On Tuesday, I gave a talk at the inaugural Software as Craft meetup on why being a craftsman matters to me, or more so, why identifying as a person who makes things helps me not go nuts. My friend Mike filmed it, so there may be a video (there was some air conditioning noise, so TBD). Here is an excellent photo he took, and I’m super proud that I hold a microphone like a pro:
This was a rehash of a talk I gave at FRED in 2013 when I basically used it as a performance art piece (after I was invited to talk, fwiw) to deal with my dad being sick. He had an 85% chance of being perfectly fine at the end of treatment, but of course, all I could hear at the time is the 15% that he wouldn’t be, because math. It really messed with me, and made me lash out at people (at the time) who didn’t deserve it, and maybe (probably) they never knew why.
As for dad, he’s doing fantastic now. (Math?)
The essence of the talk is that by being someone who makes things, I feel a lot more grounded because I can “show” my work. I grew up understanding that my dad made things, and he’s such a creative, curious, and fantastically strange man, and I can only hope to aspire to such quirkiness. It’s why I work on the web and not in a scourgy Java factory or whatever they are, people who write software but hate fun and eat lunch at their desks and never stop and draw pictures and would never invent foot golf.
There’s a wrinkling, yellowing comic on my wall that says “I’ll never forget that one night I drank too much and woke up with a job in sales.”
Doing creative things as my main thing that I do for money and health insurance (what one might call their “day” “job”) keeps me grounded, which is why I drive myself a little more nuts sometimes figuring out how to balance my love of business for my love of creative work (over time, I’ll work out a way to balance them both, I’m sure). I do so many other things besides making (writing, speaking, podcasting, teaching), most in the service of sharing what I do with others, so that they can make themselves … and they seem to like it. So, I guess I’ll keep going?