|"Comes a time when you're drifting
Comes a time when you settle down."
- Neil Young
So anyway, I'm walking through Boston's Back Bay neighborhood one morning, thinking about what's next.
Here's The Boston Public Library in the background, the first in America that allowed people to borrow books.
In the foreground is a cow. I don't know why.
It's easy to forget that the World Wide Web has only been around since 1990, and didn't take off until the first browser in 1993. The web was uncharted territory in the beginning, easily mocked by a pile of books about how weird and wacky it was.
It became helpful only gradually, but it became helpful. When I considered buying my first Media 100 In 1995, and after I did, I found precisely one place to learn about it on the Web: The World Wide Users Group, aka The WWUG. That's where I got to know Ron Lindeboom, who seemed a mysterious figure until he called me to talk. And talk. He's good at that.
My walk continues. Here's Copley Square, named for Revolutionary War portraitist John Singleton Copley. His subjects included Samuel Adams and Paul Revere.
I'm pretty sure he didn't paint that cow.
Ron's also good at fostering communities. Thanks to the help that people like you found from people like you at The WWUG, it grew to become the web's richest resource for all sorts of media professionals.
I'm proud to have helped in a large-ish way, hosting ten forums and writing tens of thousands of words a week. My enthusiasm was driven by the satisfaction of helping. I know it motivated Ron and his wife Kathlyn too. We fed off each other's energy.
I came to rely on Ron as an invaluable professional resource and a great friend. Our multiple conversations each day were as much about our lives and music as “the business.” Many of you have experienced this with him yourselves.
Staring at Copley's cow from another angle, trying to figure out what it means.
Maybe it doesn't mean anything. It's just a cow, right? Right?
The high profile I gained at The WWUG brought me to the attention of Boris FX. After several years of freelance demos, I joined Boris full time in 2000, eventually becoming the product manager of Boris Red.
Among the things I enjoyed most at that job was the opportunity to expand my NLE expertise beyond where I started, with Adobe Premiere and Media 100. For example, Boris pegged Macromedia Final Cut as a product to watch.
Behold, a Macromedia Final Cut ALPHA disk!
Note that it lists support for Windows first, and Macintosh second.
What'? Another cow? This one informs me that cows can smell things six miles away. I assume they like how other cows smell.
They'd better. There sure are a lot of cows around here.
It wasn't all Final Cut all the time at Boris of course. Among the two-dozen NLEs Boris supports on both Mac and Windows are those from Avid.
Across from this cow is the Old South Church. Ben Franklin is among its most famous parishioners .
Did I really just say “across from this cow” and something about Ben Franklin? Is there a cow on the back of the $100 bill that I've missed?
Should I be making some kind of connection here?
The year I started at Boris FX was the same year that The Creative Communities of the World, aka The Creative COW, launched under Kathlyn Lindeboom's steady leadership. (As opposed to Ron's sort of wobbly leadership.)
They grew The COW dramatically beyond anything else that had gone before. You're participating in this part of the story, but it's worth repeating: The COW means forums with north of 10 million page views daily, a successful trade show, books, DVDs, 3 podcasts in the iTunes top 100, and most recently, a print magazine.
The latter is especially remarkable in this electronic age. Profitable from the first issue, its subscribers doubled for the second.
Around the corner from Copley Square is Newbury Street. My wife, Nora Williams, manages a law office on Newbury Street. It's also a glamorous shopping district. You can find everything here from Armani to Zegna.
Cows are apparently glamorous.
When I came to Avid in 2003, Final Cut Pro was still very much my long suit. I eventually got pretty good with Avid software, and you may have heard some parts of this story: I helped a bunch of very talented people roll out Avid Xpress Studio and the Tiger update of Avid Media Composer. As part of an even larger team at NAB 2006, I helped show both the software-only version of Avid Media Composer, and the revolutionary workflow of Avid Interplay, profiled in the COW magazine's first issue.
Trinity Church is on the far side of Copley Square. Founded in 1733, it's the only church on the American Institute of Architecture's list of Top Ten most important American Buildings. You can see it here reflected in the Hancock Tower.
You can also see a cow.
What? Oh, come on already! Somebody tell me WHAT'S WITH ALL THESE COWS?
As satisfying as some parts of the Avid job were, others weren't. No news there. That's why they call it “work.” So I'll skip ahead. I believed that the only way out of my frustrations was to climb the ladder, spin faster, get more, do more.
The short version (yes, I have a short version) is that I was wrong.
For me, the only way to find peace was to find the exit. Sometimes less is less, and it's good.
Time for a rest in the comfortable lobby of the Lenox, one of the most elegant small hotels in the world. Coming in, I look above the door and think, “Wow, that sure is a creative cow.”
I left Avid, as I left Boris, on good terms, with gratitude for their support as I clumsily tried to find my way. It's a small industry, and we'll all be in each others' lives for a very long time.
But when it came time to be happy and satisfied with work again, after dozens of cows I finally figured it out.
Turns out I wasn't hallucinating the cows. They're a small sample from the CowParade Boston, the world's largest public art project. You can read more about it here.
There are always plans in motion at the COW, and I look forward to helping with them. There are a few others I hope to initiate. I feel fortunate to reunite with my old friends, and am delighted to know that our future together will be even more rewarding than our past.
I'm glad you'll all be part of it, too. Thanks for welcoming me back.
-- Tim Wilson
Tim Wilson is the Associate Publisher of Creative COW Magazine and Associate Director of the CreativeCow.net website.
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