Monthly Archives: January 2008

Here’s to 2008

If you know anyone who would like to be involved in Philly Future from a technology, business, or management capacity – let me know at phillyfuture at phillyfuture.org.

Here is some background for the open call.

2006 going into 2007 things were looking good. Shoot, they were looking fantastic.

Emma was almost a year old, and my family, while facing some struggles, overall was healthy. I can’t remember feeling more attuned to what my purpose was in life or ever happier and that hasn’t changed.

Work was turning a corner. Coming up were huge projects I was going to be a part of, including the development and launch of the new Comcast.net (which was a huge success).

Philly Future was moving along and growing gangbusters. During 2006 major goals were to find reliable hosting, find a source of funding that could benefit the online regional community, and register as a LLC to protect the service. The Philly Ad Network launched, we found ourselves a great hosting company and the Philly Future LLC was registered.

The volunteer team was under a lot of pressure as my time was being split further and further, but the hope was to grow it into 2007 and to open Philly Future into different forms of community driven management.

My band had broken up early 2006, but we had all remained friends, and to me that was the most important thing.

Online I had taken part in various web projects and discussions that centered on subject matter I cared about, including the norgs conversation. It’s an ongoing concern of mine that we seem less informed as a society. How can that be with the growing Web and our ever growing media/news scape?

Mind-blowingly, some folks had even started to seek me out for opinion in matters related to web development, online journalism and social media/software. I was added as a name on a few different projects having to with blogging and journalism.

Sure there were some bumps in the road, and some challenges to look ahead to (college!), but overall, my only complaint about anything was simply that I didn’t have enough time for all that I loved. That balancing priorities was difficult.

What a great problem to have.

That problem – finding ways to balance time among what’s important – took on new dimensions in 2007.

The back injury did a number on me and continues to do so. I think I’ve done well at keeping the downward pull I feel from the leg pain from affecting my work or home, but much has fell by the wayside.

Mom started going into and out of ICU all year long, culminating in her passing due to cancer.

The Comcast.net launch required every spare minute I had when I wasn’t in rehab or at mom’s side.

And just trying to be a good Dad and Husband among these pressures was a struggle.

I’m a roll-with-the-punches kind of guy. So I tried to do what I’ve always done, play the cards I was dealt as best I could. Somethings suffered:

My online writings have been fewer and farther between, as have times where I’ve shared my opinion on topics close to my heart.

My guitar playing has gotten rusty. Emma loves it (she grabs my hand and takes me to our office where my guitar typically sits and tells me ‘getar getar’ :)). But I just don’t play enough anymore. Richelle installed a wall mount for my acoustic in the living room so that I can play whenever the spirit strikes or Emma asks, instead of going to our office, and playing there.

Philly Future is alive. So is the local ad network that is built across some of the regional community’s most popular local blogs. When I look at what the community has done with both these past twelve months, I’m blown away and heartened. And this has been with minimal involvement from myself.

Still, with the decreasing time I’ve had available, things here have not progressed as far as they could and worst – there’s been drift. The volunteer team has shrunk (normal life changes – and I have not been active in leading it). I haven’t spent time promoting the service or being an exemplary user (this is particularly bad). And I’ve pretty much allowed myself to disappear from the local blogging community.

The potential is still here – to build a resource that has positive impact, connecting voices, ideas, people, within our geographical community who online might miss one another, that is grassroots, that is owned by the community. But it remains partially fulfilled.

Most painful has been lost time for friends, both close and not so close.

And honestly, I don’t know how Richelle did it – put up with me and my trials and tribulations.

It is difficult writing this. A few years back, I had wrote something similar following the passing of my 3 month old nephew. I shut Philly Future down feeling that I couldn’t do the service justice and support my family which had just experienced a horrific tragedy.

Back then Philly Future was primarily a group blog. When it was re-launched I did so with a different vision. And I have heard from more than a few the effectiveness of it. I believe in it. People *have* connected where otherwise they might not have. I think that’s important. I can’t help it.

So this time things are a bit different.

There are no tragedies to speak of. Just life’s twists and turns (in my spine’s case… more twists…), that need to be dealt with head on. If I consider my position, I have to consider how blessed I am to be where I am at, with the family and friends I have, with the work I have. If this had happened a few years ago, I might have been a person burdened without health insurance, living in a squat, not only dealing with back pain, but dealing with the cold and a broken heart.

For 2008 I’ve determined that I need to put a time limit on the conservative care I am receiving to determine its effectiveness, and to be honest with myself over surgery. If I take the surgery option, I probably will disappear further from my online activities for a time. I need to focus on my health, and whatever time remains must be for family, friends, and work.

I wish I could do more. I know many who can balance time on a needle and do so much with it. I admire these people. But whenever I attempt to follow in their footsteps inevitably I mess things up. So I need to stick to priorities.

What that means for Philly Future is that I need to secure its future as fast as possible. It needs new management, and a new volunteer team to lead it. I still intend to have a role in it, PF is part of me after all, but for the service to reach its potential, it needs far more than what I can provide it.

If you know anyone who would like to be involved in Philly Future from a technology, business, or management capacity – let me know at phillyfuture at phillyfuture.org.

Thanks to friends and supporters, here’s to 2008!

Karl