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WIIFM in Birmingham?

20 January 2008

On a personal note, I was recently asked why I do some of what I do.  In other words, what’s in it for me?  Even though I’ve moved on from TechBirmingham, I continue to do extra-curricular activities ’round town.  I’m quietly (as much as possible) working on my next endeavor — leading a new software company aimed at solving a major pain found in the healthcare industry.  But, I’m also involved in other activities:

  • Blogging…
    • I first started with this blog about Birmingham, done for the purpose of adding my voice to the choir – I’ve been blessed to be picked up on many blogrolls and one of two local bloggers featured on the MSNBC site for Birmingham
    • I started the blog the day (or so) after I bought my Motorola Q phone – after Verizon couldn’t help me resolve a serious problem, I figured it out on my own and published my solution… the post continues to garner *the most* attention on the site.  I continue to post my observations about owning and using the phone (which I still love using after almost 2 years).
    • Beginning to pull pieces together for a book concept, using my thoughts/views about entrepreneurship.  It can be found in the Genexodus blog, also home for my consulting activities.  I’m loosely structuring it like the Bible, in the sense that it will have a narrative story organized by chapter and verse; each blog entry uses that narrative as the introduction before diving into the lesson.
    • My most recent blogging project is the OneBHAM project, featuring one interesting person from around the Birmingham region each day.  While I started with people I knew personally, now I’m enjoying finding new and interesting biographies for other individuals.  Have YOU been featured yet?  If not, then submit your details today!
    • This started with a suggestion from a friend suggesting that I consider running a StartupWeekend here in Birmingham.  After attempting to align our efforts with Andrew Hyde (the effort’s founder), we received an email in early September from him stating We have an Atlanta date, an New Orleans date and now a Birmingham date.  Too much south?  Who knows.  Seeing no reason to fuss with a brash young kid from clear across the country, we struck out on our own and developed the “Birmingham model” of his effort. The BBJ reported about our weekly meetings at the Up Top bar in Vestavia as  we planned our own event for November.  Alabama Public Television even agreed to shoot a documentary about it (just broadcast this past Friday <hurrah, it was awesome!>).  We got several key sponsors and paid for loads of the costs out of our own pockets, but the event was very rewarding and we plan on doing it again this spring.
    • Oh yes, I’m blogging about the project as well.
    • Whereas the StartupWeekend founder has focused on equity in the startups and community-building, we have (so far) forgone equity, have other revenue streams in mind, and will rely on TechBirmingham for continuing to strengthen the tech startup ecosystem.
  • Teaching at Samford University
    • I was lucky enough to be asked by the METRO Adult Evening Undergraduate program to teach “Introduction to Computing” last term and now repeat it for a new group of students.  Teaching the content to others is nothing new to me, but developing a syllabus and rubric is a new experience.
  • Working with the Chamber’s “Virtual Newsroom” for helping promote Birmingham and Alabama’s positive stories to the national and international press – resource for technology matters
  • Joining a management consultancy team with a few other transplants.
  • Advising André Natta on The Terminal project – it’s been almost a year after launch and he’s cranking away at full speed, doing just fine.
  • And, lastly, staying connected with the great people across Birmingham:
    • TechBirmingham and its TechMixers… the largest regular gatherings of tech professionals in Alabama, if not the entire southeast (personal opinion)
    • Birmingham Venture Club… the single best place to meet the many local venture capitalists and the service providers who are best able to help people in their entrepreneurial efforts
    • Internet Professionals of Alabama [IPSA]… a group dedicated to Internet development here in Birmingham
    • Birmingham UX Group… this is an informal group of user experience folk which I’ve been following online and would love to have the time to join at one of their in-person meetings
    • Magic City FLICKR group… I don’t have nearly enough time to take all the photos I’d love to, but it’s great to share mine and (more importantly) see all the great shots from the dedicated photographers across the region
    • Plenty of meals and coffee with individuals looking to embark on entrepreneurial endeavors, making career changes, considering MBA programs, and even moving to Birmingham from Atlanta.

Now, for the real motivation for this post.  I was encouraged by marketing über-guru Seth Godin‘s latest blog posting about passionate workers:

“The passionate worker is busy blogging on vacation… because posting that thought and seeing the feedback it generates is actually more fun than sitting on the beach for another hour. The passionate worker tweaks a site design after dinner because, hey, it’s a lot more fun than watching TV.”

That’s me.  Right this moment I’m blogging in the middle of the night with the television on and the family asleep.  Most nights, however, I’m researching details for my new company… or working with my developers at CircleSource… or tweaking software specifications and improving our user interface.  Then, I came across a post on Tim Ferris’ blog about being *too passionate* about work.  After writing all that I do above, maybe it’s time to take some of his blog’s comments to heart.  I dunno.

Here’s hoping you find your passion in work.  I’ve found mine, right here in Birmingham.

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