4 min read

The Final Frontier

The Final Frontier

Around this time last year, I started haphazardly blogging during my adventure around the US by train. I wrote nearly a dozen entries about it, so I don't need to recount the trip here, but what is important is how impacted I was about the act of writing itself. It was cool that I had a little following - friends and family curious about how my trip was going, where I was, how many tacos I ate the previous day.

Without sounding conceited - it was motivating having something to explore for. It's easy to go somewhere and just sit peacefully in a coffee shop all day, but that doesn't make a very good update. The fact that I was writing pushed me to enjoy myself to the fullest. To see and experience the best things I could.

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Running a company by myself often feels like riding the rails. It's exhilarating, freeing and rewarding. It's exhausting, risky, and lonely. It's also all too easy to become complacent and lazy. I don't have a boss, and nobody to answer to but myself. (Well, there is my girlfriend. And American Express 🙃 But that's not really the point). I miss the accountability sometimes. It makes progress a lot easier to come by. So that's what the Captain's Log is.

It's public accountability, forcing me to work on the hard valuable problems my business faces. It's some kind of attempt at marketing. It's a look into what Seaport Systems and I are up to, what we're building, struggling with and succeeding at. And finally, my favorite, it's a quirky little Star Trek reference:

Space (Ocean): The final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise (Andy Whitman/Seaport Systems). Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds (harbors, rivers and other bodies of water), to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before (low cost water quality monitoring and oceanographic equipment).
Geordi is also an engineer, and I could really use his help right now, so he can stay in the poster

I've been thinking about this for a while and I have a pretty clear vision about what the Captain's Log is in theory. That said, I expect it will take a good amount of experimentation to figure out how that translates to reality. I've written a small back catalog you can check out if I've piqued your interest, but I don't think that's exactly representative of what you'll see going forward. It's taken me a long time to sit down and write those other posts. In order for this to work, it has to be more manageable for everyone involved.

I don't have 6 hours a week to sit down, come up with a unique idea that can yield a few thousand words, then actually put time and thought into it, before slapping some random pictures together, adding a couple of fringe jokes, and hitting send.

You also don't have 20 minutes a week to read my latest nonsensical rant. Your inbox is precious, and your time is valuable. I don't want to be too selfish, and I don't want to shoot myself in the foot by annoying people with emails they won't read. Therefore, expect something shorter.

I think to start, it has to take the shape of a more informal 1:1 meeting:

  • What have I been working on this week?
  • What do I plan on doing next week?
  • What's gone well?
  • What's gone poorly?
  • Is anything preventing forward momentum?

Of course, I'll try my best to still keep it interesting, with some visuals maybe, a Gantt chart perhaps?

Not a Gantt chart, but Henry Laurence Gantt himself. You can tell he was a project management innovator just by looking at that sturdy 'stache.

Thank you to anyone who has gotten this far. I've taken the liberty of adding a handful of people to the mailing list who expressed interest in staying updated. If you've received this, but are no longer interested, feel free to unsubscribe, it won't hurt my feelings. If you think someone else might find it fascinating, funny or insightful - pass it along!

So, in closing: welcome to the voyage, glad to have you aboard! Stay tuned for future, slightly more serious, weekly updates (I think I'll do them on Fridays). In the meantime, check out the past few posts. The first two recount the journey so far, and the third is a brain dump about why I like building things.