Sunday, July 29, 2007

Crunch Time

Last Wednesday I had three projects come in. The projects are all somewhat intertwined and all share a common target completion date (Aug 6th) and due date (Aug 10th). On top of that I'm going to be taking a road trip down to San Francisco for a friend's wedding from the 4th through the 6th. The 4th and the 6th are both pretty much write-off days since we'll be driving most of the day. That means I'm trying to have all three projects pretty much wrapped up and finalized by the time I leave Friday morning.

I've made really good progress on the largest project and I don't anticipate having a problem completing at least two if not all three of them by the time I leave. That said I need to make sure I can stay motivated between now and then (unlike Friday when I got fairly little done; I blame the sunshine and the fact that it was Friday) and will be putting in some long hours.

Fun times, I knew it wouldn't be easy but its worth it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Naked Truth: Followup

Last night's The Naked Truth event was fairly interesting. Most of the discussion consisted of discussion regarding the best way to get media attention for your startup. The panel consisted of:
- John Cook: Seattle Post Intelligencer
- Tricia Duryee: Seattle Times
- Michael Arrington: TechCrunch
- Fred Vogelstein: Wired
- Becky Buckman: Wall Street Journal

It was an interesting discussion though one whose content I don't have a reason to apply currently.

After the discussion there was a get together which basically meant hundreds of local entrepreneurs and other geeks drinking free beer, eating free bbq, and talking about whatever it is that they're into. I hung out with Hans Omli, met John Li from Menuism, Brian Dorsey from Noonhat (here's is a video of Brian introducing the site concept at SeattleBizJam), and some folks whose names and affiliations I can't remember.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


One aspect of working from home that has been an off-and-on issue is that of a lack of uninterrupted time. I have a much easier time focusing on work and getting things done when my wife and son are out running errands, have already gone to bed, or are upstairs where I can't really hear them. If they're up on the main level above me it's really distracting. Often I can hear that my wife is trying to get something done but our son is being a hand-full which makes me feel guilty for not going up and helping. That and our son knows I'm down here so he'll go stand at the top of the stairs and call me sometimes. While endearing it's really distracting and makes it hard to work.

I'm not sure how other people have handled this but I will probably try to make a move to working more after they've gone to bed. Last night I worked late (3am) and was able to focus better and got a lot done.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ignite Seattle - Half Baked Dot Com

Recently it was announced that at the next Ignite Seattle rather than doing a Make Contest as they've done in the past they are going to hold a Half Baked Dot Com event:

"Half-Baked Dot Com is a participatory exercise in entrepreneur improv conducted by five teams of startup addicts and judged by a crackpot panel of venture capitalists & D-list bloggers (or whomever shows up first). Faster than foreplay with jenna jameson, more creative than a VP explaining a quail hunt, and nearly as much suspense as a scheduled train wreck, Half-Baked is the latest Web 2.0 craze sweeping the unconference circuit. Show up early and bring your A-game if you want to participate, otherwise bring your [video]camera to record the heinous crime to be perpetrated on an unsuspecting audience."

In the past I've shown up for the Ignite Seattle events shortly before the talks how for this one I think I'll definitely be showing up early and possibly trying to participate. Team selection starts around 6:30 and the team presentations around 7:30. The Ignite talks will start at 8:30 as usual. They've posted a list of the talks but may be adding more. Here's the current list:

  1. Shawn Murphy - Hacking Chocolate

    Anybody can create interesting and new chocolates with some basic ingredients, imagination and a little technique.

  2. Deepak Singh - Small medicine: Nanotechnology and biology

    The start of the art in the applications of nanotechnology to healthcare and medicine

  3. Derek Gaw - uncluttring Amazon

    Amazon’s experience is often criticized for being too cluttered. I decided to see what I could do to clean it up.

  4. Elan Lee - My Clothes Tell Secrets

    Examples of storytelling and entertainment embedded in the fabric of the clothes we wear.

  5. Brian Dorsey - An embarrassment of riches - the story of Noonhat

    We live in amazing times. Individuals and small groups can build small things with big effects. Even working part time.

  6. Dave McClure - Startup Metrics for Pirates: AARRR!

    A simple 5-step model for measuring startup success: 1) Acquisition 2) Activation 3) Retention 4) Referral 5) Revenue

  7. Rob Gruhl - How to buy a new car

    Get your next new car for the best price.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Into the 2nd Week

So I'm into the second week and thus far I've gotta say that I'm really liking this whole freelancing thing. At this point I haven't really been worried about lining up other sources of income apart from my friend's company but I should think about starting to do that at some point in the near future. Last week I finished up updating a control and thus far this week I've almost finished a resource export tool (exports from the DB Resource model my friend's company uses to Microsoft's resx model).

It feels more like I'm on a vacation than actually having a job. I'm getting things done and working a fair amount but it's completely different. I kind of dig it.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Naked Truth

For what it's worth a friend of mine just talked me into signing up for an event called The Naked Truth on July 24th. Here's what the wiki says:

The Naked Truth is a meet-up for entrepreneurs, journalists, and bloggers to talk about how we tell our stories.

There's a panel discussion that's limited to 200 people and an afterparty limited to 500. When I added my name to the list it was up to around 170 for each so hurry and get your name on the list if you're interested.

Also, the next Ignite Seattle event is happening on August 8th. I'm hoping to make it but we'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Minimizing Information Intake

A while back I read through Tim Ferris' The Four Hour Workweek and really got a lot out of it. I'd highly recommend reading through it as it is an easy read. I'll talk more about that later but I want to touch on something that Tim stressed in his book: The Low Information Diet.
In his book he (spoiler alert) challenges the reader to go on a one week media fast from news (websites, papers, magazines, television, etc...), television, and web surfing that's not required for work. Upon reading the challenge I immediately stopped my excess web surfing (reading various blogs that I kept track of just because, LiveJournal, etc...) for a week. I don't really watch television apart from movies with the family but that isn't a huge time sink for me. I found that it wasn't really that hard for me to give up reading the blogs (I've been using Bloglines along with their download-able notifier to keep track on when blogs I watch/read had been posted to) and random surfing that really didn't accomplish a whole lot. LiveJournal also wasn't terribly hard to give up however a side effect of that is that I started feeling out of touch with friends who I only really keep track of via that medium.

After the week was up I started allowing myself to keep up on the blogs and whatnot; however, I found that I didn't really care to keep up on a lot of them that are random tidbits of information with some current happenings online and in real life. I also didn't pick LiveJournal back up which is kind of a mixed blessing. As mentioned above I feel rather out of touch with the folks that I kept up on via LiveJournal however I've been able to free up a lot of time by not going back and checking my friends page frequently.

Today I went through and removed some of the most posted to blogs from the blogs I'm watching in Bloglines in order to limit the amount of time that I spend reading blog posts. I'm going to try to only check blog updates in the evening once I've finished working. I don't have a solution yet for LiveJournal and for the time being I'll just check in on specific friends' journals to catch up on them when they come to mind, or I may create a filter for friends that I'm most interested in keeping up on to limit the amount of extra stuff I'm reading through.

Fun times, back to work.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Day 1

Today is Day 1 of working from home. Thus far I haven't gotten a whole lot accomplished; however, I've done a fair amount of work setting the stage for getting things done. I haven't had a desktop computer at home for about 5 years. Currently my wife and I have one mostly functional Windows laptop (the back light died and I haven't gotten around to getting that fixed), one Apple laptop that sits at it's desktop for about 10 minutes upon booting up before it will let you do anything and is really painfully slow when it decides to let you work on it, and another Windows laptop that my son managed to kill by picking it up and dropping it a few inches. I've done my due diligence trying to fix the laptop my son killed, however as my overall troubleshooting knowledge of Mac's is little to none I haven't even tried to fix it.

In order for me to be working from home I'm setting up on the bottom floor of our townhouse (we have three floors: garage and a rather large entry room, kitchen and living rooms, and 2 bedrooms on top) as my office and needed a computer. Before leaving for the beach I purchased a barebones kit and some other odds and ends from TigerDirect which was waiting at the UPS center for me when we got back from vacation. I spent a few hours over the weekend getting it mostly assembled and today I finished it up, got most of the software I'm going to need immediately installed, and started reading up on the first project I'll be working on and reviewing the code that has already been written.

That and I took a long break when my wife and son got back from the park to go out back and grill up some hamburgers and hang out with them for a little bit. What a luxury that was, being able to just stop what I was working on and take around an hour to make burgers and hang out with my family without having to think about the pointless emails in my inbox and trying to ensure I make it back in time for a meeting.

I'm off to make dinner now and then spend some time with the family and possibly squeeze in some more time getting up to speed on that project. I have no doubt tomorrow will be more productive. And I think I'll grill up some sausages.