The Labour Day weekend gave me an excellent opportunity to reflect on what I can do with my life, and I really appreciated being able to bounce ideas off Simon.
I have a lot of options ahead of me, and I want to think about this carefully. My first job doesn't have to be perfect, but it would be good to understand what my values and priorities are. I want to be extraordinary. I know, I'm 23 and my direction in life will change as I discover more about myself and about others. =) But it's good to think about it every now and then...
So here's where I stand, so far:Technical: Social systems: Improving a social system such as LinkedIn or OpenBC would probably be the best fit for me in terms of technical work. I would enjoy listening to users and figuring out things that can make the tools easier to use or more powerful. I'm more interested in systems that help people connect in real life or in one-to-one relationships than in things like social bookmarking, where the social aspect is often secondary. I'm also more interested in facilitating introductions than I am in supporting groupware, although I can do that as well. I would love to help build systems that make it easier for people to keep in touch with lots and lots of people (attention-based aggregators, etc?), introduce people to others, move online connections into the real world and vice versa, and so on. Management: Outsourcing: The Philippines has a lot of talent, and there are plenty of opportunities to outsource. I want to learn how to help people set up outsourcing relationships, specify and manage projects, and manage and train people.
These are the two prospects I feel most passionate about, and I may be able to pursue them both. I don't want to be so heads-down in tech that I serve a narrow audience—only the users of my system—nor do I want to be so heads-down in management that I lose touch with my technical side. I think I can make this happen, though.
So, how can I go about doing that?
For social systems, there are all sorts of little things that I would like to build for myself or suggest to other people. I can learn good design through exposure and experience. I can write about features and systems I would like to see. I can even prototype them. I should spend some time learning how to make better user interfaces (a proper mouse may help!) and prototyping things on Rails or some other quick platform. Easy enough for me to get into.
For outsourcing, there might be a good opportunity to help set up a relationship between Direct Leap and either QSR or Exist. I know a few people who want to help me learn how to do this. I'm all for it!
My master's degree can help me with both. My research is related to the former, and my coursework is related to the latter.
Hmm. Sounds like a good plan. I've got other plans, just in case, but these are the two best plans at the moment.