This quote “triggered”, stimulated….whatever the right word is….my recollection of why I got into networking. I’ve often told the story of the first time I walked into a network operations center at a large bank in Australia, how it reminded me of the Star Trek Command Deck, and how I knew I belonged there rather than in the other rooms / decks. All that is true, but there was something that preceded that, which created a larger context.
My father was a strong supporter of labo(u)r, the working “man”, the nobility of work, the soul saving value of work, and the struggle of workers against the wealthy and powerful. I went to a school that had a strong bench of like-minded teachers, what we might call the old left. During “Commerce” lessons (pre-economics), they would often preach of the evils of automation. Automation was destroying jobs, hurting the working man, and by implication, the very fabric of society.
Due to various personal experiences, I had also become interested in the importance of good communication. Those personal experiences, which I won’t expand on here, have often shaped me in ways that sometimes make me a poor communicator, while also created an interest in being a good communicator. Let’s just say it’s complicated. Sometimes I communicate excellently, other times poorly. I’m human, but even if I was not so human, there is an old saying in the writing business “Even D.H. Lawrence occasionally wrote shit”. No one “bats a thousand”* in the writing business.
So automation is bad, I have great interest in tech, and I believe in the value of communication. Guess what happens next? Indeed, I discover networking. First as a data entry person, then as a network operations center worker, and so it went from there. Networks connect the world. While I of all people would never say that anything substitutes for walking the streets of another country in the shoes of the people who live there, I would still say, there is nothing more important than connecting people. There is nothing more important than communicating. There is nothing more important than moving information from one place to another, whether the information is from a thing or a person. The most fundamental characteristic of a post big-bang universe is space. Networks bridge that space. Networks move information through that space facilitating communication, and in the best of cases, allowing people to learn and act. Even if I am sometimes a bad communicator, I know deep in my soul, there is nothing more important than connecting and communicating. That is the “why” of my professional career in networking, and the “why” of blogging, writing, talking, and other forms of communication I engage in.
So about this automation thing 😉 I’m not ready to put down the cause of working people. But let’s just say my views on automation, today, have more nuance. It’s complicated 😉 You can expect to see many positive writings from me on automation. Greater efficiency is the fundamental benefit of information technology, notwithstanding the potential for even greater causes. Nothing is perfect. Not science, not technology, not networking. But I love what tech has done for our experience of life, and I love what networking has done for our ability to connect and communicate. That is my “why”
* Batting a thousand is an Americanism for having a perfect baseball batting record. When writing for international audiences it is suggested that colloquialisms be avoided. When connecting with people, they are often helpful.