February 2008 Archives

fish2.jpgSupposedly, this is what the dolphins said when leaving Earth right before it was destroyed. It is also the title of one of the four books in the "Life, the universe and everything" trilogy, which could have gotten me fired. When I got the first book, I was young programmer still very early in my career. I was so into the book, I took it to work with me and would sneak it out of my desk drawer and read it when no one was looking.

Yes, the rumors are true. I am leaving Spirit Lake Consulting and starting my own company, The Julia Group. The reason I have not  posted here for over a month is that I have been working on finishing the last reports for Spirit Lake during the day and working on my new company site in the evenings. We already have one course up and running, an on-line Autism for Early Childhood Educators course.

I have also have a new blog on The Julia Group site that you are welcome to check out if you are interested in what I will be doing for the rest of my life - or next week, anyway.

A lot of people have asked about the reasons for my leaving the company. The truth, I am afraid, is far more boring than the rumors. Erich is much more interested in the ethics and management training workshops where I wanted to focus on the technical aspect. With my new company there will be a lot more time to add the newest applications to our site. You'll notice we have a lot more video and links to the forum in the Autism course, and that is just scratching the surface. The first pages on the Spirit Lake Consulting site were actually an Internet course on Developmental Psychology, written using Netscape Navigator back around 1997 - the Paleolithic era in Internet time. We have been through a lot of changes - to Adobe CyberStudio - to frames - to Dreamweaver - to templates.

Things change. Erich, April and I founded the company together, I think it was five years ago. Before that, Erich and I had worked together on one project or another since 1990. That's eighteen years. I've had three marriages and none of them lasted that long! I am coming up on my eleventh anniversary this year, so I may beat that record yet.

Over the past several years we have received over a million dollars in grants and contracts. We've created a dozen on-line courses, gotten millions in grant funds for our clients, provided training to thousands of people. During it all, I learned a lot about starting a business, teaching on-line, web design, writing, documentation and a hundred other skills large and small - knowledge that is definitely the most valuable asset I take with me as I wander off into the horizon.

What will I do now? After working full-time for 34 years straight, ever since I was 15 years old, I am going to take it easier. We have collected a substantial amount of data on our research projects over the past few years which I have never had the chance to write up for publication. There are several articles I intend to submit to scientific journals, so those are high on my to-do list. I am going to finish the Developmental Psychology course for The Julia Group. This will be the first course i am not writing to a deadline, so I am going to do it exactly the way I want it. After that, I have a statistics course I want to do as well. I submitted a proposal for an on-line mathematics program, that. if funded, will start in a few months. By Wednesday I will finish the last grant I will be writing for Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc., one on which The Julia Group will be subcontracted for the web design, blogs, forums, wikis and other fun stuff.

As you can see, I have a lot planned for my "retirement", but on Thursday, the first day of my non-Spirit Lake Consulting life, I only have one item on my calendar - sleep late.

Goodbye and thanks for all the fish!