January 18th, 2001


Too driven...

I really should avoid posts about LJ business in my journal, but it has really preoccupied my life lately.

I like LJ and the stuff I have done (and have urged Brad to do) has made a big difference for the better with the site... and especially with Brad's vision of what the site can be... but I don't want to be just that, you know?

The last week has been really long and involved... I never expected Brad to mention my mini-manifesto in news, and I never ever expected all the feedback and volunteers that I got. It really helped, but it left me feeling overwhelmed on one extreme and addicted on the other. I felt like I needed to really get moving to find a way to use all the new offers of assistance before they vanished into the blue.

A lot has happened in the course of a few days. Hopefully I can count on all the new volunteers to work the issues and get things done... meanwhile, I think I need to recharge my batteries. Sometimes, I care about things too much, until they preoccupy my life and start to become a burden. It gets a helluva lot done admittedly, but it's not sustainable all the time.

Brad and I seem to be a lot alike in this case... he hates school... and I hate work. Not that I really truly hate what I do or who I do it for (or the pay...), but it makes me wake up early in the morning and forces me to do things at times that aren't convenient for me. I would much rather have a chance to do my LJ stuff at home in a relaxed state, rather than having to do the 9-5 and squeeze in LJ every chance I get, never being relaxed, never getting enough rest or exercise, and basically functioning like a zombie at work... I'm sorely tempted to let this contract run out (despite the fact that I could get pre-IPO stock if I went permanent) and then go on unemployment, spending all my time taking care of LJ and finding people interested in buying/using what we've created. Maybe by the time my unemployment ran out, LJ would be able to pay me some kind of salary.

Damn. I need another vacation already!

On ideas.

I replied to Colin earlier on the subject of ideas, and I think I developed some simple truths regarding the process of creating ideas that are worth repeating.

Ideas are important. They not only change things, but they change people, and, as a result, the entire world. For this reason, it is pretty important to have good ones, since the results of the ideas (and ideals) that you have and espouse in life will ultimately be what you leave the world with.

My ideas usually revolve around a few basic tenets:
- Be cool but not arrogant.
- Be realistic.
- Be idealistic.
- Empower others.

Yeah, I know the realistic and idealistic kinda conflict, but I'm both. I'm a realistic idealist.

I think there are plenty of things out there that don't work. They usually don't work for very good reasons. The hardest thing about fixing things is usually not the work... or even the planning. It is usually building a consensus. Fortunately, I usually don't have to bother doing so if my idea is cool but not arrogant, realistic but idealistic, and empowering. If you create ideas that are all of the above, you are well on your way to creating a better idea.

Ideas are Darwinian... all good ideas should be empowering, because empowerment is what really makes an idea spread. A good idea is like a virus. It will attack much larger entities, infecting them, changing them, and hopefully destroying everything about them that is holding people back from the next big idea.

So, if ideas are by their very nature progressive, why is it that the earth is arguably more screwed up than it was in the past? It has a lot to do with the creation of ideas. Like evolution bringing forth entirely new categories of creatures, the ideas we have created have brought forth a slew of new ideas, running around, creating chaos, and generally leading to chaos. Koyaanisqatsi. Life out of balance...

Can we reign in all these errant ideas before they bring about our destruction? I believe so... but we will need to create ideas to reduce the damage that uncontrolled exponential growth of ideas cause... we'll also need ideas on how to make other ideas more manageable.

Don't leave things to corporations and politicians... corporations are primarily interested in short-term returns to investors (i.e. Making money, now.) while politicians are often merely the representatives of the corporations. Maybe the solution is to undermine the powers that be through something akin to open source development. What if distributed open source development methods could design cars that use half the amount of gasoline... or more efficient, longer lasting light bulbs... or affordable, renewable sources of energy... all those things that governments give companies money to develop. Shouldn't it be obvious by now that giving companies money to develop methods of making themselves less profitable will never work? It's like giving tobacco companies money to make cigarettes less addictive... in short, it's a payoff and nothing more.

One day, when open source developers of software have made a lot of money, I hope they will consider using that wealth to open source industry. It's hard to move ahead when we're saddled with so much of the useless, outdated baggage of the Industrial Age.