I'm taking on a new project as Social Media Manager for Iron Yard Ventures in Vegas. I get to manage all social media platforms, create and execute strategy for each, and blog about the start ups that come through the accelerator.
I get front line access to the newest, best, and smartest people I can be around right now. Ryan Negri brought me on board to take the burden of dissemination from him. This way he can better focus on growing the accelerator by doing what he does best: Teaching startups and connecting them with the right mentors, advisers, and investors.
This site has been active for over a year. In that time, I had the opportunity to talk with plenty of great people, learn about great products and ideas, and make this into something I enjoy. This site opened doors previously closed to me. I earned the ability to write on several other sites.
Now, I'm turning this place into Medium for my own thoughts about start ups. That means I'm posting less often than in the past. My time will be spent learning web development skills through Career Foundry and managing social media for Iron Yard Ventures.
So why choose to do this right now?
The Need To Get Paid
I thought a lot about monetizing this site. There are tons of people willing to help me for a price. I always felt as if having ads, selling products, and creating a revenue stream would force me into being something I didn't want to be. I never wanted someone to tell me what to write and how to write it.
Maybe my style isn't optimized for SEO. Maybe I don't write in such a manner that it gets searched the most because I don't stuff keywords everywhere or my titles are horrible. I'm even willing to accept that my views and style aren't even good enough to warrant being paid for doing this. Regardless of all that, I ALWAYS wanted to be authentic. I knew what I started this I had slightly more knowledge and understanding than my millennial children only because I took the time to read a little.
That meant my overly enthusiastic nature combined with my lack of understanding about startup culture would make it difficult for me to get quick traction. I pissed off some people along the way. I can't blame them for not wanting to deal with me.
Keeping This Place Pure
I tried to take other writing work elsewhere that paid. Upwork is a giant predatory meat market for churning out the type of worthless tripe I fervently avoid creating. ClearVoice has given me a grand total of ONE paying assignment in nine months. I knew trying to be a freelance writer would be difficult. The whole time I wanted to stay authentic so I never monetized the site.
I stayed focused on being real and honest. It's helped more than I realize at times. When I took the risk of talking about Plow and its founders, it worked out really well. The downside to that is the low level of traffic from not being a shill. The upside of being honest is now I can work other places because I have an ever evolving portfolio of work here that shows no surface bias. There are NO popups on the site, and as far as I know there won't be. I don't even think I'll do a subscription newsletter or sell stuff because it comes off as fake to me.
A New Direction
This is the third time I thought I wanted to change the focus of this site. I thought I wanted to cover startups and just talk to founders when I started. I focused on Celebrate 2015 and all the great people and ideas there. It was fun for a time, but didn't really do anything because events are hard to cover via Skype. On top of that, getting people to talk to a nobody blogger with little following was harder than I imagined.
Then I thought I wanted to build a community of people like me who were older and trying to get into the tech world. That fell flat because I hadn't done it myself. How in the world could I help people when I had no credibility?
This site is turning into a journal of my path into tech. I'm learning to code with Career Foundry. Not sure where that will lead, but I can't ignore how important coding is to my future success. It's akin to knowing Microsoft Office in the early 2000s. If you could use Excel, Word, and PowerPoint with any kind of proficiency, then you had a job. Coding is that new base skill.
And There's More. . . .
Learning to code by no means diminishes my desire to write about new tech stuff. What it does mean is that I'm going to get paid to do it, and that means working for someone with money. My recent work with Iron Yard Ventures and the new gaming and hospitality accelerator in Las Vegas has opened doors. Ryan wants me to be more involved day to day writing about founders and handling social media.
That means I will have a bit of a job. Doing a job means I get paid, and I do what I'm asked to regardless of whether I like it or not. I like Ryan and everything going on in Vegas. However, my opinion holds little water with a startup veteran like him. This is an excellent opportunity for me to learn both sides of the startup equation.
I get to learn about the business end from Ryan. How to make connections, find the right ideas and products, understand how term sheets work and why language is so important, and the flip side of that is being around the founders and their startups. Knowing about emerging markets and penetrating them with disruptive ideas is exciting. All of this also means I know when to talk and when to keep my keyboard closed and my mouth shut.
All this rambling means this site is about MY opinions. I won't be writing to sell anything, to push traffic, optimize my content for SEO, or be anything other than myself. I'll do the promotional work other places. I'll use all the fancy buzzwords and key SEO phrases there. Here I'll make observations, have an opinion, and most likely piss off some more people. If listening to sports radio for the last several years has taught me anything it's something Colin Cowherd said a while back: There's no profit in the middle.
He's 100% correct. So this is the place my views of the moment will live. That's never saying they won't change because when I'm wrong, I own it and admit it. That's the biggest part of being authentic. Anyone who's followed me for any length of time knows it to be true.
My views and opinions will also change based upon the new things I learn and observe. I have definite thoughts about diversity in tech. I have an extended argument for gender equality in business that makes me sound like a caveman on the surface. You'll hear all of that.
I'm not here to tear people apart. I'm not here to make brash statements then march around like some pompous idiot saying I told you so. I'm here to make some observations, catalog my ever-growing technical knowledge, and perhaps journal about my first real foray into the startup world. Whenever that happens, it'll be the most brutally honest experience of my life, and THAT'S exactly what I want.
Talk to you soon. . . . . .