Thoughts

Self Employment: Year One Recap

I started my first business in high school, making websites for anyone who’d give me a shot. It was a great way to make money that I carried through college, grad school, and my adult life. I even did it full time a little after college, but lack of benefits and the need to learn more forced me to find a full time job. For pretty much that entire time, the stakes were different – and not very high. I didn’t have anyone except myself to support and I didn’t require too much.

That changed when I got married and had a daughter. I thought my chances at full time self-employment were dramatically lower as a result. However, today marks the anniversary of me leaving my full time job to pursue my side business full-time. I’d like to reflect on the first year.

How to handle Talk Interruptions

How to Handle Interruptions During Your Talk

Maybe this has happened to you. You take the stage. The slides are peeped and displayed. Your talk starts. The nervousness subsides and you’re getting into a good flow. Then, when you’re finally comfortable, someone just has to interrupt you. This has happened to me more times than I can count. It even happened recently, when someone in the crowd felt the need to correct me on the duration of a construction project. So what do you do? What’s the best way to handle interruptions? Let’s take a look.

Be Inquisitive

Have an Inquisitive Mind

If I had to pick one thing I knew for certain my wife likes about me, it would be my inquisitive nature. She says it regularly. It’s because we’ll be talking about something and I’ll blurt out, “I wonder how that started,” or “Who do you think the first person to try that was,” or “I wonder if that’s because of <X>.” One of the reasons I love going to Disney World is because I like figuring out the Disney Magic. They push the limits of technology and engineering and I want to know how they got to those limits. But being inquisitive isn’t just about picking up fun facts or things to file away for pub quiz (or quizzo, or whatever it’s call near you). There are lots of ways being inquisitive has helped me, both personally and professionally.

My podcast setup for Summer 2018

My Podcasting Setup and Process, Summer 2018

I tend to get a lot of questions about my podcast setup, especially lately. Lots of people want to get into podcasting and I love that! I’ve written about my setup before, and last week wrote about everything on my desk. I touched on some of my gear there, but in this post I want to dig into the real setup, and the current process, as well as improvements I’d like to make.

My Desk

What’s On My Desk, Summer 2018

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on my office and making some good improvements to my workspace. I’m 95% to where I want to be, and I figured this is as good a time as any to do a “what’s on my desk” post. I’ve done posts like this before, and want to do them more regularly – so keep an eye out! I’ll do a short Summer 2018 series for my desk, my travel bag, and my recording setup.

“No But We Can Order It Online for You.”

I have a confession to make: when it comes to shopping, I like it a lot more than my wife does. I also really like going to stores and buying stuff…even though with Amazon I can get most things the same day if I order them before 11am. But there’s something about going to a store or a mall, picking out the thing you want, and walking out with it. It bums me out that retail is dying. The news that Toys ‘R’ Us is closing kills me. That store is probably the reason I like shopping so much. But over the last few months, my shopping excursions have been fruitless, and the reason makes it very clear why retail is dying.

podcast listeners

How Do You Listen to Podcasts? (Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card)

I’ve spent more than one post on this blog talking about podcast sponsorships. Today, I wanted to talk about podcast listeners. There are a lot of stats out there for website users – where they came from, what they do on the site, how long they stay, and a lot more. While there have been strides in the last few months surrounding stats on podcasts, I feel like I still don’t know much about my listeners. I’ve tried surveys in the past, but they didn’t go well. So I’m switching things up a bit.

How Do We Best Teach Programming to Beginners?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I teach. I tend to take a “learn by doing” approach in my online courses where there are very clear, step-by-step instructions completed via video. However, this format gets pretty tough to execute in other contexts. For example, I teach an online graduate course for the University of Scranton, which is primarily text-based. This course’s goal is to get students with a healthcare background proficient in programming; the assumption is they are at least somewhat technical. After getting feedback, especially this semester, I’m realizing the approach my co-author and I took in creating the course was wrong. This got me thinking: how do we best teach programming to people who have never seen it?