Figuring out How to Steer

I’ve had many friends fill out and share my changemaker survey (there’s still time, so you can too), and it’s spurred some interesting discussions (which was largely the point). My friend, Joe Blaylock, shared the survey on his Facebook wall, and in the ensuing discussion, he ended up describing what I do as follows:

Institutions like governments and churches and corporations are created to get work done that individuals alone can’t achieve. Otherwise, why bother with them in the first place? There are lots of times when the quickest way to make things better isn’t to start another (tiny, powerless) organization, but to steer one of these great, ponderous ships to which you have access. If only you can find the wheel. A lot of Eugene’s work is about helping people figure out how to steer.

Trying to describe what I do to others is an ongoing challenge for me. I really love Joe’s metaphor, which feels both accurate and clear. Thanks, Joe!

Stopover in Bloomington

On my way from Fort Wright to St. Louis, I stopped over in Bloomington to have lunch with Chris Dent and some of his colleagues, Joe Blaylock, Kevin Bohan, and Matthew O’Connor. Matthew is one of The Canonical Hackers.    (1YQ)

Lunch conversation was good — spent two hours longer than I had planned. I especially enjoyed meeting Matthew, as well as Paul Visscher and Jason Cook a few nights earlier. You can gather a surprising amount from interacting with folks via email alone, but it’s still only a partial picture. It was good to finally meet these guys in person, and to get a sense of their personalities and passions.    (1YR)

Arrived at Scott Foehner‘s place in St. Louis at around 8:30pm. Had dinner on The Hill at an Italian restaurant called Via’s, then went to Milo’s, a neighborhood bar, for drinks. I was surprised to learn that folks in St. Louis brew beers other than Budweiser. Had a Schlafly’s there, which was very good.    (1YS)