I feel the need to start a new blog. Something that will allow me to write down the thoughts and interests that I have which span across a few differing areas. Currently I run a Business Analyst blog (buddingba.wordpress.com) and a Tumblr effort aimed at capturing my experiences learning Ruby on Rails (learningrubyonrails.tumblr.com) which by my own admission has been sparsely updated. These very narrow focused blogs have been effective in their own way, however I feel they have stymied my expression. I find myself searching for topics that will fit the parameters of the blogs focus, particularly with the Business Analyst blog, and that is restrictive, and counter-productive in my eyes.
Over the past 3-4 years, I feel like I have finally discovered an area of interest around which I can build a career, and that area is the Web. When I say the Web, I do mean that in it’s broadest and wonderfully diverse sense. I am fascinated by design, both the aesthetics of websites of course, but more so the interaction design, the crafting of user experiences in a virtual space, encapsulated in a screen, with resolutions ranging from an iPhone up to a big-screen TV. I love the disruptive nature of the Web. The fact that it is still in the process of creation and development, and that it evolves through this process with no one hand guiding it. There are just millions of people contributing to it’s ethereal body, and over time the most successful or innovative contributions rise to the top. What this means to me personally is there is always something new to learn. Always something that grabs my interest and opens a door to a new world of knowledge, and a new community of people with whom I can interact.
But this is not to say that I will only be writing about the Web, although I expect that will form the majority of the posts. It will just be a blog I can jot down my thoughts, whether it be about a book I just read, politics, philosophy or interaction design.
I recently read this wonderful book by Steven Johnson called “Where Good Ideas Come From”, in which he describes how Victorian thinkers, scientists, and the literate public at large, would engage with written material. It was not a passive, lie on a couch and read a book activity for most people. It was an interactive, working process. They would often take notes, either in the margins, or in what was called a “Common Place Book”. This book is where all their thoughts, quotes, ideas and essays would be captured. It was also extremely common for the people of this time to engage their mind across a variety of topics. Think of any great Victorian inventors or scientists, and beyond the topic for which they are renowned, you will discover a breadth of interests far outside their commonly associated fields. Darwin is the classic example, apart from his Naturalist focus that resulted in the theory of evolution, he started out life as an apprentice doctor, and was primarily interested in geology for a significant time. Now I am not for moment self-aggrandizing, believing that by writing down my thoughts I will contribute anything of significance. However I do think it will help me clarify my thoughts, and encourage cross-topic reading, and the cross-pollination of ideas.
Therefore this blog will be my Common Place Book. I hope primarily it serves me well, and just maybe, others will find it of interest from time to time.