For the first time in 10 years, since I moved to San Francisco in 2004, I’m funemployed. That’s a long stretch to go without stopping to really pause, reflect, collect oneself, integrate, and recompile. And so that’s what I’m going to be doing for the first little while of 2014.
It’s about time.
Yeah, you may be asking yourself “What happened with NeonMob?” (or not, depending on how well you know me). On the one hand, Mike and I couldn’t calibrate our approaches. I’m a longer term, bigger picture, holistic, strategic thinker and doer. I like the slow build ups and making connections that add up to something much bigger, later on. But what Mike needs right now is a tactician, someone who works differently than I do. Once we realized this, we agreed that the advising role I had before I joined was a better fit. And so that’s what I’ll be returning to — which suits me fine.
Of course, I’m glad to have rubbed elbows with teammates like Rogie King, Guillaume, Mean Jim, and Todd, and expect to see more of them in 2014. I’m proud of the artist interviews I conducted and wrote, and found it enlightening to be on the other side of social media production, with the health of the NeonMobsters community on Google+ an early sign of success.
On the other hand, lack of calibration is only part of the picture: Fate had grown impatient with me. Like, before, during, and after I left Google in August last year, folks were telling me to take time off and not jump right into the next thing. But did I listen? No way! The idea terrified me! “What would I do with myself if I didn’t have a job?,” I fretted. “Ever since I’ve been in Silicon Valley, I’ve always had a job! Who am I if I’m not working on something? What would I talk to people about?” And on and on.
Stopping or slowing down would raise more questions like these that I wasn’t ready or willing to confront, and so, given the off-to-the-side advising I’d been doing, it seemed like I could just ride out of Google through one of its famous slides and land softly at NeonMob, without skipping a beat, losing steam, or thinking too hard.
But after a couple months, it was becoming clear that Fate wasn’t having it.
I mean, Fate had sent me to Burning Man immediately after leaving the GOOG to shed some skin (and some clothes!) and to ponder my place in the multiverse — and yet what did I do immediately after returning to default reality? Threw myself into the next thing without so much as catching my breath or buying a sports car. Classic. Here Fate had lobbed me a juicy “take some time for yourself” softball and I whiffed. Heck, I’m not even sure I realized I was at bat. But hey, just because I’m a little slow on the uptake doesn’t mean I’m above learning from my mistakes.
And so here I am, starting off 2014 in the clear — with an empty calendar and no obligations, and no specific deadline to decide on my next thing, whatever it may happen to be. On Dr. Fate’s orders, I’m taking time to pause, reflect on, and re-discover where I’ve come to and who I’ve grown into over the last 10 years, and to consider where I want to go next and who I want to become — in a sense, to recalibrate and realign, in preparation for the paths and detours Fate has in store for the next decade.