Where Were You 10 Years Ago?

One of my teachers once said "We tend to overestimate what we can change in a year, and underestimate what we can change in 10".

I thought of that this morning, and then I thought back to ten years ago.

Ten years ago, I was in Copenhagen, doing my software consulting company Collaboraid. I switched to a Mac, after I saw what magic David Heinemeier Hansson could do on a mac. I'd met David after some friends told me that he was working on something called Rails. I called him up, had him come visit my office and tell us all about it. I was immediately sold. Decided to switch the entire company from OpenACS to Rails. And switch from Windows to Mac.

A few days later I had a trip to Amsterdam to pitch Greenpeace International on two big projects we were doing for them. I convinced them to go with Rails for one of them. Should've pushed Rails for both, but I was too timid.

Hopped on a train from Amsterdam to Paris to meet up with my wife and her friends.

There was something magic in the air at that time. The dot-com bust was still making itself felt, but there was a certain feeling of spring in the air. People were starting to do really interesting things online. IT Conversations Network had launched and was distributing recordings from tech conferences in the US. I'd download those and listen to them on my iPod.

Podcasting had been invented the year before, and was another way for me tap into the wide world outside of Copenhagen where I lived. It was a really exciting time actually.

On the negative side, the consulting company never worked that well, because what I really wanted to do was a product company. I didn't know myself at all. I think I may have just started dabbling in some psychotherapy at the time, but it was quite limited. I smoked about a pack a day. I was still surviving on the illusion that I'd be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs any minute now. When I believed in that, I felt okay. When I didn't, I wanted to kill myself. I was in a marriage that, looking back, was highly dysfunctional. I was playing the role of my mom, and I'd cast my wife in the role of my dad, on a futile yet constant quest to be seen, understood, and accepted. I did not want to be in Denmark, and were constantly plotting towards moving back to the US, where we'd lived a few years earlier.

Now, ten years later, I'm living in New York, I have a very successful product company, I have gotten to know myself so much more intimately, I've been through so much healing and come out the other side a much for whole and free person. I've lived in India, I'm married to another woman now, one who actually does see and understand and accept (and, gasp, even value!) me. I'm expanding creatively. I'm in a completely different place both inside and outside.

I wrote this not to tell you about my 2005, but to get you to think back to yours.

What was your life like in the summer of 2005? How has it changed since then?

What would you like to change between now and 2025?

It's really quite amazing what can change in ten years. Ten years ago, the iPhone wasn't even invented yet. As far as I know, at that time they were planning on using those touch screens for an iPad-like device.

I'd really like to know.

Hit reply and let me know how your life has changed in the past ten years, and how you'd like it to change over the next ten?

 

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