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Getting it

The kernel for this particular snowball was a conversation over dinner, where someone asked me how I dealt with all the flames against my blog.

My answer to him was pretty much off-the-cuff, I didn’t spend time trying to figure it out. I told him that the number of flames was negligible. He then followed up with a question on whether I had any idea why that would be the case. And I told him, flamers tend to be attention-seekers, so they tend to spend time only where they knew they were going to get attention. It’s like hijacking a bicycle, why would anyone do that? No attention, no media coverage, so no bicycle hijacks.

We took this line of conversation all over the place after that, it really doesn’t matter. But on the way home I started to think, why is it that people think that blogs are all about flaming? Don’t they get it?

And that made me think about what it is that people don’t get. And I realised that when I speak to people as peculiar as I am, we often refer to others as “She gets it” and “He doesn’t get it”.

Get what?

This it, that people get or not-get, this it exists in many spheres. It is why people equate opensource with freeware and with security lapses; it is why people equate blogs with flaming; it is why people equate social software with being communist or pinko; it is why people equate downloads and uploads with piracy; it is why people equate work with not-fun.

So what does it take to Get It? To be one of the Got Its?

I think you need to believe you don’t have all the answers. You need to believe you could be wrong. You need to believe that others could help you be right. That others could help you learn. That there is power in community. That people can be unselfish. That you can trust people. That it’s OK to be wrong, provided you learn. That relationships matter. That covenant is good. That Doing the Right Thing is something to strive for. That it’s OK to be vulnerable, to express opinions, to share. That you don’t have to have an axe to grind in order to live. That you can Pay It Forward. That not everyone seeks to monetise each and every action.

That you need to believe in humanity and in humility.

The people who don’t get it can’t understand altruism, think every gift horse is a toothless Trojan. Can’t understand openness and sharing and community. Can’t understand trust. The people who don’t get it live in this weird bondage of isolation and distrust. I couldn’t do it. Just couldn’t.

Posted in Four pillars .


3 Responses

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  1. Balaji Sowmyanarayanan says

    Hijacking a bicycle! Most humorous.
    You have a technique of taking your readers all over the web and in the end the flamers end up Confused!

  2. John says

    The Programmer’s Stone is a theory of ‘getting it’ for software development…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programmer's_Stone

    Others have seen the similarities with Paul Graham…

    http://www.subbu.org/weblogs/main/2005/01/the_programmers_1.html

  3. sig says

    Excellent one JP!

    Understanding… I take the information and plonk it into my current “framework”, the more rigid the “framework” the lesser the chance I get anything right… and more information does not help either, stuck is stuck.

    Just observe the kids I say, they always get it, and faster than any grown-up… not much pre-set mess there!

    Kind-of-approach-and-frame-of-mind for handling grown-ups: Avoid trying to explain an issue, go for the pre-set assumptions and frameworks instead… ;)

    Why look for role models when we have kids I wonder.



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