Barefoot Running on the Treadmill
Faster man faster! (Photo credit: LToTheYnn)

Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.

~ Bre Prettis (Cult of Done Manifesto)

I have this terrifically frustrating habit — I always want things to be entirely cleaned up and done well. I’m unusually satisfied when I believe I’ve completed something well, cleaning a room is one of the tasks that works best for me. However, finishing a contract that I’m pleased with the outcome of is just as satisfying.

This trait comes out in negative ways as well.

I hate seeing food in the cupboards. It just seems to be taking up room and you can’t just clean the cupboards with it there. So, when I get frustrated with my lack of progress elsewhere, I find myself either eating food or throwing out food which has gone bad from the fridge simply because it is there. It took me a long time to figure this strange habit out, and it really actually explains the swings I have in weight. When I’m getting a lot done, my weight goes down dramatically, when I find myself struggling to get things done, it goes up. I don’t have an eating problem as much as a ‘need to feel like I’m accomplishing something’ problem.

In other circumstances, it has taken away from the joy I see everyone else have at large pomp and circumstance celebrations. To be honest, the day I graduated from Waterloo was probably one of the more sad days I can remember. Not because I didn’t feel proud that I made it, but rather because I didn’t feel like I had completed everything I wanted to. There were still courses in the C&O program I wanted to take, there was still things left to be learned.

I was successful because I had accomplished what was needed to pass. That wasn’t what was driving me though. I wanted to collect all the credits, I wanted to get much higher marks than I got. I didn’t feel like I’d done what I’d come to do. Sadly, I didn’t feel that accomplished.

This has also combined with another personality trait of mine which Ze Frank calls the FILDI (F*ck it, let’s do it.) In general, I cannot stand waiting on the sidelines of anything. If I see a book in a field of science or theology, I generally want to read it – no filter, I mean anything. I’ve read advanced books in post modern political science and books on how to write comedy for children. I bought them and read them in the hopes that I would have some interesting thought that I could expand upon and create something actually new, interesting or helpful. 

I will note that people who recognized this habit in me have abused my friendship around it. Thankfully, over time I’ve recognized those people quicker and I address the matter much sooner than I used to.

I always reflect that perhaps in an earlier age, this could have been a really amazingly useful trait. At one point it was actually possible for a person to know a significant majority of human knowledge. With that, there was the possibility I could have a new and unique thought that pushed forward the boundaries of our knowledge, or created a new machine that improved all of our lives.

Yet, this FILDI combined with the “Complete all the things!” is more of a curse in the modern age. As anyone who has tried to be a renaissance man will tell you though, a jack of all trades is a master of none and you succeed in modern society by drilling down in one subject and being indispensable for that one topic. Something, I’ve tried to do, but haven’t fully succeeded. I get too distracted by too many subjects to get deep enough to create. At least, I always feel when I have a unique idea I quickly discover someone else has beat me to it. How do you find out if an idea has already been discovered, you read books and papers, and then you hit this frustrating realization: There is not enough time.

One day I stared at my massive library and worked out that to read everything in the library at the rate of 1 book per week would require four lifetimes and that would miss the entire point of why I owned a lot of the books. I also deduced that on average most books drove me to wanting to read more primary source material, so regardless of what I did, I always ended up behind.

I bought them because I wanted to create, not because I wanted to absorb. I wanted them to know what was at the edge of their fields so I could, in theory, create something new and interesting. Instead I kept on jumping onto the Red Queen’s treadmill. I had to run as fast as I could to stand still.

I haven’t honestly found a way around this habit. However, I recognize it, and I work on it by targeting specific tasks and trying to throw out ones that I acknowledge I cannot complete successfully.  This has involved me throwing out entire baseball card collections, large chunks of my library, and old blogs (anyone remember 1337hax0r?). I would stop when I eventually realized the goals I desired behind them were simply not achievable with the effort/capital/support I had available to put into them.

What to do next? Well, at least now I know my order of things in importance. Something that was forced on me in stark terms recently. As I try to follow it, with God’s help, I’ll figure out some balance.

Perhaps, just perhaps, I’ll get something big completed in the fashion I want.

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Enter title here

One day (year) more…

So, 2012 has passed and 2013 is here.

Exciting times to be had by all. Last year much happened in my life, I got married, my wonderful team at Panda Robotics finished the Pandabot Alpha and we incorporated, Panda Rose grew a little (Hello Steve!), and I found out that I will soon be a father. Lots of great fantastic news, and sadly, also it’s share of bad news.

But that’s all passed, and like any stuff that has been used up it’s time to toss it down the chute.

Garbage Chute
Down the chute we go!

2013 will be exciting, not just for Panda Robotics (Beta and release coming!) and Panda Rose (immix on the Raspberry Pi looks like a go and immix api-keys are in place and almost ready for general release), but for my family and life in general.

I know that with God’s guidance and a lot of hard work from my friends, coworkers and family, this will be a great year for everyone, regardless of what happens.

God bless, and good luck!

KJR

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Late night ponderings (madness?)

Life is a fascinating thing. It could all very well be stochastic and random, but our minds work so hard to make meaning out of it and to tease out what could only be called a story that there are times when you reflect on the good and the bad and you simply find it impossible to believe there isn’t some purpose or meaning to it.

Some of the best parts and moments of my life happened very shortly after I received deep and painful disappointment at the hands of others, or at my own failure to execute what I believes in. Even now, I regularly am in fear that while I work my best on the projects I truly believe will change the world for the better that I will fail. Sometimes the trolls and the nay-sayers and the pessimists do get the best of me and I worry that the effort is for naught.

However, even if I do fail, or stop, or simply change course, I usually find out that the end product is superior than anything I originally dreamed it would be. Almost as if my dreams aren’t capable enough of putting the pieces together as well as they could eventually turn out. Sure, i’m not a billionaire with my own private plane to Mars like I drew pictures of when I was a child, but I’ve had some adventures I’d never have believed I’d have.

Three things are going on in my life that inspire me everyday and keep me moving.

First and foremost… I’m going to be a daddy… Not much more I can say to how awesome that is. Either  you understand it, and I don’t need to say anything, or you don’t understand it and there’s nothing I could say to explain it to you.

For this, I study my French and German. I’m working on my ability to draw. I’m studying the “art of manliness” and practising my ability to read bedtime stories. I can’t even wait to get her out to the baseball field and play a game of catch (or him… we really don’t know yet.) I don’t know if I’ll be a good father, but I know that the idea of it inspires me to work even harder every day.

I am a co-founder of an amazing company (Panda Robotics) with an amazing product that impresses me every day as we improve it and add more and more capacity with the capital we do have. Liav, Felix, and everyone else always amazes me at how they can work with me to squeeze out of every moment, every dime, every item that little bit more to create a product that just… Well, you have to talk to people who’ve seen it in person. It’s just that impressive.

Yes, I dream bigger, and I pray at times that God (or the Universe, or *insert your diety here*) will come through and let Felix, Liav and I take this to the level it really could be brought to, and from that dream and wish I work hard every day to try and make it come true. You see, I really believe that 3d printing is going to change everything, it’s only a matter of building it and getting the next generation learning it young. Just like all of us grew up with Apple IIs and created this revolution. The moment Pandabots (or something similar) are in schools and homes with children learning how to create 3d objects young, that will be the moment that the 15 year clock to the real next industrial revolution will start.

However, I must say that seeing Liav come up with innovative ways to make 3d printing accessible, or seeing Felix’s enthusiasm shine through when he’s working on the business with me. There’s not much more you can ask as a co-founder.

Finally, there’s Panda Rose, my company I started a few years back with some of the most creative programmers I know, and our software immix. Every day I learn about new features that Stefen has implemented, or adjustments to the basic framework that make it so much easier to wire everything together in this beautiful holistic framework. Some of the new stuff coming down the pipeline changes everything. It truly turns immix into a framework for the internet of things.

I’m always proud to see the work that JF does for our clients ensuring that their every need is met, even if they aren’t 100% sure of their needs in the first place. It excites me to know that Steve is making sure that the product won’t just be accessible, but will be fully internationalized so people of every language will be able to use it effectively.

There’s also Becky, who keeps me sane and happy at the office, even while she reminds me that I need to put more pressure on my clients to ensure the A/R doesn’t keep on growing without converting into CoH. She’s the reason I’ve been able to concentrate on what I do best, and hopefully building a few of these dreams into reality.

Yes, it’s stressful, and yes, there are days that I just don’t know what to do, and yes, even sometimes I wish some of my clients understood how much I really do care about what I do for them. Yet, I know that I do my utmost best, my team is amazing, and that Panda Rose is the epitome of the phrase, “We don’t know what impossible even means.” We all dream big, so our clients can dream even bigger. It’s wildly fun.

In the end though, it all seems to be building to something, and this is going to be an exciting ride.

Have a great night everyone, and I hope this week will be the start of something even more amazing.

KJR

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