This is my last week at Ask.com and the subject line of this post really says it all. Not because I hate Ask or anything, but because I’ve found a new challenge that really gets my blood pumping. Ask has been VERY good to me and I will be forever grateful to that company – I learned a lot, gained a ton of important experience, made some very good friends and made a damn good living doing it as a Director of Business Development. But after nine years, my brain needed something else. That’s pretty much it.
Many of you have asked me where I’m going, what’s next. It’s a decent story. I am always thinking about what’s next. What’s next in technology. What’s next in new media. What’s next in life. When is the next damn Band of Horses album coming out? What will my next job be? That last question is not one I’ve asked myself often during my tenure at Ask. When you are anywhere for nine years, though, you’re bound to occasionally question yourself and what you do. I did that a few times. There was a point, when “internet search” was very hot, where I had headhunters and recruiters calling me every few weeks. I said no to every single one of them. I talked semi-seriously to two companies in 2007, but I don’t think my heart was in it and it probably showed – both would have been essentially the same job. Deep down, I didn’t want to do the same job at a different address – I was loyal to Ask. I liked the work, I liked the people.
So I recently simplified things. Much like 1995 and 2001, I asked myself “what are you interested in?” The list wasn’t huge. I’m interested in hockey, local/organic food, alternative energy/cleantech and music. I already did music in the ’90s – and in the new decade, you don’t want to be anywhere near the music business, man! Alt energy and cleantech….I don’t know. I try to practice it, but not sure I’d love being IN it. Local/organic food brought out the worst greedy capitalist in me – there’s no money there yet (at least not in Mass), though I had some very nice chats with a very promising local food business.
That leaves hockey. My first thought was the Worcester Sharks or the Bruins or something, but then I feared the same thing may happen there that happened in music – a little too close to something I love. But then I remembered the the nine-store retail chain called Pure Hockey, based here in Massachusetts. They have beautiful stores, especially if you’re a hockey player. So I went to their website, which needs work. A LOT of work. The bell rung in my head. It was like those moments in the cartoons when the light bulb goes on in a little cloud over the character’s head.
I dropped a line to them, gave them the skinny on me, told them I could help and would love to talk. They were very responsive. I met with their president and he was terrific. He basically asked me to define the ideal role at the company for a guy like me and I told him what I’d like to do:
- Social Media – Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Video, etc
- SEO/SEM – optimization for search engines
- Website interface and user experience
- Business Development as necessary
- Marketing – online and offline
It’s the very definition of online/digital strategy. It didn’t take long to agree to everything and those bullet points above define my job description. I get to write! I get to do digital strategy, I get to do everything I like. I feel so lucky, not just because I got to define my role, but because people don’t get to do that in this economy, or even ever. So, to say I’m excited is an understatement. Oh, there will be challenges, trust me. Plenty of them. But that’s why I took the job – it’s a new challenge and I’m ready for it. I’m ready for fun and ready to get that blood moving again.