write will be hosted in both places (there and here), where and when it makes sense. Maybe, over time, the content will shift in quantity to over there, but I'll probably always keep this channel open in some fashion.
- Second, I want to spin up a "personal blog", one in which I feel more comfortable expressing completely non-technical ideas and topics, including politics and such. That way, those who are interested in just the technical content can still get that, and those who want to hear what I think about the rest of the world can tune in on a separate channel.
- Third, I'll likely migrate this content into a new technical blog over at the "new" professional website I'm slowly building out for myself, at www.newardassociates.com. That will eventually, over time, become the only technical channel I use, but I'll set something up at this domain to redirect links to the corresponding blog entries over there. That is going to be the real PITA in all of this, because I really want to preserve the old links without having to stand up the same blog system over there. (I'm "done" with the idea of a server-side processed blog--the blog entries should be just plain ol' HTML, generated from whatever source I choose to write in, a la Jekyll and its ilk. Plus, I never again want a blog with anything other than tech-agnostic URLs; the whole ".../On+Endings.aspx" thing is soooooo 1997. Why should you--or I--care what the underlying implementation is?)
(By the way, if you have any experience with taking a dasBlog blog and redirecting the links over to a new site, please email me how you did it and/or what tools you used to do it. I'd really prefer to not have to write that redirect handler myself, if I can help it. I don't even care too much about the comments--it's the entry links I really want to preserve. I'm even willing to discuss payment measured in bottles of Scotch... :-) )
I will, at a minimum, promise to keep up the Tech Predictions, though, no matter what else happens. That's an eight-year tradition that I have absolutely no intention of ever giving up. Even when I'm old and crotchety and every prediction reads, "I remember when Swift was first released... you young'un's have NO IDEA what it was like to actually type your code into an editor. It was hard! It was painful on the fingers! And WE LIKED IT!"