2015 has been a crazy year for us here at tracktuned.com and 2016 shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, as we near the end of 2015, 2016 is looking to be like an even more hectic time. Austin and Adam thought it would be appropriate to talk about what we have been thankful for this year.
I keep a small notebook that I write in from time to time –thoughts, ideas, dreams. It’s something that I started to calm myself at the end of a hectic day on the road as a corporate sales rep. It allowed me to get my mind straight, to remind myself that I was only working in the corporate world for a little while. The past couple of months, I haven’t added a thing to it. You may say that I’m losing touch with myself, but in reality, I’ve never been more confident about anything. For that, I’m thankful.
A little over five months ago, Adam Jabaay and I recorded a conversation about track cars and club racing then put it up online so people could listen. After talking about creating a podcast, we finally did some research, figured out how it all worked, came up with a name -“SlipAngle”, and started down this crazy path. Thirty-seven episodes later, we’ve talked with some amazing people, learned more than we ever imagined, and had an immense amount of fun - we’ve even gotten to travel a little bit. We never hesitated with SlipAngle - never even gave it a 2nd thought - we started doing it and didn’t stop. We did it for ourselves and for our listeners. The biggest difference was that we did it. We could have waited for everything to be perfect, for just the right time to launch, but we didn’t. We just said, “let’s go for it.” For that, I’m thankful.
We’ve got a podcast that comes out twice a week, with nearly 1,000 people listening regularly. The show is constantly in the top 10 automotive podcasts on iTunes. Our new website has thousands of visitors a week already and we’re less than 3 weeks old. I’m not bragging (though I am proud), I’m merely stating that none of this would be possible if we didn’t just go for it…and if you guys weren’t supportive of us doing what we love. We could have a podcast that 50 people listen to, but we don’t. Our website could have such low traffic that we ask ourselves why we even bother…but we don’t. The community has embraced us way more than we expected. We started making the show for ourselves, and it turns out other people liked what we had to say. For that, I’m thankful.
For the longest time, I focused my choices around what others might think of me. Would my parents be proud of me if I left the corporate world? Would my fiancé support me? Thankfully, I have her support going down this crazy path trying to make something out of nothing and even my parents are supportive of this endeavor. We started with nothing but passion and now we have something to show for it. Unwavering support from the most important people in your life, saying, “go for it, what do you have to lose?” has been the greatest motivating force behind being able to go at this full steam ahead. For that, I’m thankful.
All the emails, Facebook messages, phone calls, and texts from friends, listeners and readers has reaffirmed to me that we are on the right track. Throwing caution to the wind and just getting started has been what’s worked the best for us. Sure, we might not be the most polished, our logo not the best, and our grammar is probably not all that great, but at the end of the day, our passion seems to shine through and all of you pick up on it. Without your support, none of this would be as successful as it has been. Without your support, we might not be as motivated to create content. For that, I’m thankful.
To my track buddies, I am thankful for you guys. You’ve made me realize that my life isn’t all about having the most money or the latest toys. It’s become clear that my life is meant to help support yours - to inspire, to teach, to entertain. I am finally waking up excited every morning, going to a job that I use my own money to fund, creating content that I think you guys will enjoy. For that, I’m thankful.
To my partner in crime, Adam - I’m so thankful for you. There were so many days early on when I didn’t want to bother with another podcast, but you pushed me to record. So many times I thought to myself “what am I doing?” and you were there to back me up, to tell me that everything was going to be fine. I don’t know if I’d be able to trust myself that everything was going to be okay without you pushing me. For that, I’m thankful.
To my beautiful fiancé, Jessica – I couldn’t do ANY of this without you. You put up with me talking about cars all day, and I know it drives you nuts. You hate me being behind the computer, yet you encourage me to create a business that essentially requires me to be on the Internet every waking minute. You hate being home alone, yet you let me travel for weeks to create content. You don’t hassle me about spending our savings to attempt to build a business. You’ve encouraged me to leave the corporate world after being miserable for years, and you’re willing to take this risk with me. For that, I am infinitely thankful.
The past few weeks and months have been quite hectic. I’ve carried my notebook with me on every trip, not once opening it to scribble down thoughts. I think I’ll leave it at home for next week’s trip to Seattle. What’s the point of writing down your dreams if you’re already living them? We’ve seen a lot of success by pushing ourselves to start something instead of just making plans. We’ve trusted ourselves to make things happen and the results have been amazing so far.
And for that, I’m incredibly thankful.
Its been a weird year for me in 2015. I started the year as a tired and sleepy father of a 9 month old. Emma was sorta useless then. She couldnt walk, couldnt talk, couldnt do much (she was a pretty happy lil kid then, which was fun). She liked when I was around, obviously, but now she talks like crazy, more than a 20 month old should, runs around like a lunatic, and loves every second her mom and I spend with her. We've somehow fooled her into thinking we are the most interesting people to ever exist. Shes fun, always happy, and can say "Daddy Racecar" quite well. Seeing how she views the world makes everything around us seem better than it probably is, and thats just fine with me. Everything is simple to her. Spending nearly 2 years coming home to her makes it hard to leave in the morning, and its not getting any easier as time goes on. Seeing her turn into a highly observational little kid has driven me to try and do more stuff, and try to do well at it. I want her to see her dad be a happy guy, who does things he's passionate about, albeit racing, podcasts with buddies, writing articles, helping friends on racecars, or fixing the little bubble-blowing kiddy-lawnmower thing she clogged up with the small rocks from the park in our backyard. Besides being incredibly grateful for her and my wife, I really am thankful she has made me want to be someone who does more than just slog away at a job so the bills get paid. I want to do cool stuff so someday she thinks she can do anything she sets her mind to, and to show her that hard work pays off.
I'm thankful also this year for my extended family. Helping us take care of Emma while my wife and I work is a big job, as 9 months a year my wife is teaching gradeschool kids. Emma's Grandmothers both live within 1 block of us, and they seem to enjoy taking care of her more than they ever enjoyed taking care of my wife and I when we were growing up, and thats ok! We couldnt be doing what we are doing without them.
I didnt race too much in 2015...I got a few weekends in with SCCA , and I have an upcoming NASA weekend, but I did get to spend a lot of time at the track with our Gridlife group, as I'm part of the staff for those events. I really am grateful for the other staff members I work with, and who assist me in all the little aspects that make an event run smoothly. I'm also obviously thankful for the thousands of people who have came to our events over the last 11 years! Its been an interesting ride.
This could ramble on forever, as most of the things in my life seem pretty rad right now. I'll end it on the buddies in my life though. I'm grateful for friends who share in the dumb hobby I do. I'm grateful for Austin and his million ideas, and for agreeing to do a podcast with me, sending us down this whole Tracktuned-road. I appreciate every minute I get to spend with my track family , and I miss them all winter, as most of them are far-off-internet friends unless we are at the track.
It'll thaw out soon.
We couldn't have done any of this without you guys. Thank you.