This evening, I found myself staring at my post topics Trello board, uninspired. I have a lot of post topic ideas there: rants, screeds, opinion pieces, helpful how-tos. None of it really inspired tonight.
Usually, when that happens, I can dig into the backlog of reader questions. You awesome folks ask me more of those than I can possibly answer, but it’s always fun to do as many as I can. But I wasn’t even feeling that tonight.
Maybe, for the first time in my life, I had something resembling whatever this thing I’ve heard of, called “writer’s block,” is. I thought about just skipping a week.
My Unfortunate Neglect of the Developer Hegemony Facebook Group
As I contemplated this course of action, I started wasting time on social media. An errant click here and a cleared notification there, and I found myself staring at the neglected Developer Hegemony Facebook group. It, in turn, stared back at me, like a dying succulent that only requires water once every 3 months, a meager commitment that I still couldn’t manage.
So I started to think. What can I do with this group and this idea? What should I?
And then, it occurred to me. I should do the things I wanted to do all along. The only difference is that I need to adjust for my own lack of bandwidth.
The Last 18 Months Have Looked Nothing Like I Thought They Would
It was about a year and a half ago that I published Developer Hegemony. The launch went better than I could have hoped, and I was pleased by the reception and flattered at the sales. And, what’s more, is that the sales have increased since then, instead of leveling off.
These concepts resonate with people. I thought — hoped — they might.
So when I released the book, I had some grand plans. I was leaving the traveling management consultant’s life, envisioning a future where I pursued a few things in parallel.
- A much more focused, lower touch (non-travel) consultative offering around codebase assessments.
- Building on the Developer Hegemony momentum, perhaps with info products or by creating some kind of community.
- Working with my wife to start a little agency, creating blog content for dev tools companies.
My prime focus at the time was (1), which would represent infrequent work and big paydays. I viewed (2) and (3) as good ways to supplement that, providing more stable income for us.
But what I didn’t anticipate was that (3) would take off like someone had strapped a rocket to its back.
Far from a side interest, Hit Subscribe, 18 months later, now has 4 full time employees and something like 40 contractors doing a lot of varied work for a lot of clients. And, as you might imagine, this prompted a re-ordering of my original priorities.
What This Means for Developer Hegemony
This re-ordering has been pronounced and profound. I still do specialized consulting around codebases, but I do zero outreach for it. Instead, I work only with a subset of the people that reach out to me for help.
And, regarding info products and a community around Developer Hegemony… well, I haven’t done much of anything. It’s hard to justify from a purely financial standpoint, even given the success of the book. Why would I build an info product that might sell, when I have one business exploding and another one that drops occasional, highly lucrative gigs in my lap?
But here’s the thing. It’s hard to justify financially, but I still want to. So from time to time, I stare morosely at the beginnings of what could be an awesome community, wishing there were 30 hours in each day.
The Way Forward in 2019
But that really doesn’t solve anything for anyone. I’d like to keep the cause of developer empowerment moving in the right direction, even if I only have the capacity to give it nudges, rather than shoves. And this means re-thinking my approach.
I need to enlist help.
Here are some ideas I have for what that might look like.
- As I’ve mentioned in the Facebook group, I’m contemplating the idea of opening DaedTech up to guest contributions in and around the subject of developer empowerment. I’d probably look to compile a list of topics that we should cover to help people get going.
- A lot of you ask me about career coaching and the like, often offering to pay an hourly rate. I always demur, since, apart from my books, everything I do is B2B. Unless I know specifically how I might help your financial situation, I don’t really want to charge you consulting rates. But, that said, I am thinking of having maybe a monthly call/coaching session that amounts to office hours.
- I could solicit volunteers to help me drive the community and Facebook group.
I’m also open to other suggestions.
So that’s what I’m thinking of implementing at some point in the new year. I’d love to hear from you about what you’d find valuable. Please feel free to comment, tweet at me, email me, comment in the Facebook group, or whatever you want.
And wherever we take this, I’d like to thank you all for reading.