TroyToy (troyworks) wrote,
TroyToy
troyworks

YearInReview:

I was writing a letter to a friend with an update, and figured some of yall would like the update too.

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For an update, things have been pretty bipolar here but with luck 2010 is looking to be an amazing turnaround.

2009 is one of the most memorable years of my life..and not just because it's the most recent :)

I'm still in Los Angeles, still in the same semi-commune. We are having a largish Christmas dinner (16 people or so!) which is wonderful. I've been here for almost 4 years which I think is a new record (I usually move every 2 years) . Life is good, don't see this changing/moving but who knows. Life is hard to predict!

I'm uber busy. I have basically 3 jobs right now so not much of a life outside of that, no art, music, not even that much in the ways of movies, I gave up TV a long time ago and normally have no idea what people are talking about when it comes to popular shows and stars. But the sacrifice is worth it,investing in the future.

A couple years ago I read Timothy Ferris's bestseller "the 4 hour work week", which was an eye opening way to conceive of business and lifestyle. So my goal ever since was to develop a "Muse"

mostly passive income on highly automated profitable products, training and services. Nothing super fancy just enough to cover my basic living plus some to play. The internet makes this actually much easier than doing the same in an offline way...at least it can be easy. Apparently I like to do things the hard way :) If any business is just a scaled up version of a lemonaide stand, instead of just selling lemonaide I've been working on setting up a lemon farm and a stand factory and distribution chain.

There is a large upfront cost to once things are setup and working, it's easy to have a better balance in life, as right now it's pretty much off the deep end on the work side. But things only need to be built once, and provide years of return at scales way beyond a couplee, then the needle can point the opposite direction.

I think one of the largest unexpected changes in 2009 is I'm back in school (nonacredited) to study marketing, with a focus on online. There's a great quote from William Deming that all business is, is marketing and innovation. I've had the innovation part down for years (ever since legos!) , but had to many innovative products on the bleeding edge end up in the trash can because they didn't understand the marketing or market. Got tired of that happening so figured out I needed to change.

Studying marketing for the current internet connected wireless world has been quite the eye opener so much has changed! With my roots as an engineer, some aspects of marketing are extremely counter intuitive -harder than calculus. It's like learning Japanese, it's not just the words and syntax there is many cultural things that have to be respected for the message to get across. But to my surprise my improv theater background gives me almost super powers into stepping into the right mindset to get marketing. In conjunction with my tech background, and I've been able to help many of my classmates both in message and in implementation.

2009 has been a bit of a "days of our startup" soap opera. My last startup company (kids education) which I left back in April, which I have a significant (almost 2 years of salaray paid in stock) investment in, ran out of money in November, and the board is currently feuding, and the CEO has been stripped of all power but not fired due to some positioning on his part. It's been an eye-opening experience in human nature when significant investments are competing against being friends and family ties (as the board is). On the dark side, I believed so strongly in the company, that I gave up about 2 years of salary in the form of stock in anticipation of the continual "just 2 months away" from the service actually being built and acquirig major funding, ...neither of which happened. So emerging with a significant amount of personal debt, and burnout made it a hard restart of my life. On the brightside, despite the drama, there are still many passionate and commited people trying to put things back together, and my new marketing skills may be able to help give it a fresh start, and getting into consulting my rate doubled. I'm very fortunate given the current economy.

Based on what I've learned in my marketing, back in August I started my first "real" company which helps small business owners make way more sales by amplifying and automating the sales process. I built the service primarily for myself, but now have 22 unsolicited beta users. It's been a rollercoaster of a ride so far, and we are getting ready to open the doors again in Jan, with a public launch in Feb at present velocity, which I am hoping will do well. With only 200 users it will support all my team to continue building the service out and all my meager living expenses.

To help build that and other things out, I've had an amazing connection to a great company in Pakistan, we have been building out a custom team for with amazing rates and super high quality people. This is going to be great as historically I haven't been able to scale well, as I couldn't delegate much, especially in Los Angeles where people charge $100 hour for rather mediocre work.

Since school is pricey and development is expensive, to pay the bills I still run a consulting company, with my role primarily doing fulltime doing information visualization for semantic webs. We are actually getting into the trendy multi-touch this month so should be fun and a perfect fit for me, and maybe even another showcase product.

That consulting company reached new heights, in helping out a friend with his showcase product I had the unique opportunity to get an major industry award, in front of thousands of people, and which got some 1 on 1 time with Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker and voice of The Joker).

Healthwise hitting Age 35 was a bit of hitting a wall. Notably having RSI (repetitive strain injuries) from pretty much all day every day computing get to the point I need to stop working at all for some days to combat it's various hydra symptoms. Plus also Rosacea+digestive issues. In theory these are both environment related so I'm doubly motivated to be successful so that I can get into an environment that is more natural + sustainable (I generally am healthy other than that).

I'm dating a French Grad student at UCLA. Though between our super busy schedules we rarely get to see each other. She's currently in Paris and London for the holiday, and as par for the course in our schedules, just when she gets back ..I'll be out in Vegas some high school friends I haven't seen together since over a decade ago.

Warm Regards

Troy
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