Whenever I head off on a car trip of over 30 minutes, without my children or wife in the car, I call Ed. The longer the car trip the better because every conversation is too short.
Ed is the kind of guy who, in the same discussion, says things like, “You know I think the guys doing the mac interfaces did the COM ones because the interfaces are really similar” and “You know in the Bhagavad Gita where it talks about fearlessness and choosing a path?” I hang up the phone thinking how lucky I am to have the friends I have.
During one of our discussions I was struggling with my need to come up with a business plan, and learning what Ed was up to, and thinking/talking a lot about Shirt Pocket Software and how, if I was a programmer, I would love to open up a one person shop making truly great products that fit a need well enough to earn me a decent living.
Ed said he was spending a LOT of time learning to code on the mac, and when he described the process, I became intrigued. This was low level stuff – stuff which to my eye had little clear payoff. This was learning for no reason beyond the joy of learning. It clearly had him jazzed though and since he is Smart and Wise, and since I am trying to figure out my path, I asked something like, “What is the end game – do you have something in mind you want to build? What is your motivation?”
Ed said something like, “No, if I try doing that, it is never successful. When confronted with several options I just try to follow the quality path – that inevitably leads to a good outcome.”
That discussion has been resonating through me for months – follow the quality path, follow the quality path – curiosity leavened by the aesthetic of quality – a great decision matrix and a fearless way to live.
It made me start asking other friends about their decision trees, what motivates them, and how do they evaluate success.
It has taken me months to get to the state where I am ready to do more then just talk about this. My quality path apparently leads me through writing about this – and after some detours that path begins now.