Cool projects

23 June 2022

About 7 years ago I reached the point where I only work on cool projects. My definition of cool may vary from yours but what I mean is I no longer take on projects to pay the bills. The “pay the bills” projects tend to never go well and become a drag. I should rephrase – I focus on cool clients. I could happily be stuck on a 12 hour bus ride with all of my clients and have a good time – after 12 hours… well….

Cool clients lead to cool projects. Clients that you take primarily for the payment lead to less fun projects.

About 7 years ago I took on my last “uncool” project. It was for an identify theft protection company. The client would hold phone meetings and two different departments would argue over what they wanted. Not sure why I was on the call because they never asked for my advice – most of their arguments seemed to be interoffice arguments that once included discussions about someone never cleaning coffee mugs. Eventually I was assigned some tasks and then things got weird. The tech staff, all 12 of them, went on vacation at the same time. The work was left to me and a new hire. Neither of us had experience with their release process and I couldn’t get remote access – I literally emailed files that needed to be changed. Once everyone returned from vacation the tech team still couldn’t get me remote access. The client decided to scrap the entire project and move in a new direction. This turned out to be their overall business plan as they no longer exist. I spent about three weeks total accomplishing nothing. It wasn’t worth the payment.

Right now I am working on a podcast with the Center for Auto Safety. Episode 1 has gone live and it’s a fun, nerdy project about cars and safety. Did you know that auto makers can use anything for the propellant in airbags and that their lifespan is not tested?

And then there are the cool projects you can’t discuss. There was a recent one that is beyond cool. It involves millions of loosely structured documents being ingested, indexed and searchable every week. Sadly, that’s all I can discuss about the project. I can’t even list the client name. It’s like James Bond cool.