Fort Smith

This is going to be a long post, so be prepared…

Firstly, I have some exciting news (well I’m excited about it) to announce: Melanie and I have decided to move back to Arkansas. The time frame is looking like around late March, but could come earlier or later. Employment is still tentative, I can’t make any announcements about that, but there’s some stuff I’m incredibly excited about that’s wrapped up in all of this and I can’t wait until I can. It’ll probably be some months before I can speak publically about the whole picture around my future employment.

Why would I make such a drastic move? I’m sure the people reading this who aren’t from Arkansas are probably thinking I’m nucking futs. If I was one of those people who was continually down on Arkansas while I lived there, I’d probably agree with them, but honestly I never minded living there while I was there. I’ve now experienced a new place, a bigger city, and I’m keeping my options open for experiencing that again, but for the time being my thoughts are that being near my friends and my family is more important than any job I could have anywhere else. Some say I’m being wise for my age, to realize so young that it’s the people in your life that matter, and some I’m sure think I’m incredibly foolish to pass up what is likely to be a promising IT career where I could have esteemed positions with esteemed companies. Frankly though, I don’t give a shit about esteemed companies. I like interesting challenges and problems to solve, but there’s plenty of those to solve near the people I love. I have been growing more and more tired of feeling like a cog in a wheel, and nearly every opportunity that required me to live and work in a bigger area seemed like yet another extension of being a corporate drone. I have come to the realization that I’m an entrepeneur at heart, and at the very least I have a strong preference for small business as a working environment. I want to be able to walk around the office and scream FUCK without worrying about what HR is going to think about it, I want to have more control over the direction of my company, direct control, I want the challenge of running a business and not just fixing some machine someplace so that people can access some information, and I want the sense of accomplishment of building relationships with my clients that are mutually beneficial and add to the bottom line, in terms of dollars and not gigabytes stored and served. The best place for me to culmenate those relationships is in Arkansas, where I semi-successfully ran a business prior (we won’t get into the failure of that business here, but I will say I learned a lot from it) and where I have 23 years of connections built and 40+ years of familial relationships to build on.

Being a new media proponent and someone who is excited about how self-publishing is changing the world, I’m a strong proponent of the fact that it’s now possible to have interesting content published in a hyper-local verticals, and I want to bring that to area not known for its technology adoption. I want to drag Arkansasans kicking and screaming into the new media world of the 21st century and make it a place known for it’s adoption of new media publishing and subscription. There’s no reason it can’t be that, it just means a lot of work to prove to people the model works and is superior to what exists now. There’s no lack of Internet access there, it’s just a matter of showing people how to use it effectively to build their businesses and enhance their lives. If I’ve learned anything about New Media, I’ve definitely learned that there’s power in numbers, and I plan to bring my experience back to my hometown with a furvor and build that area as an example of what a connected culture can bring. Will I be successful? The odds are definitely stacked against me, but I’m used to being in the minority on many many issues and I’ll happily keep telling people that I’m right until they listen.

That being said, I’m incredibly disappointed in the web presence emmanating from Fort Smith right now. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this post in one of the first two pages on Google (in fact, if you can make some links, del.icio.us or whatnot, link to this post and help me grab people’s attention in Fort Smith as to what blogs can do for getting people’s attention on the Internet). I can’t find any political blogs or more than one or two personal journals from Fort Smith. Most of the web pages look like they were designed in 1999, and I can’t believe people are paying for some of the websites I see. None of the pages are updated frequently, and it’s really sad at the lack of information you can find about Fort Smith from the Internet. It should be better. It has to be better. The talent is there, there need only be a catalyst for change to help people understand how it will benefit their lives. I’m planning to help be that catalyst.

I’m very very excited about what I can do back in Fort Smith. The realization that moving back was a possibility clicked one evening, and the decision was made less than a week later. The thoughts of what I could do while back there and the excitement about the possibilities of what I could do for New Media and the technology in that area were so overwhelming that nearly everything else I thought of was merely logistics of how to make it happen. I think most of the necessary decisions are made (where to live, how to support myself, etc), and now it’s just a matter of starting the work to get it done. So friends, family back home, I look forward to seeing you again and working with you again. Friends here in Seattle, I’ll miss you, and I’m sure I’ll be back to visit. Friends elsewhere, please wish me luck (and give me some link love on this post to prove my point please 🙂 ).