Schedule and Events

March 26-29, 2012, Software Test Professionals Conference, New Orleans
July, 14-15, 2012 - Test Coach Camp, San Jose, California
July, 16-18, 2012 - Conference for the Association for Software Testing (CAST 2012), San Jose, California
August 2012+ - At Liberty; available. Contact me by email:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Independence Day (Or Something Like It)

Friends of the blog have probably noticed that, around May of this year, I went independent.

There wasn't really a big announcement. In April I was hit by a restructure and reduction at Socialtext. Given the market and venture capital environment, the CEO did what he had to do -- I left on good terms.

The timing was pretty good; I immediately called up my editor friends and announced that I had sudden availability, plus I finally had time to get more involved in uTest, catch up on some reading, and, just maybe, see my family a little bit more.

Yes, I also started a job hunt.

After about the second week, I started to realize that I wasn't really looking for a full-time, employee position. Oh, yes, I'd probably take a wonderful position if it came around, but it seemed that every company I was talking to wanted me to move to Florida, or Seattle, or California, and they wanted me to move right now and bet my families future on the hope that the job, or at least the job market in that area, would stick around. There were a few remote positions, but they generally had timing demands and full-time salaried expectations; no one wanted to try a contract relationship first, to see if we might be a good fit.

By the end of the second week, when I called the unemployment hotline, and it asked if I was looking for work as a full-time employee, I realized the answer was 'no', or at least 'not only.'

It was time to make Excelon Development a full-time concern, or at least, it was time for a new kind of experiment.

Four months later, I seem to be makin' it.

At the same time, I've learned a whole new world. I've learned about liability insurance, the self-employment tax, anticipated quarterly tax payments, and more.

One of the more interesting ones, at least in the United States, is the Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT.

Essentially, the AMT tax is the minimum tax you can pay off your gross income, no matter what you deduct.

If you are ever considering going into a line of work where you have decent compensation, but also decent expenses -- say travel expenses when consulting -- it's certainly something to think about.

Trying to take lemons and make lemonade, I took that research and published an article on the alternative minimum tax for

Please check it out.

If you tell me what'd like you to read in the area of personal money or small business management, it's all grist for the mill of future articles. (I've been thinking of starting a money management blog, which would give me control, but I don't think I have the energy to sustain it.)

Next on the plate is examining the true cost, and true value, in going back to school at night.

More to come.


Luke said...

Weird. My path is almost the same!

What a great time of growth, and a great way to spend the summer too!

Now I'm faced with the question to grow the seeds i've been planting as an independent, or to join some exciting opportunities. It's hard.

Jenna said...

Thanks for sharing your Adaptu post here! Love hearing what people have to say.