I Guess I’m Independent Now

As you probably know, I pretty much just moved to Atlanta. Unfortunately, things didn’t exactly pan out with that. As a result, I decided it was time to try taking my fate back into my own hands.

As of Monday I became a full-time freelancer. Again. While initially my workload is heavily biased to freelancing, I’m hoping over time I’ll be able to productize my offerings and be able to offer more service to more people at better prices than I ever could working full-time at any one place. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me to finish setting things up, but if you know of businesses who need some tech help send them my way. My goal is as much to be a connector as it is anything, so even if we aren’t a direct fit I’m sure I can help them find someone who is.

My areas of focuses are cloud, datacenter, networking, connectivity & telecommunications. I’m working on building out my partnerships and solution suite, but reach out if you’re in the market (or if you have any contracts expiring). Hopefully, in a few weeks I’ll have more to share but for now you can check out my new company’s website for a little more information.

Major Announcement

I have accepted an offer to join Sobo as their new Implementation Engineer starting April 1. This is an exciting opportunity to work with some really amazing folks to deliver top-notch IT Services to their clients. As part of this transition, I’ll be moving to Atlanta, GA.

I plan on sharing more about the transition as I figure it out, but regardless I’m very excited! If you have any questions, please reach out directly.

If you want to make sure to get emails about future updates as I progress through this transition, you can sign up to this special Mailchimp list (also an Atlanta company).

3 Monitors is Basically A Computer for Me

Basically since I’ve been able, I’ve worked on 3 monitors and the division of work has been pretty consistent the whole time. By now, I think 3 monitors is just what I think of when using a computer!

Far Left: Monitoring & Passive Information

On a highly scheduled day, this would be my calendar. Or when there’s an important event going it may be a Twitter feed or monitoring system dashboard. Sometimes it’s my email inbox, but that’s only if I’m waiting for a certain email. Other days it’s my to-do list or ticket system.

The Middle: Generally the middle monitor is my active work display. If I’m reading, writing, doing email or scheduling that’s what’s going to be on that screen.

The Right: Generally the right monitor is going to cover reference information. This can be language reference, a web browser for testing, or a collection of emails and websites I’m using to write a document or email.

Why I Probably Won’t Answer Your Email

Email is such a funny thing. People hand you these single little messages that are no heavier than a river pebble. But it doesn’t take long until you have acquired a pile of pebbles that’s taller than you and heavier than you could ever hope to move, even if you wanted to do it over a few dozen trips. But for the person who took the time to hand you their pebble, it seems outrageous that you can’t handle that one tiny thing. “What ‘pile’? It’s just a {redacted} pebble!”

– Merlin Mann (The strange allure of email bankruptcy)

Email is a great system for exchanging information, unfortunately it’s not a two-way street. It takes no real time and costs nothing to fire off an email asking a question or sharing a link. But, on the receiving end it takes minutes or even hours to read, process and respond to the message. Compound that with the fact that I get over 100 emails every single day, and if I were to even spend an average of 2 minutes on each of them I’d burn half of a workday every day on email.

Now, I have tools that help triage and process my mail and that helps. Spam filters keep the worst garbage out of my way. But, the scourge of automated emails from systems and social networks, CC’s and unnecessary mailing lists more than make up for the savings.

If you want your email read, here are some tips:

  • Clearly indicate if this is Informational or Actionable
    • Is there a short prefix you can put in your subject like FYI?
  • If you want me to do something or answer a question, put it in the first sentence.
  • The first three sentences should give me the gist of the email and allow me to know if it’s something I need to read now, later or never.
  • If it needs read now, make it as short as you can while including the information required.
  • Organize longer emails so that I can find the relevant information quickly.
    • If it’s a group email trying to coordinate things, make my name a header and put the things I’m responsible for in it.
    • If it’s really long, and really important should we have a meeting instead?
  • If you want to have a conversation, let’s schedule a call or face to face, not volley emails back and forth.

Remember, fair or not, I’m going to make the decision about what I’m going to do with your email in just a few seconds. Make it clear what you want or are trying to communicate!