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Also not entirely hopeless in a corporate setting

| career, purpose

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

Posted: - Modified: | career, purpose

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

| entrepreneurship, philippines, purpose

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

| purpose

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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Rails pub night

| purpose

I had tons of fun at the Toronto Rails pub night. Met some really cool people. =) Pictures to follow.
Finally got to listen to Joey de Villa (The Accordion Guy) play, and his stories about the perks of accordion-playing were absolutely hilarious. Also greatly enjoyed chatting with the other Rails geeks there… =) Totally, totally cool.

I love going to events like these because I not only get to meet
interesting people, but I also understand more about the social and
technological space we work in.

From the experiences of others, I also learn a little bit more about
what _I_ want to do. I’m starting to realize that my ideal life isn’t
one of teaching within the four walls of the classroom or the
four/five months of a term. I want to be out there, teaching really
diverse groups of people: schoolkids, seniors, entrepreneurs,
volunteers. I want to help people discover how to make the most of
technology. It isn’t just about teaching, either. In the process of
helping people discover something, I learn more about their needs and
opportunities for technologies to adapt to people (instead of just the
other way around!). That’s what I love about the stuff I’m doing at
IBM. It’s not just data crunching and visualization. I’m there because
I’m excited about trying new things _and_ bridging the gap for other
people. That requires speaking and writing skills, yes, but that also
requires deep listening skills, and I hope to learn all of those
really well. =)

If I’m going to go down this path, then – training, teaching,
mentoring, coaching, what-have-you – I’ll need more experience in
order to have more things in common with the people I want to teach.
For example, I care deeply about encouraging people in developing
countries to make their own opportunities, start their own business,
build interesting and useful things. If I’m going to help people
create opportunities, then I should immerse myself in the culture and
experience here so that I can share those things with them.

That sounds like a plan…

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Alejandro

| purpose

I love studying in the common room. I like the floor-to-ceiling
windows facing the courtyard. I like the sun-drenched white walls and
the gently rippling water. I love the opportunity to encounter all
these interesting people in Graduate House.

Alejandro is one of the maintenance staff here. I first encountered
him and his co-worker when I was practicing billiards. They joked
about not wanting to play against me because I looked so serious, and
thereafter I smiled at them whenever I ran into them.

Today we chatted a bit more. He asked me what I was taking and where I
was from. Upon learning that I’m from the Philippines, he said a few
words in Tagalog. (Aww!) He also asked if I was planning to return or
stay in Canada, and I told him that I wasn’t sure yet. A PhD is
tempting, and so is work, but I miss my country.

He asked me what I was doing, and I told him about the reading paper
that I’m working on. “You should be outside,” he said. “It’s a
beautiful day. You can study until fwop,” and he mimed a clock’s
hands, “and then you can go dancing.” He proceeded to demo salsa,
merengue, and other Latin dances. And he knew how to dance really
well!

A Spanish teacher in his native Chile, he found upon arriving in
Canada that few of his university credits would be honored and that
he’d have to start all over again. He said, “Forget it,” and started a
pizzeria. He worked hard for six years, but it folded and he was left
with a huge debt. Now he works at Graduate House to pay the bills.

I told him how even PhDs from developing coutries are often forced to
give up what they had trained to do, and how many people from the
Philippines go to other countries to find better opportunities but
don’t get further than being a domestic helper or a construction
worker, much less open a pizzeria. I said, “Well, at least you have
salsa…” He laughed.

Canada has its own little sorrows.

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Imagining my future

| purpose, reflection

Richi: Thank you for that long, well-thought reflection on being in
another country. =) Thanks to your insights, I don’t feel so much in
limbo any more.

Happiness is knowing that I am in the right place, at the right time,
doing the right thing.

When the fear of goodbyes clouds my vision of the future, friends,
remind me that I don’t have to know where I will be decades from now.
All I have to know is that at each step, I am following my heart, my
mind, and my conscience. Remind me not to feel guilty about my home
nor to be afraid of becoming part of the brain drain. If I live for
something greater than myself, then I belong to the world and not just
to my country.

If my path leads back to the Philippines, I will strive to do my best
there. If my path keeps me here in Canada for a while, then I will be
fully here, not anxiously awaiting my return. Life will take me where
I need to be.

I am here to learn as much as I can and to do whatever I can. If I am
to live here, even just for a while, I want to live for something
greater than myself. I want to be part of my community, wherever that
may be. I want to make a difference.

And even in this country, there are things I can do

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