0x21 Today: Reflecting On Things Past

So I turn 0x21 today. That’s 33 for those of you who prefer boring old base 10 numbering.

Birthdays are a good time to reflect on the years that have gone before, and to take stock of where you are in the continuum of life. It’s a gentle reminder that your life is indeed finite (for now!) and that time is passing even when you’re not really paying attention. Let’s do a quick stocktake before musing on what to do next…

The Good

I have much to be thankful for. Pretty much everything is going well.

I’m debt free, and have a decent house that I share with a lovely lady I probably don’t deserve. I love her, and for some silly reason she appears to love me too. Wonders never cease.

I’ve got a job most of the time, which as a contractor is pretty awesome. It’s mostly interesting, and the pay is good.

I’m healthy and rarely get sick. That’s probably the best bit.

The Bad

I lost a close friend this year, which sucks, but it’s inevitable, I suppose. Hopefully the next time won’t be for many years. All you people stay healthy and out of trouble, ok?

My left knee twinges a bit when I run, probably a nagging reminder that I shouldn’t attempt to slide into home base when playing softball on the beach. It’s amazing how fast you stop when you use your knee as an anchor in the sand.

There’s a bit more grey hair, but it’s in the beard that I don’t have any more, and at my temples, which makes me look all distinguished and knowledgeable, so that’s actually a good thing. Hah! Fooled you!

So really, there isn’t much bad stuff. Yay me! I rock!

The Ugly

Ok, I’m never going to be an underwear model. It’s highly unlikely, and getting less likely with each gradual slowing of the metabolism.

Nor will I be a rockstar, what with the not playing a musical instrument any more. Let’s be honest, that dream died when you chose to study engineering instead of ringing that agent guy you met after a gig. It was 15 years ago. Move on. Besides, those guys became Human Nature, so really, you dodged a bullet there.

Nope, you’re good with computers, so best to stick at that. You’re not too bad at the management thing either, so that’s helpful. Your staff don’t hate you, anyway, so you’re above average.

The Future

Ah yes, the future. Where to from here?

Tracking the same way as I have been would seem the most logical course. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

Well yeah, except there is a bit of brokenness. What I do now doesn’t scale well, unless human cloning progresses a great deal and my clones are enough like me to do my bidding but not enough like me to resent it and mutiny.

Right now, I can only be helping one client at a time. Billing by the hour isn’t a very efficient way of doing business, but that’s how my clients prefer to operate. That’s professional services for you, I suppose. The only way to scale it would be to hire a bunch of people and have them work for me, and take a cut of their hourly rate. Which is exactly the same as every other PS firm out there. Yawn.

But building a product, now there’s something more tangible and fun. It appeals to the engineer in me: build something to solve a problem. It’s somehow more rewarding to be able to point at something and say “I built that”, rather than point at a company and say “I helped them to reduce time to market and TCO on their infrastructure”. Just like every other consultant out there. Again, yawn.

And building products is something I’ve been doing for years. I’ve just never gotten paid for it, because I’ve given them away for free.

So I reckon I’ll give the selling of products a good hard go in the next year. I’m in the best position to do it that I’ve ever been, and it’s worth a go. If I don’t, I’ll always regret not really trying. The worst that can happen is that it won’t work and I’ll end up back where I started, which, as we’ve just established, is a pretty awesome place to be.

Stay tuned for more details on the project as it gathers steam.

What do you reckon? Am I insane to try this, or is it worth a go? Leave a note in the comments.

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