Sunday, October 30, 2005

Back across the pond I go

As promised earlier, I am going to write a blog entry about my plans for the near future and the reasons for these plans. I especially want to clarify which factors had a lot to do with my decisions and which didn’t.

First, what are my plans? Anyone who reads this blog will know that I am leaving Infusion. More specifically, my last day as an Infusion employee will be December 2nd. I am leaving for Holland that evening, and plan on continuing on to Slovakia a few weeks later. Once there, I will set up a sole proprietorship that will allow me to act as an independent consultant. I will search for clients all over Europe, but will likely focus on English, Dutch and German speaking countries since these are languages that I can communicate in. My German needs some work, but I am hoping my brother Miro and my cousin Boris will be kind enough to help out with that one. I’m looking forward to some good times with those two in Vienna.

Initially I can’t afford to be too picky with what projects I take on, since I will be new on the scene and will have to prove myself. Having said that, I will still try to focus on providing a specific type of service that I think will only become more and more valuable in the future.

I want to build a consulting practice that focuses on helping organizations manage their information wealth. The amount of information wealth that any given organization produces is substantial, and I believe that information will steadily make up a larger proportion of overall global wealth. As the production of wealth shifts more and more into the intangible, new methods of asset management will be required. Certain types of intellectual property have management systems associated with them, such as source control systems for computer code. Most information produced however is still very loosely managed if at all. If you don’t believe me, think of all the documents that are located nowhere but your laptop and your email account, and think of the time that went into creating those documents. Do you truly believe that no one else at your place of work could benefit from having access to this material? I want to provide people with the power to easily share and manage such intangible wealth. My generation knows the power of sharing. We started with mp3s and movies, and I think it’s time to bring this paradigm into the business world.

So now that I’ve said a few words about what I plan on doing, I want to explain why I decided to do this. Like with any big decision in life, there are many reasons. A few stand out however. I’ll try to put these in order of importance.

I’ve found that New York City is not for me. It was a fun place to experience, but I’ve had enough. I miss living closer to nature. I don’t mean the rats I see in the courtyard every night, but real nature. I miss having the freedom of owning a car. I miss silence. I find it difficult to recharge. I miss cooking. So it’s time to move somewhere else.

I’ve been away from my parents and my brother for too long. When I was in university I could still see them fairly often, but now that I am working I don’t see them nearly as much as I’d like. The chances of them moving here are null. I doubt I’d be able to find a job that lets me take 2 months a year off. So the only way to spend more time with them is to move to where they are. Unlike many people I know, I actually enjoy being in the company of my parents and brother. Yeah we get on each others nerves at times, but overall it’s a good experience being with them.

I want to work for myself. I enjoyed my time at Infusion, but I want to do things my way. I want to be in the driver’s seat, even if I’m driving the smallest car out there at first. I don’t think I can be truly happy any other way. I don’t expect it to be a smooth ride at all times, but I expect I’ll enjoy all of it.

I was born in a socialist Czechoslovakia that my parents took me out of so that I could have a better life. Times have changed substantially and I see a lot of potential in what is now Slovakia, one of the new member states of the EU. I’m a bit of a dreamer which has me thinking about ways to help grow this country into one of the best places in the world. It’s got a long way to go, but I think I can help. If I can create a few good jobs and expose a few bright young folks from there to business in the west, well I’ll feel like I’m doing my part.

I’m not very politically involved, nor do I pay much attention to politics. I am however also not stupid, and realize that by working in the US I am contributing to paying for a war machine I disagree with completely. While this may not be the main reason I am leaving, it is one of them. In the 1940s, America was on the right side of a war. In the 1970s, America fought a war that was less clear cut and the American public stood up in protest. Now it’s damn well obvious that America is fighting for nothing but better control of the oil in the middle east, and yet the American public is too spoon fed by CNN and too terrified of terrorists that only a few have the courage or intellect to do anything. Well this is my protest. I am protesting the best way I know how: cutting off the cash flow.

I think those are all the main reasons. Life is obviously not as simple as this, a number of other factors have contributed. I do want to point out to the Infusion folks however, that none of the reasons in the list above have anything to do with the ‘death march’ project that I was a part of. To those who don’t know what I am talking about, I was on a team that took on a project this summer which was extremely demanding in every way imaginable. See description on Greg Brill’s blog. Yeah that project was hard and there were days when I was ready to give up. But overall it was worth it. That may sound surprising, but I learned a lot on this project, I earned a good deal of respect from Infusion (as well as more tangible rewards) and I have come out the other end knowing I am one of the people that pulled off the impossible. I’m not going to have any trouble giving a potential client an example of what I can achieve. I’ll be clear, there is no way I am ready for another one of these any time soon. I am human and it wore me out. But I want to set the record straight and say out right that I am not leaving Infusion because of this project. I mean after all, I’d be an idiot if that was the case. The death march is over and I’ve earned my stripes. Why would I leave now? If that project was my reason for leaving, I would have been in Slovakia last May.

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