Everyone needs a hobby

Whoever said working at an exciting startup would leave little time for anything else wasn’t too off. Between a book, a one-year-old and being part of a very exciting company in Ribbit, I’ve spared virtually no time for anything else. Sure, I’ve enjoyed (mostly work related and at times exhausting) travel over the past year. I’ve been able to play a few rounds of Bay Area municipal golf in what would otherwise be dead-winter for me if I were back east.

In addition to my blog, as well as occasionally helping/advising friends on various things from gadget buying to small projects, I try and maintain two ‘hobby’ projects. I use the word maintain VERY LOOSELY. Maintaining for me lately, as in most of the last year, has been nothing more than making sure the site is up and running.

These ‘hobby’ efforts (a term my manager actually used recently) are worth mentioning. While they certainly don’t come close to my excitement, dedication and passion for my current and near future day/night job, I still am fairly proud of the work I did on them in what seems like the distant past.

GAMETRIPPING.COM

I originally launched this site back in June of 2004, after returning from a trip in which I saw the Red Sox play the San Francisco Giants at (then) Pac Bell Park. The site expresses my enthusiasm for baseball, visiting ballparks, and seeing others share their experience at different ballparks.

I had high hopes for this site, with a simple business model to promote vacations to each ballpark. At one point, back in 2005, I even prepared a business plan aimed at the Red Sox new venture group. The site benefited from a minor face lift and a spankin new logo about a year and a half ago. It also features a way to login, review and track all the ballparks you’ve visited.

As the baseball season ramps up, it usually benefits from a surge in traffic from folks looking to plan a summer’s worth of ballpark travel. I hope, work-willing, I can spruce up the site in the coming year and position it to be more of the site I always wanted it to be — adding football, basketball and hockey stadium reviews as well.

RELAYMONKEY.COM

I actually wrote the architecture for this idea while my wife was in labor over a year ago with our first son. Sounds weird, but she was sleeping most of the day while we were at the hospital. RelayMonkey is a service that lets ANY BLOGGER add a widget to their blog that let’s their readers sign up for instant updates. These updates are sent to the reader’s blog whenever the blog gets a new post.

Since launching it, just over a year ago, I may still be the biggest user and fan of the service. Being so busy (as I mentioned), I don’t have time to browse around and visit all my favorite blogs. So, I rely on RelayMonkey to email me whenever any of the blogs I’ve signed up to (rather, subscribe to) have a new post.

The service requires virtually no maintenance and has been picking up some momentum lately. This is something I would really like to see blossom and I think it’s just a matter of time before it gets a surge in adoption by many bloggers. Note the bright red widget at the top right of my blog — that’s RelayMonkey!

So, one could argue that coding a site and then having to observe a somewhat ‘safe’ distance from it is not really a hobby. Thankfully, I take pride in my work, especially when it’s as exciting and revolutionary as what I do everyday at Ribbit. And beyond the keyboard, I am hoping to take on another hobby pretty soon; Something a bit more physical — a martial art perhaps. Coding or karate, it’s all kung fu in the end.