The term “future proofing” can be found in a new written piece on the web almost every day. Usually it revolves around ensuring that technology doesn’t go stale or become obsolete too quickly — if at all. Sometimes it’s used to describe how one should develop what they do — their passion or their work — in such a fashion that it remains as evergreen as possible. For me, today, the use of the term in this piece is a hybrid of both.
I’m the machine trying to make sure I deliver what I’m meant to do for as long as possible. Mike Vardy is meant to write. But Mike Vardy is meant to do the writing the machine is built (or wired) for: the right writing. Anything to the contrary goes against programming, and future proofing can’t happen when that is the case. Today the future proofing of Mike Vardy becomes a top priority…because otherwise no other priorities can work properly.
By now it has made the rounds that I’m no longer with The Next Web. If you weren’t privy to “the rounds” then you’re reading it here now, and I’ve been getting asked by a lot of people online as to why we’ve parted ways. So let me tell you.
It wasn’t a good fit.
First, let me stress that the “fit” I speak of has nothing to do with the team at The Next Web. They are awesome — from top to bottom — and I will continue to demonstrate link love to them whenever I can. Boris, Zee and the editing team have got something special going on over there, and I know that more successes lie ahead for them all.
Moreover, there was a level of fairness and opportunity delivered my way by The Next Web that I hadn’t experienced before in the online world. I’m not saying it was better than what I had at Envato, but it was different. Along with all of that came expectations — and I simply wasn’t up to delivering them on a consistent basis.
I touched on this in a recent article, basically admitting that I’d fallen down, dropped balls and maybe even burned a bridge or two. The Next Web was an area where the first two happened, and the last one came pretty darn close.
So what happened?
Well, I took on too much without fully understanding my new circumstances with the home life and how that would impact my work. It did so on a much more significant level than I thought it would. I’m not bitter, upset or even regretful about that. I’m just realizing it as a fact and adjusting as a result.
I also came to the conclusion that I’m not a reporter or journalist. It’s not who I am. I can editorialize, I can play the pundit, but being a reporter isn’t my thing — at least not in the mold of what The Next Web needs. I was firmly entrenched in my role with them when I could no longer deny this, so I tried to push through it and see if that would make a difference. It didn’t. What it did do was:
- Hurt my writing, both for The Next Web and everywhere else. I wasn’t able to put forth my best stuff anywhere, and that’s never a good thing.
- Altered my mood. I was curt with my family. I was fatigued. I had no energy to do anything that had to do with writing or creating, so I ripped out a wall in my house instead.1
- I started to hate the craft of writing. It had become a job like my past ones, where I was doing it for a paycheck and not much else. And that’s not why I’m doing this.
I’d seen this pattern before and knew exactly what it meant: I needed to make a change. I needed to stop before I wasn’t able to stop and wind up seriously hurting my writing career in the process. I needed to let go so that everyone could move on and make better stuff happen.
And my time at The Next Web ended as a result of that decision to stop.
Stopping all of that means I’m starting to do more of my other stuff. The right writing for me. This website. My other website. Other websites — as a guest writer or ghost writer. My podcast. My talks. My book.
I’ll always be grateful to The Next Web for the experience of working for them. They’re great folks and they do Great Work. It just wasn’t a match — and I only wish I’d have realized it sooner and handled things differently.
But, as we all do, I’ve learned from it. And I’ll take what I’ve learned and apply it to my future endeavors. And my future endeavors start today as I start to foster what I’ve been meant to all along: My Great Work.
Thanks for reading…and I hope you’ll stick with me. I’ve got some stellar stuff on the way.
1 FYI, the wall was coming out anyway. And it felt really, really good ripping it out.