An impromptu recording to talk about all of the side projects in my life and how they’re rejuvenating some of my passions.
Tweet me (@Si) to get involved or ask any questions about the projects.
I'm going to do an impromptu Si Cast from the comforts of my car while I wait for my good lady wife.
It's been a long time since I've done one of these.
But I feel like it's worth a shot.
It's been quite an interesting month - it's the end of March.
Lots of things going on with work, at home…
One week(ish) until we go to LA for 2 weeks.
Really can't wait!
It's going to be fantastic.
We're going to hit all the sights;
Disney, Universal, Warner Brothers, the hills, restaurants, shops, all the things.
Can't wait to take the kids out there as well.
It's going to be great.
Got to be honest, I've not been feeling myself.
There's been a lot of imposter syndrome going on.
There's been some (dare I say) depression lulls as well.
Not been feeling myself and my friends have been noticing as well.
Colleagues, work friends and friends, my wife as well, family
Lots of things going on.
I can''t put my finger on why but we have had a lot going on over the past 6 months
We've had losses in the family
Losing friends of family as well
I think it's built up
We've had a lot of challenges at work as well
I've not been feeling particularly enthusiastic or motivated about what I'm doing at the moment.
I'm not even sure what it is I want to do either.
It's no-one's fault as it were, it's just the way things are.
I feel like it's worth talking it out, a bit of personal therapy.
From a side project perspective, it's been quite a good year as well
It was the 10th year of F1Calendar.com - a project that I've helped Andy Higgs run
Same old model: get sports data, publish it out in some Microformats, let that be scraped into ICS calendar subscription, straight into your calendar, easy access and all that jazz.
The website traffic is phenomenal though to the extent where I think if you search for Formula 1 calendars, we're above the Formula 1 website. Amazing!
Focus on one small thing, make it work.
Watching the numbers, it's just great - tens of thousands every weekend to find out when the races are on
So that's a pretty good example of it working…
Similar seasons, we have the 6 Nations schedule that I also republish as calendar subscriptions
Nice simple UI as well, web UI.
Again, traffic's certainly kept going, not as popular as Formula 1
I think the demographic of web geeks, techie geeks, with rugby is not as high as it is for F1
but, the final weekend, I think we reached probably about 15,000 visitors so worth doing
With a few Google ads on there just to pay for the costs, it just about broke even with my Heroku dyno so I'm happy with that and I'm really keen to sort of replicate this model in other sports
I feel like cycling could be a good one to do, Tour De France for example
and other sports that engage with techie geeks
so I'm putting a shout out to people
If you want to help me build the next round of these things, I am listening and I can't wait to do something with that
I want to build an open source framework to enable this and I will need some help
Coders, designers, techies,
people that just want to get involved
Get in touch and we can make that happen
Another little project that I've got in the running
I really want to have a chat with my old friend Brian Suda
He's built a little iOS app (I think) that scrapes and organises your newsletters into almost like a feed of subscriptions and I feel like there's a lot of overlap with RSS as well
Something that I've been exploring over the last year or so
How to make RSS more user friendly again
Use the model of social media with feeds and aggregated feeds of information but allow it to use our own content and data instead of social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram blah-blah-blah
I've got some ideas, I've been playing around with some sort of prototypes and potential designs of how that might work
I'm going to have a chat with Brian next month after my holiday to see what he thinks to see if there's much overlap
Again, I'll be looking for developers and designers, techies, people, just to make this happen
The classic - collaborate. If you collaborate, it'll make it a lot easier and if you're working with people that are passionate about this stuff, it makes it a lot more fun as well and you get some real user feedback
So the RSS thing for example, I'll be looking for people that actually miss RSS and want it to work again
So, lots of little things in the works that could work and I am keen to explore how we go forward with that.
The other little side project I've still got going on is Verbal Diary podcast
A bit of overlap with what I'm doing here - a weekly catch-up with my good friend James Norton, @nortools on the Twitters
We have a nice little format that works so we get together once a week, we normally have a video-call discuss what we've been up to.
Anything that we think's worth discussing, highlighting
We will take turns to bring an Article of the Week to the table which we discuss
Then we present a Picture of the Week as well
We take turns so it's alternate weeks
It's a nice little nugget of content we like to bring together
There's some banter in there, there's some piss-taking which makes it a lot more fun
We know each other quite well, we've been friends for sort of 4-5 years now so we know each other quite well.
People that know us also enjoy the "bants" that we interact with
It's slowly taking off - we've got that going on in Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, on Youtube as well
and it's slowly growing.
I'm not expecting miracles and it's more for our own self-gratification really
Eventually, if it takes off, great. If not, no biggie.
But we've dropped a bollock this week and completely missed the opportunity to record something.
Never mind! These things happen.
Next week we'll get one in before my break and his break and then we'll probably look at doing a more frequent, regular dose again.
And the final side project is House Finesse.
It's still going on!
We're in to year 14 now.
Doing really well and keen to keep it going on a monthly basis.
I've got my buddies:
Stu Braybrooke and Matt Tsang, otherwise known as Lemon Yellow Pea and Gweilo
We've all got the similar flavour of music, we all love our house music and take turns to produce a house mix, put it out there for the masses to enjoy.
Still going nicely and strong
Spotify is on there now and slowly creeping up the numbers
So yeah - keen to keep that going and I've just been inspired today.
I've been watching a few video gigs on Youtube of other DJs, similar sorta vibes, and I'm really keen to maybe explore some options like that, maybe do a real-life gig?
I turn 40 next year and one of my goals before I was forty was
(1) to produce a house track and
(2) to have another gig because it's been so long
We'll see what happens. Watch this space!
I'm going to start to have a dabble in some music production, see how it goes, maybe get some support from my House Finesse team
and we might arrange a gig. We might just do something video, we might do a live stream, I don't know what it's going to be
But let's watch this space and see what happens.
I guess the summary of all this is side projects - they give you a new lease of life
It's worth keeping up with them
I've not produced much for a while.
I had a bit of a break while I transitioned my career
but I feel like I've lost touch with tech and things that give me a real good bit of energy
So tap in to those pleasures of your life
Use what you've got
Reach out for people who have a similar interest and make it happen together
If you do it on your own, it's less likely to succeed
Find people with common interests, make something, put it out there, get some feedback and see what works
Watch the numbers as well
There's loads of tools out there to help you do this
and if you really want to know more about these projects, reach out to me
I am not one to hide away and I would love to share anything that people want to find out a bit more
If it's a screen cast on how I do stuff, absolutely fine
A video demo or something, no problem
Let me know and get in touch if you want to find about any of these projects
We can have a call, I can do something public - I don't mind
Completely open to the format but it's not something I'm going to shy away from
The more people that get involved, the more motivation it will give me as well so there it is.
It's time to sign off.
It is a Friday evening, I need a beer, maybe a curry to go with it…
Get in touch. Love to hear from you. That it's.
This is Si 'Cast - The Impromptu One about collaboration on side projects
Get it in touch on @Si at Twitter
Creds will follow…