Valuable to Whom?

Erin Bartram’s post, ‘The Sublimated Grief of the Left Behind‘ hit me square between my vision orbs.

“But your work is so valuable,” people say.  “It would be a shame not to find a way to publish it.”

Valuable to whom? To whom would the value of my labor accrue? And not to be too petty, but if it were so valuable, then why wouldn’t anyone pay me a stable living wage to do it?”

If it’s so valuable (or, “if I’m so smart”) then why can’t I pay rent with the knowledge/ wisdom/experience? If I had a week’s salary every time I asked this question after failing to land yet another job, well, I’d be pretty well off.

For each automated rejection email in my inbox, or every time I don’t even get an interview, or I’m told “oh, we’re not hiring for that position anymore” (after being told the company wants to fly me to their office for a few days), well… I just double down on my personal projects (like Skull Toaster) and go for a run.


I remember December 29th, 2009. I was checking email around 12:30am while laying down to sleep when I got the news that Avenged Sevenfold Drummer James’The Rev’ Sullivan passed away. A few emails later we had a post up at 1:15am.

This year, on Christmas Eve, I saw some Tweets that Netflix was down. That meant some editors and bloggers had to mobilize. A post had to be written! Hurry!

Dec 24, 11:06pm – Netflix Hit by Outage, Blames Amazon
Dec 24, 9:46pm – Amazon AWS Takes Down Netflix On Christmas Eve

The same happens with my celeb / pop writer friends during the holidays, hoping that no movie stars get caught kissing someone that ain’t their significant other.

In 2009 this worked. It works today, late in 2012. But it can’t continue. There’s too much. When everything is a story, nothing is a story.


Over time, our digital footprints add up and create a cyber world that starts to take on some of that very same messiness. Change a font or a layout or where something is, and it bothers us. You can take advantage of that need for comfort by making your digital work a little less sterile, a bit less squared offSeth Godin

As I told Tim recently:

“I’ve stumbled upon Lain Sellar and Zoe Veness and find their work amazing. It’s something about hand drawn, black and white, stuff that gets me.”

That’s the logic behind the design of this blog. It’s not quite hand-drawn (like this piece by Zoe), but it’s not glossy by any means. There are plenty of web designers out there that can do slick. I want to do more “less squared off.”


I was interviewed by Tim Harcourt-Powell, for his blog Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.

Sure, I’ll be 36 soon and should really “get my act together” and “get a real job,” but for all I know I could die at 37, and now, at least I have a bunch of cool robots that I drew, new friends I’ve made in different cities, and seen more of America than many of my peers. And I’m cool with that.

You know, I’ve wondered if I should write about my personal life here, as I try to use this site as a way to showcase my services as a web professional.

What would potential clients think?

Then I thought, well, I’d rather not work for a bureaucratic workplace, sitting in meetings all day with a dated dress-code and a time clock in the break room. And I’d rather work with clients who feel the same way. I like working with clients who appreciate sweat and grime with their project. People who’ve become who they are through hard work and doing their best to color outside the lines.


I quit my job back in February with about $7000 in my savings account, the most I’ve ever had. It’s easier to do that when drawing a salary from an internet company based in NYC and you’re not paying rent, cable bills, etc.

Now it’s seven months later and my savings aren’t quite yet depleted, but some credit card debt has piled up (NY city taxes, dental work, bike, travel) and my income is nowhere near the “good ole days” of running Noisecreep.

But it’ll work out. I might be broke, but I’m happy.