I use my free time to build solutions for the Cannabis industry!
My name is Todd and I build things for fun. When recreational cannabis became legal in Oregon, I knew I wanted to be involved. It's not everyday, or even every decade, a new market opens up with the growth potential of Marijuana and Hemp.
Building stuff is fun, but it's much more rewarding when someone can actually use what's been built. And since I knew little about the challenges Marijuana businesses faced, I had no idea what would be useful. So I decided to learn as much as I could. I read the regulations, got certified as an integrator for Metrc, Oregon's seed-to-sale Cannabis Tracking System, and I started meeting people in the industry. I learned there's no way to know everything - the industry is too new and the regulations change too rapidly. Much like technology, experts in the field will need to continually update their knowledge or become obsolete.
Despite knowing little about the industry, I started seeing common concerns and complaints Marijuana business owners expressed. I began building tools and utilities to alleviate obvious pain points, with the idea someday I would have a software product that could solve accounting, inventory and compliance issues faced by cannabis companies.
Actually, there were a few reasons I didn't, and still won't, build my own software company. First, no amount of fame and fortune are worth trading the ability to spend time with my family. I'm also unwilling to put their standard of living at risk. I'm incredibly fortunate to have a job as a full time software engineer which is challenging and fulfilling. Besides providing ample compensation to support my family, my work is helping to save the planet by making renewable energy more accessible and affordable.
Second, I've come to realize I don't want to run my own company. Like a drummer in a rock band, I'd rather provide the backbone than be the flashy front person. Consulting for Marijuana businesses has been a great learning experience, and has introduced me to some wonderful people. I've built a platform with tools that are used daily by licensed Cannabis companies, but trying to "take it to the next level" would require sales, marketing, accounting, etc., none of which feed my passion of writing software. Furthermore, offering software carries a commitment to keep things running, which means trading even more coding time for server maintenance efforts.
My spare time has always been spent playing around with programming languages, frameworks and techniques I don't get to use at work. Learning about the Cannabis industry and talking with Marijuana businesses has led to some fun programming exercises, some of which are used regularly by licensees. This has been educational, entertaining and engaging.I'll never stop looking for learning opportunities, and I'll never shy away from a programming challenge. I've heard enough stories, some of success and some of failure, to offer insights which can help companies avoid pitfalls and capitalize on opportunities. But instead of charging for advice, I prefer to continue stockpiling knowledge, expertise and contacts. There's a saying that "talk is cheap", but I've found sharing information, without charging for it, has been incredibly valuable. So, my spare time will continue to be spent exploring and expousing best practices for legally and profitably working with Cannabis.
Regardless of how much experience you have in the industry, there’s always more to learn. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I have heard my share of complaints, struggles and challenges faced by Marijuana related businesses. If you’re facing a problem, looking for ways to increase efficiencies, or just wondering if there’s a better way to get work done, I invite you to get in touch. I may not have solutions immediately available, but even if I don’t have an answer, I may know someone who does. If we haven't met (or talked) yet, let's fix that, and if we have, but it's been awhile or something interesting has happened, let's catch up!