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. —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 I’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 years’ 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.