Professional Principles

I’ve been watching a lot of videos of presentations given by Brett Victor. This particular video was particularly inspiring. It helped me understand something about myself and my relationship with my work that I hadn’t been able to put my finger on before now. I realize that you may not have an hour to spend watching this video right now. If not, please consider bookmarking it and having a look at it later. I’ll try to give you a few clues as to why you might want to do that.

In this talk, Brett talks a lot about having a guiding principle that motivates  his work. Most of us just go to work and do the best we can to produce the work that is assigned to us. This is a valuable way to live your life but it leaves people like me unsatisfied. I want to create things. I want to discover new things that haven’t ever been discovered before. I want to change the way we do things for the better. This entails a lot more thinking and introspecting than just showing up and doing the work that is assigned to us the same way that it has been done by everyone else that has done it before.

Brett talks about his principle and gives examples of how he has modified the tools he uses to comply with his principle. He also gives an example of another person’s principle and how he worked to apply it and ended up changing the face of modern computing. I have a  yearning to do this kind of work. I’ve got a lot of introspection to do in order to figure out what the principle is that I want to champion.

Watch the video. Brett is much more eloquent than I am in explaining what he means and that will help you to understand my ramblings here a little bit better.