I recently turned 45. This tends to be a milestone number for a lot of people, since it’s unlikely I’ll live past 90, we can say I’m over the hill at this point. The problem is, I don’t “feel” over the hill. In fact, if anything, I feel more optimistic and in control than ever. I guess that comes with age and truly understand that falling down only hurts for a little bit.
As many of you know I became semi-retired quite some time ago. I had made my money, my wife was enjoying her job, and I didn’t really need to work to stay fed. So for my retirement I took a “job” that I loved. I started making jewelry for the great folks at Images Jewelers. No hassles, no real stress, just a job I could go in, do something fun, and leave. Several things happened that changed that, the economy went in to the toilet sharply reducing jewelry sales, my wife started making noises about retiring herself, and I was beginning to miss the stress of running my own business full time.
I half assed my way through restarting my internet marketing company and just wasn’t feeling the same drive I had nearly 10 years ago to really hammer at building a new business from scratch. Then, once again, several things happened. First, my wife turned our 5 year plan in to a 5 month plan. We went from planning to buy a farm in Tennessee to owning a bunch of land in Tennessee and her hating going to work everyday. She gave her notice and said, “get moving or get a job”. That helped, but what really helped was that I started spending more time around young people again instead of just hanging out with old people, not that I don’t love old people, they just lack the drive some of these kids have these days.
With no intention to skip over or upset anyone, I am old – I never would have cared 10 years ago when evil Steve ran my life, I want to thank a few people for getting me off my ass and pushing the rock like I did when I was a kid.
Rob Adler: Rob has been like a mini me, only full size, for a while now. I look at him and see the kid I used to be. Lots of talent, plenty of drive, a wicked sense of humor, and a seemingly total disregard for the “rules” put in our way by the man. Seeing what he is doing now reminds me a lot of the architecture studio a group of us put together in the late 90s before we even graduated college. Kicking ass, taking names, and making great shit. Rob is that never ending, always awake, guy I can randomly drop a stupid joke on or ask a real question at any time, day or night, and always get an answer. Hope he doesn’t mind.
Kris Roadruck: Kris is one of those guys I really wish I had more time to hang out with, and that I had known my first time through the tech bubble. I don’t think either of us we be working at all now, just kicking back and having drinks served to us on a private island somewhere. Recently Kris had a wee bit-o drama in his life that brought in to focus for me the need to always be leading and not letting changes around me affect my own goals. His story reminds me a “lot” of when I left ForTheWeb all those years ago. In that case I had just been a partner in name only for 3 or 4 years and hadn’t participated much in the company at all before I realized it was time to go.
Just so no one thinks that this is some sort of man-love festival, there are a few women that have helped me refocus quite a bit as well.
Eren McKay: When I first met Eren a few years ago all I saw was just another mommy blogger. There is absolutely nothing wrong with mommy bloggers, they just tend to be less business oriented and tend to never really push the boundaries of their skill set. Eren isn’t that mommy blogger. I’ve watched her go from the typical deer in the headlights blogger to someone that “really” understands social media, building community and driving traffic to her web site. I have been genuinely impressed with how she has grown in the short time I have known her. Now if we could just get her to monetize her site.
Angie Nikoleychuk: Angie amazes me. Every day. Single mom, author, business owner, and damned smart in her own right. I watch her deal with issues that kill many businesses and ruin a lot of people. And she always does it with style like a duck on water. You know the type, smooth on top and going like hell underneath. Angie is one of the few people I know that really does deserve more than she gets. Most of us get by working just hard enough. Angie is on a whole different level. Sometimes I wish I had that ability again, but then I remember what it turned me in to last time, so I will sit back and admire her from here.
I also have a few old people that tend to inspire me, some because of their skill, some because they keep recreating themselves, and a few simply for managing to stay alive. People like Terry Van Horne, Doc Sheldon, and Charles Stankovich. I am fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of great people, even if they weren’t called out by name here. I find myself filled with a new energy that I haven’t had in a long time and I actually look forward to hitting the ground running each day. And I think I’ll need that energy while we build Steam Driven Media and our new “mystery project” over the next couple of years. But right now I think I hear my wife calling out to me to help her clean out horse stalls.. .. .. .. ..