Saturday, May 12, 2012

Who the Heck Do I Think I Am?

I am so sorry.  Where are my manners?

I have completely neglected to introduce myself.  Here I am asking to be part of the conversation, asking you to come on a mental journey with me, and I haven't even told you why I think I matter, or why I think we should dialogue.

I think I'm just like you.  Or somewhat like you.  Or like you in some ways and unlike you in others.  I guess that's part of what we're here to find out, isn't it?

First and foremost, I'm a family man.  I have a couple beautiful children and a lovely wife that I live with in suburban Chicagoland.

Second, I'm currently working as a technologist.  My official title is Lead Architect, but I consider myself a developer and coder, a team leader and educator, a mentor and a manager.  I really enjoy coding and talking about coding with others, but I sometimes feel these opportunities are somewhat limited.  That's part of reaching out to the community for more discussion.

More specifically than that, I'm a corporate technologist.  That means I work within the boundaries of a formalized IT organization within a business whose main source of income is decidedly not technology.  That means I'm in a cost center, and I typically feel the pinch of those boundaries. This is something that I plan to write about a lot in the future, as I feel that there is not enough discussion about these situation, and my intent is to speak up and to listen to what you have to say, too.

I am an avid student of how businesses work, and making them work better.  I love knowing what motivates people (and am a big fan of Daniel Pink's Drive).  I want to know how to build a better business, and was invigorated to see a talk this year at Codemash by Bruce Eckel, in which he describes his initiative at Reinventing Business.  This kind of work fascinates me.

Being a corporate technologist, I also find myself being a Software Archaeologist.  In fact, I like the title so much I had mugs and business cards made to that effect.  You can also see my shingle up at  Refer to the other post for a detailed description of what that means to me.

I'm also a technical book reviewer. Since I have long been a lurker, yet loved reading about technology, I have been reviewing books in the Pearson publishing family for over ten years now.  It provides me with divergent educational little side-topics that keep my interest in things high.  I've been a frequent reviewer for Thomas Erl, for example, especially in the SOA books series.  While I don't consider it part of my persona, I did a stint as a podcaster for the On SOA series (specifically for the Contract/Versioning book).  I love these kind of side gigs, and they really keep my technology hunger up.

I believe in making my community better.  That's why I'm volunteering on the staff for That Conference, a summer camp for geeks in which we'll be having 125 sessions in 3 days about web, mobile, and cloud.  I can't wait for this one.  At this time of this writing, tickets go on sale less than a week from today.

Whether I like to think of myself this way or not, I'm a blogger.  I wrote two blogs years ago detailing some of the early adventures of each of my two children.  Best baby book ever, IMO.  And now this one.  See them all at my home page.  They're all linked there.

On the non-professional, but no less important, side, I'm a home-brewer.  Card carrying member of the American Homebrewer's Association.  I wasn't much of a beer-drinker until I tried to make it.  Now, I brew on a regular basis.  I love to make the darker and heavier beers.  Porters, stouts, belgians, bocks, and any kind of flavored beer.  Orange Creamsicle Ale is what's in my fermenter at the time of this writing.

I never would have believed you if you told me ten years ago that I'd ever run a mile again in my life.  A few short years later, and I've put a few 5K runs to bed, and I'm working up to a 10K.  Since I run about three times a week now, for almost an hour at a pop, I guess I am also a runner.

I'm also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Paramount Theater in Aurora, IL.  This historic theater is a pretty amazing venue in the suburbs, and they are producing four broadway shows a year now, and they are most excellent.  Buy tickets now for next year's season!

I am also currently functioning as the Assistant Cubmaster and Webelos II Assistant Den Leader for Gamble's cub scout pack.  I helped start and very much enjoy our new hiking program, called the Trailblazers, and I enjoy both learning and teaching these valuable life skills.  The scouts is an excellent program of discipline and practical skills.  I recommend it for all boys.

Funny, when I began writing this post, I thought it would be much shorter.  But these are my passions for now.  They will change, and you'll probably hear about them.  Because that's just who the heck I think I am.

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