Hi there, my name is Jonathan Whiting. I live and work in British Columbia, Canada. I’m interested in a lot of different things. Somethings are related with what I do (I’m a co-founder of a tech startup) and other things that have nothing to do with what I do. I use this blog mostly to share about the things I am either learning or interested in. I have this idea that it isn’t so crazy for someone to be great at both programming and design. I hope to be crazy in my aspirations and still level in my actions. I bet that if Léonard de Vinci were still alive he wouldn’t think it so crazy either.
About this blog
I created this blog as a way of unabashedly writing about all my different interests in design, programming, biking, photography, business and whatever else might grab my attention in the future (despite the fact that these things don’t necessarily mesh well). This is my personal blog, so I thought why not write about everything that actually interests me.
The name Machiine is a spin-off from my old blog on Marketing I contributed to along with my friend Kelly called Idea Machine. I also felt it fitting that I spend all day working on a computer. So the name Machiine stuck and now it is my blog.
Let’s start at the beginning (this is where I get to brag about me). According to my mom I had a knack for art at a pretty early age. My granddad was good at drawing trees, so he shared his tree drawing wisdom with me and the rest is well.. history. Haha I wish. By preschool I was aware that other people were good at art too. Overhearing a couple words of praise given to a girl’s colouring book – in a matter of minutes it was pure competition – my focus for the next three years was to out colour this girl. Who just so happened to be in every class I had for the next 3 years (preschool to grade 2).
Still young here, shortly after moving to Canada I won the first art competition I entered in Grade 3 and suddenly I had found a passion.
A couple years after I graduated from Highschool I took what I considered to be a huge a risk. I started a clothing company. It took almost all my savings and in return I got about 20 freshly printed t-shirts with my designs on them. But I was terrified. What would people think? Here I was a guy, designing clothes. It was a risk that payed off. And I learned quickly that people respected it when someone did something they believed in. It was what I considered a success. By December ’08 my clothing co. Saint was bringing in about $6000/mo.
Then I took the second biggest risk of my entrepreneurial life. I shut it down. Now I was terrified that people would think I had failed or had given up. I was studying Political Science at the time and I knew that if I ever wanted to get a masters degree I needed to have top marks. But all my time was going into Saint clothing (about 40 hours a week). Making hard choices like this reinforced my commitment in what I was doing it for. It’s a lesson I am glad I learned. It turned out that no one cared (except the people who were ordering merch) and instead the network of people I had met along the way building Saint started requesting design work.
Design work picked up quickly and a web design company I created on the side in ’08 called Crayons & Walls suddenly got busier. After graduating Uni with top marks (*cough full-on bragging again) C+W became my full time career. It’s amazing to think how much happens in just a few years. My brother Steve and his business partner Art were building an online community for Real Estate which was showing signs of growth, but they needed a web guy. Barely a year into C+W near the end of ’09 they invited me to join them and start a new co. SimpleEngine MEDIA. I didn’t think twice. Bold and very green we raised some capital investment, hired our first employee and away we went (and still going).
Since starting SimpleEngine we’ve had some high points and low points. We are on, what I would call, an accelerated learning plan. The times where we were bailing water just to keep afloat weren’t fun. I’ve learned that when we are in a storm and struggling to keep our business alive it’s hard to think clearly and make good decisions. I’ve also learned that breakthroughs can happen at anytime, sometimes when I least expect them too. And I’ve learned that it is better to be smart than be like Rocky (getting hit multiple times and getting back up). But there are times when you have to be like Rocky for a season until you can get that solid footing you need to make good decisions. I’ve also learned that partnership is one of the best thing that can happen to a business because there are times when we all want to give up. And I’ve learned that if you really believe in what you are doing, you will figure out a way to make it happen and be successful.
Thank you for reading this blog, I hope that there will be something here that will encourage you and something that I’ve shared from my experience is useful to you.