Writing and Consulting. I wrote a book called "The Internet Peering Playbook: Connecting to the Core of the Internet" that is a rewrite and update of the peering white papers but in book form. From this book I go on-site and deliver the peering workshops - I really enjoy teaching this material and seeing the participants get it. This directed consulting (consulting with an two-day workshop agenda) provides the income that allows me to write and do some teaching gratis in developing countries and at universities.
Here are a couple of the things I enjoy doing for my clients:
The Two-Day Peering Workshop - I selectively run a few of these a year.
The syndicated Ask.DrPeering Blog - The monthly newsletter carried by the DE-CIX.
Directed Consulting - I travel with my clients to introduce them around and help accelerate their peering and transit interconnections, as well as their entry into the peering community.
Financial / Investment Consulting. These are the most lucrative and cost effective phone call consulting engagements. I help investors understand how colocation companies serve their customers, specifically how peering and interconnection works and how these purpose-built data centers facilitate that value proposition. We talk about what is in my book - the taxonomy of data centers, how customers select an IX, and what the colocation and data center market looks like. Occasionally I talk about Equinix and do the business school SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). After an hour the analysts hear what an expert in the field thinks about their investment thesis in the sector.
Professional Development. I have always spent 15% of my time on professional development. I have done this at every stage of my career. I believe that when you stop learning you stop the growth of your value to anyone. This stagnation isn't good for you, and it isn't good for your employer. I feel bad for the old mainframe guys that refused to learn about these new fangled personal computers, instead sticking with what they knew. Their skills became increasingly rare, but eventually obsolete, and they became unemployable.
I have been reading more than I ever have before. Every day I read the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal.
I watch videos on using various technologies...Adobe products (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, etc.), and listen to books on tape (business, technology, biographies, etc.) while driving or flying to clients. Of course, writing and marketing my books is a new learning endeavor, something that was all but impossible while working full-time. It is incredibly rewarding when I meet someone that knows me from the Internet Peering Playbook and tells me gushingly how much they enjoyed it and how it has helped their career. It is good for my ego, and since Internet Peering is such a niche topic, when the book hits its target audience it makes me feel the 9 months it took to write the book was time well spent.
My Weekly Schedule. I have pretty much structured my life like a weekly school schedule:
I have gym class every day. Some days I am learning Aikido, taking Tae-Kwon Do classes or playing competitive volleyball during the lunchtime hour. I enjoy massages, manicures and pedicures, these things that I never thought I would do. I find it helps me relax and think.
I write every day, even if it is only a half hour. I have a few books in the hopper, I write the Ask.DrPeering blogs based on the most common questions that I get and how I see the industry evolving.
I spend an hour here and there on marketing and sales activities, working with prospective customers, documenting the value I can provide to them and ushering them through the process of hiring me for a few days.
I spend an hour here and there on DrPeering invoicing, financial planning, reporting and budgeting activities.
I spend a few hours every day with the kids in the afternoon, riding bikes to the ice cream shop, drawing time at the kitchen table, or when Audrey gets to play teacher and direct our drawing time, some of the best time in the world !
I spend some time reading for pleasure.
I get great satisfaction helping my clients be successful . I like coaching them behind the scenes, and like to see them succeed internally and externally.
So, unlike full-time jobs where you only get to do one thing, I engineered my consulting career for satisfaction and with great flexibility across a variety of areas that enjoy. I find that I get better ideas from a wider variety of disciplines.
Excuse to Learn. One of the nice things about being self-employed is that I can come up with an excuse to do just about anything and execute that silly idea. No approval. For example, I can use this web page as an excuse to learn how to make a graphic using Illustrator showing how I waste my day ;-) (Graphic TBD)
Philosophy. I don't believe there is a work life and home life; there is only one life and we apportion our time and resources as we see fit. I allocate my time to meet my personal needs (exercise, intellectual pursuits, professional development, massages, etc.) which allows me to be rested and thoughtful about how I meet my client's needs.