The Word And The Lexicon
Braden Pollock, of Legal Brand Marketing, is said to be fond of the term, “pivot.” At least, I was provided this morsel of knowledge by one of his business partners, James Wester, of Domain Graffiti, during an interview in 2014.
Like so many words of our contemporary lexicon, there is a traditional, dictionary definition, and there is a definition assigned by contextual zealotry. It matters little the source of the zeal, be it popular or business fads. A term’s trendy employ is usually a distortion, of some variety and magnitude, of the proper definition.
Turning Point Or Breaking Point?
I have been upgrading a number of company sites, over the past few months, and I finally came to this one, which I had been using, for a time, to store my thoughts, experience, shared ideas, rants, and more. I knew it had been some time since I had written on Box 30136. I was incredulous when I realized it had been over 16 months!
This is hardly an appropriate use for a domain I bought specifically for such mental regurgitation. I even copied my legacy Rodan Newsletter entries to this domain and redirected the old URL’s. Then I stopped writing.
What has been happening? Why did I surrender this outlet, this art, I yearn continually to nurture?
Much of 2014 and, now, 2015 has been spent evolving a company, tending a start-up and, consequently, evolving myself to handle properly these affairs. Some plans fell through; others are bearing nicely their anticipated fruits.
There have also been business, partnership, and mortal family losses.
T.R.A.F.F.I.C.’s Last Great Show
The abeyance of writing all started with being terribly busy in the late spring of 2014, then staying very busy through the end of the last T.R.A.F.F.I.C. show, in November. I was preparing, then, for some incredible growth spurts heading into 2015. I did not know it would be the very last T.R.A.F.F.I.C. I knew Rick Schwartz planned to take a “behind the scenes” role, even call it retirement. What actually transpired was unexpected.
I am not privy to the conversations between Howard Neu and Rick that brought a close to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Both men gave me a huge break when, in late 2006, I was hired to handle audio mixing and post-production for the show. They wanted to offer the show on CD, and I was the guy that made it happen.
Having been in broadcasting, publishing, and website development, I felt like I really fit with the show crowd. I even told Roy Crogan, the original videographer for the show, and the man who introduced me to Howard and Rick, that I was “in my element but out of my league.” It was a reference to the fact I had made some relatively poor personal and professional decisions in the years leading up to that moment. Nonetheless, I was inspired!
When I was hired again, for the 2007 show in Las Vegas, a few months later, I found myself running the boards and stunning both Howard and Rick. For one, the person they had hired to handle the audio-visual was a dismal failure. I was running around like that proverbial chicken without a head, but I was able to keep the A/V running; the show came off fairly well.
The other thing that made an impression was the graphic material I had created for the show. A slide I projected on the screens caught Rick’s eye. The rest, they say, is history.
With the end of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. shows, an entire era of my life came to an end. It ended for Rick Schwartz, too. I had hoped to be a part of the successor show, which Howard Neu and his family are staging, THE Domain Conference. That reality shall not come to pass. My lingering contribution to the new show is the TDC logo.
Tripping Over The Fulcrum
The events that transpired between December, 2014 and April, 2015, that period of five short months, changed much. The interruption in cash flow after the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. show, followed by death in the family, exacerbated further by professional disagreements with Howard and Barbara Neu, all while working to run two companies and to meet client deadlines, made for a difficult rite of passage during the first months of 2015.
Keeping my business plans on track became nearly impossible, at one point. When Louie, my 20-month-old nephew, died, no work was done for almost a month. Actually, he was the third death in the past year, but he was the youngest and closest to me. The others were cousins with whom I had spent much time as a child, but we had grown apart as adults.
I remembered 2002, when Jocko, my mentor, and my mother died just days apart. Jocko was on September 2. Mom on September 8. After the ashes were scattered, I checked out for three years.
I did not want that to happen again.
With Louie’s death, my brother was off on a world tour to forget his grief. I wished I could go with him. I wanted to be drunk 24/7.
I reflected once more upon 2002. I would not do that again. When I checked out, back then, I didn’t return to the planet until sometime around the end of 2005. I think Hurricane Wilma blew some of the fog out of the brain. Perhaps the reason was the stores were closed, in the aftermath.
Nearly ten years later, around the start of April, 2015, I was pushing to complete overdue projects and stoke the creative fires for the coming domain show, THE Domain Conference. Then, someone else was hired, to replace me, on the show website. I tried to convince him it was a mistake, but to no avail. Naturally, I was not expecting this change.
I had planned to sponsor, in-kind, the audio-visual for the TDC program, but that would also change. Too many disruptions came too quickly to sustain that promise. I was devastated to have to pull my sponsorship, but I had to preserve years worth of work, particularly that work done in the previous 18 months. Resources had to be redirected.
Time To Pivot
Now we come back to pivoting. As long as one’s foot is not nailed to the floor, pivoting is much less painful than one might expect. The resistance to the pivot is the cause of most pain.
I wish my decision to not participate in THE Domain Conference had not wrought so much enmity. That was not my intention. However, in the weeks that followed my decision, it was interesting to learn how others perceived differently events we had shared.
As it turns out, however, that decision has been a major blessing for me. You will never understand how much lighter I feel. I also came to realize I had been putting far too much energy into building someone else’s dreams, not enough time to make sure mine came to fruition.
And these are not just my dreams. I have two partners, my aforementioned brother, included, who are counting on my plans. Hundreds of thousands of drivers on America’s roadways depend on TurnpikeInfo.com, my big travel site. I’ve built it from scratch, literally. After working for several weeks, TheContentDeveloper.com is live, which will be Rodan Media’s new online home for development. The old RodanMedia.com website is becoming a corporate HQ and domain sales site.
Then there is writing. I love to write. Perhaps I just love reading what I write, but it provides me an outlet other that brutal homicide, when I am feeling the need to release energy.
As I came to update the theme and code on this website, I suddenly realized this was, too, a place, a dream, that had been ignored.
It is not just where I write to get things off my chest or share an opinion. It is a place for me to have human contact. I am cloistered most of the time. That is the nature of this business. I get excited going to the grocery store.
Life is not pathetic for me. I am enjoying the journey. I am busy, and I am once again busy doing those things I set out to achieve.
I have family across the country. My brother has returned stateside. We share wise cracks and horror stories and gay jokes. Being gay, myself, I know some good ones.
There are my other nephews, who bring me joy and make me proud. One of them, Sean, could be a pro baseball player, the way things are going. He is too awesome.
My nieces, bring me joy, too. One of them is starting her first year of college at Radford University. She’s a gentle angel who grew up fast; now, a new type of angel is emerging. I want to hang out.
My sisters remind me of how hard life can be when you have children, and of how the rewards can not be described. I still want four kids of my own, but Mom cursed me, that they should all turn out like me. Perhaps I will eventually have a child. I hope so.
Donnie, my partner and boyfriend, has been an incredibly stabilizing force. He has been a guide, sounding board and friend. I would not have made it this far without him.
Disruptions will happen. Death is a part of life. 2002 prepared me for 2015. The last 10 months have felt as long as the previous 13 years. Events of both years, even the current one, are part of my personal history, but they are not the story of today.
As the anniversary of Jocko’s and Mom’s passings comes once more, I like to think I have grown considerably. I hope they may know it, too, wherever they are.
As long as you can pivot, you will always be able to circle back to the basics, remembering goals and obligations, family and friends, and you will continue to write your own success story.