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Following an unknown path

October 8, 2007

path.gif  In fall of 1989, I found myself working for a small computer company, building and repairing white box PCs.  This was in the days where the Intel 33Mhz 386 processor was the state of the art, and many boards were still populated with row upon row of DIPP ram chips.  If you’ve ever debugged memory problems, plugging and unplugging, rebooting over and over as you tracked down which of 32 chips was bad, then you understand what it was to be a PC tech at the time.

I was in school but didn’t know what my future was going to be.   It was really foggy, and I was having trouble finding my way through my class work, with no idea what I was going to be doing in life.  My roomates talked incessantly about Mosiac, about Unix, and the Silicon Graphics, Data General, and Digital Equipment corp systems they were entrusted to administer.  The days were so vibrant.  Intuitively, I believed that this PC thing held some great potential for me, but I couldn’t yet see just what it was to be.   This was the first time I can remember that intuitive feeling guiding my direction.  

The years rolled by, and I grew up with that business and then branched out to start my own.  After a while, one of my clients put me onto a career with a preeminent PC manufacturer, and following some advice I took a position there.   Over the course of my career, I’d tell my dad about the things I was doing, and he would tell me that he could see a progression, that I was working less and less with things, and more and more with people, and eventually ideas.  I was, of course, too caught up in the details of whatever I was doing at the time to really understand the implications of his observations.  More years, and various positions later, I found myself in late 2005.  

I consulted on a strategy for how we should begin to monitor and make sense of blogs.    After a bit, I began to have a feeling, and an excitement that I hadn’t felt in almost 20 years.    I had long lost the passion for computer hardware and software – it was just work.  But now, the content, the information coming through in the form of social media held real promise of rekindled interest.  The volume and reach are nearly limitless.  What potential! What do you do with this?

I began to work at it, but there really isn’t formal training – it is experimentation and observation in real time.  How do you learn to split an atom?  You have to make up the process and test it while you are trying to follow it.   As recently as eight months ago, I thought achievement in this space came in the form of asking permission, of being appointed.   I sought out a meeting and wanted to discuss career opportunities, but true leadership doesn’t work that way.  As I look back, I realize what has transpired in those eight months.  It isn’t coming from a presentation, and permission from formal sanction.   It’s from passion and conviction in the opportunities that one can manifest.  This media is what you make it.   It is unique in that regard.  Self fulfilling in much the same way that financial markets react upon news.  If the pundits say all is well – then investors have confidence and the markets rise.  

I still don’t know where this new path leads, but I’ve come far enough along it to recognize it as a path.    It is not a destination to be sought out, but a direction, a vector to pursue.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 9, 2007 12:01 pm

    I often struggle with thinking I need permission, too, only to realize I’ll never receive it – it’s not gonna just fall out of the sky. Great post – I can definitely relate.

  2. October 9, 2007 6:53 pm

    “Too caught up in the details” – ain’t it the truth.

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