24 March, 2011

New environments (mentally) as it were... (a.k.a. something old, something new)

Since my last update made a little over a month and a half ago, much has changed.  I've accepted a position as Lead Software Engineer for Yorn, LLC located in Conshohocken, PA.  I haven't abandoned my prior position with the publishing house in NYC, merely time-shifted those hours elsewhere.  Taking this new venture (on top of my previous work, plus the other tech-startup of which I'm a co-founder, Ecquire has proven to be a necessity for my sanity.

Working primarily for the past many years as the sole Software Engineer for a half dozen magazines in a Django/Python/Javascript/CSS/HTML/FreeBSD Unix environment whilst also wearing the SysAdmin hat has been...  draining.  This wasn't due to having nothing to do, this was more to do with having very little room for innovation as the end product wasn't the new SaaS website or Outlook plugin, it was simply repetition with the only real variances being that as dictated by wet-behind the ears designers and graphic artists whose concerns about a given site was more about look than UX.  Don't get me wrong, some of the designs have been gorgeous, but not without the pendantic whining common with individuals who only knowing Adobe Photoshop aren't happy when you explain to them that there is a different methodology at work in producing like-layouts im a web framework.

Either way, back on topic.  I feel for the first time in quite a while that not only am I solving real problems that pertain to a large scale of individuals and companies (as opposed to readership by fashion and/or tattooing enthusiasts) but I am finally in a position in which I have a cohort in crime, a partner, a colleague. Best of all, he's brilliant.  A proper individual for the field, something when I've been trying to find for ages.  A PhD in computer science and a quarter century in the field along with all of the traditionally odd hobbies and sense of humour found more commonly in those with very intellectual professions.  Even though we've only met face to face on three occasions, we've shared many phone calls and Skype sessions whilst working out our designs and product development and it has simply been a breath of fresh air for me.  I have someone off of whom I can bounce complex ideas knowing full well that I'm understood, as well as presenting me the opportunity to expand my own learning horizons.

Excitement stirs ones involvement in a given project and considering that this is what has (and is) happening to me, it is paying off in not only a clearer mind and what I believe are more robust ideas emminating from my thoughts but it has reduced my stress allowing me to be more productive all around whether in the publishing work, my own startup and more importantly in my family life.  It all comes back to ensuring that whatever one does, they need to sometimes step of a comfort zone in pursuit of that which provides incentive and drive in ones given interests and/or profession(s).  I was too conservative earlier on in my professional career and I believe I would've benefited greatly had I stepped out of my cocoon years earlier rather than (as most introverted engineering types do) not think highly enough of myself to be worth more than an abysmal income and working environments to which I was subjected for over seven years.

Times have changed and the future is looking brighter and brighter.  Ecquire & Yorn have paved the way to a better future.  I stepped past my initial nervous/worried leanings and jumped into the world of proper tech startups finding that the grass truly has shown to indeed be greener on the other side.  Now, onto another exciting and challenging day of practising my craft.