I’m a huge nerd. I serve HariKari.com from my house using Mac OS X Server only because I love this technology. I love the pressure it creates for me to learn something I might otherwise not even be involved in.
The bloggers here might take umbrage. It’s been pretty smooth sailing, with the occasional sea-sickness, but nothing like this past week. So for me to have different goals from theirs – the spreading of democracy and the informing of the masses – I can see it being something I have to explain.
The site went down last week and, as has been the case before, I was sure that a reboot, or DNS change, or permissions issue, or unpaid bill was the root cause. But no such luck. Unfortunately, it turns out, my liberal policy of early adoption of new tech, ironically, is what took the site down.
I have an obligation to these guys to keep the site up. They don’t pay me, they don’t ask for 24/7 support, I’m a volunteer, and so are they. We’re a team of people who care about what we’re doing. That’s why this works.
Last week, however, I decided to upgrade to a developer preview of the software that HariKari.com is served with. It turned out to be a huge mistake because everything just stopped working and, due to it being pre-release software, only available to people who’ve signed a non-disclosure agreement, there’s no stackexchange.com thread to help you figure out what you did wrong.
In this case, I should have been more conservative. I shouldn’t have risked something as important as this blog is to my friends to satisfy my curiosity about emerging technologies.
But, as I started writing this mea-culpa, I came across some interesting realizations. First, I think there’s a lot of intentional conflation between being conservative when it involves imposing your own interests on those to whom you have a social obligation and being conservative to preserve your own investment in the status quo. In fact, the former strikes me as quite liberal.
Second, being considerate of how your needs might impose upon others doesn’t strike me as liberal. This is probably the same point I was making previously, but holding back your need to impose your beliefs on others seems quite conservative!
More personally, being conservative in my adoption of new technology has never benefitted me in the jobs marketplace. I’ve been an early adopter all my life and it’s served me well. Both socially and technologically, I’ve benefitted from forward thinking and adaptation.
Where being conservative has benefitted me is where I held back my own passions to make consideration for others. When I’ve been unsure that the risks I’m willing to take won’t work to the detriment of those to whom I have obligations, holding back conservatively has always been the right choice.
In this case, I didn’t. I mistakenly let my trust in my own techno-lust override my judgment and screwed over some people to whom I have not only a professional, but also a personal and emotional obligation.
For that, I apologize.