Adam Wimsatt had a dream. He wanted to develop a successful blog, but he’s built with a brain for math and science. Writing has been a struggle and after a few failed attempts at starting his own blog he realized he needed someone else to do the writing while he concentrated on the technology. That’s how we connected.
At the very same time he’d been coming to this realization—that he wasn’t interested in the writing aspect of the blog he wanted to create—I was reaching a place where I felt I had to find some kind of traditional work to help with the cash flow issues of this artist’s life I’m living. Here’s what happened:
Adam is a web developer for ReelzChannel. He’s one of a team of three web developers who work on the company’s site—a site with millions of unique pages and over a million visitors per month. He and his small team have also developed iPhone and iPad apps for ReelzChannel including an app called Naked Trailers, which allows you to browse and watch full movie trailers. I didn’t grasp how cool this was until Adam showed me, on his iPad, that he could look up the newest movies playing in the theaters and watch the movie trailers for those movies or search for something less current that he might like to get from Netflix. The app also organizes the movie trailers by decade going back to the 1940s. It was interesting to see how movie trailers changed through the decades. Some of the older trailers are over 20 minutes long. We watched a chunk of Fantasia right there in the conference room. Anyway, trust me, it’s very cool. So you get the idea here: Adam is a super geek.
A little bit about ReelzChannel, because it was fun to go visit him there (this was the first time I’d met Adam—see previous post Anna and Jeane Take Albuquerque). First of all, as busy as everyone was, they were incredibly warm and welcoming. ReelzChannel is a digital cable television channel owned by Hubbard Broadcasting. They air programming about movies including news about films, actors and celebrities, and movie reviews—anything related to the movies and celebrities, like the royal wedding–original programming includes Hollywood Dailies, Game On! with John Salley, Hollywood’s Top Ten, Roeper’s Movie Reviews and Maltin on Movies. They produce these shows right here in New Mexico at the Albuquerque Studios. You should check them out on DiectTV, Dish Network, Comcast and many other cable companies throughout the U.S.
Anyway, back to Adam’s dream. He was looking for a side project, something he could do out of his house. That led to collecting over 80 domain names so he could build his own websites and that’s when he was introduced to blogging. He was very excited about what it was and started researching and reading everything he could find about it.
He devoted himself to creating one blog in particular named eXtreme Aquatics. It is a blog all about his aquarium hobby (he has both a salt water and a fresh water aquarium—all the really hard fish, and he loves it). Anyway, he started his blog about 1½ years ago and wrote 20-25 posts, but that’s when he hit his wall. “I can get the sites running online,” he says, “that’s the easy part for me. I can make them look good and I can make them function, but I realized I wasn’t much of a writer.” He says he always struggled with it in school. He is a math and science guy who doesn’t do well with the humanities. “I was posting videos and pictures and then maybe a sentence or two. I’m very short and to the point,” he says. “I’d write things like ‘I lost this fish today. Here’s a picture of him. And he’s gone now.’ ”
He participated in that blog for three months but knew it wasn’t working. Then he thought if he put a lot of his other domain names up and wrote on a different blog each day it could be kept interesting, but that didn’t work for him either. He wrestled with this problem all summer before he decided to put his scientific brain to work analyzing it. He realized the piece he was missing was that of the writer and he understood he needed to find one. “And then really on a whim, I just had a brainstorm,” he says. “I was browsing craigslist and I found the Gigs section and I said, ‘I’m ‘gonna post in there and see who responds.’ ”
“I had an overwhelming response,” he says, “there were over twenty different people who said they wanted to do a website but didn’t know how to make one. So it seemed like a good fit, but I had a stipulation.” He’d learned from all his research about successful blogs that they had to be updated constantly to drive traffic. “I needed to get a commitment out of somebody to write at a 500+ word blog post, 5 days a week, for a minimum of one year.” He sort of grins and beams at me at the same time and adds, “You were the only one, out of the twenty people, who wrote back to me after I laid out the requirements.” Yeah, the story of my life.
But here’s my side of the story. Adam’s stipulations DID give me pause; in fact they scared the heck out of me. I already had a full-time job painting and I’d be sitting a gallery again in the spring, summer and fall and I wasn’t a writer. I knew it was a huge task to take on even if I knew how to write.
But on the day Adam had his brainstorm and decided to post his ad on craigslist, I’d had a similar epiphany while walking on the land grant: I knew I had to look into some sort of work that could generate regular cash flow. And this is where our paths intersected. As though directed by a force outside of myself, I walked right into the house, to the computer, went to craigslist and saw, for the first time, the Gigs section, and there was Adam’s ad.
All season while meeting people in the gallery, I’d been getting the message that I was supposed to be putting my story out there to more people—that it had the potential to inspire. So I’d been loosely looking for a writer, knowing I wasn’t one.
Adam wanted a writing sample (gulp) and a concept for the blog so, that weekend, I put the concept into the form of a writing sample: I was an artist, guided to live my truth on the High Road to Taos, and I wanted to tell my story. He and Deanne, his wife, loved it and that’s when he laid out THE STIPULATION.
As intimidating as it was, I believed I’d been guided to Adam. I was being told I was a writer—I was to write my own story—in small, manageable pieces on a blog. Having never even read a blog, I didn’t know how I would do it, I didn’t know how the ideas would be born, how I would come to write, but I plugged my nose, squeezed my eyes shut and took the leap: I said “YES” to the blog.
So everybody meet Adam Wimsatt, the other half of the blog. It wouldn’t exist without him, without his dream. And it wouldn’t have been born without my belief. Two people who didn’t know each other came together through whatever series of forces and events and birthed this evolving entity together—and you are a part of it now too—all our paths intersecting.
What lies in store for us? Who will have the next brainstorm that will lead to the next birthing? May there be many more than we can imagine in this moment. And may we each inspire the other to places we’ve not dreamed of before; may we celebrate this minute, this day, and embrace the wonder that connects us each to the other. I want to make a point of especially saying, in this tribute piece to Adam, that I, for one, am very grateful for him and for his dream. Thank you, Adam, for inspiring me to begin something I’d never imagined, never considered, that has become a surprisingly meaningful part of my life. Here’s to you, to dreams and to those of us who dream them!
[Note from Adam: Thank-you Jeane! It is an honor and a privilege working with you! ]
Love and blessings to you all,