Rediscovering the Obvious

…stumbling in the footsteps of greatness

Who am I?

without comments

My personal biography [1] bothers me. Each time I needed to update it, I found myself disliking it more and more, putting off the edits. I dreaded it the same way I dreaded updating my resume. Maybe it’s because they were the same document, presented slightly differently. Introduce my name, present what I’m good at, provide a bit of experience to prove it. Make sure I use all the right keywords. Sell myself.

Enough of that.

I’ve decided it’s time for my bio to tell people who I am. [2] Tell them what I’m passionate about. Give them a fair chance at engaging me in an interesting conversation that’s not about agile, or about the latest technology. Here’s my draft, what do you think? [3]

My life is learning, applying, and teaching.

I am a broad generalist who loves watching my team surpass me. I am a creative technologist specializing in the brilliance of others. I apply new technologies quickly and effectively while planting the seeds of world changing applications in others. I passionately _do_, yet I live to enable.

I am a pathfinder. I contribute on technical teams by seeking new approaches to accomplish our goals, and then amplify by helping my entire team gain the same capabilities. I explore ways to work faster and more effectively, and then I engage those around me in learning and expanding those methods. I passionately learn and improve myself, and then I joyously share the learning moments of my peers. My work, my love, my passion, and my career are in the people; the technology is just a context in which I work.

The context changes often, highlighting how similar the people and the desires of those people are across contexts. My peers as a C++ & .NET developer led me to technical leadership and imparting a systemic perception to the people I’m with. My teams during architecture and project leadership roles inspired a need for broader, more abstract communication and guidance. Working in a large consultancy enabled a split in the nature of my sharing and behavior as I coach both client teams and inspire change within my organization. This continual shift across layers exposed me to a number of risk environments, regulatory frameworks, process environments, management structures, technical platforms, and architectural approaches. These differences offer challenges even as they teach me how to see the consistent patterns within our industries.

Hence, my strengths: I learn, and I teach.

Thank you.

[1] My wife just pointed out a brilliant observation: why do we tend to call it a personal biography, when it’s almost always an autobiography?

[2] I recently found myself describing my current project. After doing what essentially amounted to a technology and market brief I realized (and was challenged on) how empty-sounding that was to somebody who wasn’t involved with the value. With a moment’s reflection I was able to express my work in terms of the child-like joy of the first snowflakes experienced by a team member fresh from India, the rekindled passion in the eyes of an experienced, cynical senior engineer due to the new approaches and technologies, the transformation from “resource (aka machine)” to “person” made by a team member, the appreciation in a peer’s voice when I transformed his need to write a multiple-page requirements document to an agreement with the client to share two bullet points and two photos of the whiteboard instead. This is the work I do, the technology is just context.

[3] I’d like to thank the individuals who provided their thoughts and opinions on the early drafts of this. Several of the better turns of phrase are due to their time and energy.

Written by erwilleke

February 7th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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