My name is Brendan McGuigan. And I love wine. That’s the simplest way I can describe my own interest in this job, and is absolutely the best qualification I think I possess for it. I’ve spent years doing social media consulting for companies, writing on wine and travel, and tasting wines for work. But ultimately, none of that means a whole lot next to the fact that I adore this ridiculous drink with a passion unmatched by anything else I’ve ever experienced.
Looking through the other guest posts here, it seemed like many of the good ideas had been hashed out fairly well so far, and I found myself wondering what to write about. Should I talk about why I think social networking and wine is an obvious fit? Already done. Should I talk about why I think what the world absolutely needs right now is an exciting and dynamic web show about wine country, because, let’s face it, winemakers are without a doubt the most interesting and lively bunch of characters I’ve ever met? Seems a bit like pandering. Should I talk about the type of person I think Murphy-Goode could most use in this position? I wouldn’t presume to know their mind.
Instead, I thought I’d talk a bit about the larger lesson that this process has driven home so strongly for me – a lesson I’ve learned once or twice before in my life, but never absorbed quite so fully. It’s pretty simple. Here it is. When an opportunity presents itself on the internet, jump in with both feet forward.
Let me explain what I mean by that: Every day there are thousands of interesting things springing up on the internet, be they contests or new technologies or new blogs, and it is of course impossible to be a part of all of them. But every once in a while a confluence of events occurs where one of these Happenings chances to center around something you are in a position to take advantage of. When that happens, take full advantage of it. Do whatever it takes, but make sure you’re in a position not just to graze up against it, but to genuinely contend. There are millions of people on the internet, but the strange truth of this new world is that you can still be someone special, just by trying hard enough.
I remember very vividly being 17 and making the decision to let a handful of twelve or so domain names I had purchased expire. It was 1998, and I had bought them hoping to be able to sell them at a profit, but they hadn’t appreciated very much by then, and the $70 a year registration fee was killing me. If I had simply gritted my teeth, borrowed a few thousand dollars from friends and family, and registered them for another five years, I wouldn’t be writing this right now. I’d be lounging in retirement on a tropical island somewhere.
Two years later I was offered a job helping with marketing for a start-up down in Palo Alto, but the idea of moving so far away just out of high school, and with the bubble having just burst, seemed like too great a leap. So I refused. Again, if I had taken the job I wouldn’t be writing this. I’d be sitting pretty on my stock options.
About a month ago someone forwarded me information on what they thought sounded like the ideal job for me, as a lifestyle correspondent for a winery in Sonoma. I agreed it sounded like a great gig, and I started working on a video application. Of course, work kept getting in the way, and I wanted to shoot primarily in wine country, so each day of shooting was a long drive and a day without income. So the video creation crept along, until I finally finished it a week into June. Throughout that time I also dragged my feet a bit on setting up the other components I wanted to, since I felt I should have the video done first. So I didn’t really get behind a blog dedicated to my project until quite a bit after the contest began, I didn’t get a Facebook group set up until even later, and worst of all, I put off all of the crucial networking I would need. In the meantime, of course, buzz had already begun to build to a fever pitch, connections were whizzing back and forth, and VinTank went ahead and chose eight people they thought were best for the job.
Now, I’m not saying that had I tossed my hat in the ring three weeks earlier VinTank would have chosen me instead of the extremely talented, very worthy people they did choose. But the fact is, I’ll never really know that, because I allowed the daily necessities of my life to take precedence over putting everything I had into an application. Had I made the commitment, I could have taken a week off of work, driven to the Valley every day and filmed, and been building steam by the middle of May.
This whole thing is a long way from over, and I certainly haven’t given up – I still know in my heart I’m right for this job, and I’m still going to push as hard as I can to get it – but I will always regret the fact that I took so long to build up steam. How much respect I have for Alina, who took time off of work to embark on a wonderful journey in pursuit of this dream. How much I admire Hardy, who hopped on that plane without a second thought, just to be first in line.
It’s this commitment to the trying that I am pushing here. This whole beautiful Murphy-Goode experience will come and go, and at most a handful of people will find jobs out of it, although many of us will be changed by the experience. Ultimately, though, other opportunities will arise. They may take the form of similar contests, they may be unknown new technologies you see great potential in, or they may be something we can’t even begin to imagine. But whatever they are, I would urge everyone to put aside feelings of inadequacy, or worries about failure. To close your eyes. And to leap.
Hey, Brendan. Thank you so much for your candide picture you paint here. I love your underlying text: TRY. Your words really touch on my experience with this great Murphy-Goode application process: I have been changed by the experience.
I love your video. You have such energy and the simplicity of your takes translates into just plain fun and passion. Let’s have another look…
You can vote for Brendan here (voting remains open till the 26th of June and starts up again for the top 50 on the 27th).
And you can reach Brendan here: