I know I’ve been rather quiet since leaving AOL and joining up with Music Intelligence Solutions, but as you can see from Jen’s entries, we’ve been busy. I’ve been going back and forth to Savannah, trying to both get to know the team, the vision and the plans we have for launching, and at the same time, designing architecture, doing training and helping folks get up to speed on scrum and other stuff. It’s been a lot of late night, long conversations, whiteboard sessions (note to self, get a bigger whiteboard), and late-night epiphanies while trying to get to sleep.
I keep thinking about what I learned over thirteen years, and the people who took their time to mentor me, and the excellent managers I had who showed me how to deal with both pressure and conflict. I keep thinking about one of the first technical meetings I had way back in 1999 about AOL Search. We were just getting started with the project, and I was the front-end guy, and one of the only people involved who knew AOLserver and Tcl. So, there I was in a room with two PhD’s, with them asking me what I wanted the API to look like. Joe Dzikiewicz and Tom Donaldson sat there and asked lots of questions, we drew on the whiteboard, and I was freaked the hell out…
There are hundreds of people I should thank for helping me over the years. I tried to count up all the people I worked with at AOL, and it’s easily over a hundred and I got close to two before I stopped. But, the person I keep coming back to is Joe. He was one of the first computer scientists who took me under his wing. I don’t have a degree – everything I know about technology is either self-taught or through experience and others helping me out. I’ll never forget an IM Joe sent me while we were working on AOL Search. It went something like:
* Joe: Hey, things are looking good, but it seems kind of slow. Are you threading the requests?
* Me: Am I what?
* Joe: … I’ll call
I think I scared him; but, he very patiently explained it to me, and then sent me off to figure out how to implement it.
I learned so much from Joe, and from the hundreds of other people I worked with at AOL - from my first manager, Judy Winger, who “saved” me from getting fired from a really stupid e-mail I sent to the wrong manager (well, that manager was the intended target, but…), Priscilla Serling for encouraging me to take the job in Virginia, to Robin Vinopal and Mark Robinson who taught me so much about how to treat the people who work for you, and to Bert Arians and Alan Keister for giving me all the room I needed to try new things. And all the nerds, geeks and smartasses I worked with.
It’s only now that I’m gone and have a couple weeks away that I see how lucky I was to work with all the people I did.
I’m having a blast at MIS trying to implement all the stuff I learned over the years at AOL, and all the stuff I wanted to try but couldn’t, either because of upper management (I can only say that I learned a whole lot about what not to do from AOL’s upper management over the years) or because I wasn’t in a place to do it. It’s been a lot of fun seeing my new team embrace all the things I’m throwing at them (and I’m throwing a bunch, everything from The Cluetrain to web standards).
It’s going to be an adventure, and before I get too far along in it, I have to say “thank you” to everyone I worked with at AOL. Without you, I wouldn’t be here, and I’ll be forever grateful.
The internet has been super cranky and unreliable, so no real updates. Sorry. (That’s aimed at my folks, mostly.) It’s also been a pain for Kevin, who hasn’t gotten out of the habit of working 24/7. When the internet connection does work, you should see Kevin and me jump into action. It’s pretty funny.
And for some reason, my long distance isn’t working, which is a super pain too.
Kevin found us a house to rent in Savannah. Yay! Along with the necessities, it has a big backyard for the kids, a 2-car garage to fulfill my storage desires, and a guest room. (Only 15 minutes to the beach, people!)
I’ve been mourning Wegman’s, our fabulous grocery store. Maybe Savannah will have a great grocery store, but I am not holding my breath. My parents, who live in So Miss, only have two shopping options: a Super Walmart with a bad produce section and a small corner store with a bad produce section. This is why I am not expecting much in Savannah. (Anybody from there and can tell me I’m wrong?)
Even though we’re moving in a couple of weeks, the kids still want to eat everyday! I had to go to the grocery store for basics like milk and cereal and Popsicles. Apparently canned green beans don’t work well for breakfast or dessert.
I’ve done the first and second stage of packing- things we don’t use often and things we can do without. I even started on the third stage- stuff that fall under Kevin’s purview and I have no idea what it is, what it does, and whether it is actually worth keeping. I need to move on to the fourth stage now: oddly-shaped, fragile objects. Ugh. But, you know, I am kind of anti-stuff right now, so if it all breaks- oh well.
Brian has become a little stand-up comedian. “Why did the car drive on the airplane?” Why? “To get to the airport.” There are lots of variations of this- car, boat, airplane, motorcycle. They are all silly, but Brian’s delivery is FAB! I am really sorry Kevin is missing this.
That’s all folks!
I labeled a box of books today, “Grown up books.” I was afraid to use the word, “Adult.” I am not sure who would be looking at my boxes, but whoever it is, I don’t want them to get the wrong idea about me.
After the new show Swingtown premiered, I am sort of afraid to move to the swanky, suburban house we picked. And if you don’t know why I am afraid… Well, that’s probably a good thing.
There’s this guy, Dave, who started the 100 Thing Challenge, which seems right up my alley since I love getting rid of stuff! My friend who pointed the article out to me said that this guy is kind of cheating a bit because things of personal value are going into a box for a year and aren’t subject to the challenge.
I started making a list to see what I could easily purge. Surprisingly, 100 items aren’t that many! If I could get rid of something without disrupting Kevin or the boys then it would be considered mine [ie, clothes, dvds, books, bed pillows (I have three- that is 3% of my alloted total, oh noes!)]. Shared items such as kitchenware, linens, books and dvds we all like are off limits. I also decided not to count consumables like shampoo. So, here is my list:
* Books- Pride and Prejudice, Mammoth Hunters, the scriptures, the current two books I am reading. I like to read books, I just don’t like to keep them around. Thankfully, the Harry Potter books fall under the shared category.
* Multiple seasons of a TV show on DVDs will only count as one item. I think I only have three must-haves. Bet you can guess what they are.
* I can easily get rid of my CDs thanks to iTunes.
* I have about 12 items from my childhood and pre-Kevin days I want to keep- yearbooks, doll bank, stuffed animals, Madam X print, my mom’s miniature collection. I have tried to get rid of the mom’s collection twice before but each time I got sad. Since they aren’t taking up a lot of room (they are miniatures, after all), I kept them. If we get a real laundry room in the new house, I am going to display a few in there. That makes me happy in my brain.
* A handful of electronics- alarm clock, iPod, laptop, cell phone, camera.
* My jewelry items will count as one item since everything fits in the jewelry box.
* I have four purses and one fun beach bag that I can’t bear to part with but when packing up my closet, I got rid of five other purses.
* I can reasonably limit my shoes to seven pairs, but I don’t want to feel deprived. I may decide to just count each shoe rack as one item, instead of individual pairs of shoes.
* Three coats- rain coat, heavy coat, light coat
* Sorting out actual clothes is daunting. I did go through them when I was packing, and got rid of a lot of stuff already, so let’s count that as a win, ok? You can tell a man came up with this 100 plan because a woman’s foundation garments, slips, and stockings alone would probably eat up half of the list.
So, how many items is that total? Did you remember to count my three bed pillows?
Since I am moving and dealing with all of that, this project will probably fall by the wayside. But I am totally on board with leaving a bunch of stuff boxed up in our future garage, which will still make my life and closets less cluttered, so yay.
Brian just came downstairs laughing his head off, with his nighttime pull up on his head. Apparently Max did this the other night. Oh, boys. (At least wait until Daddy comes home and can appreciate this wackiness.)
They (big thanks to Shawn for organizing it and Andy, Bert and Frank for picking up the tab!) threw an awesome going away party for me Thursday afternoon, which was a great idea, because yesterday I was super sick and just barely made it in to turn in my badge, laptop, blackberry, etc and grab my boxes and mini-fridge.
I love the people at AOL, always have. I’ve worked with, literally, hundreds of people in my thirteen years there, and I’m sad that I won’t see them every day now. But, it was definitely time to go. Now, I’m unemployed for two whole days before starting my new job down in Savannah. If I weren’t so sick, I might actually enjoy it!
Today is Kevin’s last day at AOL. He’d been there for 13 years. Can you imagine? That is the same amount of time spent in school. AOL helped him find his passion, meet like-minded people, travel the world, pay off my student debt (hey, super thanks for that), and develop into an awesome web dude. Over 100 people went to his goodbye party. Which, wow. Thanks, AOL. You’ve been awesome to us, which we’ll always appreciate. Bye now. Have a great summer. Keep in touch! ETA- Oh noes! Kevin doesn’t have the internet attached to his hip anymore. I am going through withdrawal already.
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