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Yesterday had an excellent conversation with a friend of mine, Damjan Kumar, who is BTW an excellent top notch Java Server Side engineer/designer (heh, Damjan, what are you going to say when you end up on first page of google search for top notch java engineer? ;-) ). The conversation really made me see how for me one of the best tools to learn is to converse. I guess you could say I thrive on conversation. We talked a lot about management practices at our old company, and a lot about blogs. It was very interesting to try to explain idea of blogs and their power to someone and I was very surprised to find that i found myself being pretty clear what I find so powerful about them. At least I was yesterday… ;-) One of the interesting comments he made was that blogs seem to be just “text and links”. And of course, in some ways it’s true. Yet somehow a few subtle additions to it, like ease of use (basically just click on toolbar and you’re posting) - also easy setup and free software to do it, personal news aggregators (like AmphetaDesk, Aggie - a .NET application, and some more), a bit of web services plumbing (weblogs.com recently changed weblogs, Trackback, DayPop) and you have a very potent mix. Somehow weblogs enable you to harvest the power of human mind doing its best - sorting through information, gleaning interconnections, making new associations. It then turns out that Damjan is using an application called Correlate to do quite a bit of this on a desktop level. The application seem to let you build knowledge maps of your information - i definitely intend to check it out more. It also turns out that he is already reading a weblog - Joel on Software without knowing it as such - just as a source of good content - which is at the end what is important.
Also, an interesting insight that came out of this conversation for me was that no matter where I’m working, or what I am doing, I will always end up being interested in how people work together, how to enable people coming together so that some greater and bigger than just the sum of parts can manifest, and how to bring out the best in people. And if I can’t manifest those values, or see them squashed, I suffer. Simply because I know we as people can do so much more, our interactions can be so much more meaningful and enjoyable as they mostly are, be it in personal life or in work life - perhaps even more so in the work life.