Wednesday, February 01, 2006


A goal of service to humankind

I believe I have a personal responsibility to make a positive impact on society. I've tried to accomplish this goal by choosing a life that allows me to focus in on what I am of the belief that I do well. I moonlight as an architect for a Fortune 500 enterprise but in all reality, my real profession is in finding the chaordic balance between chaos and control. I consider my job a gift. It allows me to try and help alleviate the suffering of humankind.

I have three guiding principles that anchor my life, and I think about them every day.

First, I have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Knowledge goes hand-in-hand with truth -- something I learned with a bit of tough love from my parents. Many folks consider education from an institute of higher learning as important but in all reality while they have received a piece of paper didnt really learn anything. I have attended several institutions of higher learning but have found that while an education is important, learning how to learn is more important. I consider myself a perpetual student. You seek and learn every day: from an experiment in the lab of life, from reading a scientific journal, from raising two children and so on. Because of this, I rarely get bored.

Second, I believe in striving for excellence. I sweat the big and the small stuff! I do not apologize for this. One of the by-products of being a perfectionist and constantly trying to improve myself are sobering feelings of low-grade anxiety and a nagging sense of inadequacy. But this is not anxiety without a purpose. No, this anxiety keeps me humble. It creates a healthy tension that serves as the catalyst that drives me to fulfill my limited potential.

Third, I believe that my most important goal is to serve humankind. The agile manifesto notes that it is not only important to figure out better ways of building valuable software but in teaching others to do the same. Since software is replacing humans by leaps and bounds, it is important to inject the notion of ethics into it and the folks who create it. Technology can be used for evil and cause the loss of jobs which can result in a downward spiral of our society. Likewise, technology can be used for good where it empowers all, displaces none and raises all of our capabilities to levels never seen before.

As yourself, is the practice of enterprise architecture not really about the business / IT alignment but about something even bigger and more important? If we take all of the current initiatives that are happening in technology to their logical conclusion are we creating a catastrophe waiting to happen? I am committed to confronting the enormity of this global catastrophe and its potential for even greater devastation. The folks over at Google have always publicly stated that they will not take actions that are evil. Should architects everywhere embrace this notion? Should we think about how folks in poor countries will think about topics such as Service Oriented Architectures and Identity Management? Do they even have an identity that we would be willing to consume?

Failure to contain it cannot be an option. I believe that to be even marginally successful in working to contain this terrible disease of moderated conversations, I must be guided by principle-based thinking. I must continually thirst for knowledge, accept nothing short of excellence and know that the good of the global society is more important and larger than I am...

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