I Was Asked What I've Been Doing. So Here You Go!

I struggled on what should be included in this post.  A part of me thinks having a veil over personal feelings about things that I'm doing are a good thing.  But that's the opposite of transparency, and I do want to take as many people on the wild ride with me as possible. A while back my buddy Frank said my next blog post should be about what I'm doing. It wasn't until then that I realized from the outside (especially outside of Omaha), what I do, what my goals are, and my what daily routine is may seem a little odd, if not completely invisible.

So what do I do? I balance my time between being the developer of DispatchThis, a software as a service company, and doing "anything else".

And when I say anything, that's really what it means.

I left my "real job" in November, and it seems almost six months later I'm just starting to get into the flow of the world I threw myself into. Making the contacts, proving myself through local projects, all those kinds of things required to be independent, but not homeless.

I've taken on some neat things since November. From custom Wordpress stuff, to building Facebook applications. Some neat apps integrating with 3rd party APIs and generally turning people's ideas into reality. Honestly, there's very little I can complain about when it comes to the work that I do. I have the city of Omaha and my friends here to thank for all of it.  From pushing me into this direction (albeit I was kicking and screaming the whole way), to the references and endorsements.

I don't spend time in one place for too long.  You can generally find me working from what I dub "the office", my favorite coffee shop, Caffeine Dreams.  On Tuesdays I work from @rahulgupta's house.  Other days you may find me at The Halo Institute or Graffiti Tracker's office.  Though I do have a "home office" setup, I almost never work from there.  Why would I want to when there's so many other options to be a part of the community and meet cool people while I do cool things?  I love this part of my life.  I considered "getting out of the cube" symbolic, but I feel so much more alive.  I can't recommend enough that people find a way to get out of the corporate office and into the world.  People say the "real world" is having a stuffy job in an office building, but to me the real world is just the opposite.  I love that I have the opportunity to live in this world.

Though there's more to the story. There's something far more important to me than all of this, and that's the elusive Mysterious Dottie.

I'll be blunt and say Mysterious Dottie is the most important thing in the world to me. It's that thing when I wake up every morning I say "what do I have to do today in order to give this to the world?" And one of the things I have to do is be able to continue doing the work I'm doing now, and not getting a "real job".

Though simple math says otherwise.  From me miss-estimating the scope of projects (therefore getting underpaid), to clients flat out not being able to pay, I can't say I've been hugely successful. I'm not convinced with the amount I've been charging clients I can afford to continue on this path. On the flip side, if I don't It's really the death toll for Mysterious Dottie. So things like increasing what I charge and trying to pick up larger projects are all things I'm trying to do not for myself, but because I feel that passionate about getting this out to the world.

I feel I can be honest and filter out all the butterflies and rainbows and tell you that the story of Mysterious Dottie has not been an easy one. There is not a day that goes by where I don't completely doubt myself, doubt any execution success, and doubt the direction I've taken. But I'm so determined to do everything I can to get this fucker launched that I put it all aside and fight through all of that.

Why the doubt? I'm at a different level of emotional investment than anyone else who have required parts to play. I care about every piece of the puzzle, and to others it's just another project on their plate.  And generally as far as priority it's quite far down on said plate.  It's very casual to everyone but me. But to me it's my all or nothing.

I've told myself that if I don't launch the product by fall then that's the end for it, and me. If it isn't going to be what I hoped for it, then I have to give up that dream and be more rational. I'll get a real job, I'll be responsible, and I'll say I did everything I could to make it come true, but failed. But there is no plan B, there is no second chance. This is that thing I've worked up to my whole life, and if I don't see it through, then I'll pat myself on the back for taking the risk but realize that time in my life is over.

That being said: That's the last thing I want to happen. But I also realize it's probably the most likely scenario. Every piece of the puzzle that has to come together for success has in some way come disjointed. It's taken far too long for far too little progress and at this rate by fall I'll be nowhere near a completed project. Also the fall deadline was originally due to TechCrunch50, a conference to allow new companies to launch. That's the reason for the code name and the stealth mode, it's a TC50 requirement. However it seems as TC50 will not be existing this year, and I have no other launch vehicle.

So that's that. What my life has consisted of. Don't get me wrong, I consider myself one of the luckiest people ever to be able to take this path. But at the same time I worry every day that I'll never be able to realize my potential with it all. So if this post sounds like I'm venting, or I'm down... well, maybe. There are ups and downs to everything and everyone. But more so I think i've been quiet, and people have asked, so I think it's fair to let people know what I've been up to.  Cross your fingers and let's see what happens!

(btw this post was completely composed using my iPad!)

Gabe Kangas

Apr 28, 2010