I'll take mine extra bold!


You can get through your daily routine by focusing on just what has to be done to get through the day or the week. It's a survival tactic. It's also a long term disaster.

I think I've been doing this for some time now. It's been a very busy couple of years for us. We've had 2 new babies born and we've moved further into the suburbs. Those are all very stressful things so that was my rational for just surviving. Until now.

My upcoming birthday (2/14) will be my 33rd. I'm rapidly entering that dreaded phase in a lot of people's biographies... The Mid Thirties.

When I think back to 10 years ago this time I had just finished College and started my first Job. I had just gotten married for the first time. I won't go into any detail on that...

I went back to School in 2004 to work on get my MBA because I was determined not to still be a software engineer at the bottom of the food chain. Well, that was five (5) years ago and... I'm still a software engineer.

So where did I go wrong? Well, I stayed to focused on the short term. It was too easy to not think about long term plans. I tried a few times to come up with plans and they worked for a little while but nothing came of them. I graduated with my MBA. I completed the mentoring program at Work. I applied for jobs in management. I spoke at a conference.

But I'm still a software engineer.


So how do you break the cycle? You have to be BOLD. Opportunity is out there but you have to go get it. It's not going to land in your lap. Look at all the really phenomenal technology companies that we worship today. Apple, Google, Amazon... they were all bold plays that started out small. Here's my plan:

  1. Set a goal of April 1, 2009 to get the kernel of an entrepreneurial established. This will include a first draft of a business plan and the first set of presentation slides (in 10/20/30 format, of course).
  2. Set a stretch goal for myself of achieving a major milestone with that project by August 1. It's too soon to know which milestone that will be.
Now, those are fine goals but it's not enough. You have to break them down into smaller goals that are realistic, measurable and achievable. Plus, you have to take into account that I'm not doing this full time because I already have a job that requires 50+ hours a week. So with that in mind here's my timeline for Goal 1:
  1. Hash out with my team, in prose form, the nature of the business we're looking at creating. - February 1
  2. Market Research, Financial Projections, Strategy Assessment - March 1
  3. Finished Plan and Presentation (and elevator pitch)
Even if this all ends up producing nothing but a plan and some slides and nothing ever comes of the business it will have been an opportunity for me to stretch myself. It will allow me to re-engage the technology / business community and sharpen my mind and my skills. I very may well end up still working for my current company for 45 more years. It's a really good company to work for. This way I can make a long-term play for myself, though. It may be my only chance to avoid being a software engineer (and a damn good one at that!) for the next five years.

We shall see! I'll post my progress on my goals here so you can keep me honest.

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