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2018 Reunion Month
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Mac+
9" monochrome
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: I'm here
 
2018-06-08, 21:20

Fuck, you’re awesome Drew!

I will endeavour to post a worthy reply, but I’m only on my iPhone now... so, a bit later.
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Ryan
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Promise Land of Trustafarians
 
2018-06-08, 23:59

Alright, here goes.

About five years I was just out of college working for an awful giant consulting company. I quit after six months of flying to frigid fucking Boston every week all winter to babysit an excel spreadsheet in a cubefarm. I wound up moving back to San Antonio and through some connections landed at a startup as their first employee. That took me up to Colorado. Over the next two years we raised a few million bucks, got some early traction and then it sort of ran out of gas. I was halfway out the door when they fired me anyways. Wild ride though. Blew through millions on I don't really know what and we never made a dime. For some reason Google bought the withered husk of the company anyways, but I was already gone at that point.

Through a connection I only knew on Stack Overflow I landed at job at the big blue bird social network. Literally got my offer letter the day the last CEO resigned and I've now ridden out the rough years. It's definitely put my career on a bit of a (very lucrative) rocket ship. Now I lead a team and honestly this part of my life couldn't be going better. I just returned from speaking about my work at a conference in Berlin.

I went really deep into world of credit card churning and became *that guy*. I've earned and burned about 2.5 million miles and managed to fly around the world several times in first class for very little money, so that's been fun. 25 countries in the last few years. I spent three weeks in New Zealand last year that left me very tempted to move down there and I think I'm close to pulling that trigger as soon as I finish paying off this student loan. Some of you may remember that I was in Tokyo during Fukushima. Radiation hasn't kept me away—I've been back six times since then.

More personally, last year I finally started intensive therapy for my anxiety. I hit a bad spot last year with an attack that left me balled up on the floor terrified of nothing in particular. I lucked onto a fantastic therapist who focuses on intensive short-term treatment rather than long-term talk therapy.

Finally started rebuilding a relationship with my brother.

Never did find a dating life though.

Whew. Good to see everyone back.
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Mac+
9" monochrome
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: I'm here
 
2018-06-09, 08:52

I can't recall the exact year my posting here dropped off. I do recall posting about the birth of our daughter, which takes me back to 2010. So, I'll fill in the gaps from there.

At that stage I was working as a user-centred design specialist (UCD back then - now, often referred to as HCD for human-centred design) at a large telco. I then moved to a boutique consultancy specialising in User Experience. Two years after that I was woo'd agency side by a mentor who was starting up an Experience Design team. Very exciting times! I stayed there for about five and a half years - the last eighteen months as the Director of the team; helping re-build the team (there was a crisis after the first year!) from a small core of four to one of Australia's largest and most capable group of practitioners, at the same time defining our offering and instilling the value of research and user validation throughout the business.

At the beginning of this year, I realised I didn't want to just work in an agency and felt the calling to move into health-tech. So, I've been working on the side with two initiatives and recently pulled the pin at work in order to focus on these endeavours and my new career direction.

I'll still help out with some part-time work at agencies to "keep the wolves at bay" financially, so to speak, but will use my other days for research on health related projects. I'm in the process of starting up my own business to handle this - but I recognise I have a lot to learn... and don't have a name yet either. If you have any suggestions feel free to shout out!

Family wise - we are the same; I have a lovely wife and daughter. All very happy, but getting older! We found out that our daughter has slight hearing loss after a routine check at school. It's a cup shape deficiency, which means she hears low and high tones pretty well, but the mid tones drop out a bit. She's fine though - happy and always engaged with others; very empathetic. We're keeping track of it and she may need hearing aids as she grows older, but we're not sure yet. Regardless, she is the light of our lives and we're blessed.

Btw - this did prompt me to back nura headphones on Kickstarter. Check 'em out.

Health wise - I had a kidney stone attack last year, which led to an operation. I did post about it: https://forums.applenova.com/showpos...0&postcount=73 and can throughly recommend the Water Minder app if you want to change your hydration behaviour!

What else - oh, yeah. I tragically love a band called Toto and discovered there was a column dedicated to reviewing their album tracks in chronological order each fortnight. So, I volunteered to write and now I'm a columnist for Toto Tuesdays. It's simply a passion play for me. I share the duties with two others. A highlight, though, is I have been in contact with guitar legend, Steve Lukather. Sort of a pinch me moment.

Leveraging this love of Toto, I made an analogy about them in building collaborative design teams and turned that into a presentation recently for the UX Australia Managing Design conference. It used music throughout and was pretty well received. In fact, Qantas followed up and I've been asked to fly to Sydney to present it to their design team, which is exciting!

The other passion play is I like watches; IWC in particular. I don't own that many really, but I am fascinated by them and do aspire to collect a few. Anyway, at the beginning of this year, I was lucky to be invited as a guest of IWC to attend SIHH in Geneva. Man, that level of opulence is not my world... it was somewhat surreal. But the collector friends I made - similar to AN here in that they're mainly forum buddies - are great and we do our best to catch-up when we can. If you find me on Twitter, you will see some photos here and there.

What else?

Oh yeah, since taking time off. I've gone back to the piano. I need that back in my life. Simple stuff right now - piano/violin duets... that's a challenge enough. I realise I have a lot of work to do to regain skills, but I love practising music again.

If you made it this far, thanks.

It's great to be sharing and catching up again - I can't wait to read more updates.

All I want is a simple life
twitter
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spotcatbug
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Clayton, NC
 
2018-06-11, 08:28

Geez. My life is boring, compared to you all. All I did was move to North Carolina and have another kid.

Oh, I quit my shit job (I had post-traumatic stress from that for a while, no joke.) If anyone reading this is in a shit job, take it from me, you should quit today. Being penniless and homeless is better for your mind and health than working a soul-crushing job.

I work for myself, currently. It's hard. I've discovered that I really need a team around me to cultivate that "let's do this!" mindset.

Ugh.
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kieran
Tweeting @kierankelly
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New York City
 
2018-06-11, 10:43

I've still been posting fairly regularly during the last few years, but a lot has changed in my life and haven't updated everything.

4 years ago had 14 hour brain surgery to remove a tumor on the base of my neck, had a marriage end over many issues and moved to Boston. Spent 3 years there, got remarried, picked up two dogs along the way and worked a couple different jobs.

At the end of 2017, moved down to Brooklyn, & got a new job. That job closed and I decided to start working for myself. Picked up a few clients and have been on pace to make more money this year than I have in my life, so that seems like a good decisions. Now living in Manhattan and enjoying it.

Traveling takes a lot of our time and we just booked a trip to Croatia for a few weeks in September. That will add to Hawaii, France, a few Caribbean islands, and some stateside travel we've done in the past few years.

So, all in all, not much has changed.
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Mac+
9" monochrome
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: I'm here
 
2018-06-11, 16:26

Quote:
Originally Posted by spotcatbug View Post
Geez. My life is boring, compared to you all. All I did was move to North Carolina and have another kid.

Oh, I quit my shit job (I had post-traumatic stress from that for a while, no joke.) If anyone reading this is in a shit job, take it from me, you should quit today. Being penniless and homeless is better for your mind and health than working a soul-crushing job.

I work for myself, currently. It's hard. I've discovered that I really need a team around me to cultivate that "let's do this!" mindset.
Strong spotcatbug! Good on you!

I can thoroughly attest to the move away from a soul crushing job. If anybody is in an environment where they’re not supported, then make the move. Your own health and well-being should be your first priority!

I’m starting this work at home thing and also fear the motivation risk you mention. Hence, the part-time gig to keep me active, connected and practising until the health-tech UX takes off. I know I like collaborating with a good team and that’s a strong motivator, but I need to take the chance and see whether I can do it on my own too.

All I want is a simple life
twitter
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Mac+
9" monochrome
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: I'm here
 
2018-06-11, 16:31

Ryan Mate... what a journey! That credit cards points thing is crazy impressive! If you ever make it to NZ, or that neighboruning continent downunder, let me know - I’d love to extend some hospitality and show you around my hometown.

Congrats on finding good support for your anxiety and also on rebuilding the relationship with your brother. Good luck with the dating too mate!

Last edited by Mac+ : 2018-06-12 at 01:20.
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Mac+
9" monochrome
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: I'm here
 
2018-06-11, 16:42

kieran What? 14 hour brain surgery to remove a tumor! I can’t recall this - maybe I posted, maybe I’m losing it? That must have been incredibly scary! I’m glad you’re alright though.

It’s great to know that working for yourself is proving to be the right move and you’re loving travelling with your new wife. That’s all awesome! Congrats mate.

If your travels ever take you to Australia - or Melbourne, more specifically, let me know! I’d be happy to show you and your wife around.
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Mac+
9" monochrome
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: I'm here
 
2018-06-11, 16:44

Also, on this note... I’m putting it out there for any Aldo Nova member who replies to this thread.

If you make it to Melbourne, let me know. It would be great to meet up and I’d be happy to show you around.
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Capella
Dark Cat of the Sith
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Rochester, NY
Send a message via AIM to Capella  
2018-06-11, 20:45

Hey Ryan, that around the world set of trips sounds really amazing! I wish I had the courage to do something like that! New Zealand and Japan sounds amazing both. Also, glad you're getting treatment for your anxiety; I've just gotten mine addressed with a great therapist who combines talk, techniques, and helping me with meds when I need it.

I know I follow you on twitter Kieran and I still don't remember hearing about the surgery! Or I forgot... I remembered the Boston move and then the NYC one. Working for yourself sounds great.

Hey spotcatbug, I think it's great you quit the job if it was making you miserable.

Mac+, what are you doing in health tech if you don't mind talking about it? As someone in the field I'm always curious.

"A blind, deaf, comatose, lobotomy patient could feel my anger!" - Darth Baras
twitter ; amateur photographer ; fanfiction writer ; roleplayer and worldbuilder
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Mac+
9" monochrome
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: I'm here
 
2018-06-12, 01:26

Hey Capella - here is where I'm at right now:

The first project (on weekends and soon to be part-time) is a start-up passion play with a friend: we're looking to safely bring prescriptions for telemedicine practitioners and GPs into the digital age. Right now we're in the research phase and are identifying the right groups to target.

The other is a consulting piece on working out the best way to communicate findings in an ICU ward; it could result in a dashboard, but I suspect there will be greater learnings along the way.

I'm also looking into joining official groups in Australia and getting certified as a CHIA - there's lots to learn for me, but this is the right next step!

All I want is a simple life
twitter

Last edited by Mac+ : 2018-06-12 at 01:28. Reason: more detail
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kieran
Tweeting @kierankelly
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New York City
 
2018-06-12, 07:37

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac+ View Post
kieran What? 14 hour brain surgery to remove a tumor! I can’t recall this - maybe I posted, maybe I’m losing it? That must have been incredibly scary! I’m glad you’re alright though.

It’s great to know that working for yourself is proving to be the right move and you’re loving travelling with your new wife. That’s all awesome! Congrats mate.

If your travels ever take you to Australia - or Melbourne, more specifically, let me know! I’d be happy to show you and your wife around.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Capella View Post
I know I follow you on twitter Kieran and I still don't remember hearing about the surgery! Or I forgot... I remembered the Boston move and then the NYC one. Working for yourself sounds great.
Thanks for the thoughts.

I don't know if I posted much, either here or on Twitter, at that time. Lots of things going on that I mostly kept to myself.

Just had a few weeks of terrible headaches and my mom finally forced me to the hospital and a few hours later I was having surgery. Crazy time period of my life, but that's all behind me now and enjoying my time in what has to be one of the craziest cities in the world.
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Ryan
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Promise Land of Trustafarians
 
2018-06-12, 10:14

Quote:
Originally Posted by kieran View Post
Thanks for the thoughts.

I don't know if I posted much, either here or on Twitter, at that time. Lots of things going on that I mostly kept to myself.

Just had a few weeks of terrible headaches and my mom finally forced me to the hospital and a few hours later I was having surgery. Crazy time period of my life, but that's all behind me now and enjoying my time in what has to be one of the craziest cities in the world.
Wow, hope it went okay. I guess if you're already online and posting it must not have been too bad?
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kieran
Tweeting @kierankelly
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New York City
 
2018-06-12, 12:15

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan View Post
Wow, hope it went okay. I guess if you're already online and posting it must not have been too bad?
Thanks. It was back in 2014, so it's been a few years now. Just had never really mentioned it online anywhere prior to posting here. Just wanted to update the thread.
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Ryan
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Promise Land of Trustafarians
 
2018-06-12, 23:16

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capella View Post
Hey Ryan, that around the world set of trips sounds really amazing! I wish I had the courage to do something like that! New Zealand and Japan sounds amazing both. Also, glad you're getting treatment for your anxiety; I've just gotten mine addressed with a great therapist who combines talk, techniques, and helping me with meds when I need it.
I lucked into an excellent therapist. His focus is short-term intensive treatment. Most of his program comes down to 1) big doses of fish oil every day (5g+) 2) teaching you how to counter irrational thoughts. Breathing exercises, meditation, etc. He's the kind of therapist who gives you *homework* and expects you to complete it. I've been to others that inevitably devolve into personal storytime—with this guy, if you just start rambling on about your week he cuts you off and refocuses back to the actual problem you're trying to solve. My appointments were often *exhausting* but incredibly productive. He used to run the largest biofeedback lab in the state and he brings a lot of that experience into his practice. Early on he gave me a little thermometer to measure temperature increases in your palm, which correlate to increased stress responses. He highly encourages purchasing biofeedback devices to measure your stress responses in order to learn how to combat them yourself. I went from literally collapsing on the floor from anxiety to keeping it under control within just a few months.

I highly recommend either Tokyo or New Zealand. NZ especially is such a welcoming destination. Head to Wellington and grab a drink at the Rogue and Vagabond.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac+ View Post
Ryan Mate... what a journey! That credit cards points thing is crazy impressive! If you ever make it to NZ, or that neighboruning continent downunder, let me know - I’d love to extend some hospitality and show you around my hometown.

Congrats on finding good support for your anxiety and also on rebuilding the relationship with your brother. Good luck with the dating too mate!
I'm sorry I didn't reach out! I hit up Sydney in 2016. I'm honestly desperate to get back to New Zealand. Last year I had three weeks and hit up Auckland, Waiheke, Nelson, Abel, Tasman, Marlborough Sound, Wellington, Queenstown and the Routeburn Track. Bummed I skipped over Wanaka and I want to explore the Golden Bays region a bit more.

I'm still under 30 which means I qualify for the working holiday visa and I am *seriously* tempted to just go bartend or whatever in Wanaka or Wellington for a year. Once I finish paying off these student loans and get some money socked away that's my plan. I'm hoping to bank a stash of cash and then travel for a while. Spend some time in New Zealand, explore Tokyo for a month or two, maybe traverse the old Silk Road, spend some time in a Spanish-language school in Seville. Or maybe just bum around Thailand for bit. Getting kinda tired of the software game anyways.

Last edited by Ryan : 2018-06-12 at 23:27.
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drewprops
Magnificent Basturd™
sagacious-d
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2018-06-12, 23:28

Wow, a lot really has happened.

I see Kieran on Twitter regularly, had no idea!

Kind of wishing we had a way to follow-up on Curiousburb.



...
  quote
Ryan
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Promise Land of Trustafarians
 
2018-06-12, 23:43

Quote:
Originally Posted by drewprops View Post
Wow, a lot really has happened.

I see Kieran on Twitter regularly, had no idea!

Kind of wishing we had a way to follow-up on Curiousburb.



...
I think a few of us are on Twitter. I definitely follow you, Kieran and Capella. I'm @youfoundryan over there.
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kieran
Tweeting @kierankelly
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New York City
 
2018-06-13, 08:46

Turtle put together a Twitter list for AN a while back.

https://twitter.com/turtle2472/lists/an/members

Don't worry about not knowing Drew, I didn't really post about it and kind of went quiet on social media for a few months around that time. All good now though.
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
Send a message via ICQ to chucker Send a message via AIM to chucker Send a message via MSN to chucker Send a message via Yahoo to chucker Send a message via Skype™ to chucker 
2018-06-13, 15:38

Quote:
Originally Posted by kieran View Post
4 years ago had 14 hour brain surgery to remove a tumor on the base of my neck
Holy cow. Glad it went well!
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RowdyScot
Ice Arrow Sniper
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Great Bay Temple
Send a message via AIM to RowdyScot Send a message via Skype™ to RowdyScot 
2018-06-17, 22:08

Quote:
Originally Posted by kieran View Post
Turtle put together a Twitter list for AN a while back.

https://twitter.com/turtle2472/lists/an/members

Don't worry about not knowing Drew, I didn't really post about it and kind of went quiet on social media for a few months around that time. All good now though.
Can add me on there, too. @rowdyscot89
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
Yesterday, 16:00

I've added you to the list RowdyScot!

I forgot that I hadn't deleted my Twitter account. Guess there is a use there after all.
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