Publicly Announcing the Website To My Software and Consulting Company, Twin Roots

twin-roots-logo-notext  

My company website is now publicly online.

Twin Roots, a software and technical consulting, contracting and development company has been active for about a year now. And while I have had an initial website up for the last month or so (basically so that I didn’t have to have the GoDaddy start page as the website), I have never really publicized it.

However, I have found what I consider a pretty good theme for my website and am happy enough with it publicly announce it here. I am using a *free* theme from Six Shooter Media (credits maintained on the web site, of course). I just liked the theme. It is simple yet different enough to where I think it can stand out quite nicely. I see an easy maintenance path for the site, being able to highlight current developments, work or products very easily.

I know a free theme is sometimes frowned upon for a business website. And it could be down the line that I have an original site created. But for my first go around, I feel this will do quite nicely.

I invite you to visit the site and comment on it, either through my email address provided there or right here on my personal blog.

Some items I am looking at adding in the near future are:

  • A company blog
  • Maybe a quick comment section to talk about items such as the site or its content

I am happy that I can get a presence for Twin Roots finally out there.

Back From the Dead

Well, back at least from a blogging perspective. It has been a long time since my last post. What to say about why that is – well, mainly I was taking care of some personal work and also finishing up a consulting gig.

It has been a successful first “out of a corporation” year for me. I have made some money and made some great contacts.

So where do I stand right now?

I am in a state of flux. I am between consulting/contracting opportunities and I have not made much headway on any micro-ISV product (mainly because of the consulting work, but also for some other reasons).

I have some decisions to make.

Here are my current options:

  • Flesh out 1 or more of 5 possible product ideas, if for anything to get me back in the programming “spirit”
  • Do some side, primarily non-programming work that has been offered to me, more for the experience and satisfaction than any monetary reason.
  • Work on some technical articles or books that I have been floating around. as possibilities I have some possible leads for publications, but some other things have to fall into place, which I am working on.
  • Look for some more consulting work – I may have a possibility in January, but I am not sure I can 100% count on that.
  • Go back to school to earn my Masters in Computer Science or MBA or, at the very least, take some courses to get the brain juices flowing
  • Look for a full-time job

Now, the options above are not necessarily exclusive, but I do need to prioritize and make a decision. And make a decision is exactly what I am going to do now…..

……well, after I watch my Buffalo Bills hopefully beat the Browns tonight!

Go Bills!

Buffalo Bills logo

UPDATE: The Bills lose on another "wide right" field goal. Bills fans know those are the two most dreaded words a Bills fan can hear :-(

Reconsidering My Micro-ISV Ideas

image It has been a 1.5 months since I posted my ideas to start my Micro-ISV. After moving across the country, continuing on my consulting efforts, and some personal research and reflection, I am reconsidering whether I should move forward with any of these ideas.

With respect to the RSS Reader, I do believe I have an interesting idea that would "uniquify" the product; but, I also am beginning to believe it might be better to just contribute that idea to something like Dare and company's RSS Bandit rather than go with a full-fledged development project.

I was most jazzed about the Fantasy Football web site, but that excitement has fizzled lately -- maybe because the football season is almost over; maybe because of the reality of differentiation; I am not 100% sure, but my initial glee about the prospect is not there anymore.

The "Bag-O-Tools" idea is still on the table.

I am now doing a re-analysis of the direction I want to go with my company (i.e. do I need a "born-again" moment?) To give you a glimpse into my mind, here is my current thinking:

My Company = Consulting Company?

My consulting effort has been going really well, with real money and possible future prospects. I have been complemented for my good work. So, do I become a consultant/contractor instead of a Micro-ISV? But, the phrase "possible future prospects" can be a bit unnerving -- the well can dry up at anytime and without notice. So a backup plan is a must. Also, the possibility of constant travel may prove a bit prohibitive depending on how things go with my family.

Do I Want a Partner(s)?

I waiver on this quite a bit. On the one hand, it is very intriguing to know that I could control *all* aspects of my business. On the other hand, I know what a lonely road that could be. I don't necessarily mind giving up some control for the chance to share in the production of something successful -- in fact, running the business aspect of the business (vs. the technical aspect) intrigues me quite a bit. Also, I am still 100% convinced that the right partner, in general, is better than going solo -- if, for nothing else, to keep motivation high and have a listening ear for the business.

What Is My Niche?

This is the hardest hurdle to get over, obviously, for any successful Micro-ISV. But, this is arguably the most important hurdle. My initial ideas do not carve a specific niche, per se. I knew that going in, but now I am thinking that maybe I should try to carve a niche to complement my initial business goals. What product(s) could I develop that uniquely solves a problem for a certain group of people. On the other hand, it could very well be my niche is in the consulting business. It could very well be my niche is in technical editing, or managing a project or an effort. I am not ready to say what it is yet.

So as my current consulting effort ends (sometime before April 1st), I really need to do a lot of soul searching to figure out what comes next for me. I do hope I at least have the opportunity to make a decision to make about another enjoyable consulting or contracting after this one ends.

State of the Joel

It has been a few weeks since my last blog post. I have what I consider a valid excuse for that -- I moved across the country.

In the spirit of the new year, and inspired by the various State of the State/Union addresses that have occurred or will occur, I have decided to provide you a "State of the Joel" address.

The State of Joel is a calm after the storm.

We have completed our move from North Carolina to California. We met with some old friends who have helped us as we settled in (thank you very much -- you know who you are). We have made our rental house into our new home. And things are starting to feel "normal". Being back in California feels right, and visiting San Francisco yesterday just affirmed that even more. By the way, I highly don't recommend flying across the country with two near-two year olds on a regular basis ;-)

My wife starts work next week, and I watch the kids for a week (see below as to why only a week). After that, we have a trusted person to watch the boys for 3 weeks. Then they go to part-time daycare starting in mid-February.

On my job front, I just finished one consulting job. That lasted around 3.5 months. I have another 3-6 week consulting job that starts in two weeks, related to the work I just finished. I like the consulting work that I am doing as it provides some new challenges and great flexibility.

I received an email last night from an old friend and colleague of mine asking me if I would like to partner on a business venture with him. I am in the midst of reviewing the idea. I have a lunch meeting tomorrow with another friend and colleague to talk about other venture possibilities as well. These startup ventures may never pan out, but it is very cool to even consider things like this.

I still have my initial business projects to focus on. However, I will continue to examine new ventures and consulting work as they come available and make appropriate decisions.

Oh yeah, and we bought a Panasonic 50" Plasma TV as our Christmas gift to each other. I didn't go 1080p -- I figure the prices will come down in the next couple of years and we are sitting 13' feet away and thus will not notice any noticeable difference. So I went 720p for a very good price at Costco. Watching the NFL Playoffs in HD is awesome -- and I cannot go back! My next home entertainment decision is whether I should go get a Blu-Ray player now that it seems like it is leading the charge in the hi-def DVD war (although I have friends who work in HD-DVD land, the other competing format).

So, what do I see for 2008? I see this as a year of clarity, specifically with respect to the careers of me and my wife. I also see us buying a house.