Category Archives: purpose

On this page:
  • More thoughts about what I want to do with my life
  • Aha!
  • Also not entirely hopeless in a corporate setting
  • Connector, Maven, Salesman
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finding a niche

More thoughts about what I want to do with my life

Here’s a sketch of what I want to do:

I want to help people connect with people through social software.

That’s a very broad goal. What does it mean?

What do I want to do?

I want to help people make sense of technology. I want to help them
figure out which tools they should try out and how those tools fit
into their ways of working. I want to help them bring the tools into
their culture and adapt the tools to their needs. I want to help
people look at the big picture and see how everything fits together. I
want to help people look at the leaves on the trees and figure out how
to make the most of each piece.

I’m particularly interested in technology that helps people relate
with people. I’m interested in ways for people to discover other
people and other resources, share their insights with others, and
organize things for themselves.

Why is that a good fit for me?

I’m good at keeping track of technology news, which makes it easy for
me to recommend something that fits a situation. I also like
collecting and sharing productivity tips.

I enjoy speaking, writing, teaching, evangelizing, and all these other
ways to help people learn.

Most of all, I love listening and drawing people out. I love learning
people’s vocabularies and telling them stories about other people’s
successes and failures, helping them imagine their own success. I love
stepping into someone’s shoes and figuring out which tools might be
useful. I love coming up with ways for people to slowly make new tools
part of their lives.

What do I need to learn next?

  • I know about the tools. I need to learn about
    organizational behavior, organizational change, information
    technology diffusion, and technology adoption.
  • I know how to spread enthusiasm. I need to also learn how to
    communicate solid business benefits.
  • I know how to set a few things up. I need to become more familiar
    with the different technologies so that I can prototype them
    quickly and show how everything fits together.
  • I know a few people in different areas. I need to develop a rich,
    wide directory of consultants and companies who can implement
    particular solutions.
What’s my next step?

  • Continue with my research at IBM, which is exactly in line with this anyway.
  • Make another speech at Toastmasters, then another and another.
  • Meet other people who are working in the same or similar area. Talk
    to them, ask them for help figuring out this passion of mine, and
    see if I can do anything to help.

On Technorati: ,

Random Japanese sentence: 秘密を漏らす。 Let the cat out of the bag.

Aha!

Thanks to a conversation earlier about web development and careers, I
think I’ve figured out a little more about what I want to do. =)

I want to support people and communities through social tools.

I want to help people make the most of blogs, wikis, podcasts,
vidcasts, social bookmarking, social networking, community content
management systems, whatever. I want to help them figure out how to
use version control systems and request trackers and mailing lists. I
want to make it easier to use phone and e-mail and little stickies on
the fridge…

What should I learn more about? I need to figure out how to set up a
blog farm, a wiki farm, a social bookmarking site, Drupal, etc. Bryght
does hosted community sites with Drupal, so they’d be good mentors and
models. I’m also interested in the social aspects of it. My research
into innovation diffusion and technology adoption _totally_ makes
sense in that context.

Mmkay. That sounds like a plan. I’m going to need some help figuring
out how to make it happen, but that resonates with me.

I don’t mind working on mind-numbing web stuff if I’m working with fun
people. I don’t mind explaining for the nth time what a blog is and
how people can use blogs for fun and profit, because I learn something
new every time I talk about that. And of course there are so many things
that aren’t even on most people’s radars…

Right. That sounds like what I want to do. Now, how do I go about doing it?

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Random Japanese sentence: 私は犬の方が猫より好きだが、それは前者が後者より忠実だからだ。 I like a dog better than a cat, for the former is more faithful than the latter.

Also not entirely hopeless in a corporate setting

Would I fit into a large company? I really, really love doing
technology evangelism. An internal technology adoption role or a
new-products development role might give me that mix of technical and
social challenges that I so enjoy. I love what I’m doing as part of my
research, and I wonder if it’s at all possible to get away with doing
that for serious…

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Connector, Maven, Salesman

The Tipping Point – excellent book! – describes three kinds of people who are critical parts of massive change: the maven, the connector, and the salesman. Connectors are “people with a special gift for bringing the world together.”(p.43) Mavens are information specialists.(p.59) Salesmen have “the skills to persuade us when we are unconvinced of what we are hearing.”

I’m _supposed_ to be a Maven. That’s what computer geeks do – they geek. They grok. They learn something inside out. Strangely, though, I have the feeling that this isn’t quite my thing, that this isn’t quite what I’m meant to do. I guess it relates to my teaching philosophy. I’m not the expert! <laugh> I don’t know everything, and I’m
much happier helping people learn than trying to teach them everything they need to know. Besides, hanging out with people far more brilliant than I am makes me feel decidedly un-Maven-ish. =)

You know what I have _tons_ of fun doing? Connecting people with other people. I really, really want to help people make things happen, and if I can connect them with other people with similar or complementary passions, that would be totally awesome! I also _really_ have a lot of fun listening to people. I sell, sell, sell – not stuff, but ideas,
passion, confidence… I sell people themselves. I sell dreams of what they can do. I _love_ doing that! (And to think I used to be an INTJ…)

So I need your help figuring out what I’m going to do with my life. =) Software developer? I can do that, but there’s just so much else I _also_ want to do. I’d love it if you could help me imagine what my future can be so that I can prepare for it better. =D It’s not exactly the kind of thing you’d find in, say, What Color is Your Parachute…

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Entrepreneurship

I really enjoyed talking to Winston Damarillo about the Philippines,
and I’m looking forward to introducing him to other people who are
making things happen. He _so_ needs to get plugged into the network.
He plans to do some really cool stuff! =D

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Finding a niche

Enterprise social bookmarking. That’s what I’m into. Plenty of interesting questions and opportunities. It’s not going to be my main thing forever, but I’ve got an intuition that there’s still so much benefit to find in that space.

Also, technology evangelism. I can very much see myself doing tech
evangelism for the next ten, twenty years. For that one, I need to be
close to the people I train—but the world is changing, and it’s not
just North America any more. I wouldn’t mind being based in Asia, for
example… ;)

I like that more than serial startups. =) As for startups: I don’t
mind just convincing someone else to teach people how to get started.
I don’t have to teach it myself. I just have to connect people who
want to learn with people who can and want to teach…

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