The story behind launching this new site; an extended About page, if you will.
It's sunny and warm and the surrounding area is devoid of anyone but us. I climb out of a 5 foot deep hole I helped dig and we're cruising along a forest service road near the California-Oregon border with the windows down. Beside me is my college roommate, collecting samples for his PhD program in Soils. I've just finished my Masters studying Soil Chemistry and decided to tag along on his research trip before I look for a job. It's late September, 1997.
"Someday, I'd like to live in a remote place like this, screwing around on the web. All I need is a fast connection."
It's the kind of thing you say when you're shooting the shit with friends. I had spent every bit of free time noodling on the web up until then, but I had no idea what my future path would be. I had no idea that the phrase I just uttered would become a life goal.
Eight years later almost to the day, I called up my boss at work and gave notice that I was leaving my job because I no longer needed it. I had freelanced before but it was a stressful binge-or-starve existence. This time was different; I surpassed my revenue goals on my sites and I was ready to make the jump for good, building my own sites and answering to no one else. To "live the dream" as everyone called it. Thus began my new career in professionally screwing around on the web.
Since I left the working world, things have gone really well. Things have continued to grow in every aspect but I've had to learn a lot in the process. I recently realized there are a lot of people trying to make a living from blogging but there aren't a lot of sites with basic business advice for people doing it. I figured maybe it'd help some people out if I wrote up how to find a good accountant or lawyer, when to start a LLC, and how best to manage advertising.
I'm going to be sharing the things I've picked up along the way here, with a new essay posted every
Monday week about some aspect of doing business online. If you're a freelancer hoping to someday ditch your clients, just starting out with a web business, or already have an established blogging empire, I hope you'll subscribe to the feed and enjoy the ride.
Advice like this from someone trustworthy is a rare thing. Looking forward to it. The timing for me is...
This is fantastic, Matt. Your hard work is all of our gain. Looking forward to learning lots.
Nice work, Matt. One small bug: the arrow keys and Page Up/Down buttons don't work on the site in Safari...no scrolling.
Yeah, Jason I noticed that myself, and the NorthTemple.com site I saw this basic layout on also suffers from it. It works fine in every other browser I tested and mouse wheels still work in safari, but I guess mac laptop users are screwed on scrolling.
I'll keep looking into it and see if I can do anything to fix that.
Awesome work Matt. Just subscribed to your RSS feed and I will be here often! Keep up the good work.
Also, with the white-to-clear gradient at the bottom of the page, if you don't scroll far enough down the page, the Preview/Post buttons on this form get "hidden" under the image so that you can see them just fine but can't click on them. Messed with my head for about a minute before I figured out what was going on.
Great job man -- very cool idea! And I really like the design too.
Very nice, really glad to see this, thanks. I'm also hoping to see (as your tagline indicates) some of the failures as well as successes. Best of luck Matt.
As somebody who dreams of "screwing around on the web" for a job (and working at making it a reality), I look forward to what you have to say!
how fortuito.us for me to know about fortuito.us! coming here from www.kottke.org! Congratulations on the launch - looking forward to your posts! :)
Awesome, Matt. Definitely looking forward to reading along on this ride you're on.
Congratulations. There's definitely space for this, especially given how many questions AskMe gets on this topic.
I was stoked when you mentioned this idea after SXSW, glad to see it come to fruition so soon.
Excellent, Matt! I've considered (on several occasions) e-mailing you with a few questions about your online success stories, but always chickened out. Fortuito.us will allow all of us to peek inside your mind. Best wishes on another success!
/dave (mefi #4123)
Congrats on the new site, Matt. I've never been all that interested in PVR stuff, but this I'll be following with interest.
God, I can't wait to read your stories. I'm recently in a similar boat - quit the cubicles to do my own thing.
when to start a LLC
This will be on the site tomorrow, right? :-)
I love this page. It's clean and pleasing, and yet signals it's intentional simplicity with a couple of touches that say, 'I know how to make it bloated - I just choose not to.' Nice work!
no support for scrolling by arrow keys, man, nothing can be more frustrating. :-( sorry, but this is ridiculous, how can I take your text serious then?
Yeah, sorry Matt, that's a bug in Safari. You can scroll with firefox, opera and other browsers.
I was looking forward to another Monday post since the site and second article looked promising. You probably shouldn't hint at a weekly commitment if you can't keep it. Just a thought.
Yeah, a big event last weekend pushed my schedule back a couple days and threw me off my Monday due date. I'm going to instead make it one new essay every week, so that I gain more flexibility when future stuff like that happens.
Also, this is a new thing for me, and I don't feel too bad having to adjust on the third entry. I do want to get into a good rhythm by say, the 20th entry.
It is encouraging to see dreams come true in this manner. Perhaps I can do the same thing sometime.
i think fortuitous is great!
thank you for doing this, i really enjoy :]
Hey, just a reminder that I recoded the layout for the site and spacebars/scrollbars/cursor keys, etc. should work smoothly in all browsers.
Wow what a great site. I just stumbled on this from your Dugg article about Advertising and Superfans.
Your feed is now in my NetVibes page. Thanks!
Thank you for doing this, and for making it so easy on the eyes too! I'm looking forward to reading more.