Happy Birthday Mr. Noobie

Happy Birthday Noobie“Happy Birthday Mr. Noobie.”

Those were the first words I heard this morning as I opened my eyes in bed and saw my four year old son standing next to me. Two years ago on this day, I officially started Noobie, Inc. after working 15+ years in the corporate information technology (IT) world.

A day like today is a perfect day to reflect both on what I have accomplished in the past two years as well as what things I completely missed the mark on. And believe me, there’s plenty of both.


Since I would be doing an injustice to end this blog post talking about anything negative let’s start with the few things I missed. When I started Noobie, Inc. two years ago, 90% of my focus was on launching a national consumer publication called Noobie Magazine. The idea behind the magazine was to discuss all things technology but from a noobie’s perspective. No articles about Intel’s new chipset or how to overclock your PC’s processor. Just simple, plain English articles to help “the rest of us” understand the technology around us and how to use the most basic components of the technology.

What I quickly learned was that the risk for this challenge greatly outweighed the reward. People didn’t want to wait for a magazine to show up once per month to hope that something they wanted or needed to know was in between the front and back covers. Instead, people wanted their hand to be held. They wanted to be shown in person how to do something without having to read a technical manual. Thus, Noobie workshops and Noobie 1-on-1 coaching were born and continue to be a big part of what Noobie does today.

I also missed the mark as a salesman. Early on, I joined every networking association I could think of and jammed my sales pitch down people’s throats. Ironically, those are the very people I avoid at all costs now. Fortunately, one of those networking associations, Rainmakers, helped me understand that if you concentrate on helping other people with their business it truly does come back around to your business.

Direct hits

Enough with the misses. Let’s talk about the direct hits. I was right on with seeing a niche in the market for people that needed help with the technology products they already owned as well as the technology products they wanted to purchase. The combination of Noobie events discussing technologies such as digital cameras, cell phones, digital video recorders and digital television along with follow-up 1-on-1 coaching have produced such wonderful comments from Noobie’s clients such as these:

  • “You don’t know how lucky we are to have someone like you to help us.”
  • “I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t found you.”
  • “I finally get it. After all of this time of not knowing how to use this, I finally get it.”

And I’ll never get tired of receiving unsolicited emails like this one, received only 5 days ago:

“Yesterday we bought an LCD 720 to replace an old one and wanted to let you know how useful your information was during the shopping/comparison before and during the purchase. When I came to the class, I didn’t know anything about HDTV except that there was a mandated change coming in 2009. When I left the class I felt I had the tools to understand what was needed and make the change. That proved true when I pulled out your information 5 months later and went shopping this week. Thanks again – for your classes and information in non-techie terms to help the rest of us navigate the tech world with much more competency and confidence.”

Another direct hit was committing to writing something new on this blog, every day. While I have backed off that commitment recently by only writing something Monday through Friday allowing me more time to spend with my family on the weekend, the feedback I have received has been incredible. I have heard from more than one person how they appreciate my candor and willingness to say whatever is on my mind without fear of retribution from the technology companies I mention.

The exposure the blog has brought to Noobie, Inc. has been one of the highlights for me in 2008. Case in point, just two days ago, I wrote about a product called PrimoPDF and immediately received a comment on the blog post from Tim Sullivan. Oh yeah, Tim is the CEO of the company that produces PrimoPDF.

And of course, anyone who’s been listening to me in the past few months knows that Noobie is launching a noo web site. I’ve talked about the web site enough already so I won’t dwell on it any more here. But I will tell you that, to me, this new web site is a turning point in the company. Consider it Noobie 2.0, or the next phase of Noobie’s life.

I wouldn’t have made this far without you

Lastly, I would be doing an injustice if I didn’t thank my friends and family for supporting me during the past two years. My dad for providing me guidance and serving as my test noobie; my mom for worrying on my behalf whether I’ll have enough food on the table; my wife for putting up with the long, long, nights and for listening to every crazy idea I’ve ever had; my two children for running around shouting “noobie inc dot com” and for asking me if we are going to take the “Noobie van” to soccer practice; my friends for just asking me how business is going; my networking colleagues for helping me understand what’s important; and finally, my clients for supporting Noobie and for giving me a chance to make a living doing something I am 100% passionate about–teaching people how to use technology.

Thank you.