Jason Falls tagged me with the following meme:
â€œWho had a big influence on you and how did that affect the direction of your life or career?â€œ
I haven’t been playing much meme tag lately. Not because I’m above it or anything, but because I just haven’t been motivated to do it. There are too many moving parts right now, and I just hadn’t found one that matters. But hey, this is the day before Thanksgiving (in America), so I should be thankful, right?
Folks Who’ve Influenced My Career and Life
- My Parents– I mean, don’t we ALL have to say this? (Excepting people raised by wolves.) My Dad was always a hard worker, is a tech-head bar none, and continues to fuse being a funny, good guy with being part of a team. My Mom is (and always was) driven, focused on people’s needs, and helping people feel comfortable all around. They have been supportive all along, and have known that I’m fired and wired different than most folks. If I didn’t have support from an early age, I’m sure I wouldn’t be me, in more ways than one.
- Katrina– My wife serves two big purposes in my life. She puffs up my ego when I’m feeling little and sad. She pops my ego bubble all the time, when I’m feeling full of myself. Katrina also does ALL the little things (and medium, and big) that go into raising our children. But unrelated to all that stuff, Katrina influences me by how SHE uses media, and the Internet, and how she interacts with the world. I take a lot of cues from her.
- Jeff Pulver – Over the last 13 months, no one (that’s not related to me) has believed in me more than Jeff. He’s challenged me to grow at every step of the way, and has done more to influence my thoughts and views of this space than any one else online or off. Sometimes, Jeff and I have different approaches to things. But I believe that his passion for community is strong. I believe his understanding of disruption is important. And I think he’s doing more to help people’s dreams grow than you’d ever know from what he publishes on his blog. Jeff brought me up several notches in my game, and I owe him respect for that.
- Jon Swanson– Reverend Jon Swanson is responsible for keeping my heart open to spirituality, and the notion that there are larger powers working in the world around me. I’m not religious, but I am open to the teachings that I ask Jon to help me interpret. It’s pretty wild having your own personal Reverend, and I know there are thousands of others who feel that way by reading his blog. We all grow and learn something from how Jon interprets religion for us, and how HE implements it in his space.
- Christopher Penn and Whitney Hoffman – These two have been the heart and soul of the PodCamp Foundation, and they’ve influenced me a lot over the last year. Chris has a strong business sense about him, and an understanding of the technology ins and outs of all this social media stuff. He knows ways of making databases do what he wants them to do, and I envy that. Whitney is just a force of nature, with her understanding of logistics, and her sensitivity to the perceptions and experiences of a larger crowd. I try hard to channel Whitney when I think of events. Their influence has mattered a lot to me.
- Justin Kownacki and Jim Kirks– In lots of ways, Justin and Jim are two friends that I wish lived right next door. In other ways, that would suck, because I never see my neighbors. When I’m somewhere and either of these two guys are there, I know that someone thoughtful, fun, and upstanding is in my orbit. Justin is King of the Harebrained scheme, and Jim is Sinatra reborn. What can I say? These two cats influence me by reminding me of the power of friends.
- You– Is it lame to just say YOU? Otherwise, I have to type < and li and > and all kinds of other things over and over for about 2,894 more lines. You guys, YOU who read this blog, who stop by, who Twitter with me, who I see at events, are the real big influence of my last year. Why? Because before this, I was a swell guy working for a swell organization, where only people in the nearby cubicles knew who I was.
Thanks to the Internet, and thanks to the humanity that you’ve brought to it by coming here, by being part of the conversation, and by supporting the things I do, I have a reason to do it all. Believe me, I’m not typing just for myself here. I *know* what I think. That’s why I always turn my posts over to you at the end. I want YOU to have the stage. Hell, if you ever want to write the blog, most of you would have better topics in a given day than me anyhow. Right?