I live! I have been quite busy and I’m here to tell you all about my wonderful experiences.

Graduation
It’s official! As of February 3, 2009 I am an MIT alum. I attended commencement ceremonies on June 5 and picked up my degree which is now somewhere in Dallas with my dad, forever waiting to be framed. I originally had no plans to attend commencement; however, my parents wouldn’t let me get away with not attending, so I went and I had a great time. I even met some new friends. Deval Patrick, governor of Massachusetts, spoke and, naturally, I have no clue what he talked about. I do remember that he had given a similar speech at 5 previous graduation ceremonies so someone took the liberty of making Mad-libs and Bingo sheets for the graduates. As Governor Patrick spoke we marked off words on the Bingo card while filling in blanks on the Mad-libs sheet. It was hilarious when a few folks yelled “Bingo!” about 10 minutes into his speech. Even though it lasted 5 hours, commencement was great!

Vistaprint
Things at Vistaprint are going quite well. To paraphrase Chris Rock: A job is something you can’t wait to leave. A career is something you keep doing and you love it so much you forget to leave. I am thoroughly enjoying my career at Vistaprint. I am now responsible for 2 services: Dynamic Text (used by marketers to add custom messaging to website pages) and Email Central (service through which all customer email is processed). I am also a part of the team working on the successor to Email Central. I am enjoying the challenges I face with each new task I am asked to tackle, and especially like the fact that I have been entrusted with these responsibilities.

What I like most about Vistaprint is the continued focus on new products and innovation. We have an internal website where employees can submit ideas for practically anything ranging from the brand of water in our refrigerators to ideas for viral videos or, in my case, Facebook applications. My first day in February, during training for the tool, I proposed an application for sharing gifts (I have to be vague given the fact that this is still in the planning stages.). Yesterday, I had a meeting with a few folks in Marketing to polish the idea and understand what we can do with Facebook in preparation for upcoming promotions. While we were able to come up with some clear goals we were unable to find a project manager willing to oversee the project, so it remains in the planning stages. Despite the lack of advancement into production, I think it’s great that an idea I submitted before I had actually done any work for the company gathered input from about a half dozen developers, including a member of the executive team, and was able to grow from more than just a fleeting thought in my mind.

We recently completed our semi-annual review period. I had only been at the company for two months of the period, so I was not expecting much from the results of my review. I was quite surprised when I received notice that I had earned a salary increase! It isn’t much of an increase, but I gladly accepted it.

Braces
I have braces on my teeth! I have had them for about a month now and they really ruin my dining experience since I can’t fully chew anything. However, in about 9 months I should no longer have a cross bite. Kudos to Vistaprint for the dental insurance.

Grace Street
It seems the running thread of this entry is Vistaprint. While riding the shuttle to work I met a fellow MIT alum, Grace. I attended church with her a couple of months ago and have been going there ever since. The church, Grace Street, normally meets in the Sheraton hotel near Harvard. Since most of its membership consists of college students, services are moved to the home of one of the members for what is known as “House Church.” It’s a pretty cool concept. We have a normal worship service, sermon, and discussion. Afterward, we enjoy a potluck meal, socialize, and play games. I have made a lot of friends here.

In Dallas!
By the way I’m in Dallas! I made a last-minute decision Wednesday night to come home, the stars aligned and I was able to use some saved miles to book a first class flight home. First class is quite nice. Although, I am still too cheap to pay the full fare.

Be well and stay in touch,
Clinton

P.S. Here are some pictures from the Freedom Trail: