Just returned from SEED in Chicago. I went there not so much to learn, but rather to be inspired.
And to meet my long-time friend, Jason Fried, founder of the very successful 37 Signals.
Jason and I have corresponded via email and blog entries (at his company's blog called Signal vs Noise) but we'd never actually met face-to-face (or "IRL" as online hipsters are apt to type). So I jumped at the chance to jet to Chicago, see some sites, finally meet Jason and get inspired.
Jet to Chicago I did. See sites ... uh ... it was about zero degrees on Saturday. The only site I saw was Hubbard State Cigar Shop, which was about six blocks from the Sheraton where I stayed. I can brave two below and high winds for a good cigar, but I'm not about to go site-seeing in that weather.
But Saturday evening I met Jason and Sarah Hatter (she handles customer support for 37 Signals and is just a fantastic person) at Club Lucky for some good Italian cuisine and great conversation.
Jason is successful by every definition of the word, but still amazingly down-to-earth and humble. You'd never guess that he manages the helm of a web company that has Yahoo and Google drooling to buy him out (I asked; he won't).
I was inspired. Nothing new to learn at the conference, and since Jason and I are kindred spirits, nothing surprised me or moved me. But just being around young, successful, passionate people who are committed to elegance (I'm all that except young ... I'll never be young again) was just the juice I needed to get me thinking. I spent my Saturday, all day Sunday while traveling, and on through this coming week thinking about what *I* want to do with my skills. Web company? Sell something via the web? Both?
I'm not sure, but I do know I won't be content to sit back and rely solely on software development as my sole source of income.
Thanks, Jason (and Jim Coudal) ... you got me thinking. And that, alone, was worth the price of admission.
All The Best,