Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Beautiful Marriage

Why isn't this on The Adventures of Jason & Linda? Surely 3 weeks and 2 days before our wedding day, a post by this title could only be about that, right? Nope. It's not.

If you've been a long time reader, you know all about my pen. My famous Mont Blanc Meisterstuck pen that was given to me by a former employer in 1999 for my first day of work at the New York Stock Exchange. You read a story about how I lost my pen, and another about how I found my pen. The importance placed on the object is its relation to a life once lived. I talked about I carried it all over Manhattan in suits and then all over the globe in camouflage. It was the only thing that linked me to my old life that I left behind. It mattered to me and I transitioned back to civilian life.

I moved home from the military life in 2013 and started JayVig Media in earnest and I ran the company for two straight years as my sole source of income. I signed every important document with that pen. It had made the transition to yet another part of my life.

10 days ago I started another adventure. I shut down the transactional and consultative side of JayVig Media, LLC and went back to work for a visual marketing company called Olapic, as their Client Support Manager. They tapped me to build a technical support team to include technical documentation, solutions workflows and training development.

And even though, I've held several jobs since the day I was handed my pen; for the first time in over 13 years, I get on the train, commute into Manhattan, and sit in an office with a career. The Air Force was temporary by design. JayVig Media was an entrepreneurial endeavor. I haven't had a team of people in tech, in Manhattan, since my corporate days. Truthfully, I hadn't even thought of it like that. Linda did.

The other night she came home and reiterated how proud of me she was for working hard, sticking it out, making the hard choice to close my company, and achieve this position with Olapic. She thought I should have something to commemorate it. I already had my pen, my symbol, my ticket of admission into a new adventure. In a bag was a box. In the box was this...

A leather Mont Blanc business card holder (hence the picture of the business cards above). And so, into my pocket goes my pen and this beautiful leather bifold, each bearing the 6 point star with rounded edges, representing the snow covered cap of Mont Blanc from above.

Together, they travel to and from the bedrock island of Manhattan, among the skyscrapers. An old life and a new life together, married. The poignancy that they came together right before I marry Linda and that one was given to me by her is not lost on me either. If there was any doubt that going to work for Olapic was the right choice, that it was full circle, that it was my skyscraper built on the bedrock of my NYSE days; it is gone.

I am sure this is far from my last adventure, but this is one of those that will really count. I didn't just move back to New Jersey or the northeast, but it took 794 day for me to really be home.

Friday, May 15, 2015

A sense of belonging

As most of my corner of the world knows by now, I started a new job this week. This came as a shock to many people, not the least of which was actually me. For the last two years, I have exclusively run JayVig Media, LLC, a baby I raised since its inception in 2011 (there was a stint where it wasn't my full-time gig). I love the social space. I love marketing. I think it is the single most important evolution in communication since the telephone.

At the same time, this summer marks my 20th anniversary in technology, professionally. What many of you don't know is that my first computer class was when I was four years old and was on a Commodore 64, which was all the rage back then. When I got battery operated toys, I was the kid that took apart the battery (or tried to) because I couldn't figure how this cylinder brought toys to life. I've accidentally erased more of my dad's computers than I care to remember (or admit to, on the grounds that I may incriminate myself - again). In June of 1995, I started my first job in the corporate world doing help desk work for a financial firm. Since then I've been in the same field for a retailer mega chain (Best Buy), a local mom & pop computer shop, the New York Stock Exchange and the United States Air Force.

The USAF is what got me started in social media. Pre-social networks, my weekends were largely comprised of calling my friends and family to keep in touch from a distance - sometimes as close as South Carolina and sometimes are far as the Middle East. Then came Myspace and quick, wide dissemination was available. Along the way I found value in brands speaking with consumers. Before I knew it, I was tapping into a valuable resource called social media marketing.

Since 2009 I have been learning about social, digital and content marketing as well as algorithms, ads and community engagement. I've learned from and studied with many of the founding fathers of social media along the way. It always had a tech feel because all these methods operate over the latest technologies, but my hands weren't getting dirty on actual equipment, configurations, code, or software.

I said, repeatedly, that I was done in tech. People would ask me questions and I'd say "I don't do that anymore. I'm a marketer now." Lo and behold, 2 years later I have abandoned social marketing to go back to my first professional love and strongest skill set; although I get to do it for a visual marketing company.

A small scrappy startup doesn't often have resources dedicated to their help desk / support system. It's not immediately investable. So everyone chips in where they can. Olapic was in that very situation. They have not outgrown that methodology for support.

That is where I come in. I have been tasked to manage the current team, build out a more robust team, create surrounding technical documentation (both for customer facing self-help and internal process management), create a training plan for support agents/account managers/clients, hire a technical writer and training development manager and stay on top of the overall health of all of the above.

I showed up Monday, May 11th for my first day without ever seeing the platform in action. Like a duck to water, I felt right at home. I speak the same language as this team. I live and breathe technology. I put processes into place within hours of arriving. Granted I'm still 0.1% of the way through what I want to accomplish, but there is no trepidation or uncertainty.

I love social media. I love what it's done for communication. I can't imagine a better way to market products or keep in contact with consumers. But now that I'm here, back in tech; for every minute of my professional day, I feel like I am right where I'm supposed to be, for the first time in a very, very long time.