Day One!

Day one ends with me frantically applying for a business license after texting my accountant friend (and fellow karateka) saying, "Hey, accountant friend, will I need to get a business license if I'm starting out on contract?" His answer is yes, and so I rush to the City of Edmonton website and find that, to my relief, the application for a home business license (especially for what I'm doing - nothing that creates loud noises, strange smells, etc.) is relatively pain free. We shall see if successfully getting said license is as easy.

As an aside, let's talk about my genetics in terms of entrepreneurialism. They're not very good. My parents were very dependable people who played it safe. Being their son, through example, they taught me to play it safe. Which is good. Much fewer headaches are in store for you when you think ahead of all the possible things that could go wrong when you take any particular course of action. The problem with this is that thinking ahead about all the possible things that can go wrong is a great way to not take necessary risks. It paralyzes you. Now, if I take a look at people who are successful in some sort of entrepreneurial endeavour, they seem to share one common attribute. They may recognize that the future is going to hold a bunch of things they have to do that will be troublesome, complex, etc. but before they think too much about this stuff, they simply jump in. People like me tend to not learn from these people. It's easier for us to say something like, "Look at that idiot. He didn't prepare at all, and is just going on dumb luck. Just think if I had done it how much better it would have gone." But that's the point. We're the peanut gallery. And it's easy to give critique when you're not in it. So rushing to get a business license at the last minute might look like simply not thinking far enough ahead, dear readers, but I would argue that it was better to simply tackle it when it came up than to make a daunting checklist of things I need to do before I can even start.

Most of today involved going through the product with Seth, the CEO. It was pretty intense to get the overview on something he's been working with for years in a few short hours, but that's been my experience getting involved in any new project. The trick is to take in as much as you can and try to build a "big picture" model of things. What's coming down the pipe? What's are the distinctive features? What's the general philosophy behind the application? Seth was pretty good about giving these high level details as he went along, and I think it will help a lot in my brain retaining the important stuff. And while I don't have a lot of experience in the video production industry (besides making low budget music videos with gaudy effects in final cut express / iMovie), I found that I could grasp the necessary collaboration aspects fairly easily. The Market7 product is meant to bridge that gap between business types who want hard data about what's going on and more creative types who don't necessarily fit into easy schedules. That's my first impression, anyway. Working on a lot of artistic stuff on the side, and more recently trying to write some software tools to make that easier, I've at least run into the problem of how to add more structure into a creative project's workflow in a non-intrusive way. I flip back and forth between creative and analytical mindsets often, and it always takes a little while to get settled in one. That's why it's important for software to be designed in a way that doesn't make you interrupt the one mode of thinking until you have to. I'm excited about bringing some of the musing I've done about this over the years into my work with the Market7 product.

I felt that a lot of trust was put in me right away, and that helped a lot in terms of making me comfortable working from afar. In my mind, it re-affirmed that, "Okay, we really are doing this thing." So that was unexpectedly important. I already feel much more confident going forward than I did a day ago.

Finally, what technologies are we using. Well, there's this thing called a telephone. That works surprisingly well. Combined with a WebEx meeting session with screen sharing, and it's almost as if I was sitting in San Francisco. We're using PivotalTracker for scheduling and keeping track of work that needs to be done. I did a little preparation on this, but it was interesting to get an insight into how the application (or any application for that matter) is tweaked to suit the working styles of the people using it. I imagine that will take a little time to get used to, but I don't anticipate any major issues.

So, that's it. Day one is complete and I know a lot more about the product, who I'll be working with, and what's coming up. Day two will introduce me further to the code behind it all. As a programmer, this is something that I feel will give me a much better feel for things and settle any other anxieties rolling around in my head.