Why Do This At All?

The icon for this post is a big part of why I'm doing this site.

The icon is obviously a reference to Seth Godin's book, Linchpin. One of the key messages of Linchpin is that the way out of a job/career we dislike is through art. In other words, there's something about the way the nature of work changes, our perception to work changes, when we care enough about it, have passion about it, put something of ourselves creatively into it.

The other aspect to this, as proposed by Seth, is that art has a fundamental component of giving. That the creator, at least on some level, believes that the act of creating "art" naturally presupposes that the net exchange of value between giver and receiver ultimately ends up with the receiver.

The artist/creator has given something intrinsic of value that exceeds the value of what they expect to get back.

And this made me reflect on much of what I have experienced in my time on the web. How many times have I run a search for information, perused forum posts, looked up some kind of "how to" on a project I wanted to accomplish, with this natural expectation that I would find something that immediately met my needs?

Where would I get that expectation? Why would I naturally expect that someone would, simply for my own convenience, have placed something out on the web, some snippet of information that would serve me and my interests, just because I looked for it?

Yet, anything I find, and will find in the future, exists because someone took the time and effort to make it available. And there's a hint of "art" within that.

Now, am I foolish enough to think that people who post useful content on the web are altruistic about it? Of course not, they're probably looking to get some kind of long term return on investing that time. Maybe it's marketing, maybe it's ultimately about trying to get a sale. Regardless, though, in most cases there is a form of "artistry" there—they're following Seth Godin's idea about giving to others because the act of giving makes them feel more whole, more complete.

So part of me wants, in some small way, to be one of those givers. To give back. To give to someone looking for something. I don't know exactly how and what that will be. But I expect and hope it will be valuable.

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