What Got Me Here

From 2006 to 2009 I attempted blogging. I wrote about meetups and conferences I attended, plus a few other things that animated me. I wrote 69 posts and stopped in October 2009. I wasn’t clear what it was for, and I didn’t have a theme.

Most of my time was devoted to my freelance work or my young family. I felt that there were others who were more qualified to write about the intracies of building software, and confidentiality prevented writing about some clients. I also didn’t consider myself an authority on parenting!

My early childhood, and going to boarding school, has made me independent and inclined to figuring stuff out by myself. (After the altMBA I’m a little better at asking for help.) I’ve always loved reading, mainly about entrepreneurship, and have been looking for ways that I can build useful things, while supporting my family. I built a Twitter feed generator which is used by around 8,000 commuters; I’ve kept other projects under wraps because I wasn’t sure they’d be used.

The following books have shaped my thinking:

A long time ago I read Ignore Everybody and Evil Plans by Hugh MacLeod. Something that stuck with me was this:

Somewhere in the back of your mind will be a feeling that you have something you want to give to the world, something that you haven’t given yet, something the world needs but doesn’t yet quite know it.

In The Dip Seth Godin asks “How can you become the best in the World?”.

I’ve studied the Lean Startup and been to workshops. I’ve paid attention to Paul Graham who says we should build something that people want. Derek Sivers says you shouldn’t start a business unless someone asks you to (and has other helpful advice on his blog). Steven Pressfield describes the practices of a professional.

The altMBA taught me that we can use good questions as a way of framing a situation and when you feel like you’re stumbling that you’re falling forward.

Also acting in the face of fear and discomfort.

Accepting that you may create something and nobody immediately says “that was good”. Before the altMBA these things would have held me back.

Seth Godin is a compelling teacher of marketing, and I see his style of empathetic marketing complementing the Lean Startup approach. You’ll see me mention him frequently. Not because I listen only to him, but because he has produced such a rich body of material, and it makes sense to me.

So over the past 10 years I’ve been figuring stuff out. Building the skills I need. (If you want to take less time, really consider the altMBA.)

From Now On

Up to this point I have stuff I’ve been learning and creating which isn’t visible. I want to change this.

For the past year I’ve had this image on my phone home screen to remind me. It’s taken from What To Do When It’s Your Turn which is a different kind of book, designed to be given to those you care about who want to change the world in some way.

You need to Ship

I still wasn’t sure what was my thing though.

There are two books that have helped me to gain me clarity on this.

The Stoic Creative by Scott Perry blends very well the themes that we are all creative, and that we all have good work in us which it’s our duty to put it out into the world.

Body of Work by Pamela Slim is another.

I’ll be writing up my book notes soon.

I’ve noticed that my unique areas of expertise are mental health and technology. My father, a kind and talented man, died from suicide when he was only thirty-seven years old and I was four. I’ve also learned about mental health while supporting other family members, and my mood drops if I’m not enjoying my job. I’ve realised I have the opportunity to share what I’ve learned, which I hope will help.

This blog is the first part in my journey of sharing this experience, and shipping the change I seek to make.