So 8 years ago, on August 31st 2006, I did something pretty different. As a freshly graduated University Student with a comfortable and prosperous career as a Land Analyst at a massive Oil & Gas Company, I decide to abandon ship and start a brand new career.
On that day I went and incorporated 1268386 Alberta Inc. A few weeks later that nameless entity became Armadillo Studios Inc. and as they say the rest is history.
The past 8 years have been a roller coaster with many ups and downs, ups, downs and a couple of flat lines and then many fantastic ups. In the early days there were times where I was running three jobs to help kick start things and keep the finances even. But through it all it’s been a wild ride and as I look back at over the past few years I’m amazed at all things I’ve accomplished and been able to experience. I’ve been able to work with a variety of companies, from small businesses to medium sized companies to large charities to the Government of Canada to University organizations to political campaigns to grass roots media magazines to local up and coming bloggers to brand new start-ups to international non-profits and absolutely every client imaginable in between. I’ve worked with clients across North America, from Calgary to Toronto to Austin to Chicago to Winnipeg and back to Vancouver. I’ve launched a book, launched an app, helped launch community groups and a few hundred web sites and web pages. I’ve travelled across this continent attending conferences in Texas, Ottawa, Washington D.C. and Calgary. I have spoken at conferences and events and even put on a conference this past year. I have been interviewed by newspaper reporters, local and national bloggers, media radio shows and even featured in local and provincial news segments. I’ve been a resource for numerous articles, write one or two (thousand) blog posts and even published a few professional articles myself. I’ve had the chance to share my thoughts in a few podcasts and even panel discussions.
I’ve also watched trends come and go. I’ve seen Twitter go from an elaborate water cooler for nerds to fostering revolutions. I’ve watched Facebook turn into a great place to meet university friends (and apparently my future wife) to a place where people of all ages connect together. I’ve seen Flickr blossom, fall and the rise again. I’ve watched the gold rush of the App store rise up and fizzle like a firecracker and I’ve seen WordPress grow from a small blogging tool to a massive content management system. I watched as Web 2.0 became the latest thing and then saw the behemoth that was Social Media torpedo the landscape.
But more importantly, over the past 8 years I’ve been able to meet a whole world of amazing people and be apart of some fantastic projects. So while this is very much a personal milestone, it’s also a milestone I would like to share with everyone else I’ve met along the way.
So to all of those who’ve retweeted me, read and/or commented on a blog post, shared an infographic, recommend Armadillo to a friend, connected on Linkedin, hired me, did some contract work with me, shared a coffee and/or beer with, met at a networking event or even took a ridiculous photo with…
Thank you for everything.
Usually on my birthday I ramble on about something epic, inane or even ridiculous. But this year to due to travel, work commitments and … I don’t know … possibly a crazy conference that I’m involved in organizing, I unfortunately didn’t have time to vomit out some thoughts to the old word processor. So instead of trying to ramble together some half-witted thoughts, I figured I would instead share a play list that I’ve been quietly compiling of my favourite songs of all time.
So yes, a post with a play list really isn’t anything too deep and nothing mind blowing, but if you’re looking for some new music to listen to over the next few days, just give it a spin.
… and yes, the play list does start and end with R. Kelly.
Last year I wrote a blog post on my birthday about a couple of things I had rediscovered in my old age – Volunteering and Comic Books. In that post I mentioned that I had reignited a new love for comic books. In particular, one of the comic books that I’ve found myself obsessed with is the new Hawkeye series.
Now there has been a huge shift in the Comic Book world since I was a little lad … or at least to me it seems like there has been a shift. An influx of indie publishers and crowd funded titles have improved the overall maturity of the genre, as well as the demands of an aging core audience.
Since that post I’ve also been introduced to such great titles as Vertigo’s Fables and Image’s “Saga” (which is drawn by local Calgarian Fiona Staples), but of all the titles I’ve picked up over the past year and a bit, Hawkeye still holds a special place for me.
Yes, I’m really talking about Hawkeye.
The goofy guy in purple that only shoots arrows… and shoots arrows… and shoots more arrows. How in gods name can that be entertaining?
I’ve tried to explain why this series is interesting to a few people and like clockwork I ultimately fail. But it really boils down to a quirky story concept and also some fabulous minimalistic design. Aesthetically, Hawkeye is randomly the most interesting comic I’ve come across. It really flips the whole concept of what a comic should look like and feel like, by doing much less than other comics.
The covers are brilliant and the artwork inside feels more like a short in a local alternative newspaper rather than a Marvel comic. There’s no bulging biceps, unnaturally protruding bosoms, over the top waistlines, glossy finishes and intense shadowing, just straight lines and a beautiful off purple hue. Hell, I don’t even think there is an issue where Hawkeye wears his traditional spike ears.
The storyline of the series is just as minimalistic and oddly fascinating. Fracton (the series author) and “Aja”;http://blog.davidaja.com/ (the series drawer…or whatever it’s called) took a massive chance on the Hawkeye series. Thinking that the series would be over after two issues they decided to just tell the story of what Hawkeye (Clint Barton) does on a Thursday afternoon. In some editions he’s trying to set-up a Home Theatre system with Iron Man or dealing with some run of the mill gangs in New York and of course there is the famous Pizza Dog issue.
There’s no intergalactic super villains or plots to destroy mankind, just a guy in Brooklyn doing normal stuff.
13 year old c.t.overdrive would be mocking me for writing this post… because it’s Hawkeye and nobody has ever liked that guy. But Fracton and Aja’s version of Hawkeye is quirky, simple, sophisticated and enduring. I’m sure this sounds ridiculous, but it’s probably one of the most fascinating and rewarding reads I’ve come across. Even as a casual comic book lover I can’t help but count down the days until the latest trade back comes out.
So it’s been a while since I’ve written or talked about the state of the Social Media sphere on the old c.t.overdrive. Frankly, in regards to the world of Social Media there really hasn’t been a change big enough to warrant a post and plus there are thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands of Social Media Experts writing about the latest social media gaff or trend.
But today I received my updated Twitter profile, which although incredibly snazzy looks eerily similar to something… but I can’t put my finger on it.
Oh yes, it looks incredibly similar to my Facebook profile.
Yes, it’s official the Twitterfication of Facebook and the Facebookification of Twitter are finally complete.
Now, to be honest the change in both Twitter and Facebook isn’t really that ground breaking. Both Twitter and Facebook have been working to incorporate the UX/UI benefits of their two successful offspring networks for quite sometime. For Twitter it’s been working to adopt ideas from Medium and Facebook with it’s ever popular Instagram. While these sorts of changes are technically dramatic given the scale of both networks, these alone are really just cosmetic and minor functionality changes to adapt to the changing design aesthetic and functionality demands of our internet usage. I wouldn’t say they’re ground breaking changes that warrant a blog post.
But in my opinion, this change really does signal something else. To me this solidifies the end of Social Media phase of the Internet’s evolution. Similar to how the explosion and dominance of Social Media killed the Web 2.0 phase, we have officially reached peak Social Media.
Let me put it this way, with the two largest Social Media golden childs (Twitter and Facebook) working to mimic their network’s UI and interactions after their competitor’s and spending more time focusing on becoming a key communication channels and personal data resources rather than on social innovation, where is the future of Social Media heading?
Think about it, when was the last time a new social network really disrupted the online social space? I would say we haven’t seen any real innovation in the realm of Social Media since Instagram and that is at least five years old. Does anyone think that there is a Social Media network like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or even Foursquare that will revolutionize the way we use the internet in the same way?
Maybe, but I’m not seeing it right now.
Now don’t get me wrong, Humans and Society will always Innovate. It’s in our nature. And for me to say otherwise would make me sound like the guy who proclaimed that we should shut down the patent office because nothing will surpass the Fax machine. But right now with the way in which Start-ups, Entrepreneurs and Innovators are focusing their attention it doesn’t seem like we’ll ever see a time period of crazy innovation and evolution in the Social Media atmosphere like we did towards the end of the 2000s, when everything changed.
I guess what I’m getting at is a question that is asked of me a lot nowadays and that is What is the next big Facebook, Twitter, etc? To me I don’t think there is anything on the horizon. To me we’ve come to the end of the golden age of the Social Media phase.
Will there be something new in the future. I can almost guarantee it, but it won’t be a social network like we’re used to. That phase of the internet is over.
So today is TRH Mulroney’s official first birthday.
Yes, if you’ve been following me on Twitter, Facebook, Vine or any other social media outlets, it probably feels as though Mulroney has been apart of our lives for over 12 years. But truth be told it’s only been 10 months (for us) and a full year of life for the wee-man.
And while before Mulroney arrived on the scene, I only sort of understood the allure and obsession that Dog owners have for their pets. But after a year with Mulroney, I get it.
There really is something special about owning a puppy.
Sure neither Caitlin or myself have had a proper sleep for the past ten and the famous poop blitzkrieg of July 2013 was something I will never forget, but all that short term pain negates the long term awesomeness of TRH Mulroney.
And while my lovely wife, who has the enormous job of looking after the little guy pretty much on her own nowadays, can probably explain how he test our patience each and every day, it’s really the little moments that make him amazing.
So to The Right Honourable Mulroney…
Thank you for an amazing year …
… and for all the chaos and joy you’ve brought to us….
… even if you do look like a deranged Chewbacca at the moment.