After I retired from Microsoft in 2002 I started doing some part-time consulting for fun, to keep my hand in the IT world, and of course for a little extra spending money. I put that business, True Mountain Group LLC, on hold when I re-joined Microsoft in 2006. Well, since I’ve re-retired it is time to reactivate True Mountain Group. I’ve leased an office, purchased a new notebook, dragged some hardware for playing with betas etc. out of dusty retirement, and started all the other activities one must in order to have an operating business.
There are interesting technology choices to be made, and the world is quite different than it was in 2002 or 2006. I ran a Microsoft Small Business Server at home on the first go around, even though it was overkill for a single proprietorship. I wanted Exchange for calendaring and Exchange ActiveSync so I could use my phone for email, etc.. Now of course I can get those from Hotmail (or Gmail), or use a hosted Exchange service. I also hosted a web site on the SBS, but why would I ever do that today? Putting it in the cloud makes much more sense. In 2002 I installed a second POTS phone line for the business and later converted it to Vonage. In 2011 I’ll just use Google Voice, Skype, or perhaps Office 365. I’ve been playing with Google Voice, and of course the price is right. But after living with Office Communicator/Office Communications Server the last four years I am interested in the latest variant (Lync 2010) that is a component of Office 365. I find Google’s offering fragmented, confusing, not to mention unproven as to its reliability as a business tool. Which could also open the door to Skype. Another big change is that 5+ years ago video conferencing was iffy at best and not culturally acceptable to many organizations, today it is commonplace. That could change how I do many consulting engagements.
There is also the question of what technologies I should specialize in. A lot of what I do is technology independent, but I do want to do some deeper technical work. Should it be in Mobile? Security? Databases? Enterprise Software in general? All of the above? I’ve been toying with a few ideas for development projects of my own in both the Mobile App space and in Database Security. There are also some open source projects that could be interesting to participate in. So many choices….
While I have plenty of ideas of my own, I’m taking suggestions! Of course, suggestions that come with a paid engagement do get somewhat of a bump in priority 🙂
Speaking of paid engagements, I’m mostly interested in short (a few concentrated days to perhaps a month if it is really interesting) or sporadic (a few days a month over a longer period of time) engagements. I’m not interested in multi-month full-time engagements, sorry. I also have a special interest in advising startups, and will work for stock rather than cash for the right situations.
How’s that for announcing I’m back in business?