Monday, November 24, 2008


It's that time. The first real snow of the season fell last night. The Painter and I built this beauty this morning.

One of my brothers arrives this evening. My mother and a second brother arrive on Wednesday. Thanksgiving we'll have 18 people over for dinner.

My oldest brother and his fiancée couldn't make it. (He chose to announce his engagement to me by noting in his regrets email that they're saving for a wedding. My reply: "someone's getting married?")

Ah, family!

Good news: I should get my first invoice paid today! That's the word at least. It'll be my very own small business injection of cash stimulus. I can't say it'll mean I've arrived. But it's a milestone that'll let me feel this is all real, and not simply some dream.

I still worry a bit about what's next. Will I get the second phase of the project funded? I emailed my technical contact last week, to ask about timing and criteria of the decision. The conferences have instilled in me the understanding that more communication is better. She's the person who'll make the final decision as to whether I get that two years' more funding (enough to hire a couple employees full-time). It's a big deal. She was travelling last week, then on vacation this week. So, I won't hear back from her until after Thanksgiving. That's alright. My job is simply to forge ahead, develop the technology.

It will get funded one way or another. Of that I'm pretty certain. They say most small businesses that fail do so simply because the founders give up. I'm not much for giving up (at least not when I haven't been convinced that continuing is unworthy of the effort). For now, I remain strongly convinced of the value and benefit of my current path. For now, I'm able to sustain it. When I see that direct deposit, I'll be elated!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Just start writing

Between yesterday and today, I made some good headway in getting back to my research. With a bit of hemming and hawing, I forced myself to just start writing. Then, finally, the ideas started flowing again. Much much work. But it is my work. I like the challenges. And I am so utterly convinced that I am on the right path, that I am doing what has not yet been done, that what I'm working on is significant and beneficial.

Next week, I meet with the Vice Chancellor for Research of a large state university nearby. The meeting was setup by one of my recent principal advocates, a regional director of the state's entrepreneurship agency. It'll be a preliminary discussion re: possibilities for collaboration with faculty on campus. Tentative it may be, but still significant to have a high university administrator pencil me into the schedule.

There are many options for me in moving ahead. I've got to keep my head on my shoulders, and stay focused on priorities. What do I need to accomplish, by when, and how? Always with an eye to what's next, and keeping a handle on what's now.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I've been preoccupied with other things. Thus my silence here. I had a good start to my research project. A good couple months of action.

About three weeks ago I attended a conference. The week and a half I was home, I spent mostly organizing my office and computer, much of it spent on setting up a dual-boot with Linux on my workstation, and setting up Linux only on my new laptop. More effort than I would have liked, and somewhat unsatisfactory results. I had to send back the laptop for some tweaking from the manufacturer. And the Linux partition of my workstation still lacks the proper sound card drivers (not to mention I snapped the connector on my speakers, so I have only headphones).

Then I headed off to another conference, from which I returned last Friday. Busy since I got back, and expecting relatives next week.

I feel like I've lost the last three weeks (though the conferences were good). I'm just having a hard time sliding back into the research. I spent a lot of time this week following up on contacts made during the conferences, and researching ideas for future funding proposals. I've mostly decided to forego proposals before the end of the year, even though it means letting several deadlines pass, with no guarantees that next year's topics, subjects, and priorities will still support my work, and the possibility that it might result in several months or a year without funding.

It's just that I've got to get back to making progress on the current project, in hopes that it will move beyond the six months of funding I'm promised. I'm obsessively checking whether my first invoice has been paid. It's been nearly three months since I started the project, and almost a month since the invoice was processed. My last income was a year ago (not to mention our savings have diminished by more than a third since then). That's how it goes I guess. But between that, and waiting on evaluations of two proposals I have outstanding, and anticipating replies to several emails of importance, and a myriad of other distractions... I'm finding it hard to focus on priorities.

I guess the first thing is to follow up on my wife's suggestion that I detail the remaining tasks for the current project. Good management skills. And it should help me not only to budget my time, but to see where I might get outside help on some points, which would lighten the load.

I'm mostly just thinking out loud here, since this blog has been good therapy for me in the past. I worry a bit about our shrinking assets, which leads to my obsession over getting paid. But this too shall pass. And overall, things are well.