I’ve been so focussed on what I do, I completely missed why I do it!
[Updated: 2018–04–18 regarding how]
My company is called onereason. I used to semi-seriously tell people that it is very handy, because that reason can be anything, and so I can keep the name no matter what I work on. Today I see it quite differently. The reason remains. What I do changes… but let’s backtrack a little.
At last week’s Innovation Square at Ideon, I had the fortune of making new acquaintances, and they had the misfortune of listening to me trying to explain what I do. I always try to adopt my story to suit the person, the place, the event, but the result is generally the same. After I blabber on about having been a web developer, trying to establish myself in IoT, learning new skills, etc, I can just see it in their eyes as their interest fades away. And I can’t blame them. Who doesn’t know what they do?!? It used to be clear for me too. I used to be a web interface developer, and a passionate on at that. Then my single what dissolved, and was replaced by a whole bunch of whats.
This has led me on a long purpose hunt, trying to find my what. Little did I know, what I should be looking for is the why. A company with a why that aligns with my why, so I can put my heart into it again!
I don’t have a concrete path to the future I’d like to help create, rather a sense of how I would like us to look back on this age. Instead of thinking how ignorant, selfish, short sighted we have been, I would like us to look back with a sense of pride. Look, this is when we finally got our act together, and changed the course of humanity and all of life on earth.
I want to ensure life, intelligent life in particular, continues to flourish. That is my why!
As Simon Sinek pointed out in his book “Start with Why”, when you have a why, it shows in everything you do. You may temporarily take a decision for quick, short term results, but return to the overarching goal on the long run. In this perspective my otherwise seemingly random activities come together.
- Mentoring children in programming at CoderDojo or FolkUniversitetet enables them to become creators, empowering them to shape our future with technology.
- PechaKucha talks about Transhumanism and Longevity forced me to summarise my knowledge on the topics and share my positive attitude towards such changes happening. We must believe the future can be good, else we will do little to achieve it.
- I pick up trash where ever I go, not because that single piece will make much difference, but to inspire others to do the same and to remove the incentive to pollute for the next careless person. As I recently tried to explain to our son, I try to leave every place, every thing I come into contact with in at least as good condition as I found it, but preferably better.
- It’s also the same reason I had to leave the consulting firm I was last employed at. It has been the best workplace, highest pay, most knowledge sharing activities I’ve experienced. But at the end of the day, I was ‘sold’ to the highest bidder who needed front-end development done looking to increase shareholder profits through some form of online presence update. That wasn’t for me anymore.
- I started Facebook groups Future of Life Öresund and Stellarlust in hopes of establishing a network of passionate people looking to work towards the long term flourishing of life, and exploration and colonization of space respectively.
- I’ve attended a handful of events, hackathons focussed on solving real world problems, shaping the future such as Future City Game, Open Hack, Climathon, and so on.
- I’ve also organized a couple events such as the Nodebots Hackathon or DemoDag Ideon to draw out people who like to create and build things, to establish a network.
- Soon a podcast…
After having left off writing this post time and time again, trying to make a complete list, I realized you probably get the point. :)
So what about how? Activities I enjoy and have been good at revolve around being a generalist in all things tech, learning and knowledge sharing, software development, networking. This combines with strong will to want to contribute towards making sure that we, humans gain wisdom in using our ever more powerful technologies for the benefit of all. The kind of role I could imagine myself contribute towards would be a technologist at an organization with which my passion. Guess that would be my how.
Where does this take me? A potential lead from Mia Rolf at the above mentioned Ideon event is the Lund Moon Village initiative with Per Persson and ESA towards a Moon base by 2035–2040. What does a moon base have to do with anything? Quite a lot actually if you’ve been following the discussions on space colonization or minimizing the risks of extinction level events. In a nutshell, to ensure the survival of intelligent life, and we only know of a single planet carrying it thus far, we must spread it across the galaxy. To achieve this goal we first need a place for storage, a sort of harbor to continue from. Preferably one with resources for construction and fuel. The moon has plenty! There is aluminum, iron, titanium, quite possibly water too. I seriously hope Per will see potential in me to be able to contribute towards this goal.
At this point I also need your help! What other options do I have? Where else could I apply my how? Please let me know. What I may lack in skill, I can definitely make up for in passion, and as we know you can teach skills, but you cannot teach passion.