Sunday, January 12, 2014


I don't know what I'll write about today. I don't write that regularly anymore, at least not in public, but I have been trying to make time for Memento (the app, password-protected) every day. It's where I log my wins, my feelings and observations.

This reversion is revelatory (yes, psychopaths alliterate). It's like part of me doesn't want to share what's going on anymore. Not because I've suddenly become acutely aware of my need for privacy. It's not as if I have an online fan club watching my every move.

There's this concept in Opus Dei called unity of life. My persistent challenge is this: to wear hats but remain the same person. I've had some successes in my career, but I relish the relationships and problems solved more than any perceived mark of achievement. This makes me both valuable and malleable.

I'm not making any judgment on actions done to help other people--I'm all for service and meaning. But sometimes I lose sight of how this fits into my legend, the legend people will tell about me when I die, or the legend I will tell kids of future generations about how I dealt with the good old days.

And sometimes the disjoint is grating and clear: I need the kind of work that really, explicitly, directly helps people improve their way of life. And I can make the argument that all I'm doing is reading stuff and telling people to write stuff.

And then sometimes it's all about point of view. I can make the argument that the work I do is life-and-death for people who need the specific information we are delivering. And that every time we make a good call, the good guys win, every time we make a bad call, the bad guys get more money.

One of the better metaphors I've heard about the computing public was from a security conference (via Alastair MacGibbon) on how consumers think is the wildebeest theory of defense: "consumers reason that they travel in a large herd, so statistically, it will be unlikely--they hope--that they will be victimized."

And that so, in reality, the battle has changed, only this time the enemy is fast, invisible and unbelievably accurate. And that everybody can be a victim.

And so the work we do, the work I find myself in, is pretty much in line with my soldier mentality. I'm a very valuable foot soldier, because I will die for an idea. And this, the mythical idea that people can be in charge of their lives if only they know all the variables that impact their experiences, is sometimes enough to drive me. Whatever version of the story that turns out to be.

In short, it's a good time to be alive.

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