And I’m not talking about soup.

Seriously, if you’re not well-informed on this issue, go here or here or here. Or just search on the Google, which is currently sporting a blacked out logo in protest.

All that aside, as is often the case, there’s some fun coming out of this. I saw lots of awesome anti-SOPA stuff today, and here are a couple.

First, a super video from LaughPong, riffing on Don McLean’s The Day the Music Died. Check out The Day the LOLcats Died:

The Oatmeal, who is pretty much the King of Awesome, whipped up an amazing animated GIF, and asked that we all pirate the shit out of it. So I did exactly that, and I’m totally not gonna credit The Oatmeal at all. Piracy ARRRGG!

SOPA is stupid.

Now that we’ve had a laugh and learned a bit, go make some noise about this.

Written on January 18th, 2012 , The Other Stuff Tags: , , , , , , ,

I drove out to the country yesterday to visit my dad for Father’s Day, and he showed me his latest project – a ’65 Corvair Monza. Now, I’m really a Ford guy, having owned cars like a ’62 Galaxie 500 XL and a ’62 Fairlane 2-door, but I have a particular thing for American cars of the early sixties. Also, I think the Corvair is one of the more interesting Chevy vehicles. The rear engine, pancake six drivetrain was a substantial departure from American car design of the time, and the car was at the center of a PR nightmare.

This is a true barn find – the Corvair belonged to a friend of my dad who died recently. It’s been sitting, unregistered and pretty much ignored for something like 20 years. It’s in remarkably good shape – most of the interior is intact, and the body is super clean. I think it’s missing one of the original hubcaps or something ridiculous – about as complete as you can get. It even has the original “180 HP” turbo stickers! Awesome.

One of the most useful pieces of feedback I’ve gotten from my mentors is “You rock. Don’t be so uncomfortable calling yourself an expert.” I hate talking about myself – it always feels like an exercise in self-aggrandizement, even if I’m just saying “Yeah, I guess I make a pretty good cup of coffee.” So every time I have to come up with any sort of bio, I agonize over it way more than I should, worrying that I’m not quite dialing the mixture of  my skills, knowledge and expertise with my punk/rock ‘n’ roll/DIY/gearhead roots and attitude.

Anyway, I had to write a new bio this week. Here’s my rough draft:

“Surj is a seasoned, passionate ecommerce devotee with experience in many industries. An online marketing generalist with deep experience in all forms of customer acquisition and retention, he’s most passionate about email marketing, search marketing, and affiliate programs. A die-hard gearhead, if he’s not contemplating his latest world domination perfect customer acquisition plan, Surj is most likely riding his motorbike in search of good rock ‘n’ roll or coffee.”

Aw crap, I forgot “Likes to play poker, but not very well.”

I live within walking distance of a lot of hot startups. Working in the San Francisco Bay Area and rubbing shoulders with all the entrepreneurial royalty, it’s easy to start feeling like everyone has an MBA. Hell, I’m pretty sure the barista downstairs from my place has one to go along with his attitude, and I’ve interviewed lots of folks for very junior roles who had their MBAs in hand before they got any real work experience.

I’m a no-MBA, learn-by-doing hooligan, so this poll on LinkedIn caught my eye. The results are interesting – and for me, reassuring. The included demographic info is worth checking out. Sorry, no spoilers, you’re gonna have to click through to see the results. By the way, the LinkedIn poll tools are slick.

I don’t think the question is as simple as “Should I get an MBA?” You want an MBA? Go for it. It’ll definitely open doors. You want to be bad ass, work hard and do cool stuff? That’s awesome too. Me? I’d rather just jump right in, take stuff apart and put it back together again, whether it’s a motorbike or an online marketing campaign.

I’m a total workaholic. I have trouble falling asleep many nights because even though I’ve “stopped working” my mind is still rolling through what happened today and what’s gonna happen tomorrow. I’ve long forgotten how to set up the autoresponder in my email clients because I never stop responding to email.

On one hand, this is good – I’m “driven” and “motivated.” On the other hand, it’s easy for important stuff to fall by the wayside. My own projects, working on my bike, riding my bike, this blog (almost every day I have entire posts constructed in my head that I don’t find time to actually type), happiness, life, love. So before the new year hit, I was already thinking I need to make sure I make time for real life.

I’ve noticed that one of my colleagues closes his office door in the middle of the day. What’s he doing in there? My office has a door? It does! Turns out he’s simply insulating himself so he can enjoy a few minutes of peace and quiet while he eats his lunch. Genius!

I’m not much for resolutions, but I’m going to start taking a lunch. I think I’ve only taken an actual “lunch” once in the past 6 months. Once. NOT OK.

So I’m going to start setting aside 30-45 minutes a day, around lunch time, to eat lunch (wha?!), catch up on the latest tidbits at The BARF and HellForLeather, read, and work on my own projects – including this blog. Here’s where I make my grandiose prediction of about how I’ll be less-stressed, more effective, and happier. There it is.

© 2013 Surj's House of Awesome

Surj's House of Awesome

Surj Gish – eCommerce & Online Marketing Expert / Gearhead / Musician