May 2011, WTF?!

I haven’t posted an update in a long while and thought I was about due for another post.  May has certainly been a wild ride for me and for others.  I knew May was going to be a turning point for me, but I had no idea just how much of a change it would be for me. 

Here’s a quick recap of things that happened.

  • I turned down an incredible employment opportunity
  • Became President of a local Refresh chapter, by default
  • Started a new project involving zombies
  • Tornados
  • Dog gets rescued by a former okcCoCo employee
  • I get stabbed twice in the back.
  • More Tornados
  • More Dogs rescued by above mentioned former okcCoCo employee
  • A possible new career change
  • Someone who used to be an acquaintance of mine passed away.

I think that about covers it. I’m sure there’s a million other things I missed that should be included in that list. You may also notice item 6 in the list about me being stabbed twice in the back.  Unfortunately, that is to be taken literally and not a metaphor for something else. 

On the night of May 22nd, I was attacked while still in my vehicle fending off two attackers. While I was fending off one of the attackers, the second one attacked me from behind, leaving me with two stab wounds.  That’s basically the very shortened version of it.  

The attack left me with a slightly damaged diaphragm and my liver was punctured.  Other than that, I have no complications and have been in recovery for the last couple of weeks. Recovery has been relatively painless and honestly, I’m suffering more from what the hospital did to me in surgery, than the actual stab wounds.

I want to thank many of the friends who came and visited me at the hospital and have helped me out in the last couple of weeks.  I especially want to thank my Dad, who came up to OKC and helped me get back on my feet again.

I know this sounds cliché but the experience has changed my outlook in life. It’s not everyday that you’re faced with your own mortality as directly as this.  It also makes me realize that I’m not invincible. It’s also made me re-prioritize what’s important in my life. 

This post is already getting way too long, so I’ll wrap up with a brief update about a change in employment status.  The full details will be disclosed in a separate post in the future.  With that said, I will no longer be consulting full-time as a freelancer.

That’s it for now.  Stay safe.

Tom

"

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.

Specialization is for insects.

"
Robert A. Heinlein

Exciting times.

2011 has been great (so far, atleast) and things are looking bright.  The OkcCoCo was fortunate to be apart of SXSW:Interactive 2011 thanks to the Oklahoma Film & Music and the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. Open Beta 6 was held at Friend’s Bar in downtown Austin, TX during SXSW: Interactive and it was great meeting other designers and seeing all the new possibilities and ideas from many of the speakers and start-ups at the event.

SXSW reinvigorated me into wanting to do more with my ideas and to not be afraid of releasing an imperfect product.  Eric and I really got pumped up about a new mobile app idea during SXSW and spent the whole night geeking out over the possibilities of our app idea while cracking out on lattes. I can’t wait to get the app completed so we can tell everyone about it.

In other news, things may even change for me professionally. After a year of being my own man and doing freelance work, I am now considering some incredible opportunities that have come my way. My worst fear with going back to full time employment with an agency or company has always been going back to an environment of inept leadership, overbearing supervisors, and the type of corporate culture that sucks the life out of you.

However, the opportunities that have come my way are quite the opposite of that. The telephone conversations I’ve had with the CEO’s and Managers of these respective companies have been very positive. The best part is that these opportunities allows for working remotely, which is a good indicator that they have a certain company culture that is more in-line to what I’m seeking. 

It’s a very good sign when a company can build a team of people who can live hundreds of miles apart, yet are very close and passionate about what they do.  It’s a sign of great leadership and progressive company culture.

I’m excited to see how this pans out. It’s been incredible with the response I’ve been receiving and I have my fingers crossed for one of the opportunities.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to give an update sometime in the next week or so.

Signing out.

-Tom

How to Fail at a Startup: The story of Foamish

As many of you know, Foamish has been plagued by delays, changing scope, and fail. As one of the founders of the Foamish project, it’s actually quite embarassing. As of this post, Foamish still hasn’t formally launched, yet. It’s been joking referred to as “The Duke Nukem 3d” of web startups. 

There are various reasons why Foamish hasn’t formally launched, yet.  One of the founders had left the project early on for an incredible opportunity. Second, we all had full-time jobs and it’s hard making time for a project as involved as this.  Finally, the project suffered from massive scope creep and ever changing product vision.

I have a lot to blame for the changing project vision and scope creep.  What’s worse is that I should know better than that, since I’ve always preached having clearly set goals and having a defined product vision. It just got to the point that the vision of Foamish got too big for two people with full-time jobs.

Anyways, the video covers the main points on the failures of Foamish and it’s good advice for any would be start-up founders to take heed to.

"I’m not going to bed after all. Somebody around here hath murdered sleep. Good for him."
J.D. Salinger

Did Hell Freeze Over?

So, I guess hell has frozen over.  Not only did I get around to assembling together something of an online portfolio, but I’ve also decided to start blogging, as well.

The reason why I’ve held off from designing my own portfolio site, stems from me being my worst client. Nothing I ever create, design, or do for myself ever seems to be good enough for me. I guess this is a common thing among creative types, but I seem to struggle with this more so than anyone else.

It was also a challenge to see how long I could go as a freelance designer without having a portfolio of any kind. I wanted to see how far my reputation as a designer and word of mouth could carry me. Much to everybody’s dismay, I was doing absolutely wonderful and it even shocked myself just how much people had respected me as a designer, by name alone.

Fast forward a year since going freelance fulltime, I’ve decided that enough was enough. I didn’t want to spend too much time on a portfolio site and really wanted something very simple and straight forward. Unfortunately, I chose Wordpress as my platform and it started to make things complicated very fast. I finally have majority of the content up, but the design is still “not there” yet.  I say it’s about 60% finished.  You can check it out at http://www.tommyyi.com.

I also scrapped my old Tumblr and created this new one. I wanted to start fresh and this time I wanted it to reflect me. This includes shedding my old user name in favor of using my real name. This was also the reason why I chose to host my portfolio at tommyyi.com. I’ve always hidden behind a username, as a pseudonym of sorts, in my online presence. It was a type of shield that I used to make me less vulnerable and allowed me to be whatever and say whatever online with nothing to lose.

Anyways, here’s to year one of being my own man.  I’ll eventually get around to styling this Tumblr, but this premade theme will do for now.

Signing off

-Tom

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Ramblings of a designer stuck in Oklahoma City

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