How I Met My Dream Job, Left It, And Why I’m Returning To Build Products And Services

Something I heard recently seems appropriate right about now:

“What’s the worst time to look for a job? When you need one.”
– (one of the presenters at CodeMash, 2014)

There, And Back Again

In 2010, I stumbled my way in to a job that would change my life forever. A friend and former coworker handed me a contract to work with him in a Ruby on Rails app. I fell over myself with delight and plopped down in to an idea that would provide me with 2 years of happiness, struggle, destroying my bank accounts and rebuilding them. The independent life had finally found me, and I began to grow in ways that I never expected or intended, as a developer and entrepreneur. It was in this time that I jumped in to the light of the Backbone scene, screencasting and more. It was a great time for me and my career, setting seeds that are still growing today!

Then in January of 2013, I left a 2 year life of independence for my dream job – a job I had thought about and wanted for many years at this point. I joined Telerik as a developer advocate for Kendo UI and other related and cross-platform tools (i.e. web and mobile web dev stuff).

2013 was truly one of the most amazing years of work for me, with Telerik and Kendo UI. I was able to live my dream of being a developer advocate, of getting paid to blog, write articles, build sample projects and help other people be awesome at their job. I was also part of helping one amazing company with a tremendously exciting and diverse set of products and services. I’ve seen new services released, new products made available and helped to shape new features and capabilities across several different products and services. I’ve flown halfway around the world, multiple times, marking the first time in my life that I’ve had a passport and have been outside of the U.S. I’ve met more amazing people than I thought possible, spoken as some outstanding conferences and user groups, and worked with a team that is unparalleled in talent and motivation.

But in spite of this amazing year, it is time for me to go. January 31st, 2014 will be my final day of work with Telerik.

The End Of A (Rather Short) Era

It was a short, but amazing ride. I’m proud of the work I did, the results of my efforts and the direction that I saw the company moving. I intend to continue advocating for Telerik and the teams, products and services that I worked for, just not as an employee. I went in to this job with a passion for the products and services that Telerik provides, and my time here has only served to increase the love of what this company is producing. I am not over-exagerating my experience and enjoyment of working at Telerik at all. No job is perfect, mind you. Everyone has to do the dishes now and then. But I have never worked for a better company or a better team, than Telerik and Kendo UI. If you ever have the opportunity to work for Telerik, I will tell you to take it.

For me, though… well, I have the entrepreneurial spirit in me. I have this insatiable desire to do the work that I am doing now – the blogging, the screencasts, the sample projects and customer facing support. I love it all. I will continue doing it – but I’ll be doing it for myself instead of another company. This is ultimately what is driving me back to the life of an independent and entrepreneurial career – the realization that my dream job as a developer advocate is no longer the dream I maintain. I’ve tasted that sense of struggle, accomplishment, freedom, sacrifice and reward before. For 2 solid years prior to my joining Telerik, I had some of the most challenging and rewarding work in my life. And it is this challenge that calls me back.

2014: A Year Of Rebirth

With 2014 no longer being about my involvement with Telerik, I will be better able to focus on my own products and services. My company, Muted Solutions, LLC, will be reborn and will build upon the success that I have already enjoyed as an independent developer and entrepreneur. This year will be a rebirth for me, personally and professionally. I will be rebuilding momentum in producing screencasts for WatchMeCode. I’ll be finally finishing my Backbone Plugins ebook. I’ll be continuing to build and improve my podcast audio hosting service at SignalLeaf. And I will be building upon the success of all these things to bootstrap and create a profitable business, comprised of products and services when possible, and facilitated by consulting and related services when needed.

My 2014 Game Plan

Like so many others that are doing amazing things, I’m starting things out with a rough idea of a plan. Keeping in mind that “plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”, I am looking more at goals for the year, and back-filling plans to match the reality of my situation while still accomplishing my goals. Of course, my most immediate concern and goal is to maintain an income that supports my family. Without that financial goal, nothing else matters. So it’s from that goal – the income I need – that I build and share my other goals and objectives, relating to the products and services that I am offering.

For Screencasts

2013 saw the vast majority of my screencasts produced for Telerik, and rightfully so. 2014, though, will see me rebuild momentum for WatchMeCode starting with Episode 14: The Registry Pattern. My goal is to release a minimum of 18 screencasts this year. That’s 1 a month for 6 months, and 2 a month after that. If you want to stay up to date with my screencasts and get discounts on episodes (as well as other things that I’m working on), sign up for my mailing list below this post.

Registry pattern

For eBooks

I’m finally going to finish my Building Backbone Plugins eBook. This one has sat for too long, and I need to get it off my plate. The goal is to have the chapters complete by the end of January, and to have the book edited by the end of February.

There are two additional books that I’ll be writing in 2014, as well. The first of which is my intro guide to podcasting, for SignalLeaf. I’ve already started it, and I don’t have an exact date in mind to finish it. I will be continuing to work on i throughout the year, though. The second book will be another technical / code book, either covering MarionetteJS or Arduino + JavaScript. I am not sure, yet. The plan for this one (which ever it will be) is to do it in the second half of 2014.

NewImage NewImage

For SignalLeaf

SignalLeaf is still small, but is growing. I’m hosting a fair number of podcasts at this point, and serve up several thousand listens per week. I plan to continue growing and completing SiganlLeaf’s feature set in 2014, with the goal of profitability by the end of the year. This is a long term investment for me, and I plan to some day be able to use SignalLeaf as a primary source of income (though not the only source).

If you’re looking for a podcast audio host, check out SignalLeaf. I’m not the fanciest in town (yet), but I’m certainly providing the most personal service of any host out there. I stay in contact with every one of the podcasts that I host, at this point, to ensure they are getting everything they need to get their episodes posted.

Signalleaf hosting ad

For Consulting

Lastly, I will be doing a limited amount of consulting. Last time I was doing indy work (just prior to joining Telerik), my primary hours were spent doing consulting and training services. This time around, I’ll be focusing more on products and services while limiting my consulting to 25 hours week (max – not minimum). I already have a client lined up to cover this amount of time, for the first 6 months at least. So if you’re looking for Backbone / Marionette consulting / training … sorry, you’ll have to wait your turn! 🙂 But rest assured that at some point in the future, I will be available again. And hey, it’s not going to hurt to ask! 😀

A New… or… Pre-Owned? Journey

None of this work is new to me at this point, which is a comfort to me right now. I’ve done this before. I know I can do it again. I have plans, I have backup plans, I have fallbacks to the backups. But this is still a new journey to me, in my focus on products and services. I hope to become a little more transparent in this journey, as I figure out what my business looks like and what my income and sales look like as well.

So join me in my re-biirth as an independent, and walk with me down the path of building and growing these products and services and sign up for my mailing list, below! You’ll be kept up to date with blog posts, discounts on services and products, screencast releases, and everything else i’m doing. It’s going to be a fun and exciting journey. 🙂

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