Whenever I think of those two words, I think of a professional wrestling match. An “I Quit” match is where the two men beat each other up until one of them has had enough. Usually both men fight valiantly and a lot of blood has been spilled. Then, when you are on the edge of your seat, and one wrestler has the other in a Cross-Legged Stepover Toehold Facelock, blood streaming from both opponents, applying the most amount of pressure possible, the other wrestler chants “I Quit!”
I felt that way last night. So I will share with you my resignation letter (sort of)
We’ll start off with a touch of history: I have been in this business of Technology in a professional nature for over 15 years. I have done a lot in my time. My profession started in 1995 as a live phone support agent for Microsoft Windows 95, then moved on to support other technologies. I built desktops on the side, which was a lucrative business back then.
I moved from phone support to desktop suport, then server support. I got my first MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) in 2003 and since then, obtained a few certifications in multiple fields. At the prime I was maintaining everything from Exchange, Citrix and VMWare environments, the on-comming Voice over IP (VoIP) revolution, and even a couple mainframe systems.
In 2005, I saw a new shiny coin – Social Media.
At first, it was going to be just a weekly podcast. However, after a couple life changing events, I found myself running 2 podcasts that would become “The Geek Smack!” and “Day in Tech History” full time. It was becoming a pretty profitable business. I was maintaining websites for local businesses, doing side – audio and video roundtables with the TechPodcast Network, and starting the next phase of Geekazine – the Special Media Feed (whenever I interview someone, go on a trip or demonstrate technology, the video appeared there).
The Setbacks – Sponsors, Health issues, Breaking Banks.
It was all really starting to gel. But then around this time last year, things changed. A major sponsor dropped out, which started the downward spiral. The trips I took brought new names to my attention, but no new business. The shows went from covering the bills, to barely making do. Getting out to the events was getting tougher, especially since I live in the Midwest.
Earlier in the year I also had some health problems I don’t normally talk about. Wasn’t anything that was not manageable, but it required some doctor visits. I will say that my blood pressure is one of those things I had to work on. It’s under control, but the added stress of making little money is not helping.
I personally infused my shows by reeling in all my financial investments back and re-investing into Geekazine. It helped cover some of the bills, but since the business wheels did not restart the way I wanted, and the well ran dry.
Then, the added sources of income stopped coming in. A business I was working with had changed direction and didn’t need my services anymore. By July, I had to find new ways to make extra cash. They don’t bring in the amount this last job did, but they do cover some costs.
I found myself applying for more jobs. Hoping that a good 20 hour a week contract would come to surface that would allow me the time to keep this venture going on and pay some bills. After all, the lights need to stay on somehow.
The Day in Tech History’s Direction
When I started collecting Technology history 4-5 years ago, I expected to eventually break the show from Geekazine and put together a more comprehensive website. After the low points of last year, I felt this had to go forward now. I also figured (from the listener numbers) that I could try and make this show “Ad free”.
I have also had people express interest in helping out in this idea throughout the years, but nothing ever came to fruition. Earlier in the year I thought I had some relief in this project as another person expressed interest and we started to work together. I was excited because not only would I have some help, but it would also give a new angle to the show.
But for some reason, all communication with this person stopped. They were still active online, but would not response to any of my emails, tweets or direct messages. No apologies, no excuses, no.. nothing. I was left holding the proverbial bag, which meant the work this other person agreed to do was back on my shoulders and was due yesterday. This was a very hurtful, but what is worse, I don’t know why they did it. Yet, they seem to go on like nothing happened.
A friend suggested I start a Kickstarter project, and turn the show into a user sponsored event. I did so, and put a 30 day limit on it. I paid for a little bit of advertising, and a company to put out a press release. I actively looked for some other content creators to help get out the word, which people like Grammar Girl and Mobile Roundup helped. I put together a campaign from Social Media and even through my email campaign to promote. While I got some response, it didn’t even hit the minimal goal that I set.
The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back
You might think at this point that it’s the websites that brought me to a boiling point. But it wasn’t. Last night I got news that a website I built for someone years ago went down the crapper. Add to that, within the last year, other websites I maintained over the years also failed due to their shops closing.
I am gonna step back a minute and say that I am used to failure, and I have seen websites I created fall apart. In 2000, I had a website called “Toonzed“. It was a cartoon website featuring a caption contest and my daily comic “Cybeeks” (two tech guys and their daily antics). I quit that venture because I lost the passion of drawing. Most of the other websites I made in the 2000′s were band websites. The band breaks up and there is no need for a website anymore.
I also had a podcast before Geekazine. The Independent Music Podcast was a 20 minute podcast with music from emerging artists. I quit that for two reasons – 1. I knew the issues of the RIAA would come into play and I didn’t want to have to pay for doing my show. 2. At the time (2005), a 20 minute podcast at 128 kbps was a pretty large file to expect people to download. I found my passion in content creation, but I really wanted to do something technology related.
At any rate, last night I got news that something I worked hard to build was not only taken down, but the new owners didn’t even bother to keep a backup of the site. So everything I put together for them was gone.
Emotions Ran High
I was livid last night. Then I was frustrated, and finally depressed. I sat on the couch and couldn’t even laugh to what was on TV. And it wasn’t because the content wasn’t funny. Listening to Seth Rogan (one of the people I want to meet in life) on David Letterman last night saying classic quotes like “People hand me weed like people hand Jarred Fogel Subway subs”, and “Drinking with the Jersey Shore group is like getting a chance to play basketball with Michael Jordan. Even if you suck, you don’t turn down the opportunity.”
I went to my social networks and put out two words. “I Quit“. It was a very therapeutic statement, but was quickly squelched by some of the sarcastic comments that followed it. So I just went to bed.
So Now I Quit – But from What?
Is this the end of another part of my life? Am I done with Social Media and start my career as a Pizza delivery guy, Undertaker or construction worker? What did I quit from?
It’s simple – I quit from this last year. I quit from not feeling like I am not making it in this business. I quit people that bring me down, take my ideas and step all over them. I quit those people that instantly say “No” to something, for they have no foresight in what I am doing.
This is my “Quit Deed”. Just like when I quit smoking, I am putting together a quitting plan. To go cold turkey from last year will be a tough job, but I am up for the challenge. Making a quit claim is only one part of this path. Actually going forward with the resignation will be the true test of how I quit.
I try to put together high quality content with the meager means I have. I put a lot of time in turning that into something that feels and looks semi-professional. Yet the haters come out and say stupid things, pointing out small mistakes that are made. Therefore, I quit the haters. I quit the sarcasm that pisses me off.
When I start in the morning, sometimes I’ll have the song “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder in my head. So much of that song rings true - Powers keep on lying, While your people keep on dying, World keep on turning, Because it won’t be too long.
What I WON’T Quit – I’m Gonna Keep on Trying, Til I Hit the Higher Ground.
For those of you that might be questioning, I am not quitting Geekazine. Even with a failing Kickstarter attempt to keep Day in Tech History alive (although it has about 60 hours left to it), I am not quitting what I have been doing for the last four years. I may have to go underground for a while so I can pay my bills. I also need to find a way to get to the Consumer Electronics Show, where I really do make the contacts and cover costs for at least 5-6 months out of my life.
I won’t quit trying to create better content. I hope this process gets easier, though. I have felt overwhelmed lately and want to just take a break. I did end one show just to keep my sanity. With the health issues that creeped in lately, I have been forced to not work as much while I recuperate.
I really did find my passion and I am not resigning from that. As another song goes (Men at Work) “Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride, Nobody’s gonna slow me down. Oh no, I’ve got to keep on moving”. I am just quitting those who don’t want to be part of my dream.
New Directions to my Renewed Path
It is time to take a new direction. My resignation is in for the negative and it’s time to turn to the positive. Bring more people to Geekazine and find a way to keep them here. Create a better buzz and hopefully not be just another entity in a sea of nothingness.
The side ventures are also not quitting anytime soon. I hope to find others that see the potential and want to help out. I have had people help out in positive ways throughout the years. Norbert Davis, Paul Muller, Andy McCaskey, Todd Cochrane, Frank Bell, Adria Richards, Russel Hall, Mignon Fogarty, Jon Accarrino, Rich Dunbar, the folks at IVY WorldWide, the folks at Ford and HP, Rachel Eaton at Stitcher, Bruce Barr, Gabriel Guzman, Wendy Soucie, the folks at Kodak and Wirecast. Add to that, all the people I have met in my 4 years here and the names I might have accidentally overlooked to this list.
I only quit the negative. I am not trying to say I am not negative myself, nor do I call myself the good guy. In all reality, I’m an asshole. But I am trying to be a positive asshole.
In the meantime, if you are looking for a Online Community Manager, I would like to talk to you how I can increase your social media presence.