How to Blow Up Your Life: Earning and Making a Living

Hey, did you hear that we’re moving to Prague? Now that the word is out, I just can’t shut up about it. With just 52 days to go, I’m continuing my “How to Blow Up Your Life” series in an effort to answer another one of the most commonly asked questions about our move: What will you be doing for work?

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been happily employed by The Institute for Justice in a full-time capacity as an applications developer since late 2007. Eight years ago I came on board as their first full-time, in-house applications developer and it’s been something of a dream job; Every day I work with a team dedicated to fighting government corruption in support of not only legislative change but change for real, live Americans who don’t have the resources to stand up alone in court. During my tenure with IJ I have managed their public-facing web sites,  built and maintained custom software applications to help staff better track contacts and donations, and occasionally worked with crazy complex research data to help find a way to present it to the public in a meaningful way. It’s been nothing short of a great opportunity.

But with our upcoming move across the ocean, and all the travel likely to come with it, January and I decided that it was best to leave this professional chapter behind as well. So it is with nervous excitement that I can share that September 30 will be my last day as part of the IJ team. I’m sure they will continue to do amazing things in the future, and I’m very proud to have had an impact in such an amazing organization.

So, what’s next then?

It takes guts to leave the familiar behind and walk into the unknown. Back in my days as a freelance web developer, there was a common thread that all of my favorite clients had: They were the ones who had an idea, something they weren’t quite sure was possible, but something they felt in their gut was an idea worth pursuing. They were so sure of it, in fact, that they were willing to put their trust in a young web developer to help usher their dream into reality. I’ve missed the excitement of partnering with these visionaries and helping make something that was only an idea into a business. So that’s what I’m doing.


Mettle is a brand new software agency specializing in building robust web and mobile applications. It’s essentially taking the freelance career I put on hold eight years ago to the next level.

Mettle was born in early July after a conversation I had with another coworker at The Salt Mines. Rory Garand and I were talking about my upcoming plans and my unsure professional future. He had actually given up his career as an electrical engineer the year before to pursue his own vision of a very specific web application. After spending a year learning the ins and outs of frontend application development using the AngularJS framework and building this application, he was unsure what exactly came next. After an hour or so of commiserating over the future, a thought came to mind: “Any interest in teaming up?”

In the weeks since everything really fell into place in an amazing way. We reached out to a few people who were looking for a development partner and almost immediately our plates were full for the next month. I don’t think either of us really know what Mettle is going to look like in five years—or even five months—but as a starting point we’re working together to help businesses and organizations who need a hand bringing their ideas to fruition.  After that, who knows?

And so beginning on October 21, when I touch down in Europe, Mettle will officially be a transcontinental development studio with offices in Columbus, OH and Prague, Czech Republic. If you know someone who needs a hand making their dream a reality—on whatever continent—we’d love an introduction. Our web site is forthcoming, but you will be able to follow along on Twitter and Facebook.

Here’s to the future, and having the guts to make it what you want it to be.

“He who is not courageous enough to   take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”