A number of half-written posts have remained on my hard drive for so long that their incompleteness only serves to annoy me. I want to delete them, but I know their content fills a few holes in a narrative this site has sometimes documented. So I’ve salvaged the pertinent bits, and published them below.
On being British (September 2007)
After a week-long break in the UK, I was again sat in Birmingham International Airport waiting to board a flight to California, wondering which direction lay home, and coming to conclusions about what it meant to be British:
Having spent most of this year in America, I feel I have a better sense of how Britain appears to the rest of the world.
My first taste of being back was the queue at passport control, where I heard some women moaning about having to remove passports from any covers so they could be easily scanned. Is it really true that the English are never happier unless they are moaning?
Perhaps it’s just home to a population continually affected by the weather they face. This seems especially true given the sunnier dispositions of my friends in California.
On going freelance (January 2008)
In the space of just three weeks I had written about leaving Ning and returning to the UK and joining Gotomedia and remaining in San Francisco, yet I never completed this yo-yoing saga and write about my eventual decision to return home:
Upon leaving Ning, I was in two minds as to what direction to go. Part of me wondered what it would be like to work in an agency again, which could provide job security, a variety of work and — as it transpired — the possibility of remaining in the US. The other option was to go freelance and work for myself; yet that would mean returning home to the UK.
It was a conversation with Jon before Christmas that really made my mind up, when he said I needed to just go with my gut. Pretty simple advice, but somehow it stuck. Truth be told, I’d probably decided to go freelance months ago, but was paralysed by indecision and people telling me to stay in California.
On Silicon Valley (March 2008)
Having begun freelancing I was thinking about starting a new blog. However the working title ‘Shifting Fury’ probably gives some insight into the bitterness I still harboured having left Ning:
The passion for web design that shone through [on lloydyweb.org] was responsible for landing the lifestyle any web designer would kill for. I was a Lead Designer at a start-up in Silicon Valley, living in San Francisco, and getting paid obscene amounts of money to do so. I was treated like a king, with any designer tantrums excuse to throw more money/stock/technology in my direction.
Sounds wonderful, but in the end it really wasn’t. Whilst I left due to no longer feeling creatively challenged, in all honestly it was just the straw that broke the camels back. This was a job where the opportunity never made up for the level of upheaval, unhappiness and bullshit I put up with, and left me with an all too sceptical view of an industry I’m supposedly part of.
At the same time, I’ve grown as a person in more positive ways. I’m more confident, awash with creativity and discovering new ideas almost daily. Furthermore, I know that there are a ton of other great ideas out there, but unless they’re found in the Valley, they’re practically ignored.
On leaving Facebook (March 2009)
What originally started out as a response to a blog post by Andy Budd became so long I began writing a dedicated entry. In the end it remained unpublished, which is a shame as it explained my decision to leave Facebook:
I’ve deactivated my Facebook account, whilst I actively consider deleting my account all together.
Why? The more ‘friends’ I added the less valuable the service became. The applications designed to engage me (and power an ad-supported pyramid scheme by all accounts) only served to annoy me. Finally, given how the company is always inventing new ways to use my data to power its business model (i.e. Beacon), I increasingly found myself not trusting the service — I would never tick the ‘Remember me’ check-box when signing in for example. Maybe I’ll be the first deactivation of many?
I deleted my account soon after, whilst the service has grown to over 500 million members.