During my last semester of college, I became obsessed with the idea that I would be able to somehow put my degree in sociology/anthropology to work in the real world. When I stumbled upon search engine optimization, I was elated. When I learned that Cyborg Anthropology applied there as well, I was even more excited. And when Todd Mintz encouraged me to write my first blog post ever on the SEM PDX blog, I was so nervous that I didn’t leave my friends house for 4 hours while I composed it.
Perfectionism was a difficult thing to get over. I gradually realized that I had to allow myself to suck in order to get anywhere. At Weiden+Kennedy, there’s a massive art piece on the wall that says “Fail Harder”. I knew I had to fail harder than ever before. caseorganic.com was the silliest name for a website I could think of, and the early WordPress template I used was ugly, heavy and clunky. But I kept on it.
I also realized that I wasn’t going to have a community anymore when I graduated from college, so I searched hard for one in Portland. I attended meetups relating to pretty much everything until I found Legion of Tech and Beer and Blog. Some of the first people I ever met were Reid Beals, Bram Pitoyo, Dawn Foster and Rick Turoczy. It was the beginning of an exciting and busy journey into the heart of the tech scene. But it didn’t take long to get oriented. Everyone was filled with zest for their ideas, and it spread quickly to me. I began to take small risks and write more.
Up until now, I’ve been putting in 110 hour weeks trying to do anthropological studies, blogging (which as anyone who blogs knows — is much more difficult than it looks), attending events, and learning more about seo and Yahoo! Pipes. My learning curve is strange, so it has been a long process. I’ve been given great support from people who really know what they are doing. Focused, brilliant, fascinating people.
Now that I am blogging, writing and consulting full-time, I feel like I’ve been thrown directly into the open arms of the tech community. There’s more time for coffeeshops, events, and research now. I’m excited to be able to see more faces.
It was great to be able to walk into the local Backspace coffeeshop and get high fives from all of the great people there. Bram Pitoyo said, “welcome to the life of a Freelancer”. I wholeheartedly embrace it.
My last job was excellent, and I took it after graduating from college in May so that I would be able to learn a bunch of new skills. I learned so many new things I was ready to explode. Drupal was fun, E-mail marketing was great, and new seo tools were awesome. I look forward to how that company does in the future. It’s doing very well and has an excellent business model I was excited to learn more about.
Now I have time for CyborgCamp, MIT’s Futures of Entertainment Conference, Makerlab, Ignite Portland, Refresh Portland, blogging for the Discovery Channel at Nerdabout, AboutUs.org, Dorkbot, search engine optimization, Beer and Blog and of course, Cyborg Anthropology.
Thanks to Marshall Kirkpatrick for the Discovery Channel write-up on Read Write Web. Marshall has been a tremendous help to me. In addition to showing me things like Skitch, he’s lent advice and support to me on numerous occasions.
I want to thank everyone in the Portland Tech community, but there are infinite people to thank. Perhaps I can thank an entire directory of great Tweeple at once (via AboutUs.org Portland Tech Twitter).
I think that’s about it. I am a little speechless at the support I’ve been given, and I can’t wait to share it with a wider audience.