Walking, Peanuts, and Systems

Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

Genesis 5:24

“God is going to reveal to us things He never revealed before if we put our hands in His. No books ever go into my laboratory. The thing I am to do and the way of doing it are revealed to me. I never have to grope for methods. The method is revealed to me the moment I am inspired to create something new. Without God to draw aside the curtain I would be helpless.”

George Washington Carver

My big brother fell.

The details have faded in the thirty plus years since, but it’s something I’ll always remember.

Thankfully, there was no tragedy, unless you consider the failed attempt of a hard-working dad to teach his sons the game of golf. My brother’s tumble down the slope into a water hazard killed it.

There were similar events with my dad’s attempts to take us fishing and teach us to work on cars. I had to grow up before I understood that our presence didn’t make things easier for him. I wasn’t there for my insights into club or bait selection.

It was a while before I understood my dads’s purpose: he wanted to be with us.

This hit home when I started asking my daughter to go with me on walks. She’d ask, “Where are we going?” In other words: “What’s the end goal? What are we going to accomplish?”

We’re going for a walk. Togetherness is the goal. We’re not try to get anywhere.

George Washington Carver exemplifies this togetherness with God. God did not need his help with peanuts. Carver thought peanuts were cool, so God walked with him and they talked about peanuts.

Carver thought peanuts were cool. I think systems are cool. I want to walk with God and talk about systems.

I have some time before I have to consider another job, so I’m taking that time to explore some system ideas that are hard to explore in the average engineer role. I especially want to consider a business as a system, apply ideas from the Theory of Constraints and distributed systems, and see where that takes me.

My plan is to start a business. What’s the business? I don’t know. Will it work? I don’t know. But it will force me out of my comfort zone, make me better articulate my ideas, and hopefully provide a good environment for failure experimentation and learning.

The experimentation part especially comes in with me doing this in public. How do I come up with an idea? What’s my plan for marketing and advertising? What tech stack do I choose and why? Some of those things, I’m good at. Hopefully, being open with my work will provide useful guidance for people looking to learn. For many of those things, I’m woefully inexperienced. Hopefully, being open with my work will provide useful opportunities for me to learn.

I’m not exactly sure what this will look like, but I’m interested to see how it goes. The journey starts here with trying to understand what I’m going to build. Or check out the FAQ (aka questions I’ve asked myself). If you’re interested in following the journey, join my email list and I’ll keep you updated.