I’m Selling The Thoughts Media Network, Moving to the USA, and I Got a Job Working for HTC. Any Questions?

I’ve been writing and re-writing this post in my head over the past couple of months, and that headline was the best I could come up with. It’s not easy to encapsulate one of the most significant changes in my life in a single sentence. Now let’s unpack that bombshell I’ve just dropped…

The HTC Job

I’ve been working with HTC, the mobile phone and tablet maker, since August 1st of this year. Being a long-time fan of Microsoft’s efforts in the mobile space – and largely tying my career to those efforts, for better or worse – I’ve watched HTC grow from being a nameless, brandless, tiny Taiwanese ODM making Palm-sized PCs/Pocket PCs to the mobile powerhouse they are today. I’ve always had tremendous admiration for HTC as a company and loved their products, so when someone I knew from Microsoft got a job with HTC in late 2010, I reached out and we started talking. The rest, as they say, is history. I believe HTC is uniquely positioned to do some amazing things in the mobile space over the next few years and I’m excited to be a part of it!

Thoughts Media is currently a vendor for HTC USA, and come October 1st, I’ll be a full-time employee. I have an H1B work visa, and after closing the sale of my house this weekend (phew!), I’ll be moving in the near future to the Bellevue, Washington area with my wife and two year old son, and starting my new career. To add a little extra stress into my life, we’re also building a new house and will be in temporary lodging until it’s finished. Oh, did I mention this is the first corporate job I’ve held in 13 years? This is the single biggest career transition I’ve ever gone through.

What am I doing for HTC? I’m a part of their social team – the team that focuses on HTC customers via Facebook, Twitter, and other communities. My title is Senior Manager of HTC Communities. I’m creating something special for them that, when the time is right, you’ll hear about in a very big way. The job couldn’t be more well-suited to my skill-set if I had created it myself. I’m massively excited about the opportunities I’ll have at HTC, and my admiration for them as a company has only grown since I’ve been on the inside. A big shout-out to my awesome team at HTC for making a slightly bewildered Canuck feel right at home.

Effective October 1st, I’ll be retiring from the Microsoft MVP program. This ends a 14 consecutive year run that has been profoundly rewarding on both a professional and personal level. I became a Windows CE MVP when I was 22 years old; I’ve been an MVP for more of my adult life than not, so it was a big decision to remove my name from being renewed for the next year. I have some amazing memories and made some great friends being a part of the program, and I’m forever grateful to Microsoft for allowing me to be a part of it.

You may have noticed my recent posts about HTC on Windows Phone Thoughts or Android Thoughts have contained zero commentary – just the facts. It’s been difficult to try and keep the two worlds separate, which leads me to…

Selling the Thoughts Media Network

Months before I started seriously talking to HTC, I was exploring the sale of my Web sites. I’ve said no to several offers over the years, but it’s now time to sell. I’ve loved running these sites since launching my first one (Pocket PC Thoughts) an incredible 11 years ago, but I’ve felt for a couple of years now that I needed a career change. When you stop acquiring new skills at a job, and you feel like you’ve gotten all the experience out of it that you can, it’s time to look for something different.

I say this with no sense of exaggeration: it has been one of the great joys in my life working with the amazing volunteers who keep things humming across all six of my sites, and I’m forever indebted to them – and to you, our awesome community – for giving me the ability to do this for so long. I’ll have a more eloquent farewell message when I finally sign off for good, but this was easily one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. Leaving my creation – our creation – in the hands of someone else is no small thing.

The logical question is “Who’s buying the Web sites?”. Right now I’m looking for a buyer for all six sites in the network – I’m in talks with several people/companies, but nothing has been finalized yet. If you’re interested in taking over a network that has been finely tuned like a racing car, staffed with amazing volunteers that are ready and willing to work with a new owner, please contact me directly.

Serious inquiries only please, but the selling price of the network might be less than you think. Let’s just say I’m a motivated seller because it’s time for me to move on and jump in with both feet at HTC. I’ll be accepting offers over the next seven days, then making my decision, so if you’re interested please let me know. The ideal buyer is someone who has a passion for technology, community, and an entrepreneurial spirit for making things grow. Oh, and being a little brash and opinionated can’t hurt!

Comments? Questions? Thoughts? Let me hear them…

(this post is duplicated over at Windows Phone Thoughts if you’d like to comment there)

Amazing World Trade Center Infographic

This infographic is amazing and the new 1 World Trade Center building looks beautiful – I absolutely have a goal of visiting it once it’s finished.

No, I’m Not Dead (Yet)

It’s rather incredible to me that I haven’t updated my blog in almost a month…there are things afoot that I can’t divulge publicly yet, but they are good things. Things so big they represent one of the most monumental shifts I’ve ever done in my life (which is both exciting and a bit scary), but good nonetheless.

The Triumph of Coal Marketing: Putting Things in Perspective

Is that a shocking graphic or what? If you can’t quite make out the word on the far left, it’s “Nuclear”. This chart compares the number of deaths generating nuclear, oil, and coal-based power on a per-watt basis. Seth Goodin shared this and I found it quite profound. I’ve been a proponent of nuclear power for a few years now, and this chart only further drives home the truth. Coal, and oil, are destructive, messy, finite energy sources and we need to move toward nuclear power to generate our electricity. Yes, the problems with the nuclear power plants in Japan are scary, but the hard reality is that even when incredible disasters occur like the 8.9 earthquake and the resulting tsunami, modern nuclear power plants are still fairly safe. There were some lessons that were learned in Japan – such as placing the back-up power generators underground, along with their fuel supply – that will help ensure nuclear power is safer for everyone in the future.

A Tale of Three Boxes of Tissues: Smart Consumerism

Know what the difference is between the three boxes of tissues above? Before this week, I’d have probably shrugged and said “Not much”. My eyes were opened to a certain type of consumerism; someone smarter than me probably has a name for it, but for the lack of a better term I’ll call it “Mindless Re-Purchasing”. If you’re anything like me, once you start buying a certain brand and package of product, you’ll pretty much keep it up forever, without stopping to think if there’s something better or less expensive. Continue reading A Tale of Three Boxes of Tissues: Smart Consumerism

AT&T Releases “Don’t Text While Driving” Documentary

This is powerful stuff here – and it’s part of the continued groundswell against texting while driving. If you’ve ever read or sent a text while driving – and, shamefully, I have to put myself in that category – this is something you should watch. Please share it with other people as well.

“The Little Book of Procrastination Remedies” by Leo Babuta

“Procrastination is one of those topics that, it seems, I can’t write enough about. There isn’t a person among us who doesn’t procrastinate, and that’s a fact of life. It’s deep within us. We think we’re going to do something later, or read that classic novel later, or learn French later. But we always overestimate how much we can do later, and we overestimate the ability of our later selves to beat procrastination. If our current self can’t beat procrastination, why will our future self do it? I thought I should cover some of the best procrastination-beating strategies, in light of my recent book, focus. People seem to want ways to beat procrastination, so they can actually get down to focusing. Here’s a quick guide.”

I recently started following a new blog called Zen Habits, written by the interesting and compelling Leo Babuta, and his post on procrastination really got me thinking. If you struggle with getting things done sometimes – and who doesn’t? – then you owe it to yourself to give this a read.

It ‘Aint Easy Being Green

A bit over a week ago, I was driving about 5.5 hours for a funeral. We have a 2009 GMC Acadia that seats seven people, and we drove the first leg of the trip (about three hours with a break in the middle, 287 KM) with myself, Ashley, and Logan in the car. We used up 1/4 of a tank of gas, and I refilled it when we finished the first leg. The next leg of the trip, the last 2.5 hours (248 KM) had two more adults (approximately 360 extra pounds including bags), and we used up half a tank of gas. Adding that extra 360 pounds made the fuel efficiency more than twice as worse, which begs the question: does it always make sense to carpool? Or is there a crossover point where, based on the type of vehicle you have, it’s better to take two vehicles because you’ll use up less fuel that way? I’m sure someone who’s brilliant with math can figure that out…but it made me wonder if the common wisdom of carpooling was actually wise in all circumstances.

Fat Guy + Running = Skinny Guy

As someone would needs to drop a few pounds myself (say, in the 20-30 pound range), I found this video to be quite inspiring in its simplicity; the guy hit rock bottom, decided to change his life, and started running. The simplicity of the solution to dropping a few pounds never quite translates into action on my part however…

Respect The Power of the Fortune Cookie

On Sunday night we got some Chinese food, and the above fortune was what I got in my fortune cookie. Today I was told my writing contract with Microsoft wasn’t going to be renewed (it ended in June). Props to you, Mr. Fortune Cookie Writer, you nailed it. I’d buy you a beer, but I’m trying to watch my expenses because, well, you know…