Monday, January 30, 2012

Every day

I don't know if it is the law of diminishing return at work or just getting a little case of "senioritis" toward my military career, but...

Every day I get a little less satisfaction than the day before.

Every day I miss my friends and family from home just a little bit more.

Every day I have less tolerance for the immaturity of the next generation of Airmen that show up.

Every day I feel more distance between myself and my friends here.

Every day I long for a phone call from a civilian employer.

Every day I wake up with less energy than the prior morning.

Every day I measure my worth as a professional against my pay with increased disappointment.

Every day I stare, just a little longer, at the voluntary separation button my computer.

Every day I breathe a sigh of exhaustion before leaving for work - just a little heavier.

Every day I remind myself of all the good brought into my life by all these years in the military.

Every day I don the uniform and dig down deep for the pride that should automatically come with it.

Every day I want nothing more than to wake up, look around and say, "I'm truly at home."

Every day I count the days until I can say that.

Every day I do what I promised because I promised I would. I took an oath.

One day I will do what I do because I love it, I'm rewarded for it, I'm compensated appropriately and it'll all happen while surrounded by those most important to me.

Today is not that day.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What a relief

Obviously the last blog post spurred by a decision to shut down my company and online presences as a brand (3 brands, actually) was very disappointing. Even if it was necessary and added up by the numbers, emotionally it was a huge letdown to be in that position. I worked very hard at all of it and maybe that was the problem. Maybe 1 brand would have been a huge success, but 3 brands and a full time job were more than any 1 person could handle. I don't really know. Anyway, I spent all day feeling pretty lousy about the whole thing.

Then came this huge relief. I was talking to Linda and explaining the difficulty of trying to push content to people when nobody was asking for it or trying to pull content. She said that, to her, it seemed like I was showing up with an expert opinion to tell the world what they should and shouldn't buy or should and shouldn't do. She meant that from her perspective she didn't understand why I was so bent on the interaction, when I have so much to say about tech at any given moment.

I enlightened her about the process of keeping up with industry news from all sources (including the bozo tech tabloids like gizmodo and techcrunch), reading all the opinions, garnering fact, making my own analysis, wording so it makes sense to the average user and then delivering. If it's a video, it's that much harder to film, edit, upload and share to every platform available.

Then I explained something else that people outside my shoes don't really know or understand. As much as I love the new gadgets, being in the position that I was in came with a certain level of mania and, subsequently, anxiety about keeping up. I wanted an iPhone 4S but I also felt like I HAD to have one. How could Vig the Geek wax intellectual with the last generation? Where would the credibility be? I was frantically trying to sell my first iPad to raise the capital to buy the 2nd one. I tried the ChipIn thing to raise funds to buy cool gadgets to review (and then give away as prizes to my lackluster audience) and got nowhere.

I was constantly on the defensive as an iPhone guy and had a hard time defending my position since I didn't own an Android device. I now don't have to worry about funding a truly expensive habit just to keep up and talk about all this stuff. I don't have to get content out constantly. I can focus on other areas like getting some certifications. I can revive my interest in iOS app development.

I feel a huge sense of relief knowing I don't need to pump all this out only to never know if it's being heard by anyone other than my 3 closest friends. A million pounds have been lifted off my shoulders by closing JayVig Photography, JayVig Media and Vig the Geek. Still though, I thought it was all going to propel me into something bigger and letting go of a dream is never 100% easy. At least I can breathe now.

Tapped out

At some point last year I was about to shut down my online brands. At the 11th hour, everyone rallied support and asked me not to. I agreed. There was a resurgence in popularity and interaction for a brief time that tapered, sputtered and then died. I kept at it anyway. I started more.

Over the past few days, I was trying to figure out how to breathe life into my businesses so I could a) make money, b) serve my audience and c) have fun doing what I love to do. I've been exhausted and stressed out worrying about the amount of content I've been putting out, the frequency, streamlining the process, hitting the right topics and how to get back into the swing of things after a hectic holiday season. So I looked at everything. There's been nearly zero interaction on JayVig Media, slightly more than that but not much on Vig the Geek and absolutely nothing on JayVig Photography. The celebrity death pool had a guaranteed 7 teams, only 2 of which actually entered since announced on December 30th. All of these things cost me money. Not only am I not making money on them, but they cost me money every single month. Some in domain name fees, some in hosting fees, some in equipment, some in all of the above. They all cost a lot of time.

I research and formulate opinions. I reach out to peers in the industry and space and have conversations. I put my thoughts together to write articles or film videos. The videos require editing and uploading. I pay more for a better Internet connection to get videos up faster. I pad money for a Vig the Geek giveaway when I hit 400 fans, which I couldn't even make happen.

Facebook is very saturated. There are lots of brands out there. It's not easy to stand out anymore. However, some people find a way. Some people do it with nonsense. I can't do it. I cannot manage my brands. I started JayVig Media, LLC because I wanted to help businesses build their brands in the social space and I felt I had the knowledge, drive, and understanding of the intricate ways in the social space to make that happen. I can't even grow my own audience and manage my own brands. How can I sell others on how to do it? After a year, JVM had a whopping 49 followers. The most interaction I get is anonymous people reporting this blog to FB to have me marked as spam and banned.

I'm not a salesman. I'm a pushy, loud, bullshit artist. Put me in a room and I'll have a better than average chance of convincing you. But I'm not a salesman. I can't reach people. I can't convert people to followers and followers to customers.

So, I'm just a regular user on FB now. No brands, no businesses, no articles, no videos, no conversations with the big names. No aspirations of taking over the social media world. I've unpublished JayVig Photography, Vig the Geek and JayVig Media. I have suspended my account on Empire Avenue. I've logged out of both Twitter accounts. I'm disconnecting myself from all extra accounts and social Internet communities.

I couldn't do it. I tried. Vig the Geek was running for years now. JayVig Media for over a year. I worked hard at each brand, my full time job, school, my personal relationships and individual hobbies. My businesses were not successful where they were sustainable. There wasn't any ROI. So they are shut.

I've decided to, amidst school, study for my CCNA. I'm going to prepare myself for technical work after the military as a network administrator or something similar for a company.

I'm not an entrepreneur. I just wanted to be.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

There IS a difference

I saw this on Facebook today and it irritated me to no end. Liking one of these, but not the other one does NOT make you a hypocrite. They are two entirely different situations. They differ from how and why you'll see them as well as choices and respect for the freedoms of people around you. I always say that your freedom extends to the point that it impinges on someone else's. Our freedoms are not limitless. There has to be a mutual respect for people around us if we are to all maintain a healthy level of freedom in the first place.

Looking at the left picture, we have someone who is a waitress and wears a certain "uniform," if you will. Chances are, this is not worn at a family restaurant. That kind of exposure is not appropriate for families or young children. This is not dissimilar to Hooters (although the dopey manager of the Hooters in Biloxi, MS thinks it's a family oriented place). I would not take my children to a restaurant where the women dress like the kilted beauty above. If I do, then it's on me. I am responsible for explaining more details of female anatomy to my kids before their brains are ripe enough to get it. That being said, other than a stomach which can be seen at the beach, she is only showing a little more than average cleavage (average as defined by the United States in 2012).

Now let's look at the right. By area, she is showing more of her breast than the waitress. Then there is the act. The woman on the left is not doing anything but standing there. The woman on the right is performing a public, intimate act in public. I may kiss my girlfriend in public, but I don't make out with her. That's a private act that stays private, as is breastfeeding. Explaining to a child about the parts they see on the left is different than explaining the act that is happening AND the parts they see on the right. Now, let's talk about the freedom aspect. Like I mentioned above, if I go into Hooters or the place the left side girl works, it's a choice. If I see the woman on the right in a restaurant (or a park as it seems from the pic), I have NO choice. It is thrust on me whether I like it or not. Who is to say this won't happen in Walmart, McDonald's, BestBuy or a TGI Friday's, all of which do not house the woman on the left or her exposed anatomy. But the act of breastfeeding may happen anywhere, without means for escape. 

If there is one thing I cannot support, it is being forced to endure someone else's nonsense. This blog is a prime example. If you're reading this far and you're pissed off I have ZERO sympathy for you. You clicked the link and have read down to the 4th paragraph so far. You are free to leave at any point. If I interrupted something you were doing, made you a captive audience and forced you to read/watch/listen, then you'd have a substantial claim to be aggravated at me. If I am mid-meal at a truly family friendly restaurant when a breast pops out and the baby starts his meal, I have no choice. I suppose I could forego eating, pay for a half eaten meal, get up and leave, but I shouldn't have to. Private stays private.

I wouldn't complain about breastfeeding at a Mommy and Me class; that's expected. I don't even complain when a blanket is used to show some damn discretion. I'll never forget the woman in January of 2003 standing at the return counter of  Best Buy where I was an employee. Her shirt was pulling up on one side, breast was out and baby was feeding. It was less discreet than what we see above. Entire boob out in the breeze for the world to see. Telling me that's the same as the cleavage on the left? So, I'm standing there trying to assist her (with her computer, not breastfeeding) half shocked, half horrified, half formulating an opinion on whether this is ok or not (that's 3 halves for those counting). I'm clearly distracted. I'm 23, in public and this is new to me. It gets attention. She is offended that I'm surprised her boob is out in Best Buy. She storms off with the baby under one arm and the laptop under the other. Truthfully, there were about 3 of us behind the counter, all with the same quizzical look on our faces. We are doing our jobs. She took her breast out. Were WE the strange ones?

How can anyone honestly say that both of the above pictures are the same? If you want to rally support for breastfeeding, fine. If you think there should be more accommodations to be milked in public, fine. Is the above picture really your soapbox? I guess this is more about properly choosing your argument and supporting visual aids than about the argument itself, when you get right down to it. That picture above is asinine. 

Think about the amount visible, the act, the location, the intent, and the in-your-face-no-matter-your-opinion factors of each and then tell me I'm a hypocrite.