During an assessment in kindergarten, the teacher shows me a picture.
Teacher: What is this?
Me: Oh, you can play with it, it bounces. You can play games with it on recess.
Teacher: Right, but what is it?
Me: Um...it's also red
Teacher: Let's move on to the next image, what is this one?
Me: Well it's black, and when you open it up, you don't get wet if it's raining
Teacher: But what is it?
Me (In frustration): I told you what it is
I've decided toy with a new concept on this blog. If you've seen any of my talks/presentations at a conference, I make quite a big point not to do an "About Me" section. If I do, it's always in satire. I've only really ever told some of my friends why I do this, but I'll explain here now.
There are topics that are so obscure to the audience, that you would need to take the presenter at face value, meaning you just have to trust that what they are saying is true. There is also a situation where the audience is completely new to a topic, and the presenter just can't go into every detail. Again, the audience kind of just has to trust the presenter. For example, a group of people that want to take an executive leadership training course. It might actually be relevant to know a little bit about the trainer. Maybe there would be a difference between a trainer that has been CFO at one company, COO at the next, and CEO at their current company, and made each one all the better than when they started. You would think we would much rather listen to this person than an individual contributor (I didn't want to name a particular profession as to not look down on any of them).
I don't think most technology and hacking topics should be this way (even when they are). At a hacker conference, I feel like if presented in the right way, trust isn't needed because the content is the proof. Another way to put it is that the presentation may make some claim at the beginning, but then the rest of the presentation proceeds to prove it, either with data, evidence, or most preferably a Proof of Concept program. If you can execute a Proof of Concept that, well, proves your concept; who you really are is not the least bit relevant. I go into my slides knowing this, so I feel it would be a touch narcissistic of me to have an 'About Me' section in the slides. I'm sure there are other 'tech' talks where authority matters more (for instance, if the presenter is expressing their expert OPINION), but If your content speaks for itself, I feel like an 'About Me' section is just a flex.
That said, I plan on doing a few blog posts that are 'About Me.' Really, I will only be highlighting the hacker side of my identity, though it's not always how I identify. Regarding the debate for whether you can learn to be a hacker, or if it's just a mindset one is born with, I am still on the fence with that. I don't yet think I'm so cynical to think you can't learn the mindset, but I unequivocally believe that it is a mindset.
When talking 'about me' in these posts, I would be focusing on those pivotal epiphany moments of my life, many of them from childhood, but not all of them. Hardly any of these experiences are extreme or even environmentally unique. As in, I'm provided with the same experience most people would be, but my mind takes me on a strange path, and then I stop and reflect on what I learned from that path, what insights I might have collected. Or, these posts might read like they're coming from a rambling lunatic, but I can't stop that from them really being my thoughts.
I truly believe that these insights are a part of me and brought me to where I am on this path. Also, please don't take any of it the wrong way, this isn't a sermon from on top of a hill. I'm still on a path of which I will never get to the top, and that's okay. I see those in some tech related communities that have taken different branches (of the same tree) as me, and are farther up the hill, many are much farther. So for clarity, this is me humbly saying I'm not the expert, but for the things I know that I know, I would like to give insight of how I got there and what my mind was doing on the way.
That is all these blog posts will be about, just small slices of my life of where I personally came to some hacker insights that other hackers also have. Other hackers most definitely got their insights from other sources, but some of these insights are hacker truths. By small slices, I mean things like insights gained from doing a book report, using a calculator, playing Mario 3 and monopoly, playing with my first cellphone, having a nightmare, etc...
Though this post is mostly an introduction into the what and why, it did start off with a small story. It was long ago enough to where I don't actually remember it first hand. I actually learned of this as my mom was telling me that the teacher had to pull her aside to express their concern about me possibly having a learning issue. In my opinion, I think I was just having some stubborn issues with context.
Let me explain. There are a few questions you can ask about a picture bing shown. "What is this?" "What does this do?" or "What is this called?". I was answering the second question, the teacher intended the third question, but was using the words of the first question. To my 5 year old brain, that question caught some ambiguity, so I fell back on a more comfortable (for me) context of what the things did.
Instead of answer 'a ball' and 'an umbrella,' I opted to describe what these things did, or could do. You could say that I'm about to get too philosophical or am reading into things too much. That said, when I reflect on these insights, I use it to build on the experiences I have down the road; it's not always in vain. In this case, I took 'function' as a priority to 'label.' Labels are an abstraction (the highest of abstractions) to parts of 'reality.'
This wasn't really an epiphany moment for me, at the time. If anything, more of an insight into how my mind was starting to develop. It looks like I was less comfortable with the abstract, and just wanted to see things for what they were, what they did, how they could be used, not what they were called.
I wouldn't call myself a fan of Shakespeare, but when I was forced to read it in school, of course this well-known line resonated with me: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose, By an other name would smell as sweet."