Thursday, September 02, 2004

Happy Netiversary to me

Today marks the 7th anniversary of Cap'n Ken becoming an Internet Professional. On September 2, 1997 I made the leap (and leap of faith*) from the safe, conservative world of print journalism into the wild frontier of Internet content.

My first assignment as a second-shift (3 - 11 p.m.) Content Producer was monitoring message boards and posting pictures in the aftermath of Princess Diana getting up close and personal with that Paris tunnel. It wasn't exactly what I saw myself doing at 30 years old, but it was a start.

My plan was simple. Get in the door, learn how Internet publishing works, then leverage my five years of journalism experience to move quickly up the ladder.

And - not withstanding the dead time at TWMBIC, where they hand unqualified people promotions based only on time served - I've made the plan work.

Within four months at my first Internet job, at I was "Senior Producer" for a little niche site the company owned. I survived its shutdown that summer by managing the rollout of a new company initiative, then returned in the fall to the "flagship" site I had begun with as its "Senior Producer." I'd nearly doubled my salary in just over a year. Hooray for me.

From 1998 to 2002, I rode the ups and weathered the downs, rising in the ranks as the company shifted people around and ultimately began laying people off. As Senior Producer in 1998, I had 14 people working for me. As Site Manager in 2002, I had 4.

Then I got the call from TWMBIC that summer. As bad as that place is, they did pull me off a sinking ship and keep me in Maker's Mark and Kenneth Cole shoes. So thanks. And I managed to massage things to get myself "laid off" from the old job, thus grabbing a nice severance. Hooray for me again.

You all know the story of my time at TWMBIC, and now I'm six weeks in to The New Internet Job. So far, so good here. And so far, so good in my life as an Internet Professional.

During these seven years, I've grown from being just a "content" guy to being (I think) a pretty talented "product" guy. I'd stack my experience and knowledge up against most Internet product people now.

My days as a journalist are long, long gone. I've successfully made the career leap, executed my plan for world domination (phase 1), managed to not get laid off in the Bust (except when I wanted to be), become a cool East Atlanta guy and somehow landed a hot little wife (herself an Internet Professional with even more industry experience than me) in the process.

Not bad, all in all.

*[editor's note: "leap of faith" is a relative term. Although I took a lowly second-shift job, it was with the Internet arm of a huge media company, not a shaky start-up, and the job actually paid more than my "prestigious" journalism job had.]

[editor's note ii: Sept. 2 is also the birthday of the Internet itself. How'd this thing get along for 28 years without The Cap'n?]

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