Hello my name is Gary from New York City. I’ve worked in the startup tech field for the last 16 years, and have been apart of some very successful startups, and some flat out failures. I like the tech field because it has allowed me to work with many different industries, developing life long relationships with people I can call upon and count on whenever needed.
Today, Q2 of 2016, I spend most of my time traveling the country. Living in via hotel, and on occasion mom and pop motels, or if I’m lucky, bed and breakfast places in remote locations. I rarely travel to remote places, as my big interest these days are in metropolitan areas, studying the flow of the city and comparing it with the next.
My mission with this blog is to share my story. My story being what I’m up to today. How I navigate throughout the country by myself, living the lifestyle I have always dreamed of. My story today is more about building relationships. Lets face it, I’m not working right now, I’m living off of the proceeds I acquired during my 16 years of operating multiple startups–some successful, some not. But thankfully the successful ones were successful enough for me to not work currently.
I do plan on going back to work at some point. But the challenge is I don’t know what I want to do yet. So for now, I’m spending my time meeting cool people in a number of different industries. My purpose for this is two fold, to gain relationships with people that I can help, or who might one day be able to help me (networking) and to learn about as many industries as possible, so I can identify pain points of said industries and hopefully, one day, figure out a solution (via another startup).
I’ve never taken this approach to finding a pain point. Most people don’t because they don’t have the financial means to just stop working to seek their next adventure. But for me, I’ve worked for well over 15 hours per day, mostly 7 days per week for more than 10 years straight, so I understand how important it is for me to take a break. This is a necessary evil.
While traveling to Colorado Springs last month I attended the Blue Collar Works Conference, which is a new conference held at Colorado University at Colorado Springs.
At the conference, I had the pleasure of sitting next to a few mechanics from Walsenburg, Colorado. The interesting thing is that these were a group of independent mechanics that worked under the same roof. Basically, they all had a set of specific skills, and they only worked within their particular skill set. This is unique, as most mechanics tend to be very generalized in nature, allowing them to work on just about anything. These guys did have those skill sets, but they also continued their mechanical education and developed skills and knowledge in special areas. It was the specialty areas that really set them apart.
On the other side of me, I sat next to two guys that drove down form the Denver area. They were locksmiths (unlockops.com). These guys were trying to learn how to generate more business and dominate their area. They had already found a way to dominate their local market for residential locksmihing (if that’s word, if not you know what I mean) services, but were seeking to grab a hold of the commercial market in their area.
Meeting these two groups were great for me. Everyone was a little reluctant to speak with me because they thought I was trying to sale them something. They couldn’t grasp the concept that I have a genuine interest in blue collar industries, considering I’m a tech guy. But I explained that as a developer, it’s important for me to understand, on an intimate level, the pains of different industries as that is what inspires my next project/company.
I didn’t identify much, but I was able to make a few friends and have some good conversations with people I know I will talk with in the future. Another guy I met there was trying to start his own independent trash pickup company. Conversing with him got my wheels turning, but he was so far from starting real company, that it didn’t make sense to dig deeper. This is a person I will keep in contact with as he understands how vital technology will be to his operation.
I don’t think this conference was a huge success for me, but it did enlighten me. I know that it’s important to go to these places, if for nothing to meet people in the right places. My next step would be to shadow them on their job, to gain a deeper understanding of their day to day activities, and most importantly, the pains they consistently experience.
The trip to color was awesome. I also visited several restaurants that I must make it back to. It’s crazy the level of technology built into some of these places. Some of them have systems down that really minimize the need for a server. I like servers and their interactions, but of course I’m always looking at, and interested in ways to create efficiencies.
I ended up staying in Colorado for 3 weeks. I spent most of my time in Boulder, CO, which a pretty cool visit. Very “hippy’ish” as most people know, but very different than say Berkeley, CA. People of Boulder tend to be a little more materialistic and not nearly as open and friendly, but still a cool place, with some good places eat!