I’ll get the news out of the way quick like a bandaid: my incredible journey as a pirate in the Brains on Fire crew will be coming to a bittersweet end this month.
Today I want to tell you two things: first, the story of where I’m going and why. Second, why I am forever indebted to Robbin and the rest of the Brains on Fire family.
The story starts a handful of years ago with a quote one of my friends posted on their blog:
The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life. â€“Jessica Hische
I had just started at Brains on Fire when I first read that. The concept was interesting, but it’s full weight didn’t hit me until much later. I was earning spurs on my first national brand, and Brains on Fire is the type of place that gives a truckload of opportunity to the hard working and hungry. Looking back, I think I might have asked for two truckloads.
Either way, I was very busy learning about the world – the world of marketing, how to manage projects, how to interface with clients, develop strategies, measure them, and all of the trimmings that come with working in our industry.
As I began to learn the ropes and get a better handle on my job, I started writing for the Brains on Fire blog. As Robbin always says, “writing inspires thinking,” and in my experience, that thinking leads to reading and research. That’s exactly what I did, consuming a wide range of information about marketing, business, and more.
Throughout the process, I noticed something interesting: my curiosity gravitated strongly towards studying the internet, technology, and entrepreneurship. I actually enjoyed the subjects so much that they became off-hours pursuits.
Hacker News and WIRED became regular reads, and I started teaching myself basic HTML. (Yes, I’m guilty of procrastination by learning code.)
I began channeling my off-hours energy into starting a few companies for fun. I scanned my day-to-day experiences for annoyances or problems I thought technology could iron out. At the time, I also happened to live with one of the most talented developers Iâ€™ve ever met, and he was happy to have new challenges to tackle. We would stay up late talking through ideas, and in about a yearsâ€™ time, we started and killed a rental payment web app and a wedding website service. We weren’t anywhere close to having a real product – we both had full time day jobs – but the act of talking and planning was exhilarating.
So, when the founders of a technology-based startup accelerator (The Iron Yard) approached me about coming on as their program manager and marketing guy, I was faced with a dilemma: leave a group of some of the most talented people I’ve ever met (and a place I loved coming to work to everyday), or take a chance on making my off-hours passion a full time job?
If you haven’t noticed, we’re big fans of passion at Brains on Fire, so the support I received during this difficult decision was incredible.
That support has been what’s made my time at Brains on Fire so incredible – I would never have guessed that such a venerable and successful company would have taken a chance on me, taught me, challenged me to grow, all with a whole lot of laughs and, of course, a few shots of tequila.
To Robbin and the crew: I am forever indebted to you for your investment in me. I have had the chance to see each one of you pour your blood, sweat, and tears into the investment we make in our clients and each other. There isn’t a more committed group of people out there; it has been a privilege.