Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Idling vs. R&R

I'm not so comfortable waiting, idling the engine, while anticipating a response or a reply or some action by someone else. It's a question of controlling my environment I suppose. There are many uncertainties in life, and many points at which one does not have direct control.

You can make the presentation, but you have to wait for the audience questions or the client's decision; You can build the display, turn on the lights, and open the doors, but you have to wait for the customers to arrive and make a purchase.

It's that time in-between that seems the longest. There are times to idle the engine, when you know your party is coming out soon, when finding a spot to park wouldn't be efficient.

But there are times when it's best to turn off the engine, go for a stroll in the park, smell the breeze, pet a dog, pick a flower, dip your toes into a fountain or a pond, lie back in the grass, shut your eyes, feel the sun on your cheeks, and dream.

Today's a day (mostly) for R&R. I do have that call from a reporter to take sometime today, to discuss my R&D business that has been idling for months. Might it be revived? Will one of the alternate paths I've been exploring take over instead? What will tomorrow bring? Or a year from now?

I settle in the grass, close my eyes, and let it all fade away, for now... Rest and relaxation and recuperation and rejuvenation and ... rrr ... zzz.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I would say, the hardest part by far about being an entrepreneur is the sense of isolation. But then... that's my experience. I can imagine, easily, as I see pictures of smiling groups highlighted in local business magazines, that entrepreneurship for many is a social activity. They say the solopreneur has an uphill battle. But I suspect the sense of isolation is the cause of my entrepreneurial bent rather than its consequence. Where are all those others, eager to collaborate?

Isolation is being alone in my home computer room, with five workstations or at my office with eight desks, at 7:00 am (sometimes 5:00 because I couldn't sleep) trying to catch the demons of the night as concrete ideas or actions, realizing that I do not have all the tools to make them reality, looking around and hoping that the dust bunnies will arise in wisps to lend a hand, then sighing at the dust, and seeing it traverse the floor only from my own exhale, finally getting started on something, anything, to stay active, knowing that the next adventure won't begin on its own.

Friday, September 13, 2013



Auditions... I used to be a performer, actor, singer, musical theater, opera. But I never liked the auditions. I've never really liked applying and interviewing for jobs too much either. I don't like being judged. To be honest, I kind of like me the way I am. When I went looking for a doctoral program, I thought of it like getting married. "If they're not in love with me, I'll keep looking." I guess it's that more than anything that makes me an entrepreneur.

But now I find myself back on the stage, standing cross-legged, and wanting nothing more than to visit the bathroom. Yesterday, I went to talk with a career coach. I got little more than advice on tweaking my resume. Frankly, I've gotten interviews... that's not the problem. But getting the job, that's been the hard part.

I've learned that nobody wants to hire an entrepreneur. They all think I'd rather be working for myself. And who can blame them? Last week, at a writer's group, after my reading of a couple chapters from my novel "The Chameleon" one of the other writers suggested I check out, an Amazon site, affiliated with their subsidiary Audible. It's an exchange site for the creation of audio books.

So, I've got a few auditions out there. One's already been rejected. But it's gotten me active again. I set up a new voice recording studio in the office. I had had one setup in the upstairs apartment, but since I've been renting that out, I had taken it down. As my office is fairly empty these days (down from a staff of eight, to just me), I figured I could refashion the conference room as a recording studio.

That was fun, and I've been off and running this week. I've recorded six segments: four audition pieces, and a couple chapters from my novel. I've been recording myself, editing and mastering the audio. Not sure yet where it will end up, but it's something to do.

And as a bonus, it adds to my database of recorded voice. The research I've been involved in over the past several years, focuses on the human voice and speech technology. One of these days the world will wake up and realize that today's synthesized voice just sound awful (think SIRI). One of these days, someone will have the foresight and vision to start funding my research again. But for now, this is a way for me to stay active in my chosen field.

We'll see where it heads. Can't say it's a well-trodden path, but it's nice to be on it nonetheless.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hills & Valleys

There are ups and downs when you steer your own course. I've given the advice to others enough times to always drive their own lives, that I must believe it myself.

But there are times, when I'd just as soon take a backseat, let others navigate, get out when the vehicle stops, look around, and pick up a shovel and pruners; a pick, bag, and compass; chef's knives and oven gloves... just about anything settled and secure.

There are times, when (Robert Frost be damned) I'd like to know the path before me has been well-trod, that it leads to a city, town, or village, where a warm body can get a hot meal, some labor and a payday.

The life of an entrepreneur, whether chosen or by fate (and I'm not sure there's a way to tell the difference), has its ups and downs, its Olympus Mons and its Mariana Trench. The trick is to stay in the cart when it dips and lifts of its own, until the steering mechanism is once again firmly in your grips.