Good Luck Dear Friends

By Mike / On / In Personal

I was thinking about my friend John Wilker today. According to my calendar, it’s his birthday, and I wanted to wish him a happy birthday, but I wanted to do it by talking about him, which got me thinking about some other people I wanted to talk about.

John Wilker and his wife Nicole organize the 360 conferences at which I am a frequent speaker. They’re great conferences run by really nice people. There are people who are genuine in their dedication to community and colleagueship, and there are people who are capable of running a successful conference, year after year. John and Nicole are that rare combination that manage to do both, and I really admire that about them.

Klaas Speller has been my right-hand man through the creation and running of Appsterdam, into the New Lemurs, and the ambisonics project besides. I’ve recently nominated him for the Europioneer award, on the principle that his entrepreneurship is exemplary in that, in pursuing his dreams, he has enabled other entrepreneurs to achieve theirs.

Guy English and Chris Parrish are two old friends from when I was coming up, back in the Mac days. I mention them together because they’ve been working on a new app together, Napkin, which looks to be indispensable. These are two of about a handful of people without whom I would simply not have my career. They have shown me the value of colleagueship, and friendship.

Mike Lowdermilk I’ve saved for last because he, more than any other, reminds me that I don’t deserve the friends I have. He’s shown me nothing but kindness and generosity, and why? He doesn’t need anything from me. He’s an absolute hardware genius who impresses the hell out of me. I call him Hardware Mike, the implication being that he makes hardware like I make software.

I should be so lucky. I’m so selfish, it makes me sad that he’s a new dad and has to get a real job in California instead of hanging out in Amsterdam with me. Because I’d love to hire him. It’s my dream to work on a project with Hardware Mike. The frustrating thing is, he’s available and I have a hardware project, but no. He’s an adult. He makes his own people. They need him in California.

I used to think that when people treated me well, it was because of some innate goodness that made me worthy of their esteem. I’ve come to realize that the magic is not in me, but in people like these. They are the ones who are good, while I am the one who is lucky. Moreover, I should be paying that forward, which I suck at.

It’s true. I suck at friendship. For example, John’s birthday is on the 13th. Hell, I suck at all kinds of social interaction. Maybe you can all help me suck a little bit less. Help Hardware Mike find a job. Try Guy and Chris’ app. Vote for Klaas. Wish John a happy birthday (preferably on his actual birthday). And hey, I’m sure you have your own people to think about today.

Side Rant: Other People

By Mike / On / In Meta

I’ve been blogging a long time. Longer than the word “blog” has existed. Back then it was just my web journal, and since I was talking about my private life in a public way, and that wasn’t something that had really been done before, I adopted a strict policy of never mentioning other people except in an indirect, anonymized way.

Later on I found myself involved in a lot of secret stuff where people didn’t necessarily want to be named. This is one of those platform things since back in Mac days. Some random Apple employee might see fit to do you a favor, but you’re not doing them any favors by calling attention to it, or them. I extended that courtesy to everyone I worked with.

That got me in a lot of trouble, though. I’d write about projects in a general way, not mentioning the team members or their roles, figuring they’d write in their own blogs if they cared. People started accusing me of stealing credit, or of thinking I was a one man shop, two ideas that were so absurd to me, I failed to even take them seriously until the damage was done.

So, sometimes, when I feel a bit of emotion toward one of my friends or colleagues, I’ll write a little bit about them. I never warn them about this stuff or run things by them. That’s another one of my little blogger’s quirks that might also be annoying, but it does come out of love.