So there are 4 days left at work. Then I’m on my own. If I want a boat, I’ll do what it takes to get it. If I can. Now it’s time to find out if I can and if I want it.

Maybe what I really want is to run a restaurant/hotel in Ecuador.

Maybe what I want is to make decent money doing QA part time and helping Kelsey volunteer part time.

Maybe it’s to be on a boat, working via an expensive satellite uplink.

Or to run a business creating software solutions.

Or to build houses, or speculate in real estate, or write or paint.

What I really want is to be Robinson Crusoe, more or less, but that doesn’t happen.

So what I’m going to do is follow a business plan, and try to make enough money to do what I want and to make Kelsey happy. Here’s the plan, for the first six months at least:

After walking away from Varolii, I’ll have two weeks to pack and take stuff to my parents in Montana. I’m not going to worry about anything else except to make sure I’ve got a computer that works and that I can get as much done as possible without a network connection.

– And that I can send and receive email.  I think that’s taken care of, at least I don’t want to screw it up any more.

I anticipate up to a month without a reliable network connection, hopefully less. During that time I can probably get by with a flash drive at a cybercafe. But apart from email, some uploads, searches, and a few tools or tutorials downloads, I won’t get much there. I don’t want to have to download a JDK or learn .NET from a cybercafe. In that time I’ll concentrate on what I have.

What will I have? A LAMP environment on Windows Vista, I hope. That’s what I need to concentrate on getting onto in before going. I want to take a serious look at mod_perl + Catalyst, Ruby + Rails, python + turbo gears, and PHP junk. But I won’t have time to read a bunch of tutorials and junk, so I’ll probably just mirror the PHP documentation and prototype on that. I’ll want a JDK + eclipse + netbeans and .NET + all the free versions of SQL server, Visual Studio, etc.

I’ll join O’Reilly Safari and check out some books on PDF. I don’t know if I’ll do the bookshelf (10 books a month at $20) or the library (unlimited books at $40/month.) I’ll take a few books with me (5-10) — it’ll be tough to decide.

I want to spend the first month brainstorming, evaluating technology, and brushing up my skills. We probably won’t have that much time anyway. We need to find a house, establish a routine, visit friends, get adapted to the local microbes, and plan. But I want stuff to keep me busy.

After that, I want to have three short term projects, three services I can offer, three business plans, and three things I can do to help in Ecuador.

I will submit plans to Kelsey, and have weekly status reports and milestone evaluations.

Here are the threes (as currently in my mind):

3 Small Projects:

  1. A new Bugzilla UI
    • AJAX practice
    • ideas for better tool
    • demonstrate web design ability
    • advertise QA experience
  2. A test case authoring tool
    • webapp dev practice
    • crystalize design of test case model
    • advertize dev and QA experience
  3. a gallery application
    • image manipulation practice
    • current and future reuse on websites
    • donleeart and
    • web service and front end to attract users

3 Web Services:

  1. An image editor (watermarks, resizing, and comments)
  2. QA Tools Provider
    • Bug Tracking
    • Test Authoring, Execution, Results, Reporting
    • Task Management
    • Wiki, Knowledgebase, Collaboration, etc.
  3. Shipping Tracking
    • for DHL resellers (United Shipping)

3 Business Plans

  1. Telecommute
  2. Piecework (through sites like, referrals, solicitation, etc.)
  3. Product development and sales or service subscriptions.

Okay, that’s not really the three business plans, and I’m out of time. I need to list three specific things I can do that will potentially make money, give timelines, budgets, etc. for the projects. These are the three main strategies.

Telecommute would also include (or could be broken down into) a QA lab, consulting, or offshore style work.

Piecework could also include bespoke applications and COTS (probably open source) customization and/or administration.

Product development could also be application hosting, or could lead to consulting from distribution of open source apps.

I need to work on some clarification here.

3 things I could do in Ecuador:

  1. Teach computer classes
  2. Work at orphanage and with Kelsey’s foundation
  3. Employ or partner with Ecuadorians

I also need to learn Spanish, manage our household, and figure out business stuff (like taxes.)

After three months (by January) I will need to submit a description of my intent on what to focus on, though there will be room for more experimentation. The next three months should be dedicated to one (or at most two) ideas in an effort to complete them.

I’ll either try to monetize an idea, complete a product, or find income.

After the first 6 months, I’ll think bigger. Like hiring people, looking for financing, or setting up a hosting environment for customer.

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