Returning to the road -- attending recent events like Hadoop Summit and EMC World -- has triggered a range of mixed emotions for me. Great events. But what type of great outcomes could I personally pursue on the road during this chapter of my life?
From roughly 2008 to 2014, I essentially lived on the road -- blogging live from tech conferences across North America, while also popping up from time to time in Europe and Australia. It was the ultimate career experience -- but it also drained my batteries and consumed precious time away from my wife and kids. Amy Katz, my business partner, also spent considerable time on the road -- listening to trends and spotting market needs that our previous company could potentially address. That chapter of our lives transitioned in 2011 (when Penton acquired our business and its blogs -- MSPmentor, The VAR Guy and Talkin' Cloud) and again in May 2014 (when Amy and I each exited the business).
After laying low with my family for roughly a year, I started to test the travel waters while Amy started formulating some business plans for our current company -- After Nines Inc.
Initially, I had mixed emotions about the travel. It was sort of like returning to a sports arena without any real conditioning -- and without clearly stating what I planned to do while on the playing field. Did I want to get back into "game shape"? And as some folks speculated: Would I return to a career focused mostly on blogging?
I'm finally ready to answer both questions: Yes and No. As in:
- Yes, I'm getting back into game shape. As is Amy Katz on the business side of the house.
- No, I don't plan to become some sort of "trade show blogger" again.
I've evolved. Amy has evolved. And the industry has evolved as well. At this time, we don't plan to launch a "witty" personality blog focused on "one" topic. Nor do I plan to sit front-row at conferences recapping CEO keynotes for a living.
Well, not exactly (wink, wink).
Steps in the Journey
Eventually, I think you will see my "personality" -- along with Amy's -- infused into some new projects from After Nines Inc.
Hmmm... Ahem... Yup... Surely we want to build "something." We're thinking about piecing together something that's bigger -- yet far more personal -- than anything we have ever done before. I guess this is a longwinded way of saying:
- I'm starting to realize I'm not done shooting off my mouth and sharing views.
- Amy's views -- safely locked away during our planning discussions -- may finally spill over into the public domain... at some point.
- The best "big" parties I've ever attended somehow feel small and personal -- "where everybody knows your name," as a certain barkeep might say.
Last time around, I certainly felt like the barkeep -- listening to stories from a range of industry pundits, and then sharing those tales while safely protecting a range of sources.
Yes, we previously built a blog business around the bar metaphor ("Cheers"). This time around? How about stealing another idea from Boston -- where you can get a taste of everything ("Faneuil Hall") without feeling overwhelmed as you navigate from one end of the hall to the other?
As I've often stated, we're going to need a solid technology foundation for anything we potentially want to build. Frankly, pouring a potential foundation has been a more complicated process than we had imagined because of mobile and app considerations. But a well-poured tech foundation will ultimately allow us to dive into any market...
Which ones could we potentially target first? Hmmm...
I seem to be losing my voice at the moment. But I hope to regain it sometime soon.
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