So, You’ve Matched At Geisinger

Welcome! Just under four years ago I was in your shoes. A moving truck had just dropped off all our possessions from our Brooklyn apartment and my wife, an incoming Pediatrics resident, and I started excitedly sorting out what life in our new home was going to be like.

Still looking for somehwere to live? Res Aux has a whole website full of real estate listings (and other helpful tips).

Your month of June is going to be filled with unpacking moving boxes and attending orientation events but hopefully you’ll use some of your extra time outside of the hospital to enjoy the things that make your new hometown unique.

To get you started, I’ve compiled a five-step guide to your first month in Danville and the greater Central Susquehanna Valley.

1. Find Some WiFi and Caffeine

Unless you called Service Electric in April it’s very possible you don’t have internet at home and won’t for awhile. You now have the perfect excuse to go visit Boil Line Coffee.

I’m a bit of a coffee aficionado and have been to a good numbers of the famous roasters in New York and San Francisco; Boil Line holds its own against any of them.

Jeremy is a Danville-native who moved back to his hometown a few years to start Boil Line. It’s a great place to meet up with friends and get to know a few of the locals.

And yes, the WiFi is fast.

2. Stock Your Kitchen

We live where the Philadelphia and New York’s food is grown and we get to buy it straight from the people who grow it. The Ferry Street Grower’s Market is every Saturday morning from May to November in the municipal parking lot north of Cole’s Hardware.

If you’re coming from a big city, one thing you’ll notice right away is the price tag. Here, produce at the grower’s market is significantly cheaper than the supermarket, especially later in the season where you can stock up on things like tomatoes or apples for canning or jarring.

3. Fill Your Growler

Old Forge is a hallmark establishment on Mill St, but being that it is the closest brewery to the hospital, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to visit it over the course of your residency.

In your first month here, I’d venture further out to introduce yourself to PA’s craft brew scene. There are many excellent options on the River Rat Brew Trail, but we’d recommend starting by making the drive to Rusty Rail and then working your way back.

4. Decorate Your Home

Drive either direction out of Danville on Route 11 and you’ll pass a couple of antique shops. For a truly unique shopping experience, visit the Street of Shops in Lewisburg to pick out some items for your home from the 375 individual shops with one checkout that are all together inside of this old woolen mill.

The second-hand furniture here is a steal! We are currently upcycling some vintage dining room chairs that we got for $10 a piece.

5. Head To The Mountains

Waterfall

Ricketts Glen State Park is an hour’s drive into the mountains north of Danville.

Ricketts Glen isn’t just another state park. It was originally slated to become a national park. The federal government was occupied with WWII when the land was transitioned from private ownership so the Commonwealth took over.

The Falls Trail is the park’s most famous trail and should be the focus of your first trip.

Looking for more adventure? Visit World’s End State Park next. Hike the Canyon Vista trail for a good workout and cool off in the stream afterwards.

Geography Can Shape Opporunity

Having spent the last half-decade of my life in New York City, rural Pennslyvania (Danville), and now a small Midwestern city (Fort Wayne); I’ve been fortunate to experince nearly the full gamut of American life (at least at this latitude).

Today, I finally read the transcript of Joe Biden’s speech almost a year ago at Northwestern University. I think he understands the regional divide in America better than anyone with his platform.

So many people take a negative view towards the half of the populace that doesn’t live near them, not taking the time to understand how their life experiences led them to where they are. I deeply appreciate Biden’s optimism and share it in addition to the fact that he’s contributing specifc, actionable ideas as solutions.

I’m proud to be working in tech in middle America instead of in the VC hubs. I like knowing I’m contributing to the solution instead of furthering the problem.

1026 West Berry Street

Photo of Exhibition Entrance

I stopped by the 1026 West Berry Street: The Fort Wayne Art School exhibition at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art yesterday. It was interesting to learn about the history of art education in my new hometown.

It definitely caused me to reminess of my days at 1700 Lida Street.

Even though it was extremely hard and I work as a developer mostly now, I’m still really glad I studied graphic design at an art school and went through all the foundational classes which that entailed.

It taught me how to create, communicate and execute which remain the core of everything I do and both a developer and business owner. Obviously, those are things you should learn in any program, but I contend that there is something unique about learning design for developing those skills.

Plan Your Year

2019 is the first year in a long while that I could describe as “open ended” on January 1st.

We have no intention to move, no travels planned, and have gotten through a lot of the initial time intensive tasks of relocating.

I went through the Plan Your Year workbook put out by the people behind The Focus Course. Conventiently, I completed a lot of the pages while I was back in Pennsylvania meeting with Joel to discuss the what we want Grid & Arrow to accomplish this year.

The apex of the workbook is writing out your “2019 in One Sentence”; because I think it’s easier to hold yourself to these kinds of things if you make them public, here’s mine:

This year I am focusing on transforming how my businesses generate revenue while creating a home and routine in Fort Wayne that my family can thrive in.

The added clarity of meeting with my business partner in-person and going through the workbook gave me has me really excited about this year even though a lot of the things that I have traditionaly looked forward to (big travel, transition, etc) aren’t on the calendar yet.

I’m excited to write more about what I plan to create and be a part of as the year goes on.

→ Sponsorships

In time for Giving Tuesday last year, Grid & Arrow rolled out a WordPress Multisite network that’s all configured for organizations to manage their sponsorships programs. We have one organization in our pilot program so far and I’m excited about the potential this might have.

I wrote in more detail about the why and how of setting it up over on its blog.

→ Year in Review

Two firsts for me at the end of 2017 all in the same email:

  1. I sent out a company newsletter.
  2. I wrote a year in review.

After completing it, I felt like it was a really beneficial writing excercise for me personally and I hope my readers gained some value out of it too.

→ About South Sudan

A few years back in internet history, there was a great informational website about South Sudan located at aboutsouthsudan.com, which we linked to from In Deed And Truth’s website. I was checking outbound links on their site earlier this year and I noticed that the site had been taken down and the domain was for sale; so I scooped up the domain and decided to launch my own version at the same URL.

I’ve got a lot of ideas about what this website could be, but for today, I’ve launched a minimal version that includes a basic history of the country, a feed of news articles, and links to books to read to learn more. Go check out the site or look at the source code on GitHub (it’s built on Jekyll).

→ Introducing Grid & Arrow

Grid & Arrow Logo

In my last post, I alluded to a business that I was in the process of starting. Today, I’m excited to publicly announce Grid & Arrow, a joint venture between myself and fellow Central Pennsylvania developer Joel Peterson.

Since my wife and I left Brooklyn in mid-2015, a sizeable percentage of my work had been hourly contract work for one company that I had no equity in. While I really enjoyed the work, if I’m being entirely honest, the looming thought of how many billable hours I completed in a week and my income being 100% tied to that had started to wear on me.

Concurrently, I had noticed time and time again that my business’ entire pricing structure was based on me getting medium to large budget jobs; I had nothing that I could offer to a low budget client without losing money myself. As I’ve gotten more involved with the small business community in Pennsylvania, I’ve been wanting to work less in California and New York and more in my own community, but have struggled to make the switch because of my pricing structure.

When Joel approach me about starting a hosting company after experiencing some of the same things, I realized we could craft a business model that had the potential to resolve both of the above.

We could build websites for a low upfront cost, especially since so many local businesses simply need a modern brochure-style website to present themselves well digitally, and make up for the time investment in the residual income of the monthly hosting fees.

After discussing the shared experience of building out advanced WordPress admin customizations only to have our clients just call us to have a change made, we decided that our primary offering would be “turn-key web hosting”, making basic changes to our customer’s sites just an email or a phone call away.

It solves a need many businesses have and, with a baby on the way, the idea of not all of my working time being devoted to “deep work” but supporting business with smaller tasks seemed like a wise transition for me.

As Grid & Arrow grows its legs, Joel and I will be continuing to operate our individual freelance businesses with full force for the foreseeable future (hire me, I’m looking for new clients). We’re excited about this new venture (and we have some other crazy ideas that extend beyond hosting) and hope you’ll check out the website we launched this week.