A New Challenge

Ten years ago, I decided I was going to become one of the best SharePoint developers in the world. Two years later, Microsoft was holding meetings to discuss me and I could walk into pretty much any conference lecture and be immediately recognized. I still hold the record, as far as I know, for most books and journals written, with over 25 books mostly still available from Amazon or other places.

Even today, I get ten thousand unique visits monthly on my blog even though I haven’t written a word about SharePoint in years. I still get maybe half a dozen pitches for projects each week, even though I haven’t been in the SharePoint community since 2013. And I couldn’t spell SharePoint when I started.

Now, I’m ready to take on a new challenge. I’m thinking game development but I’m not sure.

My question to you is this: Would you like to follow my journey? If so, what form should it take? A blog? Posts on FB? YouTube? How should we interact? Do you want an email newsletter? Weekly interactive talks? A forum?

What should the challenge be? Last time I could reach a hundred thousand SharePoint professionals in minutes. Should I aim for an audience of a million? If not games, then what industry? AI and machine learning? Biohacking? If games, what’s the goal? World’s leading Unity3D authority? Game marketing guru?

And before you suggest it, I’ve done the cryptocurrency thing. It got boring pretty quickly.

I’m looking for ideas and to hear what people want. I’m not in it for money, I just want a new challenge.

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The Cross in the Road

Dear world,

I’m writing to you because you are standing at a point in your history where you need to make a choice. It is an important choice, one that will forever define humanity and one that will linger in the history books for centuries and millennia.

The road forward is divided into several paths, each with its own opportunities and challenges. Each path is fraught with peril and infinite potential for reward. Sadly, none of us, least of all our politicians, know what each path brings.

You see, the entire planet walks along only one path. There aren’t two paths in which one of them, for example, Germany stood up to Hitler and threw him out of office while on the other path the Germans cheered him on and let him rise to power. Our parents and grandparents took only one path.

Together, we are on a single path and the choices we make are what will define who we are. I don’t care about the children or the elderly or the Jews or the Muslims or right-wing or left-wing, terrorist or freedom fighter. To me, you are all part of this wonderful universe of mine, in which each and every one of you, regardless of race, creed, gender, color, or conviction plays a part in making history into this one beautiful path.

Please, as you now stand and ponder where to go: Take time off whatever else you are doing. Ask your boss for a day off. Postpone that holiday shopping until tomorrow. Spend one day to learn about what is going on in the world.

Listen to facts, not opinion.

Listen to scientists, not politicians.

Listen to history, not predictions.

Decide what you want your grandchildren to hear about you, or the neighbor’s grandchildren. Decide how you want to be remembered on this day when we stand at a crossroads, ready to bring humanity forward. You have a chance now and what you decide will forever shape this planet for good or bad.

Tomorrow, someone may have made the choice for you.

Thank you.


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A Programmer’s Mind

Programming is a very specific art that involves taking program code and somehow turn it into computer instructions. This presents a challenge to humans because we’re wired very much different from computers; what we think is perfectly natural may be inherently alien to machines and vice versa.

For example, machines have no concept of guilt or forgiveness and thus cannot forgive mistakes. If you break your code, the machine won’t sit down, pat you on the back, and say that you probably did your best. It won’t blame you or mock you. It will cease operations, spew out more or less friendly error messages, and wait for you to improve.

Further, machines are perfect logical beings. There’s a meme about a programmer’s wife asking her husband to bring two liters of milk from the store and if they have fresh eggs, bring a dozen, whereby the programmer brings a dozen liters of milk because they had fresh eggs. Machines think like that, and as programmers, we need to think like that too.

Finally, computers do not try to understand you. You may have programs that try to understand what you are trying to do, but unless someone has instructed the machine to do something, it doesn’t happen. The computers will not prevent anyone from exploiting weaknesses, for example, if you have left open or neglected security holes. Your friend may call the cops when a burglar breaks in even if you haven’t told them to watch the door; a computer will not.

This may lead you to think that computers are inherently stupid and you’d be right if you judge stupidity by standards we normally reserve for humans, but the reality is that computers can teach us a lot about how to interact and behave in society in general.

The absolute adherence to accuracy, for example, can lead a programmer to think more than once about a given answer to a question or an approach to a task. A programmer may be more likely to understand and make logical arguments in a debate and may understand better to explicitly include necessary or exclude unnecessary information or details in a description.

Programming is inherently good for you. Not building software because someone has usually taken the difficulty away form you.

I mean hard core programming where you actually need to write code that in turn converts, through more or less obscure channels, into instructions a machine needs to work. Once you master that, you have mastered not just the training of your computer but also expanded your mind to think in a way that is more logical, less prone to error, and more likely to be efficient.

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