Three Years

In 2013 I took a big step, I left full time employment and decided to go self employed....

The first Tuesday after the early May bank holiday in 2013 was not a good day for me. Where I was working at that time, was not working out for me, sure the team were great but the job, well it wasn't what I expected.
So after a chat with my boss we mutually agreed that I should leave for pastures new.
That same day I sent an email to the then editor of Linux Format, Graham Morrison, and told him of my situation. Graham was really supportive and instantly signed me up to write one page per month. Previous to this I had been writing for Linux Format as a volunteer for around three years, so yes that means I have been writing for Linux Format for roughly six years!

After registering as self employed I started a long journey, a journey that has seen me grow as a person, with new skills and abilities. So what are my highlights of the past three years?

My biggest highlight is being approached by Carrie-Anne Philbin, Education Pioneer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, to become one of the Picademy Team members. That was a massive boost to my confidence and helped me deliver the great Picademy content, including code that I wrote nearly two years ago, in new and creative ways. I still get a massive kick out of seeing the same code being used to power a new project!

A significant highlight for me is sharing what I learnt, with children and adults from all walks of life. My main skill isn't coding, I'm chiefly a facilitator, a person who is approachable and can support others to learn. By sharing what I learnt and encouraging others to experience learning new things, and quite often failing...seriously failure is a great skill to learn!

Failure IS an option

Failure is a skill that we are never taught, in school and life we are taught that the only answer is the correct answer, lateral thinking is not the best use of your time. That is SO wrong.
Lateral/creative thinking enables us to experience failure as a means of learning the path to a success. For example, one of my early projects involved building a Fortune Teller for an amusement arcade business based at Blackpool Tower. This project involved the use of 12V arcade components (ticket feeders, coin mechanisms etc) one day one of the project I failed HARD! I cooked a Raspberry Pi, seriously I killed it stone dead as I may have hooked it into the 12V power...oops. So on that day I killed a Pi and learnt that you should always use the right voltage.

Being a maker / creator / hacker you will FAIL but fear not because it is your...

F

First

A

Attempt

I

In

L

Learning

You will learn from your mistakes, spend a little more time researching the problem, asking questions of your peers. Nobody has all the answers and its okay to ask questions.

I asked a lot of questions, and I still have many more to ask, and will probably be asking them for many years to come.

But do you know what. I wouldn't change a thing. Being self employed has empowered me to be more creative and I love being asked to build new projects, chiefly built using the Raspberry Pi.

I'm so grateful to many communities, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Free Software, Makers, Hackers, Artists, Musicians, Librarians...so many more communities.

alt Yeah that's me in a Manchester Travelodge getting ready for Picademy

Thanks to all of my readers in Linux Format, Linux Voice, The Mag Pi, CPC Makerspace blog, Element 14 and this often neglected blog.

Three years ago I would never have thought that so many would enjoy my ramblings...Thanks :)