When I register for conferences or meetings or that sort of thing, I'm often asked to fill out a company name. I write in "Gluejar Inc.", because I happen to be President of that New Jersey Corporation. So I get a preprinted badge that says my name and the company name right beneath it. I engage people in conversation and they start staring at my badge.
"'Gluejar' I haven't heard of that company. What does it do?" they ask me.
"Nothing." I usually say.
There's usually a nervous chuckle as they wait for the punch line, but there isn't any. "I'm sort of on sabbatical" I say. Or "I've been blogging a lot recently". Or even "I'm not really gainfully employed".
Sometimes, instead of "Nothing", I'd say "It's a slumber-mode start-up" which seemed to make people think I had a team of engineers secretly designing high-tech beds.
One friend says I'm "a gentleman of leisure".
My son has been pestering me to take up farming. He comes home and asks "How was non-work today, Dad?"
Sometimes I tell the true story of Gluejar:
Almost four years ago, I sold a linking technology business I started in 1998. It was called Openly Informatics, Inc.. The buyer (OCLC), being a non-profit (401(3)c) corporation, chose not to acquire the corporate entity, but merely all of its business and (non-cash) assets, including me. I had to keep the company to fulfill contractual obligations. But since one of the assets they were buying was the name of the corporation, I had to get a new name for the company.
I called in my high-priced naming consultant (the aforementioned son, then 11) and asked for name ideas. He asked what the company would do, and I told him that for a while it would just be a container of cash, but that in the future, who knew? I liked doing things that made connections, that put things together, so maybe he could think of a name with that sort of connotation. He suggested "Goo-jar". I liked that, it seemed sticky, and jars are packages for java applications, so that part was both containerish and softwarish.
I did some googling to see if I could get "goo-jar.com", but I found that "goojar" was an alternate spelling of Gujar, an Indian ethnic group, so we made the name even stickier and settled on "Gluejar".
A little more than three years later, it was time for me to move on. Initially, I thought I might restart Gluejar right away, but I soon thought better of it. I decided that everything would be much simpler (and a whole lot more fun!) if I waited 9 months until certain commitments expired.
Instead, I started studying technologies, industries, and issues and writing about them on the blog. I started twittering! I went to meetups, conferences and workshops. I went inside a Federal Courtroom! I even did a harvest of purple amaranth.
So now it's time for me to get serious about deciding what to do next. In the next month or two, I plan to write about the directions I'm considering. Some of them involve reactivating Gluejar, some of them don't. I don't really believe that startup ideas can be stolen, so I'll to write about as many of my ideas as I can. I like building things, and the first step in building on an idea is spreading it around.