I’m back

Two years ago, I started attending various meet-ups around Toronto. If you are not familiar with meetups, I suggest you check it out here. I started to going to several technology meetups and what I discovered there (besides free beer and pizza) is that the average person there is young, smart, enthusiastic, and probably very good at what they do. I’d look at all that energy and think “I used to be like that. What the heck happened?!“.

Going to these meetups was an attempt to regain some of that enthusiasm that I had lost. I even went to the awesome Throne of JS conference despite not knowing any of the frameworks and not being very knowledgeable about Javascript. Sometimes it’s good to be the most clueless  person in the room and get motivated to do something about it. Again, I saw smart enthusiastic people. But I still felt like most of my life force had been sucked out of me long ago.

Then, about 3 months ago, I quit my full-time job. I had always been bending and breaking the rules to get my job done and to help other people do theirs, but new levels of bureaucracy and rules prevented me from access to resources needed, and so it was time for me to leave.
When I evaluated my life and finances, I realized that I neither needed, nor wanted, to work 12 months of the year. So I decided to go back to consulting, after a long break to relax and retool. I called this semi-retirement, thinking the ideal scenario would be to work a few months of the year, ideally during the winter months. During most of those last three months, I did yard work, home renovations, learned some new stuff, overhauled my web-site, watched Netflix, etc.

Then about three weeks ago, I got an e-mail from my friend Lloyd. There was a Hack’n’Talk event just days away and Lloyd wanted to know if I wanted to be a developer on his team for an idea he had a year ago but hadn’t actually done anything on yet. I thought, sounds like fun and said yes. The Hack’Talk was sponsored by Fashion Zone , an incubator with Ryerson University. We kept the team to just the two of us, and over a sleep-deprived weekend came up with a prototype for our project.

A little more than a week after the event, which went really well, Fashion Zone contacted us and said that they would like to extend an offer to us for their Summer Labs program where we will have office space, equipment, and access to industry experts, etc. I believe they extended the offer to 3 teams out of the 17 that demo’ed prototypes at the Hack’n’Talk event.
So now after only two weeks of what was to be a fun weekend hacking together a prototype, I am now co-founder of a start-up, moving at blazing speed, with office space in down-town Toronto for the next two months at Fashion Zone, while we take our project to the next level. Over the last 36 hours, I bought the domain for GrayAndWhite.ca (not be be confused with GrayAndWhite.com which sells used car parts), set up a virtual machine (somewhere in Atlanta), e-mail, and a web-site, for our new company.

At this point, you’re probably thinking, what the heck am I doing in the fashion industry, given that I can’t even get my socks to match. Well, actually, our project fits into the Wearable Technologies category. Long-story short, it’s to detect wounds to soldiers wearing body-armour and do something useful with that information, like get it to a medic and Command who is monitoring strength of a entire troop. Our tag line is “Military Biosensors & Battlefield Management Systems“. You can check out our web-site Gray and White which was hastily slapped together if you’re interested.

Back to the story.
So last night I ended up at the OneEleven Tech Social event. I was talking to Julie, a VP of a large investment company and describing the above quest to regain my enthusiasm and how it has led to this Start-up.
She replied that it seems to have worked, given how excited I am about our new Start-up.
And when I thought about it, she was right.

I’m back!


RJ is a freelance consultant living in Toronto specializing in software development and systems administration on Unix/Linux systems.

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