173 FS Pivoting and Making Potential New Career Moves

00:00 0:54:22
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00:57 - Jonathan’s Career Path Background and Transitions

06:21 - Chuck’s Crossroad

08:16 - Reuven’s Crossroad: Development => Training

11:35 - How do people recognize that they need a change? (Transitioning)

23:00 - How do you make THE decision and know that it’s the right decision?

  • Lightbulb Moment
  • Passion

33:16 - Scheduled Self-Evaluation

35:42 - The Identity Crisis Picks

Startups For The Rest Of Us Episode #225: Moving on From Auditshark (Reuven)Remarq (Jonathan)RCA Outdoor Digital HDTV VHF UHF Yagi Type Antenna (Chuck)TV Fool (Chuck)


**[This episode is sponsored by Hired.com. Hired.com is offering a new freelancing and contracting offering. They have multiple companies that will provide you with contract opportunities. They cover all the tracking, reporting and billing for you, they handle all the collections and prefund your paycheck, they offer legal and accounting and tax support, and they’ll give you a $2,000 when you’ve been on a contract for 90 days. But with this link, they’ll double it to $4,000 instead. Go sign up at Hired.com/freelancersshow]****CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to episode 173 of the Freelancers’ Show. This week on the panel we have Jonathan Stark. JONATHAN: Hello. CHUCK: Reuven Lerner. REUVEN: Hi everyone. CHUCK: I’m Charles Max would from Devchat.tv and this week we're going to be talking about evaluating yourself, evaluating your business and then possibly reinventing or changing directions. Jonathan kind of brought this up a couple weeks ago when we did an episode about what you should do on a regular basis. Eric was talking about – that he takes time every three months or so to kind of evaluate where he's at and where he wants to go from there. And Jonathan recommended that we keep in our back pocket a topic of reinventing yourself to move your business forward. I'm kind of curious – have you done this before Jonathan? JONATHAN: Yes, I've done it probably five or six times. CHUCK: Oh, we got – you're the guest this week. JONATHAN: Okay REUVEN: And how it how long a time period? JONATHAN: Since 2001 or so. So last fourteen or fifteen years. CHUCK: So your career path looks like everyone else's in development right? Every two years they change jobs? JONATHAN: Sort of. It's weird; in my mind it's kind of like a nautilus shell where just I divert from what I'm currently doing into a deeper thing. There’ve been some more drastic changes from time to time but I’ve done it many times so when I think about it, I went from – my first real job ever, it was music school. I was doing the rock star thing which means I was waiting on tables and eventually got a real job to pay real bills when I got to a certain age. And that job was doing computer stuff at Staples – Staples Office Supply Headquarters which is near where I live. And I was doing graphic design in QuarkXPress way, way, way back on those jelly iMacs. CHUCK: I remember those. JONATHAN:**Yeah. I just – one thing led to another and I was doing that. It was like through a placement agency. Eventually I got hired there and eventually I was like, “This is – there's no system here whatsoever and I need an access database.” So that it [inaudible] familiar with access database for doing mailing lists for my band. And the people there were like, “We don't have access but we have this thing called file maker,” which is really easy database thing, really easy to use database software so I created this thing. It was a big hit. I started doing FileMaker work there full time. So I transitioned from graphic design to database stuff. It's kind of – it's not your database. It's more like application development; really, really light easy application development. So I did that for a while and I really liked it. So I quite there and I went to a company and I served as a junior developer doing FileMaker development as a consultant. And I did that and worked my way up at that company and ended up managing the place. Left there when I had a falling out of – I didn’t know I have a falling out. I was like I didn't like that rebelling by the hour and I wanted to change the way we did that. The boss was like, “I don’t know how to pull that off,” so I was like, “That's cool, but I'm going to go solo.” So I went solo and right around that time I was really getting into the web. So I went from FileMaker then I went to – I wanted to start doing web stuff but I had a pretty good name for myself; I have a good reputation for myself in the FileMaker community, so didn't want to just go jump straight to web. I want it to be – pull my audience with me. So I started doing FileMaker web stuff and projects that were specifically had both components. And that was kind predicated on the release of our some software that FileMaker announced at the time that I was like, “Perfect timing.” I'm going to go solo. I wanted to keep doing FileMaker stuff, want to keep the FileMaker clients but I want to focus on this particular aspect of this particular niche so I was really, really focused down. And that went great and over time it felt like I exhausted that industry or that small pond – it was a really small pond. And I felt like I exhausted it so I dropped the FileMaker stuff and I just did web stuff for maybe a year. And I was like PHP, MySQL type stuff. This is before Rails; it was – there are a couple of PHP frameworks but it was mostly just generic web stuff. Really those kind of a not great period. It was okay but it was kind of boring. And then all the sudden 2007 rolls around and Steve Jobs comes onstage and announces the iPhone. And I was like, “That's what I'm doing from now on.” So I went from doing just generic web development to doing mobile web and just one thing led to another. And once I was in the mobile web. I was doing dev all the time, and then after a while I was like, “You know what, dev is really – it's really risky, it's stressful.” I just want to manage dev teams or I just want to give them advice about – strategically, what my clients should do on mobile. So I just transitioned from doing actual dev work in mobile to being a mobile strategists and that's what I'm doing now. That’s probably a long answer to the question but that's the list of the transitions. Once becoming an adult and doing a real job, that's the list of transitions. You can see how they're all related but at least in and two of those situations – my motivational – something that happened in the outside world that I immediately recognized as an opportunity that mapped with the subconscious goals or barely conscious goals of what I wanted to do next in my life. So I think it would be a good thing to do to actually put that on your calendar. Maybe every year or two, maybe it’s a new year's eve and a new year's day type of thing, you look at your business from the previous year and you say, “You know, what did I hate? What do I hate about my job? What do I love about my job and how do I do more of the love stuff and less of the hate stuff?”**CHUCK:**Yeah. I have to say, I'm kind of at this place and I don't know how deeply I want to go into this, but the consulting be it hourly – I guess contracting is a better term for it. So having these contracts with clients and – I brought this up before. It's just I don't really super enjoy it and there are certain aspects of the podcasts and other areas of interest that I really do enjoy but part of me is – loathe a little bit to let go of some of these things. I do enjoy writing code but I don't necessarily want that to be how I make my money. [Chuckles]**JONATHAN: Yeah, it had this identity crisis factor. CHUCK: Right, and so I've got a couple of things going on. I did Angular Remote Conf just last week and it was a resounding success. I really enjoyed it and I think there are certain aspects of that that I could just take on and move ahead with so I can either put on remote conferences for other folks or help people organize theirs, or I could keep putting them on for coders, and any of those are interesting to me. Or I could be the – I've also had a few people come to me and say, “Hey, you've got a good relationship with your sponsors; could you help me find advertisers?” and I've had some pretty good success with that and that's also very rewarding. And then finally the other thing is is I'm having the same experience that you mentioned with the iPhone with the Apple TV. It just seems like there are so many opportunities coming out for that and I think that industry is ready to be disrupted and I'd like to be in the middle of that. And so for me it's, “Okay, how do I, A – let go of this identity that I have as a developer and just accept the fact that it's not going to be what I'm doing all the time, and how do I evaluate which one is the one that I want to do?” REUVEN: Chuck, I could just chime in here for Jonathan’s answers to say I have been going through a similar process because in the last few years, I have mentioned in the podcast many times and we've spoken privately – I'm moving more and more – less and less into doing data development for people and more and more during training. And the companies said to me, “Wow, yeah.” What’s really important to us – one of these is really important to us is that you're actually a real developer in the field there and you're not just coming in and teaching. But of course if I'm teaching a lot then I wonder if there is a server-imposter syndrome thought. And I basically stop myself from thinking about this, worrying about this for a few reasons. First of all, I feel like when I'm teaching, I'm doing a lot of live coding and I’m getting a lot of questions from people. And that running those juices and getting them going. The second thing is I really like the fact that I can now work on coding project that I define and I the scope for, I set the timetable for and I'm much less under the thumb of clients and their deadlines. Now I'm the crazy client; it's not my crazy clients who are the crazy clients. And I find that – once I started to switch my thinking in that direction, I found it to be very liberating. JONATHAN:**Yeah I was going to say something very similar which is there's a big difference between coding for money ad coding not for money. So the imposter syndrome thing that Reuven just mentioned, I get that a lot as well. I have a similar thing where it's like one of my differentiators is that I know how to write this stuff so I know how to talk to developers and I know how stuff is feasible and what step is not feasible. And having keeping up to date with the current trends in the mobile web and elsewhere mobile is really important and to just read a [inaudible] report about it doesn't count because there's a lot of [inaudible] there. Around stuff like this because people just – they use your terms and they just don't get it. But I stay current on that stuff by, exactly what you just said, by teaching and doing fun side projects. And another thing that give you hope, Charles, is that it's happened to me pretty much every time relatively quickly. I think without exception it's fair to say that pretty much every time. Once I've decided to make a switch, you're still going to have old clients that are going to come back to you for more of what you did for them before. So it's not like – you're not going to make a hard stop unless you – you don't have to make a hard stop. But what you'll find, for me, almost immediately like three or six months in, the stuff you didn't like before you can't stand anymore. Like you never want to do another dead project – whatever the old thing is, you don't want to do it ever again. You're so done with it; you get this fun new thing that's so exciting.**CHUCK:**Yeah, that's pretty much where I'm at now. And it's funny because – I hope my clients are listening. I don't think they are, but seriously that's where I'm at. I'm just like I really, really super don't want to do this. It's excruciating for me. I have to do it.  [Crosstalk]**REUVEN: Unfortunately, that'll probably come through at some point in some way or another with your clients. CHUCK: I know. REUVEN: Because there's a limit as to how much – they have plenty of employees are coming in grit their teeth and say, “Well, I’ll do this because this is a job,” but if they're hiring you as an expert – people say to me all the time, “We love the fact you're so enthusiastic about what you do,” and I really do love what I do. And I think that that is expected; even if it's unfair it's expected to align with expertise. CHUCK: Yeah. So let's back up just a little bit because I think we've all kind of gotten to that place where it's like, “Okay, I got to change something.” So let's talk about how do people get there, how people recognize the need to change and then we can talk about the process of making that change, making that career move. JONATHAN: Reuven, how did it happen with you at the training stuff? REUVEN: It happened very gradually. So basically I have been doing training for nearly twenty years. Basically, this story is that I was working in New York; I was working for Time Warner there and I told them I was going to be moving to Israel. And they said, “Oh well, what are you going to do?” And I said, “I’m going to – thinking of doing consulting.” And they said, “Great! We’ll be your first client.” So I had a very smooth transition coming to Israel. It was like the best deal ever and they were super nice to me. And while I was at Time Warner, I've already given a whole lot of presentations in my work group there – two technical people and nontechnical people that different stuff I was doing. And so when I got to Israel, I started doing consulting here for different companies also when they would say, “Hey, we want to train our group; would you mind doing that?” And I thought, “Oh yeah, that's the natural extension of it.” But it was really probably – I guess that's six years ago then I went to a training company here in Israel and I said, “You know, I'd like to do this; I’d like to help you out with it.” And at first it started slowly. It was one training course every two months, one every three months. And then they went through some reorganization and they basically start filling up my time. I guess it’s about a year or two ago; probably about two years ago. And it was just getting crazy. Where I was getting filled up six month in advance. And at some point I realized, “I’m really enjoying this,” and there’s clearly a demand for it. Why don’t I just focus on doing this instead, rather than driving myself crazy with deadlines and scope issues on and on and on? It was probably about 18 months ago at the same time I left this training company and returned to being independent for the training, and I decided to focus mostly on that. So far, I’m just super-duper happy. Really, it’s been good for business, good feelings. I still have, here and there, some development stuff I'm doing but the closest to that on a day to day basis, is probably some - like I’m the part-time CTO of a company in Chicago even if they're not doing day to day development but it was very gradual. And it was only me realizing it's okay; I don't need to be ashamed of doing the training. I don't need to myself to someone by being a coder every single day for someone else for pay. JONATHAN:**It is weird though because you feel like – I did a similar transition and I was like there’s something about being somebody who knows how to code. It’s like – at first it was the nerdiest thing ever. When I was a little kid, it was embarrassing. It was like math team, chess team, computers team. It was just so lame. Somewhere in the intervening thirty five years it became incredibly cool. And you go someplace and you told somebody you're like an iOS developer, you're a web developer and everybody wanted to ask you questions, everybody wanted to pitch you an idea. You're like a rock star kind of not – but it was – you're cool, like all of a sudden you're cool and we all know we're not cool. So it's so great when somebody is like [laughter], you know what I mean? It’s so great when somebody’s like, “Dude, you're cool,” but if you switch over to ‘I am a trainer’ or ‘I'm a strategist’ or ‘I'm a business processes automation specialist’, all of a sudden it sounds really dull and you’re like, “Can I be that? Can I go back –,” you know, not back but it is a weird identity thing which I think –. The thing you're describing Chuck is a fairly –. Let me ask you – is it a huge leap or are you – it’s not a huge leap? Do you see a thread?**CHUCK: Yeah, so the thing is is that I've created this identity and persona around my ability to be a coder. And it's not just – whether I'm working on somebody else's stuff or my own stuff, that's pretty much irrelevant to that persona. But the issue is is that if I make myself an ad representative to these people who I have a relationships with, or if I make myself to the online conference guy, then I move away from that persona a little bit and I feel like I've cultivated that not just in my head but with the audiences of the other podcasts. And what I'm coming to realize after talking to him for a while is they really don't care. They get the great content every week and I generally sound like I know what I'm talking about because, well, some of the time I do. So overall, it doesn't matter beyond that. It doesn't matter whether I identify as a coder or not or whether I am the top tech dog on every show which I usually I am not, actually. And that's the thing is like, okay, so then am I selling out by going after something that I enjoy better and makes me more money? REUVEN: Chuck, I mentioned this to you last night when we were talking so I’ll share it with everyone now. It sounds like –. CHUCK:**Everybody knows how insecure I am now. [Laughter]**REUVEN: Well, you can say that. No, this process sounds – it echoes so much what you hear in tech companies, about programmers hitting a ceiling where they have to move into management, right? And everyone's always like, “I don't want to do that; I want to keep coding.” And the company basically says, “Well, if you want to make more money, if you wanted more value to the company, then you're going to have to move into management of some sort. So companies do all these funny things that they have a technical track in addition to a management track and on and on. CHUCK: Yup. I work for one of those companies. Right, and it sounds like we are in our careers hitting the same thing; we just don't have a big company telling us to do it. Now you can in some cases – continue doing the coding and making the money, having the satisfaction – there are people who will do that. But maybe it's also just – I just don't know if I want to be spending time having someone give me specifications and writing the code for them every single day. In fact, I’m increasingly convinced I don't –. CHUCK: I hate that. REUVEN: Right, but when I write code for myself, whether it’s solving problems, business problems and other stuff then it’s super fun. And when people challenge me in my courses and they're like, “How do I do X, Y, Z?” and I go ‘hm’ and then I think and think and think and I just get that the great rush that you get from coding and it's in front of an audience and then I feel like, “Okay, I have proven myself. I'm not as bad as they might have thought.”  But I don't need on the day to day basis anymore and I think it reflects the business needs as much as anything else in in my career. CHUCK: Yup. Well the other thing is is that – so I'm going to take this because for me, seeing the need for this transition comes in from basically –. So I started podcasting because I like talking about programming. I started to make that transition while I was still making job moves, while I was still working for companies. And then eventually I went freelance, and then the podcasting really started taking off. And the more I start doing it – the podcasts are still exciting for me. I still enjoy doing them a lot. And so I want to make them much more of the focus of what I'm doing and my coding benefits from the shows in the shows benefit from my coding experience growing. And so I'm realizing – and this is why transitioned into coding from running tech support and why I went into tech support from doing server sys admin work, is that I started doing the other stuff and I really enjoyed it and so I did it more and more and I enjoyed it more and more, and that's where I am with the podcasts and some of the other things. And so the opportunities presented by the remote conferences or doing the advertising and selling is that I get that personal interaction that I enjoy from the podcasts and I can extend that into the other areas because it dovetails nicely there and it makes the podcast my business and I can make it a focus which is what I want to do. And so what I'm driving at is is that every time I've made this transition is this looks really exciting. I start digging into it and it becomes very exciting, it becomes the thing that I want to do and so I move into it and do it. But making this particular transition is a little bit trickier because in this case it's my business. It's not just, “Oh, I'm just going to go find a job where they going to pay me to do the other thing,” which has been pretty much every other time. And so it's like, okay, so do I get in there now and tell people ‘okay I'm a podcaster first and a programmer second’, and does that affect the credibility on the shows. And then the other thing is, can I do this and not put my family and my livelihood at risk? And I think most of this is actually in my head. I think, honestly, the answer to both of those is no, it's not going to affect credibility and yes your family's going to be better off if you do it. JONATHAN: I think you're right. CHUCK: But I have this hurdle to get past because if it doesn't work out then I might bring us to this worst case scenario where we’re homeless which isn’t going to happen. JONATHAN: Yeah, just go back to code. CHUCK: That's right. REUVEN: That's, in many ways, the beauty and the luxury that we have with the background encoding. I’m guessing Chuck – let's say you work on podcasting for two or three years and virtual conferences and so forth and you hate it for whatever reason you hate. And you say, “Forget it; I'm going back to coding.” I find it really hard to believe that you're going to have a tough time finding work. The industry is desperate for warm bodies right now. And you're a warm body who knows something and so we really have the luxury to try a lot of different things because of that. CHUCK: Yeah. So I'll tell you where I'm at now with this and I know I’ve monopolized this a little bit talking about me but the place that I got to yesterday because I was really thinking about this yesterday and just kind of agonizing over some of the details. And I went golfing with my father-in-law and relaxed, and my brain said, “Oh, I got all these great ideas now.” And the main thing was that I'm going to sit down and I'm going to make a plan for each one. And then the roadmap that looks most exciting is the fork in the trail I’m going to take. Does that make sense? REUVEN: Absolutely! And sometimes these things are big and obvious and sometimes they're small and non-obvious. CHUCK: And sometimes it doesn't matter which fork in the road you take because they all lead to a good place. JONATHAN: Yeah, as long as you take warnings and think about it and think about it for ten years. CHUCK: That's right. REUVEN: Look at me, I've been doing all this hard training in different program languages and technologies and now I'm starting the whole training trainers thing. And I didn't think in my training well, what direction should I go in? Because I doubt there's going to be a market – maybe I’m wrong – as much as the Python market is exploding now. There is going to come a time when not everyone and their brother is going to want to enter Python course. So I look around I see, “Well you know, people see me moving in the direction of data science. I should really spend like a few months really boning up on that.” And basically that was a few weeks ago and I got to one of my clients last week and they said – and I mentioned then that I'm going to be doing some courses in data science. And they said, “Oh, our CEO just announced that everyone in the company needs to learn to be a data scientist.” And I thought, “Okay, I'm definitely in the right direction here.” And so now it's obvious to me I need to go put the pedal to the metal there because I need to get ahead of the curve. And sometimes – I couldn’t have necessarily predicted that when that would happen that way, but now that I've been given the signs as it were, okay, I'm going to move in that direction a bit and we'll see where that takes me. CHUCK: I guess the question that I'm trying to get answered is – and I'm curious what Jonathan things on this, too, because the transition that he talked about that seems most interesting to me was when he went from web to mobile web. And so you talk about these decisions like, “Well, I decided to look into this and then I pursued it and then it worked out.” And I'm wondering, okay, well how do you make that decision? How do you say, “Okay, this is the thing that I want to go and pursue or this is the thing that I at least want to explore”? How do you make that decision and at what point do you say ‘yup, this is the one for me’? JONATHAN:**There's something about my personality that I know is not common because when I'm coaching people about this stuff, I'm the only person that I know that's ever had it. But when I see something I just know. The [inaudible] was big news of course but I was like I don't care if that thing flops, that's all I want to do. I don't know why and I talk to people all the time everyday there in the situation that sounds a little bit – it's close to what you're talking about where the company can do all these things and there are so many opportunities and which one sounds like the most fun? I don't know. Which one do you think would make the most money? I don't know. Would you rather work with these kinds of clients for these kinds of clients? Well, I like them both. I don't know why I don't suffer from that but I don't, so I guess I'm lucky in that sense.**CHUCK: Well, I am generally that way. This is the first time where I've actually looked at it and gone ‘I don't know which one to pick’. JONATHAN: Is this the first time you try to make a decision like that while you have kids? CHUCK: No. JONATHAN:**Because for me, all the decisions that I wished that I had no kids. So it was less of a – I had no kids and two incomes so there's tons of safety in that. That wouldn’t have changed a thing in terms of my – the lightbulb moment when Steve Jobs held that iPhone, when FileMaker announced their PHP API. I was like, “Ugh, this is perfect!” [Chuckles] And I was like I'm going to be the dude; I am going to be the guy that knows that the best.**REUVEN: Jonathan, I’m a very much still – I'm going to try a hundred thousand things at once and not focus and it's really hard. As much that I tell you I’m focusing on training, I’ve got ten other minor projects that I'm working on. But I also – I saw the iPhone and I was like, wow, that's really interesting. I would never want to stick my business on that but – and it could be that it would have flopped but because of people like you, it didn't. And because you took the risk, you won. CHUCK: See, and the other thing is is I've always been much more like that where I just pulled the trigger and go. And what's really funny is of the three options that I mentioned, the one that – if I had to say ‘I just know that this is the one that I want to do’, it's the one that is the least sure thing. JONATHAN: Which one? CHUCK: That would be the mobile TV development stuff. JONATHAN: Interesting. REUVEN: Apple TV – these two products from Apple – the iPhone and Apple TV, and so far this Apple TV hasn’t seem to take off although it might. CHUCK: Well, so they just announced TV OS and they're opening it up for apps. But ultimately it's not a play to write apps for TV SO; it's actually a play to write. What I want to do is I want to help media companies be on all the platforms. JONATHAN: Yes. CHUCK: Right, so I want –. JONATHAN: You think that's the riskiest? CHUCK: I think it's the one that will pay off the biggest if I get it to work, but –. JONATHAN: It seems like a slam dunk to me. CHUCK: It's the one that I don't understand as well. JONATHAN: Okay, that might have a lot to do with it. CHUCK: Okay, so –. JONATHAN: I think that that is running remote conferences for people. We just have different – obviously, we have different comfort zones. CHUCK: Well, and running them for other people is like the bottom of the list. I enjoy running them for myself. JONATHAN: I see, okay. CHUCK: And then the other option where I am helping with all the relationships I have out in programming land, finding advertisers for blogs and stuff and other email lists; I found advertisers for a fair number of those. But the other thing is is I think I can systemize that and then just maintain the relationships and I will have to spend a lot of time on it. But I understand those markets; I understand the players; I understand all the people involved and I know how to do it. I know how I can do it and make a bunch of money on it. JONATHAN: I see, so the path is more obvious. CHUCK: Yes, whereas with the media companies – especially with podcasters and stuff. If I can do this at a price point that they can afford and I can solve this problem, I will have more customers that I know what to do with. And if I go for the bigger media companies, then I can knock it out of the park and just solve those problems and I think that's really a more interesting set of people to solve the problem for and honestly, I think is the more profitable of the three is just a matter of –. And it's so exciting to me because there are all of these opportunities out there and I don't hear a lot whole lot of people talking about him but I hear consumers talking about using the devices. And so if they can get the media on there, then it'd be a no brainer for their audiences just turn them on. JONATHAN: Oh yeah, CHUCK: Because it's a built in channel. JONATHAN: Yes, I have messed around with it; I’m just trying to get my stuff on Roku is just a complete nightmare. CHUCK: Yeah, but there's Roku and TiVo and Fire stick and Chromecast and Apple TV. And probably a half dozen of another set up boxes that I haven't thought of off the top of my head. JONATHAN: Right. CHUCK: And then there's the iPhone and the iPad and the Android the Android tablets and the Kindle Fire and a lot of those can be solved in very similar ways because Kindle Fire is essentially Android. And then you just have back end services allow these media companies to manage their library. JONATHAN: Yeah, I think any of the things you mentioned could scale way, way up but it would be a different kind of work. The high end for the media play is like getting new contact at TBS –. CHUCK: Yeah. JONATHAN: And just like doing a six figure project after six figure project after six figure project where maybe you were putting together a Dev team, maybe you're building some back end software. Maybe you're just advising them about what to do. And then the other stuff – the stuff that's more directed at podcasters would be a lot more info product-y where you were creating guides and book and video courses and stuff that would sell while you're asleep will be a lot lower touch but you could still make tons of money. When I started my first podcasts, I would have paid a dearly for somebody to just tell me what to do, like what mic should I use, how should I fix this horrible audio, how should I even record the conversation with another person. All of that research is you go for it and you don't get it – at least then there was not a clear – there might be now; a clear answer to all that stuff but there's so many aspects to podcasting. Like you said, getting sponsors, to I use a patron? What do I do? I don't make money, how do I get into a New and Noteworthy in iTunes? Do I need to care about Stitcher? There's like a thousand things think about CHUCK: Yup. JONATHAN: And it just would be such a different play; that would be lots and lots and lots of little sales and then the other end of the spectrum, the media stuff like that TV OS would be two sales a year, three sales, six figures. CHUCK: Yep. JONATHAN:**Yes, so what does the dear listener care about all this? The dear listener –. [Laughter]**REUVEN: The dear listeners! CHUCK: Yeah, that’s right. We’re going to publish this. JONATHAN: Oh right. Though they would probably sign up, I know. But in case for the last person who is still listening – I think there is an overarching point here. I think going through the weeds like that is – I think everything you just said is pretty common. That’s the wheel that’s turning in people’s brain. Because I talk to a lot of people that are trying to either grow their business or make the leap from full time gig, you know, a W2 job, to go solo and they don’t even know where to start sometimes, especially the younger people. They’re like, “I can do everything; I love everything; I just want the one that makes the most money.” And I’m like, “I don’t know.” If you're going to do – just for an example – if you're going to do good content marketing, it’s going to make it a lot easier if you're passionate about the product. So if you're not – you're going to have a good reason to not pick that you're the most passionate about. CHUCK: Yeah. JONATHAN:**Because you're just going to burn out. You’re like, “Ugh, [inaudible] the e-mail.” Because you have to do sales, you have to do marketing. If you're going to run a business, you're going to do all that stuff; I don’t care what the business is. And you're not – you're just going to be so tedious if you're like ‘meh’ about the thing. So you are clearly most passionate about one of them; that sounds like it.**CHUCK: Yes. JONATHAN: So that seems like the obvious choice. And like I said before, you're not going to – your dev works aren’t going to dry out. You're going to have customers coming after you for years and years to come, I can tell you that for sure. CHUCK: Uh-hm. JONATHAN: Can you remember that thing you built five years ago? The server blew up. CHUCK: Yup. JONATHAN: So it’s not necessarily even like that scary. It doesn’t have to be a scary financial thing. CHUCK: Yeah. For me it’s just the thing that I know the least about. JONATHAN: Right. CHUCK: But at the same time, it’s a new enough market to where if I work harder than 80% of the rest of the people, then I’ll –. REUVEN: And you were, knowing the least, is still way more than a lot of people now. CHUCK: Yeah, that’s true, too. JONATHAN:**Yeah, it’s like when you get that recruiter emails where they want a React expert. “React Native experts needed immediately!” [Chuckles] It just came out!**CHUCK: I know right. JONATHAN: There is no expert. CHUCK: I totally love those, too. They way ten year experience in a three year old technology. REUVEN: Right. JONATHAN: Yeah, that’s ridiculous. REUVEN: No, but it’s the sort of self-evaluation though. I think I should definitely put it on my calendar. Just spend a day at some point and mapping out what have I worked on last year? What was most interesting and what was most profitable? And take the Venn diagram with those, the intersection of that is where I should push forward on. Hopefully there is an overlap there. Hopefully, the thing that are most interesting are not the least profitable and vice versa. CHUCK: The other thing is for me the trigger point was, okay, I got this new client and why am I telling myself ‘ugh, I just don’t want to do this.’ I am trying to put this off with everything I’ve got and I know I have to get it done tonight. JONATHAN: Uh-hm. Isn’t that the worst? For you what is it, that thing that you just dread every time? CHUCK: It’s usually the client work and it’s usually some dumb little feature that is neither interesting nor fun to work on. JONATHAN:**Or you [inaudible] that you disagree with.**CHUCK: On an app that I can honestly? Give a rats behind about. JONATHAN: Yup. CHUCK: And for people who, for all intents and purposes, I’m tired of nagging me about. JONATHAN: For me it was proposals. It was – I was like a god of procrastinating writing proposals. CHUCK:**Yup. The other thing for me, too, is that I have this one client and he’ll ask me about something and I’ll tell him, “Look, we don’t have time today.” And then I get pastored about it. And then it makes me want to do it less. [Chuckles]**JONATHAN: So to the listener, I heard this hokey thing once that had nothing to do with it; I think it was more to do with general happiness, but if you get into the habit of everyday putting a happy face or a smiley face on your calendar, like how the day went and then go back and look and see what you did that day to see, hey, it’s the end of the day and you feel awesome and energized. Like, “Huh, what did I do today that – I went to the gym or I did a bunch of coaching sessions,” or you have a frowny face day and it’s like, “Oh, I’d write two proposals.” It becomes pretty obvious pretty quickly. CHUCK: Yeah. JONATHAN:**And procrastinating alone – when you know you're procrastinating, you are obviously not excited about your job. The thing that you're trying to avoid doing is clearly something you should [inaudible] in your list of ‘figure out how to make a job for myself where I never have to do this’.**CHUCK: Yup. And then look at all the things you would rather be doing and figure out how you can make one of those work. JONATHAN: Absolutely. So now, I’d love to loop back because I’m sure a lot of people are listening will have the same problem if and when they make a – let’s go dependent – like you're talking about the identity crisis part and that you actually used to work sell out and I think that, you said it a couple of times and I think is 100% true, no one care except for you. I don’t think anybody cares. Are there situations where that’s not true? Most people don’t even know how I identify myself, so who is this imaginary rabble that is going to descend upon me if I decide to do marketing and sales as my main career path? REUVEN: I would go further than that. Chuck, it’s really hard to believe that even if you spend the next ten years working on marketing and sales, if you're in the text sector people are still going to think of you as, “Oh, that programmer guy; he’s now doing sales.” JONATHAN: “He’s a sales guy who actually knows what we do.” CHUCK: Yup. REUVEN: Right. CHUCK: And that’s the thing is if people are getting from me what they want or expect, it doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter. JONATHAN: Plus one on that. CHUCK: And the other thing is is that – if we are going to use the word “pit it” – but if I pi it into this other area, it doesn’t mean that I can’t keep doing the things to keep me relevant in the markets that I serve with my podcasts. JONATHAN:**Yeah, that’s an interesting distinction that comes up a lot which is, there’s a split between how somebody like us markets ourselves, what we decide to focus on in our marketing to build this gravitational pull of ideal clients. We want to magically pull ideal clients to us with this new thing that we’re going to do. Marketing is not what we actually do all day, so the picture we paint to ourselves into marketing is a very small or – maybe not very small but it’s a slice of the overall picture of what our day is like. Especially when you're going through transition like this. So there were plenty of times right after I transitioned from [inaudible] myself up, it’s all mobile web for me right now; it’s going to be great. So what do I do? Immediately I go wait in line, I get an iPhone, I immediately started experimenting with it, I blogged about it and nothing else, but I find out about doing stuff on iOS. I’m literally doing no project work around mobile web. It’s 100% pure desktop style lamp web coding, not even Ajax.**REUVEN: The thing that was paying your bills was not what you were establishing your creds in? JONATHAN: Exactly. And eventually I got lucky; I’ve got lucky a couple of times. Eventually, I had an idea for a book and I pitched it to – I ran into a guy at a Geek Native – Providence Geeks. REUVEN:**Go geeks! [Chuckles]**JONATHAN:**And he’s like, “Oh yeah, my senior editor is O’Reilley.” And I’m like, “No way! I’m a guy who has an idea for a tech book!” And so I just said, “Here’s my idea; I can’t remember what it was.” He came back and he’s like, “Yup, no one wanted that. Got any other ideas?” And I was like, “Yeah, I’ve got an idea for an iPhone web book.” He’s like, “That sounds good.” And then six months later was – it was flying off the bookshelves. So I got lucky in a sense that the timing was really good and that I had done enough – research sounds over. I wouldn’t call it research; I did enough tinkering that I knew what the deal was. And since it was brand spanking new, there were not many experts out there. In fact, I can still – I can point to the four or five other people that were doing it back then. It was like Brian Fling, Max Firtman, Brian LeRoux and the phone gap guys, [inaudible] – that was about it. There were others but there were some. If you compared that niche to the general web population at that time. I would never get a client as just general – never get a big client as a general web developer; it would always be small medium businesses. But then all of the sudden the small pool of experts globally wrote a big book for O’Reilly about it. I have literally done no projects other than personal fun practice things and one thing leads to another. And all of a sudden I’m getting phone calls from really big companies.**REUVEN: I think, by the way, that Jonathan it’s not just – there’s always some luck in some circumstance in this, but the fact that you are following what’s going on the tech world and thinking consciously/subconsciously about the directions of the business world and what you're interested in doing, and then try it. Someone has to be the expert, and those experts started off knowing zero. And you were able to see the trend a little bit before everyone else and it worked really well for you. JONATHAN: Yeah, that’s really all there was to it. I was like, “This seems like a great idea.” It was more than that; it wasn’t just a great idea. It seemed like a hug opportunity. I wasn’t sure what the idea was but that is a gigantic opportunity. REUVEN: If you think back when the iPhone first came out, there were no apps. So it was just basically a phone with a browser. JONATHAN:**Yeah, you can make homes for your web apps so that when Jobs announced it – and this is part of my massive excitement – he came out and he’s like ‘for iOS’. It wasn’t even called iOS; it was called iPhone OS using – ‘the way that you build apps for iPhone is with web technologies’. And everyone in the room was like, “Ohh.” [Laughter] “What?” because they were all Mac developers and they were mad because they didn’t know how to do web development. So I was stoked; I was like, “Awesome. Totally doing that from now on.” And then of course defactor it about 8 months later and they said, “Oh, nevermind.” We’re going to have an app store. But it didn’t matter because by that time it was already a done deal. And I played around with XCode when it came out. I was like, “Web developers are not going to do this.” The vast majority of developers are not going to do this. So there’s going to be this giant pool of web developers who want to get their stuff on these phones so I wrote a book about it. That’s when I wrote the book – basically I formed that book.**REUVEN: Very smart. JONATHAN: But the interesting thing about that is that I was not making any money at it when I got the book deal. It was just I tinkered. So Chuck, if you tinkered around with that stuff and you just started to be like, “Oh, I made a couple proof of concepts.” CHUCK: Well, and then that’s what I want to do. The place that this came from was that I have been working on building devchat.tv for a long time and I want my channel to be everywhere. I want the Devchat.tv channel to be on everyone’s TV. JONATHAN: Right. CHUCK: And so just thinking about that was, “Ohhh, okay. Well I bet there are other people who need that same thing,” and wow, that’s really exciting prospect that I can be on everyone’s TV and everyone’s phone and everyone’s iPad and everybody’s everything and then just run it all off the same backend service. JONATHAN: Yeah. CHUCK: And I think honestly, if I have some proof of concepts out there, I can say, “Look, go check out the Devchat.tv app for all of these stuff,” and I can write about my experience, building it and write about my experience learning about it and getting into the markets and things like that. Yeah, that’s extremely valuable to a lot of people. JONATHAN: That’s huge. REUVEN: So Chuck let me ask this, and this might not be a fair question, but as independent consultants we’re running not only small businesses but basically family businesses. How much do you consult with your wife? Your kids are probably big enough to know something about this but how much do you consult with your wife about the direction of the business and considerations? And how much impact does that have on what you do? CHUCK: I talk to her about it and I usually get a, “Well, that all sounds interesting. Do whatever you think.” REUVEN:**Yeah. [Laughter] It sounds familiar.**JONATHAN: Same exact here. CHUCK:**She’s interested, she wants to know what I’m doing but bills get paid and so that’s the deal. [Chuckles]**JONATHAN: So the takeaway is ‘follow your passion’ and re-evaluate it every year or two. CHUCK: Yup. I don’t think ‘follow your passion’ is a globally great advice but as technologist, I think you have a whole lot of leeway that a lot of other professionals don’t. REUVEN: Absolutely. JONATHAN: Yeah, I agree with that. I would – this is coming from a musician, too. That was foolish. I was following my passion. REUVEN: There are rock musicians who earn millions a year. JONATHAN: Yes, there are. REUVEN:**So that proves that you can make millions in music, right? [Crosstalk]**CHUCK: You can. Doesn’t mean ‘you’ can but in general, somebody can. JONATHAN: Right. They can win the lottery, too. So yeah, that’s a good clause there. I think if you are technically inclined developer of some kind then yeah. CHUCK: Yup. And there are other fields that are in demand, too, but recognize that there are moves you can make that can be well-calculated to do what you want. Any who, should we get to some picks? JONATHAN: Sure. CHUCK: Reuven, do you have some picks for us? REUVEN:**Sure! I’ve got one pick. I think it might even be vaguely related to the topic we had today. So I know I’ve mentioned many times in this podcast the Startups for the Rest of Us podcast. [Inaudible] and they tell us all about what they're up to and everything. And I guess as of this recording, about two weeks ago, they had a whole show talking about how one of the co-host has decided to throw in the towel on his software project; they called the show Moving On from Auditshark. First off all, I give them incredible credit for dealing with this so publicly because it can be very painful personally, financially – it’s an ego thing. But I thought it was certainly very useful to hear when do you actually declare your project dead and when do you walk away from it? And you say, “Look, I’m just not going to put more money and more resources into it.” And for those of us who have side projects or try things or thinking of trying things or thinking of trying actually products and selling them, there comes a point when you might have to actually walk away and call it a loss. And so I definitely – just listening to that episode and hearing some of the considerations and how to reach that conclusion if you need to.**CHUCK: Alright. Jonathan, what are your picks? I listened to that episode, too, incidentally and I thought it was terrific. But I’ve met both Rob and Mike before at MicroConf. JONATHAN: My pick is Remarq.io. Last week or at the previous recording, you guys had Jeremy Green on and I had a scheduling conflict so I couldn’t be on it. I was super disappointed. So I just want to take the opportunity to tell people that Remarq.io is – I use it all the time, I think it’s amazing. It’s a deceptively simple type of thing. Basically, you write Markdown files and you can just drop them in a Dropbox folder on your hard drive and a PDF just magically appears right there. So you can open up the PDF and it’s fully justified, hyphenated, designed – it’s just a great looking PDF. So whenever I do reports or proposals or any kind of weight paper type stuff, I’m doing an e-book using it So you just type Markdown which is the easiest thing in the world, drop it in this folder and boom – turns into this gorgeous PDF which looks a lot nicer than a raw Markdown or even an HTML. So if people out there working on info products or you write reports for your clients or anything like that, you should give it a try because it makes – something about it makes the information feel more real or more weighty, more valuable and it’s just so easy to try it. So Remarq.io. That’s r-e-m-a-r-q .io. REUVEN:**You’ve used it for a book [inaudible] project?**JONATHAN:**Yes, it’s great. I’ve written – if you count editions, the second editions I’ve written, I think five books. And I’m working on a new one that is going to be self-published. The other ones were through traditional publishers. One of the more recent ones from O’Reilley they did have a system in place where I could push to an SDN repo and add some gibberish to the end of the line to force it to create a fully styled PDF and it was great. The problem though was that I had to write it in something called DocBook which is an extremely [chuckles]. Really hard, but I love that feature of having it formatted like the final book and something about it made it way easier for me to proofread my own work and I really missed that when I started working on my own thing, my self-published thing. So as I was typing up I was like, “Oh, why don’t I use Remarq for this?” So I wrote each chapters like its own Remarq document and then I just have a little short command line thing that concatenates the one file in copies and then to the Remarq directory and Dropbox on my computer, you wait about 10 seconds and the PDF shows up. I can proof my own work; it’s amazing. It has a table of contents generated automatically; it’s great.**CHUCK:**Venture in to make soft-covered .io work and you’re really tempting to piss other system. [Chuckles]**JONATHAN: I’ve never heard of that one but the table of contents thing is clutched. It’s really nice. It takes all the – you can go to the website and configure the stuff however you want it and tweak all the styles however you want but you don’t need to.  So it’s just been – I love it. CHUCK: Alright, I’m going to throw a couple of picks out there. So as I mentioned earlier in the show I went golfing with my father-in-law yesterday and then we came back home. I had ordered an over the air antenna for the TV – my wife misses watching her shows – and you can get some of them on Hulu Plus and some of them in Netflix. The new seasons are starting up and she can’t get everything. So I started looking into that; I went on Amazon; I ordered this over the air antenna and it got four channels. Two of them were Spanish which I don’t speak and neither does my wife. One of them was old black and white movies and the other one was something else – I don’t even remember. And I’m just like, “Yeah, this isn’t going to cut it.” And my sister-in-law who used to live about a mile and a half from us, she had something very similar, and she was able to get 30 or 40 channels. And so we tried a different antenna. We went to Walmart and picked one up and that didn’t work either. We were trying to figure out what’s going on and finally, I get online and I found a website. There’s one out there called AntennaWeb. I found that it wasn’t really that helpful because it only listed the channels that we can actually get but it didn’t list anything else, any other options. There’s another one called TV Fool and I’ll put a link to that in the show notes, and if you go in there and you put in your address, it’ll tell you what kind of antennas you need to get what kinds of channels. And so you just put in your address and it works out. So I went in there, put it in and it had one green channel and two yellow channels which means that you can pick them up with those over the air antennas. They look like a thick piece of plastic paper and you can just hang them somewhere in your house and they’ll pick up those signals just fine. They’re omnidirectional which means you don’t need to point them at the transmitter. And then there were about, I would say, 15 channels that were read and what that meant was that you actually have to have an antenna that points at the transmitter and carries the signal down to your house to get the channels and those were the channels we were trying to get. And it turns out that where I live, we’re just right barely in the shadow of the mountain that the transmitter’s on. So, effectively we didn’t have direct line of sight, but if you have one of these unidirectional antennas then it will gain up the right signal and enhance it so that you can actually get the signal to your TV. And so we went and picked up one of those this morning. Yes, I was at Lowe’s at 6:30 this morning. And we hooked that up and it worked great. And then we got a little signal booster to push the signal to the rest of the house. And so we now have about 20 channels that we will willingly watch, in other words, they dropped the shopping channels and the Spanish channels. Yeah, so now my kids can watch PBS and stuff and my wife can watch her shows on CBS and NBC. So now the only problem to solve is to get a DVR system on that that doesn’t cost $300. Anyway, overall I’m happy with that. I’ll put a link on the antenna that we got at Lowe’s which is a hardware store in the US if you're not familiar, and the link to TV Fool if you are looking to cut the cable in wherever you're at. REUVEN: I have to say Chuck, my favorite part in this whole story of yours is that you describe it as an over the air antenna. We’ve now reached the stage in modern culture where the assumption is that you get TV signals through cables or through satellite, that this idea of broadcaster over the air is now kind of exotic. CHUCK:Yeah, it is kind of exotic. [Chuckles] So yeah, this antenna sticking out over the end of the roof but two feet.JONATHAN: Weird. CHUCK: Yeah, I know. We actually took the dish off the house because we cancelled Dish Network to save some money. So we pulled the dish down and then we just pulled the antenna on the post that the dish was attached to. Thank you Dish Network for at least installing that. Anyway, yeah I guess were done so we’ll wrap up the show. Thanks for chatting. Catch everyone next week. [Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at BlueBox.net]**[Bandwidth for this segment is provided by CacheFly, the world’s fastest CDN. Deliver your content fast with CacheFly. Visit cachefly.com to learn more]**[Would you like to join a conversation with the Freelancers’ Show panelists and their guests? Want to support the show? We have a forum that allows you to join the conversation and support the show at the same time. Sign up at freelancersshow.com/forum]**

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