I have spent most of my adult life working in technology related fields. I guess that makes me what is called a “geek” these days. Personally I like the term “wonk” although most people don’t apply it to anything except politics. Being a technology wonk comes with the expectation that if something has an on/off switch I am supposed to know everything about it and be able to fix anything that goes wrong with it. At least that seems to be what my family thinks. The truth is that as with most things, the longer you spend learning about something, the more you realize how little you know about it.
Another truth about technology is summed up in this great quote from Arthur C Clarke:
Magic is wonderful and entertaining but what Clarke doesn’t say is that people and processes are required to create value with any technology. Just when you think you have a pretty good handle on a particular technology, you realize that actual people need to be involved to create any value. Those people are not necessarily interested in the “magic” that the technology creates, but the value that can be created through its practical application. As with any system there are processes that must be created or changed, people to be organized and educated, and yes a little technology to help things along. Ultimately the technology alone is pretty worthless.
I came to the conclusion a long time ago that if I was going to continue to work with technology I needed to also learn everything I could about business process management, organizational change, human relationships, communication and all things organizational development. Since that time I’ve been seeking out education (formal and informal) in these fields of study and approaching all technology projects with people and processes in mind. It didn’t take long to realize that these fields of study are far more complicated than technology and offered me endless intellectual challenges. After three decades of effort I still discover something new I do not know every day, and I like that. They say the journey is the reward, and I tend to agree. Learning is a big part of the journey.
This blog is yet another part of my journey to live, learn, and hopefully do some good in the world. People have been encouraging me for years to write down and share some of my experiences. I have always resisted the idea, feeling somehow unqualified to add value to the discourse. But, when I turned fifty years old, I decided I better get on with it.
So why call this blog “False Summits”? I originally thought I should call it “Point of No Return” given that I was about half way through my expected lifespan (I was having a brief moment of fatalism). Fortunately the domain name was already gone and I was forced to think deeper about what I wanted to write about. In the end I settled on “False Summits”; an analogy that describes that recurring experience of getting to a place where you think you have a pretty good handle on something only to find out that you actually have more to do to achieve your goal. More about this concept in my first post [here].
Please be patient with me as I learn how to do this. Better yet, help me with constructive feedback and by contributing to the discussion through comments. If I can get over my feelings of inadequacy to write something, so can you.
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