Aside: I’ve decided in future to share my thoughts on local issues primarily through my blog rather than doing media interviews, for a number of reasons. I’m better at writing than I am at speaking, and I’m not as comfortable with the reactive, off-the-cuff and time-limited style that I’m forced to adopt when doing interviews. Sharing here on my blog I get to say what I want to say, at my own speed and in the way I intended, without someone else driving the direction of the discussion or editing my responses.
I’m now sometimes referred to as an ‘entrepreneur’, and occasionally I spend a little of my time trying to figure out what that actually means. I realise that a lot of the time, how other people perceive it is quite different to how I see myself. Much of the talk around entrepreneurship is about blue-sky thinking, of aiming for the moon shot, of being the big-talking guy who is always selling his next grand vision of the future.
That’s me in the corner That’s me in the spotlight ~ [Losing My Religion, R.E.M.] I’m a classic introvert. I’m not shy, because introversion has nothing to do with shyness. It also doesn’t mean I have no social skills, no friends or that I can’t deal with personal contact - I’m quite happy getting up on a stage and speaking and have done so at several international conferences (and a local one last week), and I think most people will tell you I’m not afraid to express my opinion at such events.
If you haven’t come across them already, I strongly recommend you take a few minutes with this HBR blog: In Defense of Polymaths, and also Adam Savage’s commencement address to Sarah Lawrence. Both are insightful pieces on the fallacy that is the tendency to believe that specialism in a narrow field is the answer to a fulfilling life experience, and ultimately to ‘success’, whatever that means - usually money, possessions and peer recognition.
How often do you stop and think about why it is you do what you do for a living? Maybe it’s a mid-life crisis thing, but of late I’m acutely aware of the finite nature of time, and that there are an infinite number of ways I could spend that time. I’m also aware that ‘software developers’ are a quite diverse bunch of people, despite the persistent stereotype of math geeks huddled around technical toys talking in obscure acronyms (OK, we do that too).
“So, where do you see yourself in 5 years?” I’m willing to bet every person reading this has had that question posed to them at some point, most likely in a job interview, but possibly during an appraisal, or if you’re really unlucky, by a potential father-in-law at a dinner party. I’m going to call it out right now - it’s one of the stupidest questions you can be asked. It’s a test, of course - does this person have a plan?
I’m still getting the odd comment on my post in April about my back & why I was retiring from Ogre - thanks again to everyone for the best wishes. I haven’t posted any updates since then, both because I don’t want to ‘count my chickens’ too early, because I’ve been busy, and because I don’t want to be too self-indulgent; but it’s been 6 months now, and I figure some people might like to know my status, because it really has changed a lot.
In a complete and total surprise, my cousin presented to me yesterday the result of a grand conspiracy in the Ogre community to commemorate my time as project lead - a specially designed, unique Ogre statuette! Thumbnails below, click for more detail… I literally had no idea this was going on, or that my cousin had been asked to make the delivery that day (I thought we were just meeting for a social).
Giving up the leadership of OGRE was a sad moment for me, but in hindsight it has also been rather liberating. For 10 years I’d spent most of my energy on OGRE or on projects that were related to OGRE. There was an implicit understanding both from the community and from myself that everything I embarked on would in some way tie into OGRE - and indeed my business has always been based on a constant balancing act between how I can make a living while also promoting and advancing OGRE.
So, I’ve been a little quieter than usual since the new year, and that’s because I’ve been in a rather reflective mood as I plan out how I’m going to spend my time in 2010. That’s right - planning! Talk about the final frontier 😉 Basically, as you may have gleaned from my previous post, I’ve been looking to make some significant changes to the way I do things in 2010.