So I decided to complete a site redesign on the richbrown.io site in my spare time over the past few weeks. Why, you might ask, was that necessary? It wasn’t really, it was just something I felt like doing to give myself a new start toward a side project. Over the past few years, since I created a new personal site, I’ve been leveraging richbrown.io as a resume and photography showcase. It served it’s purpose for me to have a virtual home on the internet where I could direct anyone wishing to learn more about me. I’m now ready for that to change.
Aside from photography, something I really enjoy is writing. I’ve caved to busy corporate life and haven’t had a voice for many years. As of late, I’ve been desperately wanting to start writing more and even potentially turning my writing into a bit of a side hustle. This website redesign allowed me structure the site in was that would give me a solid platform to start showcasing my writing and to grow my own personal brand.
I’m looking forward towards writing more and expanding my reach. This will be a new chapter for me as I haven’t written very much since taking my original rich.cyrek.net blog down in the early 2000s. Back then I had a fairly popular blog that was focused on tales and photos of my adventures traveling around the country to primarily LGBTQ parties and events with my core group of friends. I had a fairly large LGBTQ following to the point that I would run into people at some of the parties who would grab me and tell me how they read my blog. Even my friends would have people come up them and say “I know you from Rich Brown’s Blog.”
It was an interesting time and while I was out of the closet, I was working for Bank of America and didn’t fear any backlash for being an out gay man. After I left Bank of America and took on my first C-Level executive job as a CTO for a Chicago based direct marketing agency, I was on a new client conference call and I was blindsided when the client said, “Oh hey, I was just looking at your personal website … cool.” Up until then my personal life was exactly that, personal. Even though it was out for public display, the people I worked with were not very savvy nor of the demographic that would be looking at my blog. What I realized at this moment was that I was not going to be able to represent my company as a C-Level executive, working with new clients and keep my former website active.
I had a minor panic attack immediately after the conference call. That night, I archived my website and I began to scour the internet to have all my photos removed, backlinks removed, all articles and bios of me taken down from the internet. I’m not sure why I had such a negative reaction to this and why I went to such extreme efforts but it was what felt right at the moment. In a matter of weeks, my former presence on the internet was all but erased. I felt relieved.
Fast forward 13 years later and I’m ready to get back to it. Times have changed and are continuing to change and I feel that I no longer have to censor myself or to have my personal life be of any conflict to my professional life. I am who I am and my personal brand represents me, all of me.
Here’s to starting that new chapter and to the next 10 years ahead.