Reflecting on the whirlwind that was 2023, I find myself grateful for the diverse experiences and the evolution of my professional journey. This past year marked a significant shift in my career as I transitioned from a consultant to a full-time role, then back into the world of consulting, a realm where my passion for exploring new technologies thrives. Although I stepped away from working on Nomie, entrusting its maintenance to a capable friend, I embraced new challenges and opportunities that honed my skills and broadened my horizons.
From developing a prototype to assist recruiters, to diving into the podcasting scene, and contributing to a privacy-first AI platform, each endeavor has enriched my understanding and expertise in the tech industry. Now, as I recount the milestones from a transformative year, I am reminded of the value of time, learning, and the pursuit of projects that resonate deeply with my professional ethos.
Jan-May: Going back as a Full Time Employee
In December of last year, I was contacted by XRAI.glass for a role as a Senior Software Engineer. Traditionally, I am not inclined to write product code for companies, but XRAI's mission of helping to subtitle the world for the deaf and hard of hearing was too compelling, and I wanted to be involved.
We swiftly cleaned up our Unity/React architecture, implemented standardized themes, and improved the overall user experience. We also added a variety of great features and functionality. During this time, I learned a great deal about Unity and C# and built some wonderful relationships with brilliant colleagues. However, ...
May: Back to consulting
It took about six months of waking up at 6 a.m. every morning and working until 6 p.m. every night to remind me why I left the full-time rat race eight years ago. I value my time, particularly the time to explore new technologies and ideas. I've come to realize that these moments are the most valuable in my career and are what make me excel in what I do. Honestly, I felt like I lost six months of learning time and needed to return to a situation where I was completely in control of my time.
June: Built Interview Plan
After leaving my full-time job and reclaiming time for my side projects, I decided to start interviewing people to identify problems that could be solved with AI. I explored various fields, including e-commerce, healthcare, and recruitment. Eventually, I developed a prototype called InterviewPlan, designed to help recruiters focus more on the interview itself and less on taking notes. This project was enjoyable, but when I began trying to onboard users, it became clear that there wasn't much of a product-market fit.
July: Launched BigCheese Chat
After working on InterviewPlan, I shifted my focus to a platform that allowed businesses to hire AI agents, which I named BigCheese.ai. This venture was highly enjoyable and taught me a great deal about managing extensive conversations across multiple Large Language Models (LLMs). BigCheese is still available, but a few months later, the launch of ChatGPT's GPTs significantly diminished the value of the BigCheese chat product. However, this turn of events was ultimately beneficial, as it led to the formation of BigCheese the company.
Aug: Officially setup BigCheese, LLC
During my time working on InterviewPlan, I connected with Sean Hise from Crafted, an Indianapolis-based software development agency, to discuss AI. We had an amazing connection and decided to form an AI alliance between Crafted and my Happy Data Studio. This alliance focuses on educating people about AI and assisting companies in integrating AI into their products and services.
Sept: Launched the BigCheese AI Podcast
We decided that BigCheese was going to become the Barstool Sports of the AI sector. To realize this, we (Sean Hise, Jacob Wise, Andre Harakas, and myself) embarked on launching the BigCheese AI podcast.
Our goal with this podcast is to demystify AI for those without a deep technical background. We discuss various AI topics, simplify complex concepts, and investigate AI's role in everyday scenarios and businesses. Our approach is to blend educational content with an engaging format, making AI both interesting and accessible to a broad audience. You can explore and listen to our engaging episodes at https://podcast.bigcheese.ai, where we regularly share insights and discussions about the captivating realm of artificial intelligence.
Oct: New Client!
In October of this year, I started working with PromptPrivacy as a Technical Product Marketer. I connected with PromptPrivacy while working with another client and was captivated by their privacy-first AI platform. Our team rebranded PromptPrivacy, created a new website experience (launching soon), and created a helpful documentation site powered by Docusaurus.
Nov-Dec: AI All the things
For the last two months of 2023, I have been working with my clients - both of which are focused on producing AI solutions for mid sized enterprises, as well as creating new media properties to support our BigCheese initiative like Weekly - our AI New and Product launch website.
As the final pages of 2023 turn over, it's clear that this year has been a journey of self-discovery, adaptation, and growth. Despite the challenges and the shifts in direction, the experiences I've had continue to shape who I am as a professional and as an individual.
From my time at XRAI.glass to the birth of InterviewPlan and the adventure into podcasting, each endeavor has added a new layer to my understanding of technology, business, and the human connection at the center of it all. My venture with PromptPrivacy reminded me of the importance of aligning with work that resonates with my values and the joy of contributing to a cause I believe in.
The return to consulting may seem like coming full circle, but it's a spiral upwards into greater clarity about what I want my days to look like and how I want to engage with the world of work. The six months of "lost" learning time were not truly lost; they were invested in gaining a renewed appreciation for the autonomy and exploration that consulting offers.
As we all look ahead to 2024, I carry with me the lessons learned and the relationships built. I'm excited for what's to come and for the opportunities to innovate, collaborate, and create impact. Whether you've been with me through my blog posts or are just joining in, I'm grateful for your readership and support.
Here's to the next chapter, where we continue to leverage AI, champion privacy, and above all, make space for the human element that drives our collective progress. Thank you for being a part of my 2023 Life in Review. Until next time, keep innovating, keep learning, and keep pushing the boundaries of what's possible.
ONWARD MY FRIENDS!