Past the terrible twos – Feeding Edge is 3 years old

It is now, amazingly, 3 years since I started Feeding Edge ltd. Three years out of the relative cozy confines of corporate life. Note: That’s cozy in the sense that there is a structure, I am not suggesting anyone has it easy there. I spent 20 years in mainstream employment at IBM and I have now spent a fair amount of time acclimatizing and adjusting to a lack of structure. Oddly it was that structure and it’s positives and negatives that powers a degree of invention and skunkworks with many of the more sparky people in the company (or any company). Out in the rest of the world there are different combinations of structures there to work around, to adjust and flow with. They are just not always so obvious.
What has not changed is my attitude to helping people and to the technology, and just doing the right thing because it needs doing. If anything this has grown with a bit more freedom to explore and express ideas.
I do still suffer from the diversity of things that I get into with Feeding Edge. I was asked at a conference yesterday, after I presented, what I do with Feeding Edge. It is still the case that with this vessel I am “Taking a bite out of technology so you don’t have to”.
Most of my practical technical architecture, design, coding, presenting, funds raising, inventing etc is going towards an ever growing game related project as part of another startup. The ideas within that I still find amazing in their reach into social media and games and really it just needs a few more people focussed on the specifics of all the bits I ended up inventing. Which comes back to ongoing funding and buy-in to the project. So in many ways that is the same as many projects people have in corporate life, looking for backers, support etc.
It is reassuring to see things like Double Fine’s $2million raising of funding with crowdfunding on Kickstarter waking up a few business people and government departments this side of the pond. (Crowdfunding appears to be on a strange legal footing over here in the UK)
Another major strand for me this past year has of course been the Cool Stuff Collective TV show. Presenting, and working on creating the pieces with Archie Productions for CITV/ITV has given me a strand of content to take and talk about in all sorts of places. I have been very proud of the content and of the subjects we covered for kids and I now use those threads to try and inspire more kids in to tech at other events and conferences, whilst at the same time relaying the story of how we make that to adults. This also time informs them of some of the tech they may not have been aware of, but not in a head on way as it is about kids and a TV show.
So the question is how does this all move forward? Another year ahead.
I do occasionally look at job adverts, knowing pretty much that any job I took could get incredibly enthused with and maybe make a little bit of a difference. Not just tech ones either as I have developed a lot over the years in working with people, persuading, leading, mentoring and educating. All the technologies I share and talk about are about people and also about huge economic and social changes to come. Tech jobs are usually know version x or y, but there is so much more to be done.
I have yet to see a role that fits all the things I do with Feeding Edge, which makes me think either I have some sort of Unique Selling Point in diversity, or I should forget being a polymath and just focus on one thing.
It is not the case that I have no plan, but my plan is to carry on doing whatever it is I do. It really does not matter that it is hard to clarify and comparmentalize, because I am out in a world of infinite opportunity. Trying lots of things, threading many of those things together so they support one another, building tech, talking tech, living tech makes it much easier than being one particular thing or one particular role.
Of course all this comes at a cost. This approach, like starting brand new career strands such as TV presenting are back in the first rung of the ladder. That ladder being reputation, financial, etc. Stopping at any point, not doing a speaking engagement for instance, quickly erodes any building and levelling up that I may be doing in a particular industry, making new contacts etc. Conferences seldom pay directly, but the conversations lead to other things. The same as Tweeting and blogging are a “free” activity where you have to keep going, keep sharing to generate enough of a gravity well for someone to want to engage. “How do you find time to ….” well you just have to do it and weave it into life.
I often reflect as I hurtle from event to event that it is like being a touring rock band before the huge record deal. You play everywhere and anywhere that people will listen. Writing those killer tunes, practising the art. Which in the end is the most important thing. Though you dream of a stadium gig and a number one single.
So in the ups and downs of finance I have to say a huge thank you to my wife Jan (@elemming). She left IBM too, but only a few weeks ago and took up a fantastic opportunity based in London. It took a lot to leave after an even longer time than I spent there. It was worth it for the change and the impact she is able to have. Wherever you work you will start to be taken for granted eventually however good you are.
If you are reading this and think, we should get him in to talk to us, please do 🙂 If you are reading this and thinking there is nothing we need him to tell us and show us, well! you are exactly the sort of people that REALLY need me to come and help you.
See how that works? I do make life complicated for myself don’t I 🙂
Also please take a look at the new TV showreel 🙂 if you haven’t already.

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