If this is your first time here, you've probably noticed things are a mess. This is because I have a bias towards action. I believe in first pursuing opportunities to make things possible before focusing on making things better. This is one of my principles. Here are a few more.
Like many explorers, I struggle to find a balance between discovering new things and documenting my progress. I have come to terms that my life is finite and that my learnings ultimately only matter in two contexts. One, as ingredients which enable me to produce outputs, such as services. Two as ingredients which allow others to produce such outputs. Given that statistically I should only expect to live to 75 or so, I posit that a great deal of leverage lies in empowering others to work effectively towards shared goals. This, amplifying others, is another of my principles.
It should be noted that I'm very privileged. I have time to think whenever I want. While there are many forces which could and do control me, I rarely experience these forces preventing me from exercising the personal freedoms I value.
I wish everyone was in such a privileged position as to exercise these freedoms. I don't expect they will use their time as I do. Nor is it my goal that they should share the same sense of urgency or definitions of imperative that I do. I just want them to have the freedom to lead an examined life.
But ~71% of the world -- i.e. the majority -- are not in the same boat. It bothers me when people who want to accomplish good hit obstacles which prevent them from reaching their full potential. We, as a society, leave a lot on the table when we leave people behind and I believe the world is worse off because of this. If I am going to be honest with myself, I must recognize this will be a challenging inequality to remedy because I must acknowledge others have valid opinions which are consistent with their principles, even if I don't find these agreeable.
Still, there are many ways to make a difference, of making lasting impact. Every Friday, I wear a personalized shirt (inspired by a friend, Sai), which advertises topics about I'm interested in speaking. One of them in 10,000 year impact. I believe its important to leave the world better than I found it. To maximize my impact to help others reach their full potential and to minimize obstacles in their way. I am inspired by Euclid's Elements, a work which shaped mathematics and geometry for 2,000 years. I don't have a specific desire to be famous or remembers; I'm simply trying to avoid doing ephemeral work. Work which will dissapear and not build toward a platform to amplify the efforts of others. For instance, a python script may go stale and the python language may cease to be relevant in 50 years, but a contribution to math can compound and enjoy re-integration and application for hundreds if not thousands of years to come.
The purpose of this website is to force myself to think through hard questions like, "If I were to die tomorrow, how would people navigate and continue my work? Would they? How many?". Am I working on the right things? What types of things should one work on? Do I have the right to be happy? To what extent should access to information and networks be a human right? What is the greatest leverage that I have to enact positive change?
In this intro I aim to address or route you to answers to the following:
Who am I?
Who inspires me?
The world I dream of
What are my principles?
What do I want from you?
What are the most important things I've learned in life?
What protocols do I follow?
What happens after I'm gone?
Principles are the lenses through which I view and evaluate the world. They help keep me aligned and accountable, so that my efforts remain defensible and may compound. I encourage you to view Life Learnings & Agreeable Principles for a more hollistic overview of my principles and values. Even as I write this, I feel bad that I do not put these all in one place. But there are other things I must say and make possible before making this easier.
- Make things possible -- Don't let, "Perfect is the enemy of the good" -- François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire). Work on unique opportunities others may not see or get.
- Be a champion for others -- Do work which benefits others. Spend time activating and aplifying people. I should write an essay on my experiences with CSSA, Archive Labs, Open Journal Foundation, Open Library, and Imperativ.es, and why these efforts have worked. re: Gaudi and sagrada familia. Be willing to take a back seat and selflessly help others achieve victories on the things you believe in.
- Choose the right battles
- Be prepared and self-reliant. Here's a list of gear I frequently carry. I try not to own so many things that they become a liability. "Fortune favors the prepared mind" -- Louis Pasteur
Who inspired me?
This is a book within itself, but given I believe foremost in a bias toward action and making things possible, I'll start with the list in fill in the gaps as time permits.
- Aaron Swartz
- Vannevar Bush and the memex (see essay: As We May Think)
- Paul Otlet
- Brewster Kahle
- Jason Scott
The World I Dream of
To be continued