Why Leaving My Day Job’s One of the Best Things That’s Ever Happened to Me

Some people have the luxury of not working. Not so for me, nor do I think it ever could be.

Since the age of 15, I’ve trudged diligently, relentlessly — even haphazardly in essentially every retail/restaurant and customer-service setting conceivable. And let me tell you, these people know how to hustle. 

In light of all the hullabaloo surrounding Steve Jobs and what he gave us — hope, a new perspective — and how he redefined a generation of tech believers, creators and thinkers, part of me largely feels inadequate to continue on the subject.

So instead, I’d prefer to honor him by doing what I believe he’d want all of us to do: keep moving forward. The legacy Jobs leaves with us is not just a product, transcendent as it is, but an attitude: Embrace failure.

Unlearn everything you have learned. 

geeks science innovation vision Apple Steve Jobs Mac iPhone

That’s what we’re here for. Onward and upward.

Though put in rather harsh perspective, I recently celebrated two milestones in personal and career development since October knocked me over the head like a tack-hammer (seriously, my 26th was the only thing I remember about last month…) –>

1) I left my day job

2) I finished something summer didn’t afford the time for: HubSpot’s inbound marketing certification via Inbound Marketing University (essentially the quintessential grad school for geeks).

Some of you may ask why I’d leave a company on the eve of my annual review, a raise and potential for securing ultimate full-time stability with a local retail store.

And the answer is simple, however immodest: Because I know what I’m worth, and I know what I want. The fact that unapologetic is one of my favorite words notwithstanding, a recent quote shared by Olivier Blanchard’s really resonated with me in the past few weeks: Always be absolutely unapologetic about anything you love deeply. 

In love, life, and work I truly believe in that. Without passion and trust I’d be no one, nowhere. No-how.

So yes, I’ll continue to sound “like a broken record” and assert that I see, feel and believe what convention and the mainstream does not:

That if the world is mute to your aspirations, passion and conviction stemming from them, only you can take charge of your destiny.

Super Mario Nintendo SuperMario tech geek Luigi 1UP Mario Bros. video game

After all, that’s “what Steve would do.” Below is just one of Jobs’ countless quotes going around that serves as testament to the potential and power of the human spirit reflected in our communities across the world:

‎”Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do”

Thank you, Steve, for giving smart-alecks (who dare refer to you by your first name) like me continued belief that we, truly can, change the world 


Walt Mossberg >> The Steve Jobs I Knew 

Dan Holowack, TwitSprout >> 40K Tweets/Minute Celebrate Steve Jobs

The Next Web >> Honoring a Legend

The Convergence of Art and Technology: Google Goes GaGa


You knew this was coming … ;-) This woman, a year my junior has been a source of validation, inspiration and regeneration since I hit rock bottom in Vegas and moved back to Ohio two years ago.

Nevertheless, my allegorical sister from another mister continues her meteoric rise through the piano, performance art, fashion, social, search, tech, innovation and online zeitgeist:


  • If you don’t have any shadows, you’re not standing in the light…
  • And I really encourage people to look into the darkness and places you wouldn’t normally look to find uniqueness and specialness…because that’s where the diamonds are hiding

  • You have to look into what’s haunting you, and you need to learn to forgive yourself in order to move on (referring to the next single off her upcoming album, whose Biblical proportion doesn’t seem likely to conclude at ‘Judas’)
  • My girlfriends wanted to work for you (Google). I wanted to be the one they were searching for…
  • Piano’s funny…I mean it’s kind of this thing that always stays with you. You kind of get your chops back pretty quickly…
  • I was never the winner. I was always the loser.
  • ‎Because if the artist is constantly molding ourselves and changing and bridging –abridging — what we do for the machine, then the artist becomes part of the machine. I don’t want to be part of the machine. I want the machine to be part of me.
  • Addressing bullying: Do I want to stick it to anybody? No. I just wanna make music.

From a PR perspective, few artists today understand viral marketing and the highbrow aspect of our language as well as GaGa. In an interview with Fuse in 2009, she acknowledged: You’re only as good as your best references. I couldn’t help but smile when she mentioned Francis Bacon as a source for her ‘immaculate conceptions’ –and wonder what the spike in his Google search queries will be like in the next few weeks.

Crazy little monsters (a term of endearment she and her followers use).

Perhaps the most exciting part for me, and either those who appreciate or are artists who transcend time (Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Freddie Mercury, Hendrix, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Bowie, Clapton, The Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews to name a few…) is simply the music.

I love how she uses pianospeak to describe her message and music: Sonic (root/variation: sonorous, sonoric). Classical pianists (and I believe, all true artists) are religious about Soul: warmth, color — vibrancy.

GaGa reveals some pretty sick details about her progression as a singer and pianist, discussing how the forthcoming album (due May 23rd) will further highlight her abilities as a producer and songwriter. From a melodic perspective, she shared that

“Sonically, it just smells like me, if that makes sense…” adding

“I guess what I’m trying to say is, um –in my opinion — All good music can be played at a piano and still sound like a hit.”

A — f(expletive)ing Men. Is it May, yet? Lol.

But in all seriousness:

‘Where words fail, music speaks’ -Hans Christian Andersen

Enjoy the weekend!


The Life of a Blogger: TweetUps, Round Tables, MeetUps and Fests (Oh, My…)

CLEVELAND – There’s no other way to describe it than this: Blogging’s pretty slick, dude.

Have you heard of SXSW (aka South by Southwest)? For those of you who haven’t, SXSW is an annual film, interactive conference and music festival held in Austin, TX. And no, I didn’t get to go this year lol. Meh. But I know this guy, who knew this guy… ;-)

I have, however, been to Coachella, BonnarooEric Clapton and Dave Matthews (have a feeling I’ll still be going when my kids/grandkids are…Marching Ant incarnate) since high school and college. Other favorites: Garth Fagan, STOMP, the Cirque shows in Vegas (KÀ, Mystère and Jersey Boys are more recent ones…ultimately I wanna see them all). And yes, as of November 2009, one of GaGa’s “little monsters.” She transcends cultures, genders – pretty much everything (I liken it to sensory overload).

I remember my first music concert (other than classical ones, which I naturally grew up with during the vocal and concert pianist years of training): Relient K in Buffalo, NY. It was then that I first learned what moshing was lol (and ringing ears for the next week). Ah, the days of Sadie Hawkins, Young Life summer camp at Lake Champion or vacations in Cape Cod, the Algonquin and/or 1000 Islands, Ontario. Come to think of it, I was spoiled rotten growing up….we used to frequent DisneyLand and DisneyWorld, too. Never a dull moment when friends and family line the West coast (and global trail)…

What was I talking about? Oh yea, music…film, arts, technology. Ah, the convergence of all. How many of you have been fortunate to grow up immersed in the arts? My wish is that everyone know this life. It’s wicked fun.

So anyhow, I’ve been learning a bit since my debut in the ‘blogosphere.’ Chiefly:

1) The internet has no borders. I’ll say it again: The internet has no borders. It’s unreal. In the past week alone, I have been in touch with bloggers and web developers from Australia, Boston, Canada, Dubai and South Africa. Quora has also quickly become one of my newest vices.

2) Bloggers are some of the most fascinating, supportive and genuine people I’ve interacted with on the virtual level. Everyday I learn and create with an established or new contact, and someone says thank-you, or well-done. So much love to go around. It’s like we’re all connected … (pun intended).

3) The passion and euphoric rush we get out of writing is something that builds an instant rapport/bond, regardless of what we’re blogging about. As Guy Kawasaki recently quipped, “Nobodys are the new Somebody” in social media.

4) The timeless buzz of stortytelling and ‘breaking news’ largely conducted via the Pony Express, newspapers, magazines and other traditional channels throughout the past is very much alive in the social media realm. As Erik Qualmann said in Socialnomics, online word of mouth is the new ‘world of mouth.’ Crazy.

5) The most valuable (and exhilarating) part? Making the virtual to human transition and touch point: where we step from outside our computer screens and desks and meet in person, bridging the gap between our online identities, Twitter handles and personal brands for some well-mannered public face-time. These curious events are apparently called “TweetUps” or “MeetUps.” At the end of the day, this is what it’s all about.

Nice to Tweet You

Speaking of community events, anyone in the Cleveland area interested in joining my group for the 22nd annual Majestic Steel 5k Walk for Hunger Saturday, May 14 is more than welcome. Each year during Mothers’ Day weekend, fundraisers benefit the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland’s over 100 hunger centers and hot meal sites. The walk through downtown Cleveland includes free breakfast, lunch, and entertainment, and over 2000 participants are expected this year.

The deadline to register is Friday, April 15th. The cost to enroll is $35 and is due by Wednesday, April 27th. Feel free to contact me either directly on here (via the comment section below), or via whichever social network you use most often (Googling me will pull up all my media channels).

Other than that, I look forward to lunch tomorrow out in the Tremont district (Cleveland’s East Side) with a PR and marketing contact I met over the New Year. I’ve never been to the 806 Martini & Wine Bar, so a Yelp review will likely ensue. Stay tuned…

Courtesy of Cleveland.com, the Indians and Digital Sports Network

And finally, those of you interested in the upcoming Ohio Blogging Association’s Round Table at Touch Supperclub in Ohio City are also free to contact me for further details.

Until then, happy blogging!