I was at Hybrid Conference last week, courtesy of FreeAgent, and I haven't found myself as profoundly affected by a conference experience since my first dconstruct in 2009. There were some practical takeaways (Lea Verou and Bryan Liles providing masterclasses in balancing entertainment and information), but a theme quickly emerged that was both challenging and engaging:
There's more to life than cutting code.
This seems obvious, perhaps even trite, but sometimes we need the obvious to be pushed in front of us. We need to be told that passion is only a part of what we do: the real strength and opportunity lies in understanding why we do what we do.
Nowhere was this more keenly underscored than in Cameron Moll's closing remarks. His thoughts and observations cut to the heart of what I think each of us strives to do. Put simply, we each have the tools to make the world a better place for the people in it, so let's get to work.
I have expended a lot of words here in trying to understand what I think, how I think, who I am, and what it is I want to do with my life. I've recently realised that core to all this is helping to do precisely what Cameron was getting at: improving the world, making people's lives that little bit better. Or, rather, making their lives easier, so to empower them to make their lives better all by themselves.
I've written a lot about my Dad, too, and it's clear that he was a hero to me. Interestingly, though, this was not because of who he was, but more because of who he aspired to be. I aspire to the same things, and I hope to match his determination one day.
But while my Dad provided me with aspirations, I wouldn't have the tools to approach those challenges without my Mum. If my Dad informs who I want to be, my Mum made who I am today possible. All of my achievements, all of my personality traits (good and bad), I owe to her more than any other person.
In short, if I help you tomorrow, you can thank my Dad. If I helped you today, or if I have ever helped make your life better in the smallest way, you should probably thank my Mum.
It being her birthday today, I'm sure she'd appreciate it.