Jack of All Trades, Master of None

I just figured it out. That stupid saying was probably introduced to me early on in life.  It’s a very teacher and parental thing to tell a kid. Most adults have a hard time finding that one thing they’re great at. It would be unfair to plant the notion that there’s more than one thing.

Here’s the thing though. I’ve lived what…35 years of my life in misery, literally, misery and agony trying to find that *one* thing I’m supposed to be master of.

Self doubt sucks

“Is it art?” I wondered until my portfolio quite literally blew away in the wind one day in high school. “Is it writing?” Fiction or non didn’t really matter to me. I wrote a novel, poems, short stories, news articles, technical articles, etc. “Is it programming?” I was good at it in the eighth grade and it’s paid the bills quite steadily since December of 1997. “Is it conferences?” A short stint proved that while fun, that certainly was *not* it. LOL

“Why can’t I figure this out? What’s wrong me?” Every other day, I find myself alone somewhere (my bed, the shower, in the car, heck, even the toilet) and I ponder that. I wonder why I’m broken. “35 years and you still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up.”

See, that’s the thing. I figured you had to be *something*. You had to be a Master of *something*, else you’d be a useless Jack of All Trades. I wanted a sign, from God, from my parents, from my peers, anywhere. “Let me know what it is and I’ll be there. I’ll dedicate my life to it.”

It’s all a Lie

Continue reading “Jack of All Trades, Master of None”

I LOVE my Kindle. Here’s why:

6 things that have impacted my life greatly
6 Things That Have Impacted My Life Greatly

I’ve been holding off writing this post, because I wanted to make sure it was true.  I didn’t want to give a false start on my new found gadget relationship.  I have to admit though, I’m thoroughly smitten with my Kindle.

Before you eBook haters/book lovers dismiss this, hear me out.  I was once among your numbers.  I have hundreds of books.  I love them, hardbacks and 1st editions.  Signed…meh.   But gimme a nicely bound, small press edition of one of my favorite authors and I’m in heaven.  I even have some books in bulk, because I wear them out by reading them too much.  I’ve proven my case.  I’m one of you, and there will always be a place in my heart for the printed book.  However, I must come clean.  The majority of my book purchases will now be on the Kindle. Continue reading “I LOVE my Kindle. Here’s why:”

Staying Happy During Tough Times

I know articles like this are bad news.  People losing jobs is not good for their psyche or for the economy.  Or is it?

I’m an odd egg, I get that.  I see life in a slightly skewed way.  The result of this is that I love experiencing everything: the good, the bad and the ugly.  I have contigency plans.  Should I ever get to the point where I have no job or any leads at all in the tech field, I’m looking forward to trying my hand at selling cars and flipping burgers.

In regards to selling cars, I have a list of ideas I’d use to help me be a great salesman.  I even went to 3 dealerships one day to do research.  The experience was so bad at all 3 (low end, mid and high) that I wrote down all the things that I would do to make the experience better.

For burger flipping, I’ve always wanted to work at In-N-Out.  I realize that I’d be the oldest employee, but I’d have a blast.  Last I checked, working your way up through the ranks was the only way to open up your own In-N-Out.  Plus, managers make a hefty salary and have wonderful benefits. Continue reading “Staying Happy During Tough Times”

Leaving the Valley, Geeks and Workday for the Desert, Family and my Startup

Yup, you read that right.  It’s been a wonderful 3+ years in Silicon Valley, but it’s time to head to the desert of Queen Creek, Arizona.  I jump started my career here.  It’s funny to say that because I moved here when I was 30!  But these past 3 years did more for my professional life than my previous 12 years of working in Southern California.

There are two reasons I’m moving.  One is sappy and is detailed on this post over on my spiritual blog.

The other is related to my day-to-day activities.  In these tough economic times, I feel lucky and sad at the same time.  Some out there do not have a job or are stuck in a deadend job.  I, on the other hand, have two great opportunities in my life.

The first is my employer for the past year and a half, Workday.  Many people come to the Valley in search of that great startup to join.  Workday definitely fits the bill.  The people are incredibly talented and the work is some of the most challenging out there.  My team is one of the best I’ve ever worked for.  (If you want to join the Workday UI team, drop me a note and your resume/cv at tom.ortega@gmail.com) Continue reading “Leaving the Valley, Geeks and Workday for the Desert, Family and my Startup”

What kinda person is Tom Ortega?

I was chatting with Brendan the other day. He asked what kind of person am I to attempt to carry a full time job, put on conferences on the side, manage a successful user group, write articles for the Edge and Adobe Development Center, be a good husband, be a good father of two, and be a good cub scout den leader.

This got me to thinking. Most people only know the Northern California Tom Ortega. Prior to my move to the Silicon Valley, my list of activities were quite different. In Southern California, my plate consisted of holding a full time job, being a good hubbie, being a dad of one and a whole lot of commuting. I didn’t blog, didn’t really participate in any tech community and flitted from one business idea to the next with none taking shape or form. Continue reading “What kinda person is Tom Ortega?”

Dad, what’s a url?

I can’t help but think how archaic the internet still is. Case in point, URLs. Is this the bane of internetters or what?

Let’s start with the prefix:


Seriously, do we really need to have that crap anymore? How many folks are trying to FTP, Telnet or friggin Gopher these days from their browser?

I can already hear the conversation that I’ll have with my kids someday. “Hey, Dad. What was the letters and slash stuff?” “H-T-T-P-colon-slash-slash.” “See, told you. Crazy stuff back in the day.” Continue reading “Dad, what’s a url?”

Wishing the internet was alive and well in 1992

I have so many blog posts in the works, but this one has to take priority. In high school, some folks drink it up and party. My friends and I didn’t. Not that we were straight edge (most of us didn’t even know what straight edge was) nor were we mormon (of which at least I am now), we just didn’t drink as strange as that may sound. What we did do at parties was have fun. Having fun was usually a creative endeavor and on one such occasion, we made music videos. We had props, actors, lighting, custumes, the whole nine yards. We made two music videos: one for a U2 song (Numb off of Zooropa) and a Cure song (can’t remember the track). I was the director. It was great fun, but the tape has long since vanished without a trace. If the internet was around back then, we would’ve uploaded it and it would have possibly lived this long (minus format wars and the internet bubble).

Regardless, Steve Borsch’s post sent this my way:

(Sadly, there is no support to embed Vimeo in WordPress, so you’ll have to click the link instead: http://vimeo.com/173714)

Man, I miss my youth. Or maybe, I just miss friends who wouldn’t mind being this silly with me. My favorite bit is the guy at the end who found it more important to finish his beer than participate in the video. Priorities, baby. =) From what I gathered, the workplace is the Busted Tees. (Who just snagged $100 of my hard earned cash for some great t-shirt gifts. You’ve been warned!)

As a person who is constantly making up music videos in my head for the 600+ CDs that I own, it’s exciting to see stuff like this. I have all that I need to create the videos (a mac, video editor, sound tools, a camera, etc.) except for one important item: time. Creating this lil video of my son took me four or five days alone. (Notes: Yes, we’ve now cut his hair and “Goke-goke” means “Dip-Dip” as in the stuff you dip chips into.)

Eternal Optimism of Youth

Just a quick little entry on how great the minds of our youth are.

When you hear, “Almost there…” You likely imagine the last few steps, the light at the end of the tunnel, the last few days of a year long project.

My little boy, TJ, and I were at the playground the other day. He was playing on the “big boy” playset. There was a climbing portion that was meant for kids much bigger and older. He was brave enough to try it though. I started telling him, “You’re almost there,” as he neared the top. By the third or fourth time, he put one foot on the first step and muttered, “Almost there.”

It just sorta struck me as a nice philosophy. Rather than, “I still have so far to go…” next time just say “Almost there” and repeat it to yourself with every step.