Pilgrim Blue

The Pilgrim Blue Travel Journal

How we get to where we’re headed.

Pilgrim Blue: Day 1


Having the adventure of your life starts by stepping out into the void. After years of working for some of the best agencies in the world, I’m taking that step. I wanted to start writing about this journey to solidify my steps and force myself to be more public, but also to reach out to like minded individuals and hopefully inspire some more journeys.

I started Pilgrim Blue with a goal in mind, to partner with fellow travelers and together we can find our way to something new. Whether that “something new” is a new product offering or just a tweak to an existing system so that the day in and day out just works a little better. I believe in small steps that effect today’s bottom line over big leaps and bounds into an unpredictable future.

Along my career I’ve found that the one skill I had that carried me to where I was going was adaptability. I’ve learned not to jump into a challenge with the outcome in mind. I’ve always been the guy to pull the Apollo 13 and put my chips on the board, do some research, ask some questions, look at what we got and the problem we need to fix, and then start going until the problem is solved.

When I first started in earnest my digital career, I was running a website for The World Combat League (WCL). It was Chuck Norris’s MMA start up and it was a blast. I got to hang out with some interesting people and had free rein over the website.I looked at the traffic and the content and found increases in mobile, which was common for the time. The iPhone 3G had just come out and it was obvious that handheld computers were going to change everything we took for granted online.

Looking at the traffic to WCL, there was increasing mobile users but also a growing foreign community. I decided to make the website responsive to accommodate the growing mobile traffic. Our video player was in Flash and without video the content on the site was weak, so I made a mobile video player that used HTML5. I had to build my own progressive enhancement engine to pull this off and to add an additional layer to the fun, I wanted to accommodate foreign audiences by making the videos play back on old flip phones, so I busted out my old WAP browser on my old Motorola and made it happen.

I stood back and took a victory lap in my mind, then realized I had held a party 3 years too early. All that engineering, design, and vision was right on the money, but it was too much too soon and the market wasn’t ready. Looking back on that now as I start my own journey I’m glad I got that wisdom. All those tiny failures taught me something about balancing patience with ambition.

That lesson is pretty prescient now. I’m taking all the tools out of the chest and looking at what I have:

  • Over a decade of experience in digital product.

  • A unique ability to bridge the divide between designers and engineers.

  • The foresight to see the trends in technology, but the wisdom to integrate incimentally.

  • Hands on experience with front-end development, native app development, infrastructure architecture, and product management.

  • A superpower-like ability to empathize with clients and users.

Now with all that out spread on the shop floor, what should we build together? If you’re ready, let’s start the journey.

Today’s Wisdom:

Said sugar make it slow and we’ll come together fine
All we need is just a little patience
- Guns N’ Roses

matthew carver