Lollapalooza

A couple weekends ago I spent 3 days at Lollapalooza. My only initial ambition to see Radiohead, who I’ve seen once before in 2002 at a big outdoor show in St. Louis right after Hail to the Thief came out. Before that show I wasn’t really even a huge Radiohead fan.. after seeing Thom’s sweet dance moves in person I thought they were about the coolest thing I’d ever seen. In fact the author of the book that their most popular album (OK Computer) is largely based around (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy / Douglas Adams) has since been my favorite author.  Prior to this show I wasn’t totally sold on In Rainbows, but again I wasn’t sold of any of their other albums before the last time I saw them.

The show in Grant Park was totally surrounded by the Chicago skyline, with fireworks going behind the stage for most of the show and 100,000 people singing along..  Coldplay Radiohead was the only headliner the whole weekend that didn’t have any competition scheduled against them.  Though Kanye West and Rage Against the Machine were great in their own ways.. in the weirdest way possible, Radiohead’s mellow / bleak sounding albums translated into just about the happiest and highest energy show of the weekend. Wild enough that I just spent way too much time finding all these videos of the show on YouTube so that I could watch it all again.

Reckoner

Just

Just kidding.. that’s Gnarls Barkley covering Reckoner and Mark Ronson covering Just both later in the festival. I like the guy in the crowd of the first one that keeps saying “that’s radioheeeeaaaad”. These are the real videos.

15 Steps

Paranoid Android

2+2=5

Fake Plastic Trees

Idioteque

Everything in it’s Right Place

Not nearly as good as being there, but still nifty. A few more of their more piano and electronic songs would have been nice.. those all seem to translate really well live.. but overall an awesome show with songs from most every album and style of music they’ve taken over the years. Good stuff.

blogs, ideas, and suits

It takes some big ego to start up a personal blog. Really. Twice as much to name it after yourself. Most blogs I’ve read don’t make it past 5 posts; regardless of their agenda. Not only is it a big commitment, but it’s banking on you being interesting enough to hold the attention of random people on the Internet. There’s a lot of competition these days (citing: this, this, this, and that). Like much of any idea, it takes more than a passing thought, it takes the will to build something, and that’s something that most people lack.

I’ve been told that Albert Einstein owned 7 black suits, and only 7 black suits as his full wardrobe (the infinite wisdom of Google seems to back that up). More importantly, when asked about it, Einstein would say that he couldn’t afford to devote his mind to anything beyond what he was set on in that moment.. not even that bit extra it took on what to wear that day. To me that says quite a lot. That we all have ADD. That society’s perception of the word brilliance is really pretty much synonymous with focus. And that this blog is probably distracting me from something right now.

a quiet moment in a noisy mind

Empty yourself of everything.
Let the mind become still.
The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return.
They grow and flourish and then return to the source.
Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature.
The way of nature is unchanging.
Knowing constancy is insight.
Not knowing constancy leads to disaster.
Knowing constancy, the mind is open.
With an open mind, you will be openhearted.
Being openhearted, you will act royally.
Being royal, you will attain the divine.
Being divine, you will be at one with the Tao.
Being at one with the Tao is eternal.
And though the body dies, the Tao will never pass away.

-Lao Tzu

Zaazin’ and Harbors

I told myself that I wouldn’t write another blog about my spontaneous 14 day adventure up the west coast, but I caved. Seattle‘s definitely my new favorite city. In ten days in Los Angeles, I conversed with maybe 3-4 mostly unfriendly people a day (people I already knew there excluded).. in my first night in Seattle, I met probably dozens of super-intelligent, gratuitously nice people, which kept on all week. Not to mention some of the best seafood, beers, and scenery that I’ve found traveling to date.

seattle

zaaz

It’s also true that technology is everywhere in Seattle; among the most interesting / awesome people I was able to meet was the creative director / family for Zaaz.com on the rooftop pool of the Stadium Silver Cloud. For someone that spends most days looking at websites, the Zaaz AI is one of the best ideas I’ve seen, with wit that rival Bill’s IRC bots.

Los Angeles, Seattle, and back

About 10 days ago a decision was made to send someone from our company to Los Angeles to take care of a variety of things, which is where I’ve been for about 9 days (in case you’d been wondering).

Nobis now has one more employee, a much more built-out footprint, and I’d like to say some great new connections (as well as affirming as many existing ones as possible while I was here, running through Mzima HQ looking well over the top of One Wilshire and Multipoint). And much as expected it’s been a pretty awesome time running around LA’s comedy clubs, wandering through random film sets, and eating at crazy outdoor rooftop sushi restaurants.

Takami Sushi in LA

Next week is Seattle, before venturing home (hey it’s <$100 ticket on Virgin from LAX, who could pass that up?). I’m pretty psyched about that, because I’m about the only one I know that loves rain. Provided no crazy problems, you’ll see me back in the corn fields again before the end of next week.

Back from New York

photo borrowed from flickrI’m back from my fact-finding mission to New York and New Jersey. Here’s what I’ve got:

– The Potomic River is great seasoning on the brilliant scent of Newark

– There’s nothing like a smooth Shlitz (not to be confused with Schmitts)

Barry White is best sung on street corners

– The path train = pro wrestling

– Someone should start rebuilding the world trade center.

– Spicy orange curry Thai soup is wonderful

 

Picture unrelated (but awesome).

Nobis in 2007

January 1st, 2007 – the first day of business operating as the Nobis Technology Group. DarkStar’s office in Dayton, Ohio had already long been packed up and brought to Bloomington, Illinois to join Ubiquity before anyone knew anything of what had happened. With a series of adjoined classrooms in what was once where my grandma went to high school, we found the ultimate plot for expanding all of Nobis’ fantastic ideas as our new corporate office. Right near our friends from Cybernautic Design (hey Chad- there’s your link), our expansion could now be met by simply opening the door to the next room (not to mention the price was right). Now unless you work for us.. here’s something you probably haven’t seen…

Hey, everyone needs to start somewhere.

pre-nobis 2007

pre-nobis 2007

Not much huh? Fresh paint, re-sanded floors.. we put up drywall to create our own rooms within the various classrooms. With just the effort of most of our off-site staff (people not working at the data centers), we took the former school library / office, turned ballet / tai kwon do school, into a real 24/7-staffed network operations center.

By Late Spring

Big Room

Customer service center, from behind the Ubiquity side of the office.

From inside the conference lounge

From the “Conference Lounge”

Server Lab / Old Office

The deployment lab, where hundreds of our servers were prepared for stocking at various facilities

Things kept on exponentially, and with DarkStar and a wide assortment of other old Ubiquity customers long online at the 3 new data centers in Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York, the announcement was finally made that all Ubiquity service offerings were available. It didn’t take long at all for some major clients to see the tactical advantages of consolidating with Ubiquity Server Solutions for all of their company infrastructure. With available classrooms running short and our 1st and 2nd shift staff starting to get a bit overcrowded, it was time to move up once more.

Graduating to a Big Company’s Office

Most hosting companies would never show you their tangible existence, be they 1-2 man shows (as 99% of them are) or corporate monstrosities. I can remember years ago when our support line rang to Clint’s cell, my cell, and to a few volunteers cells at all hours of the night. That in mind, we definitely weren’t ashamed of the old 24/7 NOC, but by August it had simply been outgrown. Everything was moved to our new offices a few blocks away at double the size (excuse the boring empty white walls- we’re working on that).

Nobis customer service center

The new 24/7 customer service center.

Stanley and Wendy

Office Drama.

Clint and Stan

Law firm ad pose.

If you want more, we’ve got a copy of Gallery2 running now on photos.ubiquityhosting.com. I have to thank to all of our awesome staff that have together made all of the great things we’ve done in 2007 happen. 2008 looks to be interesting, and I’ll hope to have a much nicer behind the scenes to add to this timeline next year.

Entrepreneurial Psychology

That title may sound smart, but I promise I can’t spell entrepreneurial without spell check.

Funny things happen when your business ideas all start working out. Oddly enough, a lot of people will warn you about them, but like most things in life, it’s tough to appreciate until you live it. And unfortunately achieving self-awareness over your own quirks doesn’t just prevent them from happening (boo).

As anyone whose found this blog probably knows, it’s linked to on ubiquityhosting.com – which is a little world busting with entrepreneurial ideas, and probably the largest reason for a more personal blog about my professional life to be here in the first place. As I see a lot of these cool websites take off, I’d like to pass on what words of wisdom that I constantly try to live down myself.

1. Time Management

It’s easy to get sucked into something you love doing when it really goes well. There’s nothing wrong with that in moderation – it’s a beautiful thing really – and I was lucky to be warned by more than a few wise people early on that it can quickly take over your life.

It’s not enough to manage a company – what’s important is managing a life. Telling yourself to stop working at a certain point isn’t all that difficult; and if where you’re at allows for it, hiring staff over getting greedy and trying to do everything yourself is a must. Being able to control your thoughts and stop pondering business ideas over that time you’re not working – that can be a little harder.

2. Other People in the Real World

I’ve been told by close friends that at the core of it all, I really haven’t changed since everything took off, and I hope that’s true. A lot of people I can still talk to exactly the same way as I could beforehand as well, but in many other cases it can get a little weird.

People’s actions tend to define their character. What I’ve lived first-hand is that you’re most likely to be characterized by what’s most unique about you… and I have to say, when I start up a conversation with any loose acquaintance, not a single person ever asks me about the last time I went Wakeboarding, or saw a good movie, or to watch a band play as people used to – at least not right away. People know other people that are doing that stuff, it’s old conversation; you can’t blame them, but it sure doesn’t make #1 any easier. Maybe that’s why Richard Branson has such absurdly interesting hobbies.

3. Dude- Take it Easy

To say that business is competitive is one of the most obvious statements I can think of. Most genuinely successful people I’ve observed possess certain qualities. Above all else- they go on unaffected. Most people that come to work for us I think are shocked at how close friends we are with so many of our competitors, and really, it comes down to this: there’s a big Internet out there. If you want to make money from it, there’s more than enough for everyone, and if you let one person put you up into a rage – you accomplish nothing but breaking focus on anything truly productive, and probably looking like a pretty big dxck to anybody that happens to stand witness in the process.