Having assembled and led many project teams, I know it can be useful to know an individuals views and motivation. I include a few brief thoughts:
Like Gutenberg’s printing press before it, the Internet is nothing less than revolutionary. I am committed to contributing to its development and use. However I am also mindful, as Philo T. Farnsworth an early inventor of Television said, that the best thing about TV these days is the “off switch”.
I have been inspired by entrepreneurs such as Cyrus Field, who persevered in building the first transatlantic telegraph cable in 1866, and take the lesson from them that in addition to experience and ability, success is born from persistence, tolerance, and enthusiasm.
I would that Walt Whitmans romantic vision of the transcontinental railroad would apply to the Internet, as today it is reduced to a banal engine of profit rather than one of human progress. Whitman wrote in Leaves of Grass, A Passage to India:
Marking through these and after all, in duplicate slender lines,
Bridging the three or four thousand miles of land travel,
Tying the Eastern to the Western sea,
And by Arthur C. Clark and his vision of telecommunications in the future: Clark Quote
Some say I am a good teacher. I believe in the Socratic method of teaching and persuasion, and in many of the tenants expressed in the recent “Total Quality” initiatives.
I have been known to beg, buy, borrow, build, “steal”, organize and do, whatever is necessary to drive a worthy project to fruition. I have been known to apologize later rather than ask permission in advance when dealing with lethargic bureaucracies….
I believe while positional authority might be good for an army, real loyalty and authority is earned. As a member of a hierarchical team, I hope to earn it from those I lead, and to enjoy the leadership of those above.
I try to maintain competence at the nuts-and-bolts hardware and software levels in order to earn the respect of those I lead and manage, and to make informed and practical judgments that lead to success.
The Internet was built step-by-step and by trial and error of the best, carefully developed, ideas. There is no shortcut, and anyone who claims to have some definitive idea is suspect. I like the IETF motto, “rough consensus and running code”
I have been fortunate because of past success, such as selling I-Way to UUNet, it has given me the freedom to turn down opportunities such as being an early employee at Cisco, or CTO at Loral/Orion, in favor of other things in life.