Finding focus for the future.

One of my big themes this year is looking ahead to what I want to do over the next decade.

Ten years ago I was en route to Kingston to start college. At the time my aspirations capped at “get a job, be comfortable”.

I had no interest in moving to Toronto. Kingston was big enough. Tech was just a hobby. I never expected it to become my profession.

In the years that followed, my hobby became my job, and my “wasted time playing on the computer” paid off.

I learned that the things I did for fun were marketable skills. I never planned for that.

So I moved to Toronto. I got a job in tech. I volunteered in the local WordPress community. I ran WordCamps and hosted meetups and led workshops. I bounced between agency work and freelance work and in-house work. And in 2015 I fell into what I think is a dream job: the work I’m doing now at GoDaddy.

I found my fit.

If my 20’s were about finding my fit, I think my 30’s will be about finding my focus.

Right now my mind’s on a four-part focus: Content, Community, Commerce, and Code.

Continuing to focus on Content and Community

I’ve had “content and community” as my LinkedIn title for most of the last two years. And I want to continue going deep on those areas because I think they’re important.

IMO, content covers the presentation of information across all forms of media. This includes articles, videos, images, audio, interactive tools, et al.

How people consume and experience content will change a lot over the coming decade. And I want to be on the cusp of that.

As for community? To me, a community is any group of people connected by having something in common.

In the context of content: A community’s questions, issues, interests, and personal stories are perfect prompts for new content.

In turn, we’re creating content to help the people in these communities. And that’s what I’m interested in the most. How can we support communities through helpful content?

Putting more focus on Commerce and Code

This is where I need to invest more of my time in the coming years.

Focusing on commerce means being able to grok data. If I can understand the $$$ impact of content & community, I can justify further investments into those areas.

Focusing on commerce also means thinking more about the $$$ opportunities created by content & community. This could be merch, events, products, subscriptions, and so on.

Code is the final piece tying everything together. It may include automating tasks, creating tools, or getting more value out of the tools I already use.

Back in January I set a resolution to up my web development skills. I started with JavaScript (thanks, Wes!) but didn’t go too deep.

In hindsight, SQL and Python are more useful for the immediate problems I want to solve, so I’m starting to learn those instead.

What are others setting out to do in their 30’s?

As we roll into autumn I’m going to keep thinking about these areas of focus. And I’ll be on the lookout for what others have set out to do in their 30’s.


Aside: I’m starting a weekly email digest.

It’s a curated list of recommended reads about content + community + commerce + code. Sign up below if you’re interested!

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