Category Archives: Work and Clients

minuteman national park

The next adventure

Since my first job working in the web and tech worlds back in 1995, I spent most of the time working as a freelancer and consultant. In February I left that world to return to an office job. To be honest, I was thrilled to be working in an office where I had my very own cubicle. There is something about spending 8+ hours every day working out of the same spot — a space you can decorate (hello “Boston rocks” sticker wall!) and call your own.

Fast forward five months later and I’ve returned to working on my own. And now I’m determined to make the most of the flexibility and freedom that consulting work provides while still having some of the consistency that an office job provides.

I’ve spent a lot of time working out of (air conditioned!) cafes since I was laid off in early July: Sherman Cafe, Bloc 11, Starbucks and Diesel Cafe. Thanks to the wifi hotspot on my phone, it doesn’t matter if a cafe has free wifi, I can still get online. But sometimes, I like to work somewhere where I intentionally do not want to be online. It’s not necessary to be online while I do the initial editing of event photos — and if I’m online while I’m working on photos, it’s often just a distraction.

To help inspire some of the office cubicle consistency I miss, I signed up for a membership at one of my favorite shared office space spots: WorkBar Boston.

There are also many unconventional places to get work done. One of my favorites is a hotel lobby. You obviously can’t spend a full day there — but it’s a good change of scenery after working out of a cafe for a morning or afternoon.

I’ve been thinking a lot about freelance vs. consulting. When I’ve worked on my own in the past, I’ve regarded myself as a freelancer. But this time around as I amplify my Sooz-for-hire work, I’m definitely leaning more towards the word consultant. Semantics?

Here’s to another adventure!

The Rock and Roll Book Club

rock and roll books in a book storeI started a new book club in November 2010 called the Rock and Roll Book Club. The idea is that we’ll all read the same rock music related book each month. The book will either be directly about rock music or written by a musician-turned-author. Most of us spend way too much time at our computers so we’ll also be tweeting about the book and writing about it on our websites.

Rock and Roll Book Club’s inaugural selection is by local Boston author Steve Almond — “Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life: A Book by and for the Fanatics Among Us” published by Random House on April 13, 2010. Before confessing his rock and roll fanaticism, Steve wrote several other books including one about a different kind of obsession — Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America.

Part of the reason I started the book club is because I haven’t read a book in a really long time. No, longer than a really long time.

So far 33 people have signed up to read Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life — with more who’ve RSVP’d as “maybe” on the Facebook event page. There’s no pressure to read the book by the end of the month but everyone is encouraged to dig in on January 1st.

rock and roll will save your lifeThe book’s author, Steve Almond, is joining us throughout January, too. He is committed to helping us make Rock and Roll Book Club something more than just another book club. (Not that I really know what a book club is like but yes, it will be f-u-n.) Steve will be guest blogging on the book club website, giving away mixed CDs to people who refer the most new members (all they have to do is signup for the email list — shazam!) and if that’s not enough, Steve is also co-hosting a book club member event in Boston. Eventually there will be events all over if the book club takes off. We’ve already got members from throughout the country so we shall see.

To become an official member of the Rock and Roll Book Club, join the email newsletter and buy the book.┬áIf you’d like to win a custom handmade mixed CD from author Steve Almond, tell your friends in email, on Facebook and on Twitter to join, too. All they need to do is note you in the “referred by” field using your full name or your Twitter username. You need to be already subscribed to the email list to win one of Steve’s CDs.

Social Media for the Rock and Roll Book Club

Twitter: @RockBookClub

Facebook: Facebook.com/RockBookClub

Twitter hashtag: #RockBookClub

Blog tag and photo tag: “Rock Book Club”

Website: RockBookClub.com

Steve Almond on Facebook: on.fb.me/stevealmond

Tasty treats from 37 Signals and Basecamp

Today on my way out the door, I noticed I had a package from Zingerman’s waiting for me. Curious! I opened it up to find that 37 Signals sent me a package thanking me for being a Basecamp customer for many years. I’m vegan (almost three months!) so I can’t eat most of the treats they sent but it was good timing since my summer interns for Exploit Boston! were coming in to work with me at Design Annex today.

Basecamp has been an invaluable tool for my work since 2004. If you are doing team + collaborative projects, Basecamp is essential. I’ve used it with many clients over the years and don’t think I could live without it!

37 Signals is based out of Chicago so it was awesome to see they chose another midwest company, Zingerman’s in Michigan, to send out the customer appreciation package. And if you don’t know about Zingerman’s, definitely check out their website. And of course, you can follow 37 Signals and Zingerman’s on Twitter.

New website for freelance work: Sooz Media

I haven’t updated sooz.com in a while but I’ve definitely been busy with other websites and work. I recently set up a new site at www.soozmedia.com for my freelance work for event planning, social media, web marketing, photography and website project management. Sooz.com isn’t going away of course but will be used more as my personal blog.

Speaking of work, for the past six months I’ve been working on a project with Pearson Education as their website project manager on the redesign of their marketing website for MyMathLab, customizable online courses that integrate interactive multimedia instruction with textbook content. My work also included recommending a content management system and hiring a web developer. They selected Drupal as the CMS and hired Andy Milk Interactive for the web development work. And of course, you can now follow MyMathLab on Twitter.