Of Herculean Tasks And My 5-Year Plan

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 04/09/2012

Herculean TasksStories not only help us communicate, but it can help a person drive themselves forward in their ambitions, by thinking it through the development of your own personal story. It’s got to read well, and if it doesn’t, you have to step back, think things through, and perhaps try altering your approach. Allowing and encouraging me to do this is a major role of this personal journal.

I am entering a new phase of my time at 360i, in my career as an SEO, and in my life in general as a husband, father and mortgagee, and I have to rethink how I have been effective in the past, as a consequence of a series of “Herculean tasks”.

The failed Herculean task of my youth was trying to save Commodore, followed by an equally futile attempt to save a close family member from mental deterioration—a place where enormous amounts of my early career energies were squandered. But to be fair, much of it was squandered on an similarly afflicted Commodore spin-off company, where I was actually was otherworldly effective, but failed to reap the rewards. Fast-forward 10 years, and I’m still working for “the man”, but a seemingly enlightened one, and I am approaching my next tasks thoughtfully, and—greatly because I am now a daddy with new priorities—with an overarching sense of mission and sense of purpose.

Herculean tasks are for the young, so it’s a good thing I got over the big hump of re-platforming myself onto Linux and Python before the baby arrived. Now, I just have to stop meandering around and drive a series of projects forward, with sane levels of effort and crystal clear thinking. Set up a plan and reasonably stick to it. And THAT’S the purpose of this post. Clarify that thinking. Give easily remembered nicknames to the series of projects I need to carry out in sequence to reach my end-game, of some sort of uber-tech curriculum to give an almost unfair advantage in tomorrow’s world to those who discover it… and then of course, get it discovered.

Specifically, my projects have to follow a logical progression working towards the ultimate crescendo of free and open source do-it-yourself master-of hardware & software everyone’s an entrepreneur educational curriculum awesomeness. I doubt I’ll take it all the way to this end, but one of the big “changes everything” technologies is when 3D printers also can print circuitry. I feel I’m laying the groundwork for the masters of that future—the best that can be done with today’s “stuff”. That’s shaping up to be my mission—demystifying all the pieces that build up on each other into increasing complexity, eventually becoming indistinguishable from magic.

Even before the 3D printers that can print circuitry, at least the components will become snap-together and disposably cheap. We see that with the Arduino market for shields, which I believe will mature into the Raspberry Pi computer market, because the raspi is cheaper, and can let you EITHER live in that Arduino world of sensors, or thanks to its formidable graphics capabilities, live in the online world. Snap it together with a few “shields” and build minions that can do all sorts of your bidding.

But the first step of mastering that future is understanding and mastering the equivalent components as they stand today, but not by using expensive stuff, but rather the cheap and common stuff that’s everywhere. My tutorials have to follow a logical progression that ANYONE can sit down and start following. The barrier to entry has to be incredibly low. And the coolness level has to be fairly high.

I figure that this list is enough to keep me busy for just about the rest of my life, and has bits in there that will make me financially independent, eventually—particularly, the Micro Currency Panhandling bit. But I have to build up a lot of goodwill first. I can’t go begging for your virtual quarters until the value proposition is strong and a usable micro-currency infrastructure has fallen into place (iPhone apps, AdWords clicking, etc. Where’s “send quarter?”).

But I think that’s part of the goal here—getting into the “ready position” for that day people can become overnight millionaires through the lottery of cleverness. I guess it’s sorta that way already, if you make an Instagram or something. But there will be better ways as the landscape continues to evolve. So here’s my projects that will hopefully position me in a perfect storm as that landscape evolves.

360i Tiger Tutorial Tuesday puts the pressure on me to abide by and stick to at least a weekly schedule, which will provide me the discipline I need to propel everything forward. Although I do think we’re talking a lifetime of stuff here. I’ll try to compress it into 5 years. Five-year plans are good. I just start working on the first project with all due haste, and use my successes to provide momentum for the next and the next, and keep the tension in the machinery until everything is done.

The daily-grind is the enemy. The more valuable I make myself to the world as an online personality, the better my SEO currency and credibility in the way the world is changing. Scraping up bits of the long-tail traffic is only a viable strategy if you make enough money on those scraps that you get. AdSense-style advertising through aggregate content networks is just about over, as Google wages war on the Internet cesspool that they helped create through AdSense incentivization. Pontificating regurgitators of memes will gradually lose value as everyone starts doing it (already happened?).

The thing that separates winners from losers in the future we’re moving into is having something going on—having something genuine, distinct unique value to offer. Just like interesting people in real life, doing your own thing, and having stuff going on, is what will make you attractive online. The key question is “what are people working on”. This will be true in music, art, business and entrepreneurialism, which is why sites like KickStart.org have become so popular.

So my goal and purpose in my field of SEO, is to have something interesting going on in the field of SEO. I already have that in 360iTiger, and I just have to crank up the volume and penetrate through all the noise. That’s another important aspect of 360i Tiger Tutorial Tuesdays. Success leads to success leads to success, and this is my toe-hold.

And, so let it begin! I recorded the narration already last week, and never got around to animating it. Now, animate it and publish it fast enough to get it out tomorrow!