Hello World

Ok, let’s have it out. The “Hello World” title is a bit tacky. If you don’t have a clue as to why, you’re obviously not a geek, so read up on it here. Say what you will though, I feel it’s rather appropriate. Here’s why.

I “googled” myself the other day, and it appears I don’t really exist. That wasn’t always the case. About 7 years ago I was a finalist for the CNMA Programmer of the Year award and was quite proud to find that mention at the top of the search results. But alas, that honorary mention has slipped away over time and a few more Edward de Groots have decided to show up online. As it stands today, if you work hard at it, you will come across my LinkedIn page, but that’s about it.

You may ask yourself, who cares? There are plenty of people out there who can’t find themselves on Google (or Bing, they matter now.) What makes you better than them?  And you’re right. For the longest time it didn’t bother me. In fact to be totally honest it still doesn’t. But I did come to the realization that somehow I have spent the last 12 years working for the online world, and somehow during all of that I have failed to provide even a blip on the radar screen. Well, here’s my blip.

I have spent most of my working life playing a significant role in the launch (and re-launch, and re-launch, …) of a number of considerable Canadian media sites out there on the internet today, like our flagship site canada.com. Over those 12 years I’ve poured blood sweat and tears into those sites, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. In that time, I’ve garnered a lot of experience, a lot of insight, and a lot of interesting stories. It’s about time I shared that with the rest of you.

So that’s what this blog is all about. My intent is to post an assortment of insights into current trends and technology, the media industry, as well as an interesting look back at some of the events that got me here. I’ll be sure to tag the content appropriately so that those interested in just one or a couple of those aspects skip all the other junk.

Now, before I close off on this momentous and life altering post, how about a little FAQ to address some of those pro-active and vocal readers out there.
Q. If you’re the online tech guru you make yourself out to be, why are you hosting your blog on wordpress.com and not running your own wordpress install on a LAMP box in your basement.
A. The same reason a gynecologist doesn’t look forward to a nightcap with his wife. Why the hell would I want just one more site to keep me busy. Besides, I have a social life. Get one, you’ll like it too.
Q. Do you realize how bad your spelling/grammar is? Don’t you read what you write?
A. Yes, I do realize I suck at writing. Always have, always will. Maybe the blogging will help, but if not, who cares. I do re-read my posts and I usually catch a couple of mistakes. I can also depend on a few of my co-workers (Todd, Lissa) to nail me with any remaining glitches. Just remember that if you’re able to understand where I screwed up, you probably also understood the intended message which means I got my point across anyways. No need to tell me about it just to make yourself feel good.
Q. How can you associate yourself with that [insert: newspaper or tv station]. They are nothing but a [choose: left, right]-wing rag piece of crap. [insert: explicative].
A. I write code, not the content. That said I’m very proud of my colleagues who do work at said newspaper or station, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I share every one of their views or opinions. it would be ludicrous to think anyone did.
Q. [insert: website] is a piece of shit. Why don’t you allow for… Why don’t you install… Why don’t you run it on…
A. Your mother… Actually in all seriousness there is always room for improvement, as no system is perfect, likely not even the one you’re advocating. At the end the day there are always hundreds of reasons and justifications for why things are they way they are, and I’m not going to use this blog as a means to debate decisions that have already been made. That said, if you want to offer constructive criticism, I’m all ears.
Q. You mention you are going to tell some stories about the past. Should I, a humble co-worker [past or present] be concerned?
A. Although there are a number of humorous stories I do wish to tell, I will do my utmost to not embarrass anyone or refer to them other than by their first name. There’s no reason to be alarmed. (Unless your name is Steve, then you should be very afraid).
Well, that’s it for my first post. So “Hello World”, it’s finally nice to meet you. And even if that world happens to give me the proverbial “bird” back, at least I’ll find some comfort in the fact that my “Google Juice” just got a little stronger today.