Month: October 2011

Innovation and the Gut

I read an interview earlier this week that discounted, well, derided, following your gut. For instance, she pointed out all that folks like Ted Bundy didn’t look threatening. Thus quantifiable reasoning is the only way one should make decisions. (This is oversimplified for the sake of space. I’ll post the link to the original when I find it.)

Oddly, people like Mr. Bundy are reasons I would cite to say trust your gut. There was no evidence he was dangerous until after he was caught. Same’s true for most criminals, even today. Nothing readily researchable until after an arrest.Yet many people felt there was something wrong with Mr. Bundy and kept their distance. I don’t know if it’s spiritual attunement to deeper truth or just your subconscious picking up on subtle clues, but I’ve found my gut to be right. And ignoring it comes at my peril.

Another thought with this: innovation. Innovative thought is, by definition, pushes past known bounds. Trusting your gut is requisite. Only deciding based on detailed analysis kills innovation.

Thus, I say trust your gut. It’s both aware of more, but also connected to the core, those deepest values. But learn to listen. Learn how our fears twist the voice, mess up the message. Then you’ll hold true wisdom.

Battling Insecurity

I’m sure you’ve heard the question, “what would you do if you won the lottery?” Or any of its many variants (“received a million bucks”, or the simple (heard at a Franklin/Covey seminar) “what would you do if you didn’t need to worry about income?”). These tools guiding you past fears and to your deeper values. A bit of insight shows me they miss a personal roadblock: insecurity.

Sure, I worry about money, or, rather, it’s lack. Which impacted my life/career choices. This nagging sense I should be doing something great pains me, pushes me. I have friends who have done mission work in Africa/Central America/Asia, have led teams in Fortune 500 companies, are globally sought out speakers, along with many other amazing things. All of this tweaks my underlying insecurity, this sense that I should be doing “more”. And that my “lacking’ in this area is due to some laziness, a lack of focus, or some other character malaise. I see the irrationality, and challenge it regularly. Yet, the influence is deep, and ancient. Roots so deep their origin uncertain.

Perhaps, then, my question, tool, to delve past these issues should be “what would I do if I didn’t need to prove anything?” If I root that out, my personal vision clarifies. Then, my goals visibile, leaving me to pursue them with focus and drive. What would that look like?

It’s quite profound, and will take time to work through. Imagining this gone, an underlying “voice” ever-present. Gone? This insecurity impacted each and every career decision I made, and adds tension to my current life. Imagining life without it challenges me deeply.

Sustainable Computing Systems

A few years back, I came up with a project that sounded fun: build a Linux system focused on older hardware. It pained me to see operational machines made non-functional simply due to software-side demands. Wasteful. Now, though, I’m not convinced of it’s practicality. Is the problem with the older machines simply due to OS creep, or could the OS expansion be due to user demand?

Most users have increased their demands on their machines. So many Internet apps, for instance, are video and image rich. An older machine, even with a lean OS, will still be taxed by the demands of Flash, et al. My goals would only be realized by refining all the apps, too. Then those those refinements would ripple back to the mainstream systems, giving them performance gains. Upon which new apps would be built utilizing the freed resources. Thus, everything would revert back to the previous state. Assuming, of course, that I was able to overcome such other challenges as security.

So, how do I look at my original goal, now? I’m refining my vision. My concern was waste. How do we maximize these obsolete systems? Perhaps we could look at a more basic level. Look at the computer as a series of pieces, then apply the cradle-to-cradle lifecycle approach. Perhaps dissembling the machines and returning those components to the manufacturing stream.

A truly sustainable economy has zero waste. Every item, at the end of it’s life becomes a building block for something new. That’s my underlying vision. The task is both simple and massive.