March 2012 Archives — Broken Links Archive

Moving on — my plans for the future

I’ve decided it’s time for a change professionally, so I’m moving on from Top10.com at the end of the week. It was a tough decision to make because there’s a lot of really cool and exciting things coming up in their future, but my problem is that between my salaried work and my extra-curricular work, my spare time is far more occupied than I’d like it to be. I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the two has to be chosen, and working for myself comes out ahead.

In the short term I’m going take a few weeks off, and then start writing my second book (I haven’t actually signed the contract for it yet, but it’s been given the go-ahead by my publisher). I’m also working as technical editor for Chris Mills’ book, so the plan is for the money from this and other writing to support me for a bit. I’m talking at more events this year, and the extra time I get will allow me to focus on getting better at that.

Longer term I’m in very early stage planning to put together a co-operative with some friends where we can put our considerable experience to use making interesting and exciting things. That’s about as defined as we are at the moment.

Depending on how long the co-op takes to get off the ground I may be doing some freelance work later in the year, and I’m always open to hearing offers about talks, writing and consultancy, so feel free to get in touch with me about that or any other opportunity you think I might be interested in. Or just get in touch for a chat, as it’s going to be pretty lonely working by myself for the next few months!

I wish the best of luck to everyone at Top10.com, and I’m very excited and apprehensive about being unemployed for the first time since I left school!


Those who forget the past…

There are many who believe that the internet will make us stupid, so it may come as a relief to know that some 2,400 years ago Socrates believed* that the same would happen because of the new art of writing:

This invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom.

And misunderstanding the capabilities of computers is not a recent invention either; in the mid-19th Century the mathematician Charles Babbage, theoretical inventor of the first mechanical computer, complained:

On two occasions I have been asked, — “Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?” I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.

I found both of these quotes in James Gleick’s The Information, which despite my being only four chapters in, and the fact that it’s only March, is a candidate for book of the year.

* According to Plato.


Aside

I’ve updated my Speaking page to include more conferences, more videos, and a little on my speaking requirements and preferences. I’m planning to cut down on the number of talks I give in 2014 (twelve is too many), but am always open to interesting offers and opportunities, so please get in touch if you’re organising an event.

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