Saturday, March 17, 2007

Pitstop & Sanity Check At 30

I turned 30 last week. Aside the celebrations, I took this day as a milestone, and an opportunity for sanity checks. How happy am I with the course of life? In one word: happy. In two words: VERY happy.

Some say it's wrong to divide your life to periods of time, like decades. They say it makes the end visible. Others quote the Roman poet Horace: "carpe diem" ("seize the day"). I tend to take the road in the middle; summarize the past, plan the near future, and leave the rest to the unknown.
The most significant thing in summarizing my past, is what I have learned about myself. Today, I can answer some basic questions:
  1. Who am I? What is special about me? What characterizes me the most?
  2. What do I do best?
  3. What do I like doing most?
  4. What are my weaknesses?
  5. What are my top 3 ambitions in life?
As these questions seem trivial, getting to the truth was not easy for me. It was a long process of self investigation throughout the years. The idea was not to list long answers, but to find a single answer to each question. Unique enough to distinguish myself from the others, but general enough to catch all the correct answers. For example, my answer to question 2 (and the same to question 3) was "creating". I'm not sure that most of the people aged 30 (or even older), can answer these questions today with a true answer; not what THEY think is the answer, but the real answer that reflects reality.
Try answering these questions, and see if your answers reflect reality: take everything that you do best. Is your answer to question 2 the common ground for all of them? Think of all the things you do in your spare time. Is that your answer to question 3? In a job interview, when the interviewers asks you to tell about yourself. Will you answer what you answered to questions 1-4? Think of what you do most of your time - is that helping reaching your ambitions of question 5?

Food for thought.


Thursday, March 1, 2007

Yearning For the Yesterdays

Old memories bring tears to my eyes, as Michael Moritz shows a slide of the first wooden Apple computer, in Sequoia's "Israeli Internet Cocktail".
The event was not about networking nor about fundraising, at least not for me, at least not this time. Moritz, probably today's most appreciated high-tech investor in the world, brought up a slide of Steve Jobs as a QA engineer at 17, with Steve Wozniack, both inspecting some unknown tech thingy in Jobs' hands. Yes, there were some other slides from the old days, like the first Cisco router, the first Pong arcade machine, the "Archon" game box, and more, but this photo of the two enthusiastic techies was enough to get me all mushy.
Most of you probably bought your first computer in the late 1990's or later, but those of you who were the "geeks" in the 1980's can surely relate (I have no idea what it was like in the 1970's or earlier).
It was back then when you were walking among people, anxious to talk to someone about the new Sierra game (Frogger?), your new 20MB hard drive, or that you got a Boney-M song on a wav file. You wanted to talk to someone about how DOS is such a powerful operating system, that you got a 16 color monitor, your 2,400bps modem, or the new version of Norton Commander.
So many people, and none to share it with. You were a geek. You were speaking Chinese. You are something to keep distance from.
I yearn for those days. For the thrill that gave me the sound of my hard drive when I turned my computer on, the rush I got just by reading news about Keving Mitnick on some dark BBS, or by successfully running an assembly code segment that made the keyboard lights dance.
I yearn for the days when "computer people" were those who, like Jobs and Wozniack at 17, got a rush just from inspecting an unknown tech thingy.
And I bet I'm not the only one.

Have a happy Purim,