Monday 5 August 2013

Courage is a series of baby-steps that are taken in two-acts (and 'what should my friend do?')

During DefCon, I had a number of people I really admire, saying how much they respect my 'courage'.

Namely the efforts that I put into the O2 Platform, and how I was able to create a world where I have a huge degree of freedom, with most of my activities happening on the interwebs (from code in GitHub to blogging about anything I want (i.e. these days I expect SI to read my blog, and don't give advance warning before I write a new post))

The reality is that it is easy to over-estimate the effort required to have 'courage', and to over-value the amount of  'real courage' that is actually needed (specially when even 'big changes' are done in baby-steps)

For example, one of my really good friends, is stuck in a 'good job', which pays him very well, but is not allowing him to follow his passion, and ultimate fulfil his potential.

My friend (he knows who he is) says that I (Dinis) am very 'courageous', but what I would like to say to him, is that 'it is not that hard' :)

One just has to listen to our heart/instinct, then realise that we are getting older, and that we don't have 'that' many years of 'hyper productivity' ahead.

We can make money later, at this stage of our careers, what we need is to maximise the capability that we have to upload massive amount of information to our brains, process it, and build something new with it.

We have the ability to 'create'!

We can follow/enable the amazing journey of an 'fragile idea' floating in the air, into a full blow 'thing' that is 'real' (and is changing somebody/something for the better).

Let's not waste this gift!

Lets change the world, one bit/brain at the time :)

So how do courageous and brave decisions are made?

The way I look at it, there are two very distinct acts/moments:

The 1st act is the DECISION, the 2nd act is the ACTION

The hard part is to DECIDE that we are going on a particular direction. Once we have decided that (in our heart and head), then it is a case of finding a rational strategy to trigger an ACTION that is going to get us there (or point us into the right direction).

What my good friend is not doing, is to look at what he really wants to do, and DECIDE what should happen with his life.

He is currently letting all the different 'mini-devils' (that live in his brain) lead him ashtray, by allow them to create all sort of excuses why 'IT' just can't happen (money, responsibilities, stock options, job responsibilities, being responsive for 'his team', 'what would happen if he left?', etc..)

He is also using 'lack of courage' as a cop-out/excuse (i.e he is able to rationalise his lack of action on 'lack of courage'). Which is BS, since the real problem is that he is not clearing his mind, and really letting his instinct lead him.

So what should him do?

Sometimes in life, the best way for something to happen, is to have a clean break or rupture. This sends a clear message to all parties involved, and resets expectations.

With that in mind, here is what I think should happen:

  • He should quit his job tomorrow (i.e. resign) with a smile (very important) and with a 'this is a personal decision' reason
  • Since he is a super clever and a key part of his company (with lots of projects currently depending on his added value), his company will put a lot of effort into 'getting him back'
  • After sending a clear message that he wants a clean break with his current company, he should open the negotiations to be given a contracting job with that company (i.e. move from being an employee into being an independent contractor/freelancer)
  • That contact would:
    • be flexible on the min/max amount of time worked per month
    • be based on a daily rate, payed for the days he DID work
    • have no personal NDA (only an NDA related to customers projects/data)
    • allow FULL ownership of his new research, code and ideas (i.e. all is great stuff would now be hosted on GitHub)
    • have the ability for him to work for ANY company (regarding if it is a competitor of the current company)
    • take into account his current stock and have no lock-in clauses (in the case the company is sold)
The key to making this happening is to make the first move (resign), since that is the one that will give him the negotiation power to get the remaining clauses accepted :)

And here is where 'courage' comes in two acts.

Ideally my good friend would (in his head) make the decision to resign TODAY (this is a small step, with not much 'courage' needed :) ). 

He would then have time (hours, days, weeks, months) to figure out the best way to drop the news to his current employee.

Will this happen? Probably not, but hey, this Just One Humble Note from a friend that really cares, and is sad for seeing such an amazing soul not denting the universe as much as it could :)

One the other hand, even pigs can fly (given enough thrust), so who knows ... maybe one day he will enjoy the freedom I current have :)