Underground Inspiration – Apparently, “We” Do Change Lives

Foreword:  This is a runner-up to one of my favorite posts for 2010.   I just know it. It is a bit long, but for good reason. Please read on and be inspired. – Versatile


2-18-10: Initial release.

There is so much I want to write about that it was difficult to write on this topic today, but I just had to. Within the last 24 hours, I have witnessed great feats of inspiration.

Last night during the Olympics, Skier Lindsey Vonn and Snowboarder Shaun White just DOMINATED their events. It was clear they were in the zone and the best at the sport. Starcraft 2 Beta officially started yesterday, and gamers around the world are waiting excitedly for their chance of obtaining a beta key for Starcraft 2.  I just came back from my 5 day Atlanta trip and there were some insights on life I wanted to write about.  However, all of this I have to stop thinking about it because something else has been eating away at my mind the whole afternoon and into the night.

Today, I have what is possibly the best story of inspiration ever and I want to share with you what I know so far. Of course, it wouldn’t do me justice if I told this story alone, so Chyea (or Mark) when you see this, please write your own personal article or leave a comment and I will add it to this article.

Wait, the Underground blog is a source of inspiration?

Quite simply, yes it is and let me tell you why it is.  If you don’t know the history of the blog, then go see the “About Us” page that I updated last night. In short, the blog was my creation during my last semester of school as a “pet project” where I could just free flow write about stuff that I knew about and share it with the world to make everyone a little bit smarter than they were when they woke up in the morning.

However, finding the inspiration to write every now and then and every week can be hard to do.  Back when I was still in school, I did not write very much at all.  School was eating away all of my time, and I know many of you can relate to what I am saying right now.  When I did graduate and started working, I had more free time. It was this new found freedom that I started to take a stab at the blog again.  Day by day, bit by bit, I just worked at it.  It took me awhile to find my stride, and once I was “in the zone”, life was great.

Tutorials that were stuck in my mind for months were finally written. New projects and awesome ideas that I couldn’t wait to blurt out were finally finalized in a video or a tutorial.  If you had asked me in the spring of 2007 what the state of the blog was in the beginning of 2010, I literally could not tell you anything because I would have no idea.

Now looking back at all the hard work and time I have invested into the blog, I must say that is has been a great journey and personally satisfying.  Would you believe that I spend more time and “love” into this blog, and spend more creative juices here than say at work or with family and friends?  As one blog author coined it, this blog is my “lovechild”, so it would be natural I would spend more time and effort here than anybody in the world.

As much as I hate to say it, its true.  Over the course of time, we have gotten a lot of viewers.  I cannot deny that fact. In the beginning, I would be ecstatic if I/we (the team) can get 100 views a day. Now roughly three years later, we get approximately 4,000 views daily!  Wow is all I can say. I have no goal to reach a certain view limit a day. It is not a concern to me.

All I really care about these days is helping people know what they need to know.  This is why I write guides and tutorials (in addition to some nice life articles). I have been in your shoes trying to research a specific task and having a hard time trying to understand something. I have watched videos and go “What?”.  I know what it is like to suffer and read a guide or watch a video where the creator or the community just sucks and they don’t answer your questions.  It’s even worse when I the viewer knows more than the person who wrote the tutorial or directed a certain video.

With that mantra in mind, every tutorial (or video) I do, I try to explain it in the most down to earth way possible.  This is not easy, as the game we play in is a very technical field, especially if you want to try game troubleshooting or PS2 modding. Nonetheless, I live for this stuff and I excel at it.

I grew up reading and writing a lot. I have written so many essays that its quite natural over time my writing skills would improve.  You probably had not known that when I went through college, I had scholarships that covered my tuition every single year?  Did you know I graduated debt free?  This means no loans whatsoever and I didn’t even work during the last 2.5 years at University.  This is an amazing feat, and with this perseverance and determination I had hoped to portray it through this blog and I think I did.

If I could get a dollar every time someone had said “Thank You” or “Keep up the great work” or “You are really Versatile?”, I would have enough money to build a badass computer (at least 3 of them by now for sure).  Since I began this hardcore effort at the blog, I have answered thousands of questions, whether it is here on the blog, on youtube, e-mails, or private conversations in Garena, Hamachi, Skype, Instant Messenger, and countless of different forums around the Internet.  You cannot believe the amount of time I have spent online helping people out.  It is as if I spend literally more time helping others than helping myself.

To put it into perspective, here is a memory of a real life event.  Back when I was naive and didn’t know better, I thought Garena was the next best thing to sliced bread. (Ha!)  So I remember one Saturday where I spent a cumulative of 8 hours throughout the day sitting in the USA channel helping people test and make their L4D 1 game work online.  It was so easy to just get caught up in the discussion and ask the people all these questions. Over time, when I entered the room people would instantly recognize me and say “I love your videos!”.  Things like that would happen all the time.  Now that I have discovered Tunngle, my love for Garena is no more.

There have been countless other times where I have been lost in instant messenging for hours teaching someone how to do a specific task, troubleshooting a game, or just talking about life in general and why I do what I do on the blog.  These are good times, when I could have spent the same amount of hours doing something useful as learning a new skill or go exercising more.

Nonetheless, this is what I live for.  The blog has given me self motivation and an inner source of inspiration.  Every time I answer a comment, there are more comments to answer. The more activity I show here on the blog, the more people recognize this and start asking more questions.  Eventually, people recognize the hard work in the blog and just become regular readers which is darn right cool. I always have to smile when someone says “I have been a reader for years, and this is my first comment.”  The fact that you commented was enough to make me say thank you for your readership.

Trivia Fact: Versatile answers every single comment on this blog and on Youtube (as it makes sense of course).  He will always respond within a timely and professional manner.

There was a time when three months straight I wrote an article every day to keep activity up. Through this ordeal, I realized that its not quantity that matters, it is the quality of the content.  This is why you notice there are only a few articles each week because we as authors need time to brainstorm and just breathe.  There are tutorials that I love to revisit and improve them and rewrite them.  Over the course of months, it is not a surprise that I could spend easily 20+ hours over the year on a specific tutorial just to make it the best it can be.  For 2010, this is one of my project goals to revisit old articles and bring it up to par with new 2010 tutorial writing standards.🙂

You may think it is easy to come up with ideas and write all the time, but honestly, is it that easy?  I have been writing here on the blog for the last 3 years, which is 36 months.  What could I have written about all this time?  Exactly my point. It is mind boggling!

The greatest personal inspirational story of all?  I am writing an underground E-Book for you, the viewers and it is my personal memoir for this blog.  It is the zenith of my blog career, and I can’t wait to release it.  The fact that the book is near completion has made me totally rethink life, priorities, processes, and of course changed how I do things around here. Once the book is complete, I think I can relax and start working on the next project….🙂

C’mon, what is this inspirational story you hooked us on?

All right, the time has come to spill the beans.  As you know, we here on the blog have a staff. I am the main leader, Voltaire is the co-author, and then we have a list of 20 some authors who are supporting authors. Unfortunately, a lot of these supporting authors should be called “non-supporting authors”, but thats a different discussion.  Nonetheless, one author who does post every now and then is author Chyea, or Mark.

He is a student studying electrical engineering in Toronto, and is a friend of Voltaire and myself.  Anyway, today I received an email from him stating that because of the Underground blog, he received a job offer from company AMD!  When I first read the e-mail, I had to rub my eyes twice because I couldn’t believe what I just read.  Being an electrical engineer myself, I was happy for my fellow friend, but I had to ask how is this possible?

This blog is no way in shape or form corporate friendly, and the type of items here can be considered things you don’t necessarily talk about at work unless you want a visit from your HR department.  All I know so far is that Mark’s interview went by with flying colors, and on the side he made a mentioned he works on a blog that achieves 4,000 clicks a day.  Apparently, AMD was astounded by this fact, and although Mark said he doesn’t have the highest GPA, he is convinced the activity of the blog proving he is a well-rounded individual has earned him high points in getting him a job offer (next day literally).

With that said, I am just amazed. I knew that the blog has changed lives. Don’t believe it?  It got Mark a job from AMD. Take a look at all the PS2 or Tunngle tutorials and see how many people converted into using a new program or learning how to exploit their game console.

Whenever I get a chance to talk to new people who added me on their buddy list, I always ask them “How did you find the blog?”.  The same answer is always related to some search on Google.  After reading around a bit, they say they like the direction of the blog and bookmark it for daily viewing.

Although I don’t ask much from my viewers, many of them over time has told me that this blog has been a source of inspiration.  It has made users such as Sneakily1 go and sign up for his own blog.  It has made GameDexterity grow bigger by recruiting two fellow Underground blog readers (and tunngle users).  It gave another user the inspiration to start a blog that is starting to grow on me called UnitedTechGuys.  Even more crazy, it has caused a VersatileTaco clone to be created, who not only created two blog websites that copied us, but also a Youtube account!

I know that this blog has an impact on people, but how it makes that impact is still beyond belief.  Time over time again people send me their regards, and I do feel guilty somewhat because I get all this recognition behind the scenes, and the other authors don’t get any.  But maybe I do deserve it and I am just being humble about it.  Nontheless, the blog has literally changed my life, and I know for a fact it has changed others for better or worse.

With that said, I’m going to leave it up to Mark to write his own rendition of what happened with his job interview, and how he worked the blog into the interview that ultimately landed him his dream job.

Why did you type “We” in the title?

I am going to get chewed out on this, and I will be fine with it because I have taken so many bullets in life I don’t care anymore.  Of all the articles here on the blog, about 90% of it are mine and I am just being conservative as I believe it is much higher.  Nonetheless, to say that I alone have helped people improve their lives is an understatement. There are blog authors like Chyea, Jvalin, Voltaire, and Ice who have written their own articles that helped people improve themselves.

I let these people do what they want (within reason of course) and give feedback as needed.  However, most of the time it truly feels like I am carrying the burden day after day, and to a certain degree I feel I make the most impact around here.  However, the other supporting authors do help, hence the reason I gave the “We” nomenclature as a tongue in cheek as you will.

For the authors that realize how infrequently they write, I just want to say thank you for your effort, even if it is once in a blue moon. Every article you do contribute is one less I have to do on my own.

Anyway, this is my article of inspiration.  I don’t write for the sake of writing. I write because I WANT to write and that therein lays the difference between a leader and a follower.  If this blog has someone inspired you, no matter how large or small, please leave a comment and let us know! Excitement is contagious, and the more people we get talking, the better we are as a whole as a community.  Thanks!

Posted on February 18, 2010, in Advice, Life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I think I got inspired reading my own post. Damn.

  2. No, thank you Versatile, btw review my pending post

  3. I have a few things to say, but first I’ll mention that I only have the patience to read long posts like this right here on TUG.
    It’s true, you, Versatile, were my main inspiration for starting the United Tech Guys blog. I am amazed and envious of your determination to make TUG and GD the best they can be. Whenever I visit TUG, I know that the turorials will be trustworthy because you have lived through them, and mastered them. Also, I know you’re not one of the bloggers who know what they’re talking about, but can’t communicate it to their audience. Everything you write is perfectly clear, so we as readers are never left yelling angrily at our computer monitors. As a blogger, that is the goal I am working to achieve. As a reader, I am grateful that I came across your blog.
    This post is indeed very inspirational. The blog overall is very inspirational. As mentioned, it has spurred the creation of other blogs (and of course clone blogs).
    To everyone reading this article and this comment, I think Versatile deserves some recognition for his hard work and dedication, wouldn’t you agree?

    • Absolutely.

      Some of the competitors of this position are close friends of mine (happens way too often), and because they all had a higher GPA, I had relatively low hopes for this position when I walked into the interview. When I got the offer email, I stared at it in disbelief.

      The interview was at 1:40 pm, I fell asleep on the subway en-route and actually arrived 10 minutes late. Needless to say my expectations were lowered even more. I walked in, shook hands with the two fellows who stood up to greet me and apologized for the apparent lack of punctuation.

      As soon as the interview started, the chief interviewer, a senior manager, spent 10 minutes explaining the details of the position. This was rather odd. I thought that they may have already made up their mind: not interested, kill time, next. Fortunately the interview moved forward.

      Knowing the history and details of The Underground, I explained that I am involved in a tech blog that gets over 4000 clicks a day. Personally, I have known Versatile and Voltaire a long time and have seen this blog gradually increase in popularity over the years, that I have taken its accomplishments for granted until I witnessed the surprised faces of my interviewers. They asked proceeded to inquire about the nature of our blog, the writing process and our history.

      Nevertheless, despite this unexpected display of enthusiasm from my future colleagues, I thought their impression was merely that and nothing else. The confidence bar did not elevate. This concluded the interview. We shook hands, gave the polite smile, and I walked out.

      This is a position that I really wanted and is very suitable to me, for the time being at least. Being an electrical engineering major today means that a big part of your employment opportunities is in pure software development, which is an area I have desperately been trying to avoid (no offense intended). But a job is a job, and I intended do the coding if it comes down to that. Imagine my relief when this offer came through.

      I firmly believe that it was because of my participation in this blog that landed me this position. It was an edge that I didn’t even know I possessed. I have personally acknowledged this and thanked Versatile, and from him I encountered an even bigger surprise than that of my interviewers.

      Here are two interview advices for future job seekers:
      1. Always ask questions when given the opportunity. It will show that your mind is constantly clicking and that you are interested in the job, which I was.
      2. Be prepared for this question: “What makes you appropriate for this position?”. If this question wasn’t asked, find the opportunity to explain it anyway.
      Indeed, this is exactly what I have encountered in most of my interviews, and the interview in question was no exception.

      I have been attempting to gather some personal reflections over this experience, but so far they are rather fragmented. Unfortunately they will have to wait until my midterms are over.

      Thanks again Underground.

  4. First of all.. Congratulations and Good luck with your new job! @ Chyea.

    I’m just surprised !!
    When it comes to the blog, helping you or returning the favor. This is as big as it gets !!

    Being honest… I have spent like 1 hour reading this article and chyea’s comment. This is an amazing piece of an inspirational story!!
    Me, being a guy, who is in the ‘studying’ phase of his life, This story really touched me.

    “Trivia Fact: Versatile answers every single comment on this blog and on Youtube (as it makes sense of course). He will always respond within a timely and professional manner.”

    That is so true !!..LOL.. Do you guys know that Versatile responds to poll comments ?.. He caught me ‘jaw on the floor’ when he responded to my comment on a recent poll. And did i mention that he responded to my comment, within a day ? ^ ^

  5. Thanks for the mention dude. I wouldn’t have even started my thing had it not been for the “Clone Wars.” I had to create an account to get back at that douchebag and figured I would do something with it🙂 Your tutorials are awesome, and had it not been for you, I would still be spending countless hours trying to figure out how to get L4D2 working with my friends on Hamachi. We’ve since graduated to Tunngle (thanks to you), and have discovered a whole new world of gaming amongst friends…not to mention all of the valuable insight you give here at The Underground. To be honest, I feel like my site is one of the few productive things I’ve done since this past August, so thanks for that. Also congrats to Chyea, way to go dude!

  1. Pingback: Inner Motivation – Why I Do What I Do « Welcome to the Underground.

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