Category: About Me

What is This Site About?

What is this site about?

I’m Brian Garside, and this is my professional website where I offer up two decades of world wide web expertise.

I’ve archived a number of my classic posts from “The BalanceDo Blog” here as well, which you’ll find tagged with “BalanceDo”.  These come from hands-on experience building and eventually folding a SAAS business over four years of development.

This is where you will find details on my upcoming book “The Web Hero’s Guide”, everything you need to know about getting your yourself or your business online, and tapping into the power of a global audience.

You’ll also find “So I’ve Got A Website…Now What?”, a free publication about marketing your website and making it an effective marketing tool for yourself or your business very soon. Continue Reading

Our Disney Cruise

Our Disney CruiseClan Garside sailed the majestic Disney Magic from February 24th through 28th, and while it was a welcome break from the ridiculous winter that we’ve been dealing with back home, it wasn’t exactly the “magical experience” that others have raved about.

We’ve been on two other cruises, both by Royal Caribbean…and we were recently spoiled with an all expenses resort vacation to Le Blanc in Cancun (which was one of the most amazing vacations I have ever taken).

This was our first “big trip” with our kids.  The first time either of them have flown, the first time that either have travelled 6-8 hours in a day, and the first time that either of them have been at sea.  I have to say that they were amazing little travellers and are among my favourite people to travel with.  They were easy going, listened well when we needed them to stick with us for safety, and enjoyed exploring off on their own then the opportunities presented themselves.

They had an amazing time – so much so that Maks cried when it was over because he didn’t want our vacation to be done.  This review is just how I felt about things. Continue Reading

My 2014 Resolutions

The GarsidesI used to post New Year’s Resolutions, they were always similar things. Lose weight, something business related, something drawing related, something writing related, something about finishing things.

I didn’t post any in 2012 because I was really focused on just pain free peeing, and recovering from pneumonia . Last year I meant to and had a draft…but just didn’t finish it. That’s kind of a repetitive theme of 2013, I started a lot of things I didn’t finish.

Little Resolutions:

  • Grow a Beard
  • Grow my hair – (December 19th – February 21st)
  • Go to bed (and sleep) at 10pm for 3 nights consecutively
  • Do 4 weeks of Yoga consecutively

Those are little resolutions, but they’re not my big plans for the year. Continue Reading

2013 In Review

This has been an interesting year to say the least.  A lot of stuff has happened, but my life seems to have fallen into a typical mid-series pattern.  Here we are at the end of the year and things are pretty much status quo.

The good:

  • Completely relaunched Info-Tech with a very streamlined, clean, and awesome visual refresh
  • My team’s last minute entry came in 2nd place in the annual “Case Competition” at Info-Tech for a business plan and proof of concept
  • My Innovation team won my first Innovation Day award for the PerformIT business plan and proof of concept
  • I was awarded a seat on the “President’s Club” trip to Le Blanc in Cancun Mexico
  • I travelled more in 2013 than any other year (New York, Vegas, Chicago, Cancun Mexico)
  • Did four speaking engagements (New York and Chicago Exchange events, as well as NXNE and a local PMP group)
  • Officially co-founded Socks Off Ventures
  • The Socks Off Team launched the all new BalanceReDo
  • Pitched BalanceDo to the Funding Roadshow in Toronto
  • I learned a lot about marketing this year
  • Taught myself a whole ton of new skills (server management, Ruby on Rails, CSS3)
  • Did a lot more freelance in 2013 than I did in 2012
  • I lost 30lbs from April to September

The bad:

  • BalanceDo isn’t done, and in my opinion still has a long way to go, but the team seems to have lost a lot of momentum.
  • I learned a lot about pitching (which means our pitches weren’t terribly successful).
  • I’ve regained about 5lbs since the end of September
  • Not in nearly as good shape as I should be due to some back issues
  • Failed on my 52 posts in 52 days pledge (and haven’t posted since October 31st)

The “meh”:

  • Pretty much in the same role at Info-Tech day-to-day despite my recognized contributions
  • Work on All New Comics has stagnated
  • I’ve become a bit too dependant on others
  • I’m not doing as much “hands on” work as I used to
  • Not drawing as much as I would like
  • I should spend more time doing fun things with my kids
  • Still working for “the man”

I’m going to do some things to fix some of these things, which is why for the first time in two years I’m going to bring back the old “New Year’s Revolution” post.  It’s time to treat my own life the same way that I treat my work life.  Put dates, times, and actionable plans around everything I want to accomplish this year.  Make some “S.M.A.R.T.” goals and follow through on them.

2013 was a perfectly fine rebuilding year.  A great middle season in the life of a sit-com.  2014 needs to be the year with a bunch of big plot twists and large scale shake ups.

It’s time for me to do something I tell my team to do every single day.  “Let’s make some magic people.”

The Worst Excuse In The World

The one excuse that bugs me more than any other is “I’m too busy”, because it’s just a cop-out. Being too busy is a conscious choice.  You choose to prioritize other things.  If you’re too busy, what you’re really saying is “I’m making bad choices”.

So why haven’t I written anything since April?  I’ve made bad choices.  I’ve chosen to prioritize other things over writing on my blog.  That’s not an excuse, that’s just bad planning.

My commitment to my blog was to write 52 posts in 52 weeks.  I’m now about 10 posts behind.  Yes, I have several in the drafts stage, but there’s a ton more in my head.  Some of it is top secret stuff that I can’t talk about for a little bit more, but most of it can be out there.

There’s movie reviews (Star Trek and Iron Man 3 for example, both of which were phenomenal).  There’s stuff I’ve learned (so very much stuff recently, including an amazing trip to Vegas), and there’s even the challenges that Char and I have given ourselves to be better physically and how much of an inspiration she’s been.  These are all things I need to write about, and I’ll do that over the next couple of weeks.

What’s more…there’s no reason every post needs to be a damn novel!

So here’s my commitment to getting more posts up this week.  There should be a big flurry of a half dozen posts in the next week.  Then there will be a small lull, and then a MAJOR announcement! WOO HOO!

How am I doing? 52 posts in 52 weeks?

Way back in October I decided I was going to do 52 posts in 52 weeks this year.  An average of post a week on my blog doesn’t even sound unsustainable.

So how am I doing?  I’ve added 18 posts since October 22nd, and 25 weeks have passed since then.  I’m only 7 posts short of my goal.  Not too bad, I can make up for it with a few two post weeks.

Continue Reading

The Making of a Geek – Bid Time Return

Bid Time ReturnI had the coolest job for a 16 year old ever thanks to Gord and Brian during the Bid Time Returns era.  I started on the shop on Queens, helped open both the downtown and White Oaks Endless Adventures, moved to the Dundas street store, and went on to Heroes with Mike and Sean.

I still have awesome memories of the Queens Ave store, and I remember the day that I found out the name of the shop was actually a line from Shakespear’s Richard II (Act III, Scene 2): “O call back yesterday, bid time return.”

Brian taught me about doing shows, and I had a blast driving to Toronto with him.  We were similar in personality, and both of us could just quietly enjoy the silence.  He had an awesome old 1950’s Ford that was so great to ride in, despite the fact that we were driving into the sun both ways.  Gord taught me a lot about the business part, just through osmosis.  He taught me about ordering, inventory, and I cashed out more nights than I care to think.  I learned a ton about games, and I amassed a huge comic collection, going so far as to take my own collection to Toronto on weekends to do one-day shows in the early 90’s (when you could buy the latest issue of “Puma Blues” on a Friday in London, and turn it over for $20.00 on Sunday in Toronto).  I started doing rudimentary inventories, and kept track of my sales in a ledger.

During the down times, and after the doors closed, Gord would engage us in long conversations about society, philosophy, and he introduced me to stuff I would never have read on my own. As I got older, those conversations greatly shaped my own worldview, and coloured my own philosophies.

In 2005 I started my own online comics shop, All New Comics, with the intention of providing the same level of service that we gave every customer at Bid Time Return back in the day.  Owning my own shop was cool, but it still pales in comparison to my time in the four colour trenches of my youth.

Remembering CES

Vegas baby, VEGAS!Last year I checked something off my bucket list “Go to CES” as part of the Info-Tech crew who went to Vegas to cover the Consumer Electronics Show.  It was a great year to go.  CES 2012 was the last year that Microsoft would keynote, the launch of 4k and 8k TVs, and the first 55″ OLED TV.  We saw the end of Kodak, and the rebirth of Windows Phone, which would become Windows Phone 8.

On top of the show, I had some fun extracurricular activities as well.  I had the best sandwich from a truck ever, one of the best meals of my life, saw an awesome magic show, and one of the top 5 best runs at the Craps table I’ve ever had.

There were downsides too. We walked a ton, because cabs were nearly impossible to catch (and everywhere in Vegas is FAR).  In my wrap up last year, I talked about the horrible bandwidth, which prevented me from uploading video, and the fact that I came down with pneumonia shortly after returning from CES.

Reading all of the CES coverage a couple of weeks ago, I came to the realization that while I love Vegas, and want to go back, I don’t think I’d go back for another CES.

  • Album of the Week: David Usher – Songs from the Last Day On Earth
  • Comic of the Week: Saga #8 (they better stop teasing about The Stalk)
  • Podcast of the Week: 5by5’s Quit
  • Media of the Week: I have watched a TON of classic WWE documentaries on Netflix this week.
  • Website of the Week: I’ve been digging Forrst lately, which I didn’t even know existed until Zurb acquired them.  By the way, the Zurb Manifesto is one of the best things on the internet.

 

A Message to My 11 Year Old Self

I was thinking the other night about being 11 years old, and being afraid of my place in the world.  I was kind of awkward, super skinny, a little too smart for my own good, and yet not really committed to anything because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.  I felt like I was in a holding pattern, and one thing that really makes me antsy is being stuck in a state of limbo.  I’m not the kind of person who just “enjoys the down time” of routine.  I need things to change.

I thought about what I would say to 11 year old me.  How could I help him become the best me that I could be?  What advice could I give him that I wish had been given to me back then?  What could I say to him to reassure him that in the future, things are pretty kick-ass?

I think it would go something like this: Continue Reading

I Live in the Future

For most of my professional life the saying has been “Five years from now”, as in:

  • “Five years from now bandwidth will be fast enough we’ll be able to stream HD video.”
  • “Five years from now computers will be fast enough to render video in real time.”
  • “We need another five years until a small hand held computer is actually a useful thing”
  • “We’re still five years out from having a computer that can go all day on a battery charge.”
  • We’re about five years away from not needing all of these wires.
  • In five years I’ll be able to take a credit card from anywhere.

I don’t know when it happened, but five years from now is here.

I watch HD YouTube streams on my 55″ TV all the time, I beam my desktop from my Mac to that same HDTV without the need of wires.  My wireless internet connection is as fast as I need it all the time.  I carry around the equivalent computing power to my desktop computer from 1999…in my pocket!  I regularly use a tablet that can do 90% of the things I need to do in a day, and which yields me about 8 hours of battery life easily.  My laptop gets me a good 5-7 hours of battery life most days.  I don’t worry about my data anymore because it’s all around me in the ubiquitous “cloud”.  I still carry a USB key on my keychain, but I barely ever use it.  I have an elaborate backup system at home, that failed me recently…and which “the cloud” saved me from without me ever knowing that I was in peril.

I get comics, magazines and books digitally, and when I want to read something, I can do so without ever leaving my chair.  We don’t have video stores anymore, if you want to watch a movie you rent and download it (either through a device like AppleTV, or your cable box), but more often than not I stream it from a streaming service like Netflix, where for about the cost of a couple rentals a month, I get a firehose of content.

That’s the thing about the future, it kind of sneaks up on you.

This week’s Best of List: