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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Passion of the Adam
Growing up, one of my English teachers gave me a small noodle of advice:

"Study something you're passionate about in college, then when you get a job, you'll be paid to have fun."

Going through college, I've heard many of my friends say the same thing to me. That was their plan and, Allah willing, it would work.

Only recently--now that many of my friends are graduated or graduating--am I starting to doubt the conventional wisdom of this belief.

For one thing, what's your "passion" based on in college? Barring a few exceptions, it's based on fleeting interests and very limited past experience.

(Someone who had a great math teacher might think they're passionate in Math. A couple courses later and, well, not so much anymore.)

I used to be extremely passionate about economics. Now I'm only mildly interested. I used to hate programming. Now I know two languages (though Justin might challenge that).

I guzzled through philosophy books a few years ago. Then it got mundane. Psychology hit me with a fury last year and already I have to wipe the cobwebs off my old books. And don't get me started on literature.

I could go on and on...

Passions are flightly animals. Please don't stake your life on them.

(One exception is if you're extremely, extremely talented in a particular passion--always the very best. Then you can get away with it and help mankind.)

So, because I'm tired of writing this post, what do I recommend to people going to college soon?

Major in something you like OK and have some talent in. Something that will give you real skills and impress the socks off people you meet. Something high-power.

Then use your electives or a second major to experiment with your passions.

Remember, there's no guarantee you'll still be passionate about that subject 10-20 years from now. And then you'll be stuck.

(Of course, that's not to say you should stake your life on doing something you hate that's "safe." Heck no! But that's another blog post...)

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Saturday, August 14, 2004

   Proud as a Father
I'm ranked #450 on myOtaku's popularity ranking and I'm REALLY proud of it. I hope I never break the top 250.


One of the things I really wanted to do with myOtaku was make a blogging service where people could actually get visitors. That was one of the many weaknesses I saw in other services.

And it looks like I've succeeded.

I'd estimate that the top 500 myOtaku sites get more daily visitors than a vast majority of "real" websites out there.

Feels great. ^_^

On another note, both James and Justin strongly approve of theOtaku's new direction.

It's great when everyone's on the same page.

Comments (13) | Permalink

Thursday, August 12, 2004

   Ask Adam Mini

Hi, Adam. When I saw the foreshadowing you made about the direction that you want to take your network in, I felt obligated, by whatever force it is that apparently hates you, to email you about it. ^_^

I'm not about to go into whether I think I'll like what's about to happen or how you should run your websites, but just about how DANG ANNOYING it is when you make an update like that. If you've already made this decision, as you say you have, then why not tell us right off the bat instead of building up tension that will end up flooding your mailbox when you do lay your fierce hand of change upon these sites? It may be fun to taunt us in the short run, but it can just end up with everybody grumpier than they should be. Have a heart, Adam.


Don't worry, I'm hardly a sadist.

The truth is, anytime we develop a new version of anything, we'll end up mixing and matching and changing until the very last second.

Then we'll launch.

That's why I never like to talk about what we're doing until it's done--because I'd hate to have to make multiple posts contradicting older ones and confusing readers.

I don't like to flip-flop. (Except on release dates ^_^.)

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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

   Nice Logo...
I randomly came across this site today.

Way to color the Zelda Triforce purple...I hope they didn't pay anyone to make that.

Thankfully our graphic designers are a tad higher quality ;-). Please don't get any ideas now, James.

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Monday, August 9, 2004

   Time Slows to a Crawl
It's really hard to run a network of websites when your apartment's Internet is down and will be down for another two weeks.

Thankfully, living in NYC means I'm always just a step away from an Internet station of some sort...

Ah well. At least it gives me time to reflect and gain a bird's-eye view of everything.

(Of course, here in Manhattan, it's a pigeon's-eye view, really.)

UPDATE: I finally got dial-up working. Thank God!

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Thursday, August 5, 2004

   Didn't Expect...
I appreciate all the kind words received in my last post, but I really didn't want it to turn into a "thank you" fest.

Anyway, after a really long day of work the other day, I come home and see an email quoting the cost for upgrading our server. UNGODLY! is the word that comes to mind.

However...I also saw in my email box a message with the subject "Warner Bros marketing."

Huh? Warner Bros wants to advertise with us? Awesome! This could pay for our server upgrade!

However, I read the email and my face looked like this: -_-

Time Warner, a publicly traded conglomerate wanted to know if they could send me a "free Yu-Gi-Oh poster" in exchange for running their ads across our site.


Needless to say, I'm extremely offended.

A poster?! I'd like to contact Time Magazine and offer them a bag of gummy bears in exchange for a full page spread.

If I'm still annoyed tomorrow, I'll think of some way to get them back...keep you updated.

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Saturday, July 31, 2004

   One Year Later
Launching myOtaku last year, this time, easily ranked among the most stressful things I've ever had to do in my life.

I had first conceived the service months before. I painstakingly made mockups of every page and tried my best to reason through all the ways the system could be abused.

I also imagined launching with a few interactive sites, alongside a complete redo of theOtaku.com. It was ambitious, but there was plenty of time...

...or so I thought. I had hired a friend of mine, Patrick, to handle all the ultra-technical stuff. I was assured it wouldn't be a problem finishing with time to spare.

It became kind of a disaster. Delay after delay after delay. People on Patrick's team turned out to be incredibly sloppy with code and one-by-one quit. Pat himself, though I love him, was kind of a procrastinator as well...

During this process, we also had massive server problems. I had to keep moving from server-to-server trying to find a decent datacenter to handle our traffic. And server setup fees are expensive!

So I was bleeding money. Our site's traffic was way down because I was busy working on myOtaku and things were going poorly in the development department.

Fast forward. I woke up one morning with only a week left before a huge international flight that would take me out of the country for a good month. The deadline for launch was fast approaching and all we had was a site that not only fell far short of my original vision, but was an absolute mess.

Thankfully, James, who helped develop the new theOtaku layout and Maximus, a longtime friend of mine who programmed our JukeBox function, came through with their parts on time.

I ended up pulling three all-nighters approaching the launch of myOtaku that week. After all, I couldn't let Pat pull sacrifice his sleep coding if I wasn't there to talk to him online and point out glitches and clarify things and error-test.

In the end, we did launch myOtaku, a new layout for theOtaku, and a Fan Art site. The site was massively littered with glitches and it was far short of my original vision for launch, but it worked.

I sent a newsletter to our members notifying them of "Version Next" two hours before my flight.

I thought for sure myOtaku would be a failure. It landed so far away from my expectations. It was also such a new concept. Would anyone submit fan art? Would anyone use the blog feature? Would anyone even register?

A couple days after I landed in Italy, I went to an Internet cafe. I had trouble not trembling: months and months of hard work and I'd finally see if anyone had actually used the service. I'm very thankful to Justin Blessing and James for covering for me in approving artwork and answering people's questions while I was away.

So the browser loaded the site...Yes, there were glitches everywhere. But people liked us! Over 250 people had registered on day 1. Then it quickly steadied to about 70 new members per day. Way beyond my expectations.

Fan art was submitted, blogs were created, comments and guestbook posts were made. It was such a great feeling. I'd continue to lose money on the service for about five months afterward, but it was definitely worth it and I've since guided the network to paying for itself.

Now, a year has passed. Through constant hard work and fine-tuning, myOtaku has rapidly approached my original vision. Now, roughly 200 new people sign up per day.

And we're nowhere near done exploring all the possibilities on where to go next.

But for now, this summer, my big project will be relaunching theOtaku.com into something special. While I'm working full time and don't have as much freedom as I did last summer, I do have a HUGE advantage this time around...

Justin Blessing, now a year older, has become an absolute expert in backend web development. And he's the hardest working programmer I've ever met. This is not going to be a repeat of last year. We're chugging along very quickly and have a beautiful final design submitted by James.

It's going to be great. I'll keep you updated.

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