Vindication and Validation

March 1, 2013 Leave a comment

The beautiful thing about having a blog is that you can write self-induglently, secure in the knowledge that almost no one will read what you write. Yet you still get the narcissistic rush that maybe someone will so you’re really not just writing a journal entry. Yep, this is one of those posts.

Three years ago I decided I was going to transform my life. That I wanted to change everything. To become a wholly different person. I made some pretty outrageous claims. I was going to go from the Stay Puft marshmellow man to Leonidas from the movie 300. I was going to escape my soul-crushing collections job to become a software engineer. I was going to become charismatic, eloquent and most importantly I was going to matter. I was just so damn tired of sitting on the sidelines of life praying that no one noticed how embarrassing my situation was.

My whole life I’d been told I had so much potential, that I could do anything. People expected great things from me, but after high school I spent my time walliowing in drugs and self-pity. I squandered my youth. All my hobbies were inventive ways to escape reality, like role-playing or video games. I’d been so damaged growing up that I just couldn’t cope with reality. I’d created a self-limiting belief that people meant pain, largely because that was the reality life had driven home time after time. From having my mother taken away to being betrayed by the woman who vowed to spend her life with me.

Unfortunately I learned all the wrong lessons from these events. I felt helpless and alone when nothing could have been further from the truth. There were great friends and wonderful family all around me, but instead of cherishing them I retreated from the world. I convinced myself that I was a failure. That it couldn’t ever change. That was the best life was ever going to be.

I finally realized my error in 2009. The world didn’t owe me anything. I owed the world. If I wanted things to change only I could change them. Life wasn’t going to hand me a platter of dreams to sup on. I had to weave my own reality, to take not just control but also to be accountable for my own circumstances. So I did.

I started with the conscious decision to better myself continuously. The process began by picking up a self-help book. Then another. And another. Before long I realized that wasn’t enough. I could read about life, but unless I got out there and lived it the things I learned were just knowledge. I needed practice. So I joined Toastmasters with a new friend who seemed to be suffering in the same way I was. Together we grew enormously. We gave speech after speech, increasing our confidence with every one. We went from being the new kids to being the veterans everyone in our club respected.

This feeling made me hungry for more. I was finally beginning to believe that I could really change my life. So I decided to become an iOS developer, to finally live up to my professional potential. Unsurprisingly most people told me I was crazy. Those that didn’t gave me the polite smiles, but lurking underneath was the clear belief that I was going to fail. That there was no way someone could do all the things I claimed I was going to do. In the past this lack of support shut me down completely. I’d abandoned my writing career in my early 20s because my ex-wife told me I’d never amount to anything.

Yet in reading all the books I’d read, Getting Things Done, How to Win Friends & Influence People, The Success Principles and many others…I learned a crucial lesson. The people who told me I couldn’t do it were wrong. I could do it. But there was going to be a steep price. I had to cut those people out of my life. I lost a best friend of 15 years. I lost a girlfriend I’d been with for nearly two years, one I’d seriously considered marrying. They were just two of many casualties in my quest to better myself.

But there were also rewards. I made new friends. Friends who believed in me and encouraged me to pursue my outlandish dreams. Friends that picked me up when I fell down, who told me that I COULD do it. You know what? Those friends were right. As I write this I stare at my life, completely baffled at where I am. I’m a stone’s throw from looking like Leonidas. I escaped collections and became a highly respected software engineer. I became charismatic, winning speech contest after speech contest. I became a leader. I’m dating an amazing woman who wouldn’t have looked twice at me in 2009. The best part? For the first time in my life people actually look up to me and it feels damn good.

It feels like I’ve finally arrived. Like life is giving me all the things I ever wanted, that all the hard work has finally paid off. Today I was introduced to the 2010 Toastmasters world champion. She thinks I can make it all the way to the same accomplishment and has agreed to train me. So here I go again, embarking on a goal most people will tell me is impossible. I don’t care. I’m going to make it happen anyway.

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Categories: Essays

2012 Year In Review

January 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Wow. Boy has it been a year. Tonight I’m going to spill the whole sordid mess for the world to see. I enjoyed some of the greatest triumphs of my life, had my heart broken and broke someone else’s heart. Yeah, it’s been a whirlwind.

On January 1st 2012 I’d just been hired as an iOS developer at a local company in Santa Rosa. I was terrified of failure because I had no idea how to to a lot of what they were asking me to.

I’d been dating Amelia for almost two years and had convinced myself she was the one despite a steadily growing voice that warned of a dire mistake. I was contemplating marriage even though a part of me knew I’d pay for it dearly down the road.

I was 285lbs. That’s the largest I’ve ever been, baring the scary period in Los Angeles when I was too afraid to weigh myself. The daily workouts I started in 2010 had dwindled to perhaps three times a week. I only did cardio and one anemic strength training session each week.

I had a couple of glasses of wine every night (some nights more). The wine helped quiet the voices telling me how unhealthy I’d become and how not in love I actually was. Paints a pretty healthy picture, doesn’t it?

At the end of February I was sent to Salt Lake City along with our director of programming and director of design. Thanks to my time in Toastmasters I aquitted myself well in the meetings we had with a much larger company. We hammered out a development plan and created a joint team that spanned two states.

While there I met a woman. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. No, it wasn’t like that. I had a girlfriend and I don’t cheat. Ever. Here’s the problem. This woman and I spent hours talking. We shared some amazing stories, a few drinks and a whole lot of witty banter. In short we flirted shamelessly.

At the end of the evening she reached out across the table and seized my hand. She looked me right in the eye and thanked me for the evening. Right then, to my absolute horror, I realized I’d fallen for her.

I fled back to Santa Rosa and dropped contact. I had a girlfriend. I had no right to talk to or think about another woman like that. So I didn’t. Unfortunately this awakened a small but persistent voice. If I could feel that way about another woman how could Amelia possibly be the one?

It has the hammer blow that shattered my cognitive dissonance. The answer was blindingly simple. Amelia wasn’t the one. In a fit of terror I actually fled to Eureka. I straight ran with no clear reason why. Even today I can’t tell you why I drove hundreds of miles and got a hotel room.

Here’s the complete irony. That very day I was supposed to have coffee with an ex-girlfriend and Amelia knew it. So she probably believed I’d run off with some other woman. It’s the conclusion I would have leapt to in her shoes.

So being the chicken shit I was I broke up with her by email. Fucked up huh? I know. I’ll carry the guilt of that around for the rest of my life, let me tell you. She called me and I drove back to have ‘the talk’. I chickened out a second time and told her nothing about the woman I’d met in SLC or the realization it triggered.

What I did tell her was that I didn’t love her and was no longer attracted to her. Both facts were true, but it wasn’t the real reason and she knew it. She hacked my Facebook account and read all my mail. In one of them a friend mentioned my ‘gem in SLC’. She freaked and started posting that I’d had an affair the day we broke up. Awesome let me tell you.

The breakup sucked. I threw her out of my house and we no longer speak. We both lost friends over it. Many of the ones I no longer speak to think I’m a cheating bastard and probably always will. But you know what? I did the right thing. I may have done it badly, but there really was no other choice. Marrying a woman I didn’t love wouldn’t have done her any favors.

Along with the breakup I decided to restructure my entire life. I was tired of being fat, tired of being afraid and most of all I was tired of settling. So in a fit of anger I began to raise my standards.

I worked out 7 days a week at the gym again. I beat my diet into submission and as of this writing am down almost 90lbs for the year. I am the strongest I have ever been and in the best shape of my life. I hike the east ridge in Armstrong like it’s nothing and I can do things I barely dreamed of a year ago.

When combined with my journey in Toastmasters I was overflowing with confidence. I felt like I could accomplish anything. I ended up going through a rough patch at work where I was very frustrated with the process I was forced to undergo. It was inefficient, counterproductive and really setting the product back in development.

So I took action. I posted a resume on Monster and woke up to a flurry of activity. It was like I kicked the recruiter ant hill. Companies from Apple to small start ups were swarming around me and I was blowing away interviews. In going through the frenetic year developing iConsult I’d gone from a junior to a senior engineer. I’d become extremely good at what I did.

So I took a job at a San Francisco startup almost one year after landing my first iOS job. I’m on target to double my income again this year. I’ve landed at a company I’m passionate about (CellScope) and doing something I love. I’ve never been happier professionally.

Relationship wise things were more rocky. If you’ll remember my motivation for leaving Amelia you’re probably wondering about the woman I met. To my horror I started writing about her. A lot. A novel about the trip started to take shape. I realized that I was in love with her.

Now let me be very clear about this. Being in love with a woman before you start dating is a recipe that will doom the relationship. She’ll sense it and she’ll bolt. On a logical level I knew that. It was like the movie Hitch. I could preach this stuff all day long, but when it came to this woman I couldn’t help myself.

Things inevitably crashed down around me in flames and I was devastated. I’d wanted her so badly and things hadn’t worked out the way I wanted to. But you know what? I’d never been happier.

You see the rejection didn’t hurt nearly as badly as I’d thought it would. I realized that I’d spent the last twelve years bracing for a blow that was never going to fall. I’d subconsciously associated relationships with pain. It meeting this woman and enacting our whole dance I’d learned that I could have love and that if it fell apart the pain wasn’t that bad.

It taught me to really love again. I was no longer afraid to be vulnerable around the women I dated. So I started dating a lot of women. As of this writing I’ve been on dates with twelve women this year. Eight of those have been in the last two and a half months. Most of them were met through online dating sites like OkCupid, though certainly not all.

Some of those women are out of my league beautiful. Some of them are overweight. I didn’t care. As long as there was some level of attraction and they seemed cool I took them out. Most of the dates were great fun. A couple were painful. A couple resulted in second dates.

Right now I’ve gone on multiple dates with two women and I’m really hoping one of them turns out to be girlfriend material. But you know? If she isn’t it’s cool. I’ve finally come to the realization that there are hundreds of single women in my dating pool. If neither works I’ll just keep looking.

It’s a whole shift in attitude. An understanding of abundance, that I don’t need to settle anymore. Not in my job, or my body or my relationship. Not in my writing or my friendships or my family.

This has seen a powerful shift in my life. Just over a year ago I was severely overweight, drank too much, was with the wrong girl and was embarrassed by my job. In an astonishingly short period of time I’ve turned all that around.

I love my body now. I’m only 20 or 30 pounds from looking like Brad Pitt in Troy (although obviously more handsome). I drink occasionally, but certainly not with the frequency I was. I’ve gone from settling for the best woman I thought I could get to looking for love of my life. Never have I loved what I do for a living so much.

It’s been a hell of a year.

Categories: Essays

When I was Young

May 31, 2012 Leave a comment

Yesterday I heard a song for the first time since 1997.  It knocked the wind out of me, hard and powerful like a blow from a boxer. A wave of nostalgia crashed over me and suddenly it was that rainy February day I first heard The Freshmen by the Verve.

I was 20 years old and at the top of my game.  My weeks were spent lounging at our local JC where I hustled lunch money playing Magic The Gathering.  I loved college.  The world was pregnant with possibilities and I could become anything.  I was brilliant and I knew it.  Life came like laughter, easy and free.

I thought I knew everything and mistook potential for achievement.  Unsurprisingly I had some very rude knocks over the next five years.  My marriage fell apart like so many blocks kicked by a toddler. I put on  sixty pounds.  Then eighty. Then I became a victim of the .com bust and lost my engineering job.

I was broken.  So I fled to Los Angeles and tried to salvage something from the ashes.  I became harder, cutting myself off from the world.  The cocaine fueled rat-race of the mortgage industry was a perfect outlet.

With the exception of Brandy there wasn’t a lot to those years except for work, expensive vodka and empty friendships.  I made a fortune but had nothing. When I realized that I moved home to wine country and the redwoods. To breathable air and a populace not seething with anger. Most importantly to old friends.

Over the next few years I re-connected with Luke & Heather, Aaron and a host of other faces that had a few more lines but just as many smiles. Under their care the healing finally began. I learned to laugh again. To cry and to love. I opened parts of myself that had been walled away for nearly a decade.

Five years later I’m at the top of my game again.  I love my life and wake up each day excited to see what it will bring.  I’ve reclaimed that cocky 20 year old only now I’ve replaced potential with achievement.

When I heard The Freshmen again it was as that 20 year old.  A sudden snap of clarity made me understand it’s lyrics in a way I never could back then.  I’d thought it was a cool song but never understood I was making the exact mistakes the kid in the song had.  I was blinded by my own invincibility.

Tonight feels like I’ve come full circle somehow.  I’m blessed with a powerful sense of renewal like a New Year’s kiss.  I can’t but help but smile as I listen to the anthem of 1997 and remember that kid I used to be.

Categories: Essays

Changing Human Behavior

February 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution this year?  Most people didn’t.  If you are one of the few who did how is it working out for you?  Don’t feel bad if the answer is ‘it’s not’.  Ninety-Five percent of people broke theirs by January 15th.  Almost no one made it to the end of February.  Why is that?  Why don’t we make or keep resolutions?  Because we go about it all wrong.

Most of us come up with a resolution like ‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘I want to get a better job’.  Yet we have no idea how to achieve these things.  We have no plan.  The only time we’re even aware of our resolution is a vague sense of guilt whenever we do something that clearly violates it.

So what can we do about it?  How can we actually accomplish the things we want to? By understanding your own behavior and resolving to change it.  This article will teach you exactly how to do that.

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Create a Specific Vision

If you don’t know where you’re going how can you ever get there?  You need a clear goal.  A vision of what you’d like to achieve.  ‘I want to lose weight’ is not a vision.  ‘I want to be in the best shape of my life’ is.

Think about how nice it would be to drop every ounce of fat.  To tone your entire body until you make other people at the gym envious.  Think about how that would feel.  Think about how it would be to get up in the morning, how much energy you’d have and how good you would look.

That is a specific vision.  If you don’t have one then you’re never going to motivate yourself to achieve it.

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Is it Possible and Do I Really Want it?

Now that you have a specific vision it’s time to decide if it is something you can really achieve.  To do that you need to ask yourself two questions.  Is this possible and Do I really want it. If the answer to both isn’t yes you will never succeed.  If you believe you can’t or if you don’t really, really want it then how are you going to do it?  You just can’t.  It’s not possible.

So make it possible.  Don’t accept that you’ll never get what you want.. Resolve to you achieve your goal.  Visualize how amazing it would be to get what you wanted.  Yes I can get in the best shape of my life.  And I really want it.

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Identify Critical Behaviors

If you are overweight ask yourself why.  Do you eat a lot of fast food?  How often do you work out?  If you aren’t happy with your body the answers are probably yes and not very often.

These behaviors are a part of where most people fail, but they don’t get at the underlying reason.  They aren’t critical behaviors.  Changing either won’t get you were you want to be.  So what will?  What single behavior should you change to accomplish your goal?  Find the most critical one.

Make yourself accountable.  Step on that scale every single day.  Make yourself look at your weight.  Is it depressing?  Of course it is.  But do it anyway.

Doing so will ripple across a whole range of behaviors.  Every time you want that second or third piece of pizza you’ll know you’re going to regret it when you step on the scale in the morning.  Every time you want to hit that snooze button instead of going to the gym you’ll think twice because you know that scale is waiting.

Then find a second critical behavior.  Something else that will cause a similar effect across a wide range of behaviors.  In the case of weight loss what would have the greatest impact?

Make other people hold you accountable. Tell your friends that you are trying to lose weight.  Ask them to check in with you, to ask you how things are going.  Ask them to compliment you if they think you are really losing weight.  Have them watch what you’re eating when they are around you.  If they think it isn’t healthy ask them to speak up.

This social pressure will reinforce the first critical behavior you cultivated.  Now you know that if you eat that second piece of pizza not only will you have to face the scale, but you’ll also have to face your family and friends.

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Make Good Behavior its Own Reward

We all know how bad it feels to step on the scale when we’re out of shape.  We know what it feels like to go to a wedding when we’ve gained weight. Now imagine the opposite.  Imagine stepping on the scale and seeing the number go down.  Imagine going to the wedding having lost 20 pounds.

Following the right behaviors will make these things happen and you will enjoy them immensely.  Learn to love them.  They will propel you towards your goal and the more you accomplish the more you will want to accomplish.

You’ll gain momentum and before you know it you’ll reach your goal and be looking around for another one.

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Propinquity is  a Really Funny Word

Propinquity studies how physical distance affects human behavior.  Let’s go back to our weight loss example.  If your cupboard is stocked with cookies and your freezer is full of hamburger what sort of food are you going to eat?  All the wrong things are close at hand.

What if all you had in the house was healthy food?  What would you eat?  If you want a greasy hamburger you’re going to have to leave the house to go get it.  Wouldn’t it be easier to just eat those radishes you bought yesterday?

That is propinquity.  You can leverage it’s power to make good behaviors easier and bad behaviors harder.  If you drive by the same fast food place every night maybe you should find a different way home.  If you aren’t going to the gym maybe you need to invest in some equipment for your home.

Stack the deck in your favor.  It’s easier to do than you might think.

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Tying it All Together

If you do any one of the things I listed above you’ll probably see a small benefit, but if you do them all you’ll work miracles.  These techniques are far greater than the sum of their parts.  Each helps to build the momentum you need to reach your goal.

So harness them all.  Start with the vision and work your way down.  Add one a week and make sure you’re doing each before you add another one.  Do that and this time next year people will be amazed at what you’ve accomplished.

Categories: Essays, Speeches

Predicting the Future

February 11, 2012 Leave a comment

The essence of business is fulfilling a need people have before they know they have it.  Those able to do this become very successful not because of any specific industry or product, but because of their ability to reinvent themselves.  How do they do this?  By forecasting the future.  Not with a crystal ball, but with a keen understanding of emerging technology and trends.

What do I mean by that?  Consider the iPod.  Before it existing a few people had MP3 players, but they were a very niche product.  Most people still used portal CD players, because it was a hassle to convert your music to MP3s and then transfer them to the device.  I remember having one that held about 20 songs and had no screen so I had no idea what I was about to hear until I hit next track.

Then the iPod came out.  It revoluntionized the portable music player overnight.  The tagline ‘1000 Songs in your Pocket’ really got people’s attention.  With the addition of iTunes it was really easy to get music onto the device and quickly find whatever you wanted to hear.  People loved it.  They still do.  Apple made it because they understood emerging technology.  They knew where to find all the components they’d need and assembled them  into something no one had ever seen.  As of October  2011 Apple has sold over 300,000,000 iPods.  One for almost every citizen of the United States.  All because they identified a need and filled it.

Apple’s advent of the iPod taught me two very painful lessons.  First, I should have dumped that $8000 into Apple stock (today that would be worth just over half a million dollars).  And second I should never have bought a Zune. 

I watched as the company everybody loved to hate(myself definitely included) conquered the music world.   It really got me thinking especially as I saw how everyone around me fell in love with their iPods.  I kept an eye on Apple because I wanted to see what they did next.  When they came out with the iPhone in 2007 I waited to see how everyone reacted.  People loved it.  Despite the $500 price tag Apple was selling them as fast as they could be manufactured.

I saw my first one in 2008 when my Apple fangirl friend (you so were Megan) showed me hers.  I was floored.  It was a phone, a camera, a GPS, an iPod and you could download apps for it?  Three days later I bought my first Apple product for $199.  The iPhone was the first pocket computer that felt real to me.  It was also the first phone I’d ever actually liked. 

The part that most blew me away was the app store.  The fact that I could buy thousands upon thousands of apps, some of which changed my life in unexpected ways

I remember thinking ‘man, the people who make these apps are probably making a fortune’.  And they were.  The developers of apps like Angry Birds and Goodreader became unexpected millionaires in a few short months.  That really started the wheels turning.  I even considered and then discarded the idea of becoming a developer.

Doing so  would have required buying a Mac.  Even if I could have afforded it I’d always been a PC guy.  I didn’t know anything about Macs or OS X.  So I reluctantly resigned myself to working collections for a local credit union for the forseeable future.  Until something caught my attention in a way I couldn’t ignore.

The iPad.

When I’d first heard about the device I’d dismissed the iPad as a big iPhone without the phone or camera.  But then I held one for the first time.  I was shocked to realize that this device was going to change everything.  I was witnessing what I call the VHS Moment, when a new technology arises that will erradicate an existing one.  Within a decade I knew everyone would have a tablet computer.

Laptops and desktops were a dying breed. I saw this a a clarity and certainty I hadn’t felt since I’d first discovered the web back in 1994.   All I had to do was see how kids and teenagers reacted to touch screens.  They loved their iPhones (and by that point their Androids).  They would embrace the iPad in the same way.

It helped me finally understand how people like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates had made their respective fortunes.  They risked everything to pursue their vision of the future.  Not blidly though.  They did it with an understanding of what people were going to want before they wanted it. 

To use a football metaphor they didn’t run to where the ball was.  They ran to where it was going. 

The iPad and iPhone are still in their infancy.  Smartphones and tablets will come down in price and increase in functionality.  All sorts of features we haven’t even conceived of will be added.  These devices will transform our world.  Within two decades every person in every nation will own one or both.

The visionaries of this decade will be standing in the end zone waiting to score a touchdown.

Categories: Uncategorized

Omnifocused

February 4, 2012 1 comment

In March of 2011 I read a book that changed my life forever.  It’s called Getting Things Done by a guy named David Allen.  It taught me to manage my life in a way I never would have thought possible.  By following David’s system I learned to track literally everything.  Every project, every ‘someday I’d like to do X’, every birthday and every calendar event.  From my grocery list to my iPad applications I know exactly what next action to take to finish that project.

That was ten months ago.  In that time I’ve accomplished more than I ever would have thought possible and for the first time in my life I realize that I really can do anything I set my mind to.  From roleplaying games to novels to software if I can dream it up I can make it happen.

Part of what makes this possible is an app called Omnifocus, which David Allen had a hand in making.  I have it on my iPad, iPhone and Macbook, which means that no matter where I am if I have a good idea it isn’t lost.  I’ll often jot something down on the iPhone and then flesh the idea out later on the iPad or Mac.

This has lead to enormous emotional freedom.  Do you know that nagging feeling that there is something you should be doing but aren’t? The sense that there are a whole bunch of committments you’ve taken on, but you can’t quite remember what they are?  I don’t experience that any more.  I know what I need to do on any given day.  I know what committments I’ve taken on and when they are due.

I’m no longer tha guy who makes promises and flakes out on them.  I’m the guy who gets shit done.  If I agree to take on a project I make it happen and it feels damn good.  Being on top of things really does wonders for your confidence.  It cuts down on your anxiety in ways you don’t fully understand until the stress that is always lurking in the corners of your mind is gone.

This freedom means that you suddenly have the emotional energy to focus on long term goals.  You can stop worrying about the things you should be doing and start thinking about the things you want to do.  So if you’re reading this I urge you to take a look at David’s book.  You’ll be glad you did.

Categories: Essays

2011 A Year In Review

December 16, 2011 Leave a comment

This year my Year in Review is considerably less structured.  I have no report card, no set of goals I set for myself in January.  Yet ironically this year I was more organized and I accomplished more than I ever have in my life.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

In January I began pouring effort into publishing Shattered Gods.  I knew it was an ambitious goal.  I wanted to create an entire roleplaying game and bring it to market.  It’s something I’ve talked about doing for the entirety of my adult life, yet I’ve never come even close to realizing that dream.  This year I finally changed that.

I created a website, started a campaign and began building the engine.  It was slow going, but within a few months the framework for a real role-playing game began to emerge.  For the first time I really believed I was going to succeed and my enthusiasm was infectious.  Many of my friends got onboard and have helped bring Shattered Gods to life.  They helped create maps, game mechanics, classes and to brainstorm parts of the world.

The result is that twelve months later the game is nearly finished.  I’ve hired an editor to get the manuscript ready and a layout artist to create the PDF version of the game I will eventually sell.  I’ve even signed up to run the game at Dundracon, where I will debut Shattered Gods to the world.  It is a heady feeling.  Fifteen years of false starts have finally paid off and I believe 2012 will be a year of great success as a result.

Shattered Gods was not the only massive project I focused on this year.  I also developed Evil Dice- an app for the iPhone and iPad.  As of this writing the app is not yet in the store, but man is it getting close.  I’ve hired a game tester to put the alpha version through its paces, and with her help the app is nearly ready for release.  Once it hits the app store I plan to pay a pair of developers I’ve met to port it to Droid.

How can I afford to do this?  Because I no longer work in collections at Redwood Credit Union.  This brings me to the other massive project I focused on this year.

I created Sly Fox Applications, my app development company.  My little sister designed my logo, I created a website and I was off and running.  In July I joined BNI (Business Network International).  I learned how to create and manage a business, and I landed my first pair of clients.  More importantly I learned to advertise, which led to an incredible opportunity.

In October I posted an ad on Craigslist for Sly Fox and later that very same day I received a call from a company called PBHS.  They wanted to interview me for an iOS development position.  I agreed and three weeks later I took a job as a software engineer.  Since then I have been creating an iPad application for them called iConsult, which will be tested in a trial hosted by Johns Hopkins university. I’ve spent 50+ hours a week programming and my skills have increased dramatically in a very short time.

I am finally living my dream.  I LOVE developing software, but for PBHS and for Sly Fox.  I also feel an extreme sense of validation.  You see back in 2010 I took a gigantic risk.  I bought an iPad and a MacBook and decided to learn iOS programming.  I dumped a huge number of hours and capital into learning iOS, because I believed it was the hottest new technology and that I’d be able to make a fortune if I could develop apps for it.

I was right.  I’m making great money at PBHS and Sly Fox is earning me a steady second income.  That’s BEFORE my apps hit the store.  In 2012 all the work I’ve poured into role-playing aides will pay off.  I will finally bring some apps to market and if I am right I will make a small fortune doing it.  I think I’ve hit on a goldmine and I plan to milk it for all it’s worth.

I am more confident than I have ever been, both in my abilities and in my future.

Part of this confidence has come from Toastmasters.  In the thirteen months I’ve been going I have won Best Speaker for 11 of the 15 speeches I’ve delivered.  I have learned how to enthrall a room and instead of fearing public speaking I have grown to love it.  This will serve me well.  Earlier I mentioned Dundracron.  I am delivering a seminar for gamers there, a seminar that I have prepared using skills I learned in Toastmasters.

Things are going great on the relationship front as well.  Amelia and I have been dating for nearly two years and I believe I have finally found the woman I was meant to be with.  Not only is she amazingly supportive, but she balances me in ways I can barely express.  She makes me want to be a better person.  I love you Amelia.

Wow.  I look back over what I’ve written and can’t help but feel a great sense of pride.  Three years ago I was a lazy stoner who spent his time playing video games.  Today I am a driven entrepreneur who is living his dreams.  It’s such a massive difference.

I can’t wait to see where the future takes me…

 

Categories: Essays