The programming ebook product I told you I was launching on 17th December? Not gonna make it. The reason? My computer died completely on me.
Since I can’t make that deadline, launching during the holiday season will be ill-advised. So the date is moved to sometime in January next year (or month if you prefer). I am truly sorry that this happened.
Now one of those big Internet marketers would probably salvage this by continuing on with a pre-sale, maybe give you bonus material, or discount, or some exclusive information. I thought and searched real hard, and I don’t have anything that won’t sound lame. So I can only offer you my deepest apologies.
That said, I can tell you a story.
How my computer decided to sabotage me
My previous computer was 5 years old, which is ancient by Internet standards. So I decided to buy a Dell i7 processor computer. I was still working in a job and could afford the S$3000+ computer. It had blazing fast processors and a good graphics card (demos are graphics intensive programs). That was in November 2009.
Come this June 2010, my i7 started spluttering. It hung while I was playing a music visualisation I think. Since then, it will hang within minutes of power start up. I needed to wait for half an hour before repowering it up again to log in.
I know I should have call Dell support and get a technician to look at it. But I was afraid I’d lose a few days getting the computer fixed. I know it’s ridiculous and I’m an idiot. I wasn’t really thinking straight. I was self-employed by then, and was a bit concerned about money and cashflow. And not eating sufficiently can mess with your thinking. So I’ve been told.
Before telling you what I did next, let’s go back a few weeks…
6 feet under
Near the end of last month, my uncle died. I had just gotten a new surge of energy and direction. You know, the Excel Open XML ebook product. I was excited that I’ve found something I can offer to you. So I worked hard. Then I got the news.
During that unfortunate event, I also had to finish my magazine. It was terrible timing, but I got through it.
Amidst her grief, my grandmother still managed to ask me something. Did I have a girlfriend? I said no. “AH BUAY PAKTOH?!?!” That’s the Chinese dialect, Hokkien for “Not dating yet?!?!” What can I say, we Chinese are pragmatic people…
Yeah, I’m telling you now what I’ve been sorta shy to talk about. I like Caucasian women. I’ve been asked what’s wrong with Singaporean women or Asian women before. Nothing! I just prefer Caucasians. My friend suggested that Nordic women’s (Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Scandinavia in general) temperament might be compatible to mine. So if you’ve been following my Twitter or Facebook accounts, that’s where the Swedish references came from.
The point of breaking
Many people around me don’t really understand why I chose to be self-employed. Family and friends, the very people I need the most support from. I’m not kidding myself. I’m not doing so hot right now. So I’m looking for a Caucasian wife and freedom by having some kind of online business. If I wanna date, I need money. And getting an online business isn’t conducive to that, isn’t it?
I don’t know how to answer that. All I know is that I’ve walked the path of being under someone’s payroll, not really being free (time- and choice-wise), and I know how that’s gonna end for me.
So I chose being an entrepreneur slash self-employed slash online business owner. I gave up a lot of stuff. Movies, public transport (I walk a lot), new clothes, meeting with friends (because the transport cost of meeting them can buy me a meal), food. I can honestly tell how sucky it is to not have food to eat. I eat 4 slices of bread with peanut butter for dinner. I considered expanding that to breakfast and lunch, but I thought malnutrition might do me in faster than my shrinking bank account. A bit of advice; do not take your food for granted.
So I managed to finish the December issue of Singularity and got ready for the January issue. I’ve got exciting news for you. I managed to have the authors of Snarkmarket as interviewees. So if Robin Sloan, Timothy Carmody or Matt Thompson is reading this, it’s why I’m taking a while if I haven’t replied to your emails.
Multitasking the preparation of next month’s magazine issue, I went back to work on the Open XML ebook. I had just finished all the code portions and was going to work on the ebook proper when the i7 finally didn’t like the workaround and died on me. When I start it up, it just gives a sighing whirl and dies. After a fee seconds, it whirls back to life for a brief second and dies. It was excruciatingly painful to watch, like a human struggling to hold on to his last breath. And that analogy was exceedingly close to my financial situation. Very painful to think about.
When the i7 died, I panicked. I’ve been struggling for over 8 months now, depending entirely on my computer. I gave up many things, a comfortable but intellectually and creatively stifling job amongst them. I started swearing a lot, if only to myself. I starved. I meditated more often, mostly so I could face the uncertain future with faith. A relative passed away. My biological clock was also ticking. Then my computer died. If I weren’t in control of my fate, I think someone has a weird sense of humour…
I don’t know why I’m doing what I’m doing. If you ask an entrepreneur, he probably can’t tell you either. These past few weeks were just very trying…
A secure job
I was sort of offered a job. My stomach prompted my guts to at least consider it. It was a job in the military/government sector. I was practically a perfect fit for it, what with my maths and computational science background.
Then I considered the consequences. I couldn’t use an iPhone. Not really a deal breaker, but you won’t be reading this post if I didn’t have some recent version of mobile phones.
I might not be allowed to have a side business. My blog and magazine could be the property of the government or military, and not mine. You might wanna check your contract terms that youre not “work for hire”.
And in the hopeful and possibly small chance that I manage to find a Caucasian woman who loves me, there will be security checks. You know, for national security.
I said no. It was very painful for my stomach and bank account to accept it. I will find another way, somehow.
I don’t know about you, but I can bet I have a lousier holiday season than you. But I’m not a betting person, and besides, I can’t really afford to lose. I had to throw away a bunch of bananas my mother bought me. And it pained me a little, because I lost food that could last maybe a couple of meals more. But there was mould on it, and it looked like a giant tarantula, so I chucked it into the garbage chute.
So be grateful for what you have. I am facing what appears to be insurmountable odds. Only 1 in 5 (10?) businesses succeed. Online businesses might have different (better?) odds. A Chinese dude looking for a Caucasian girlfriend/wife, especially since he’s not “financially stable” (a friend kept repeating that)
Well in my panicked haste, I went to buy a cheap computer. Then I swallowed my pride and checked the warranty status of my i7. Still in luck. I cancelled my order, and I’m now in the process of waiting for the technician to arrive. I hope I can get it fixed.
So I hope you have a better time than me.
And happy holidays ahead.