Just when I thought these couldn't get any better...
>> Who: Thorsten Becker
Wife: Holly Becker of Decor8
>> When I met Holly...
Holly and I met online in '98 by coincidence. It was one of those grey and rainy November days in northern Germany and I was randomly surfing the web looking for something positive to read that would brighten my mood. I ended up on an interesting site where people from all around the world were discussing their personal views on God and the world (literally). I skimmed through some of the threads but when I came upon Holly's thoughts and replies I paused. Her wittiness and concern for others caught my attention. One of her replies dealt with modesty and the way she expressed her feelings about it impressed me. Being somewhat introverted I didn't feel comfortable participating in the conversation and decided to just move on. Though something kept nagging me in the back of my head, telling me I should at least let her know that I enjoyed reading her words. So I went back and wrote a reply, then logged off – I only wanted to be polite but leave it at that. Shortly thereafter I felt curious and went back to the site. Holly had already replied back to me. I hesitated for a moment then posted another reply. She replied back. There was just something there, something I couldn't put my finger on so I kept going back. We eventually decided to exchange emails and shortly after that I called her and we spent five hours on our first call. Many more calls followed until we finally met up in person a year later in Germany when she flew over from Boston where she lived at that time. Not long after I proposed to her and, after more visits back and forth - and a whole lot of legal paperwork, we married on July 14th 2001.
I am an accredited journalist in Germany. I have over 300 published articles in magazines, newspapers and television concerning computer and video games, graphic design and scientific computing.
I enjoy composing music. I made 3rd place in the Dance category in the 14th Billboard World Songwriting Contest in '07 with my track 'Awakening – Escape', taken from my Infiltrator musicnovel.
I got my first computer when I was 10 and have been programming ever since. I wrote an astronomy application on my trusty Amiga 500 back in 1988 that calculated the positions of all the planets as well as the sun and the moon at any given date and time – past, present and future.
Growing up my dream job was to be a zoologist one day. I've always watched any documentary I'd come across and have a rather deeply rooted connection to the animal world. Holly calls me the 'animal magnet' as almost every dog, cat, bird, guinea pig, rabbit and whatever else is attracted to me.
According to the Myers-Briggs type test I am an INFJ (with INFP tendencies). I tend to fluctuate between the scientific and the humanitarian/creative part of my personality. Keeping both sides balanced works best for my career choices, but it's not always easy to achieve.
1. What would you say are the three most important things that you do to support Holly in her creative/blogging endeavors?
1) At the top of the list is encouragement. From the time I got to know her I thought she was an excellent writer, she really enjoyed it (we both exchanged pages and pages worth of emails). She frequently posted on all sorts of creative forums and personal interest websites, writing in-depth responses to inquiries and generally being a very prolific and enthusiastic writer. I encouraged her on several occasions to turn her passion into something worthwhile. She eventually took up blogging, ultimately quitting her job and committing to writing nearly full time. I am very happy she did.
2) I take care of all the technical aspects of her blog. The site has been growing rapidly over the last year and technical demands have increased. I'd like her to focus on what she does best without any worries about all the technical stuff in the background. I also assist with the ads by scheduling and maintaining them to keep the administrative burden low on her side.
3) Since I am a business consultant by trade I assist her with various strategic decisions as well. Many businesses fail within their first year due to a lack of understanding of basic economic principals. I always have an open ear for her ideas and provide as much objective feedback as I can.
2. Living with someone who works long and irregular hours can be tough... from missed dinners to not being able to do simple things like relaxing and watching your favorite shows together as often as you'd like... How do you stop the craziness from impacting your relationship? Can you please offer some survival tips for those in similar situations?
Well, that's where I would resort to being the business consultant stating that in order to run a successful business one must be dedicated, scheduled and regimented. A lot of freelancers and sole proprietors fail because of a lack of schedule of any sort. It's tempting to think that you can get up whenever you please, scatter your work throughout the day and get things done on your own time – only to find yourself entangled in a web of convoluted tasks and chores while the days fly by.
“We're both night owls, we both do our best (creative) work after 6:00 PM....”
That said it's not always easy to stick to a schedule. We're both night owls, we both do our best (creative) work after 6:00 PM, often well into the night. We both work well together in this regard. Neither of us are big TV watchers, we both cook and we get so engrossed in what we do that the whole world around us disappears for a while. We're very similar on this level so it works out great.
3. What was the strangest thing you've done to support Holly in what she does?
“We may be out and about and suddenly she sees a “cute!” corner store... ”
I thought long and hard about this question but honestly cannot find anything strange to relate. I was raised by my mother and grandmother so nothing Holly does or likes or asks of me strikes me as odd, weird, unexpected or out of the ordinary. I do have to muster up a certain level of endurance at times though. We may be out and about and suddenly she sees a “cute!” corner store and off she goes, browsing and chatting. But I usually find something to keep myself occupied (such as taking pictures for her blog).
4. What is the easiest and hardest thing about being Holly's other half?
“She's a real southern sweetheart. ”
This is going to sound cliché but the easiest thing is loving her, she is just a very likable, bubbly and warm person. She's a real southern sweetheart. The hardest thing at times is to see her feel overwhelmed or discouraged. I want her to be happy but life can be difficult. Helping her cope with certain issues can be tough at times because I don't like to see her sad.
5. Do you have a personal post from Decor8 or a favorite project that Holly has been involved in?
I have no specific post but rather a subject type. I like when she writes about what moves her. I like her recent creativity series and I like when she writes about her personal projects. She is a great person and I enjoy when it shines through in her posts.
Do you have an incredibly supportive partner that deserves a little attention?? If so, email me over at firstname.lastname@example.org.