Thinking different about an education, then work

I really enjoy learning.  And thinking about how to think.  For college I went to UC Berkeley to study Industrial Engineering and Operations Research.  35 years ago i started my education there and some of the silly things I did still stick with me.

One of the things I did is if I didn’t think the class was worthwhile even though it was a requirement, I didn’t put much effort into it and didn’t’ really care about the grade.  One of there classes I think i got a B in.  Then I figured out for some of these classes I could go to the Junior College at home during the summer get whatever grades, then transfer the credits without the grades.  

On the other hand there was Differential Calculus that I really liked.

In mathematicsdifferential calculus is a subfield of calculus concerned with the study of the rates at which quantities change. It is one of the two traditional divisions of calculus, the other being integral calculus.

The primary objects of study in differential calculus are the derivative of a function, related notions such as the differential, and their applications. The derivative of a function at a chosen input value describes the rate of change of the function near that input value. The process of finding a derivative is called differentiation. Geometrically, the derivative at a point equals the slope of the tangent line to the graph of the function at that point. For a real-valued function of a single real variable, the derivative of a function at a point generally determines the best linear approximation to the function at that point.

Differential Calculus i got an A+ in and was in the Zone.  I don’t even know how I could do the math, but it just all worked.  And, I think that part of what I really loved was the way it can be used to describe the real world.

There was an electrical engineering course I could take as an elective, but I knew my hopes of getting an A were low given I would be competing against students who were planning on being electrical engineers and they would be amongst the people who already got an A in the prerequisite Physics course that focused on electricity and magnetic forces.

Physics for Scientists and Engineers. (4)   Three hours of lecture and four hours of laboratory/workshop per week. Prerequisites: 7A, Math 1A-1B, Math 53 (may be taken concurrently). Heat, electricity, and magnetism.

 So I took the Electrical Engineer class first that had the Physics class as a requirement, got a B+, then took the Physics class after for electricity and magnetism and got an A.

Lesson, sometimes it is better to do things in a different order than everyone else.

What has this got to do with me now?  I worked for a company when i thought it was worthwhile.  My order of past employment was HP, Apple, and Microsoft.  If a company isn’t worthwhile for me to learn, then I leave.  Same applies to clients I work with.  It’s not about the money, it is about whether I am learning.  And, many times it is better to take a different order to get things done than others.

I’ll be 53 next month, and I am still learning which I think keeps me younger than I am.  Although the gray hair is really making it harder to look like I am 35.  I figured I’ve got a good 20 more years of learning before I may want to retire.  10 years ago when I hit 43 I thought about what it would be like to retire.  Working for 11 years at Microsoft in 2003 had treated me well financially, but retirement is not the goal.  Learning is my goal.

And, part of what I always liked is hanging out with really smart people.  What is a really smart person to me?  A person who knows how to ask a really hard question.  What type of question?  My latest is how to do product lifecycle management in the data center.  I’ve been thinking about this one for 2 years, and almost have it solved.  The nice thing the way the problem is solved it is not just data centers.  It is how do you do product lifecycle management in a social, mobile, and cloud approach.  Hint: the different way i am using is an Epistemology approach.

Knowledge -> Epistemology -> Information Infrastructure

My wife has said I like to think about thinking.  And, recently at a girl’s get away during charades one of the hints was a person spending a lot of time thinking, and then typing.  Thinking more, then typing.  And, they guessed Dave Ohara. :-)  So, outside of work even in social neighbor time, I have the reputation of thinking a lot and writing a lot.

One of the interesting problems I have been working on is what can change the data center industry.  Information architectures is what I have been study lately.

Then yesterday, I saw a talk by John Leslie King Titled - Knowledge Infrastructure: Mechanism and Transformation in the Information.  One of the slides that got my attention was this one.


The role of the Academy in a systematic collecting of information for a crowd-sourced knowledge.

A great point was the knowledge in a perspective of reason for existence, and how what’s obvious leads to thinking what’s hidden.


The other big concept John discussed was Epistemology.

Epistemology Listeni/ɨˌpɪstɨˈmɒləi/ (from Greek ἐπιστήμη (epistēmē), meaning “knowledge, science”, and λόγος(logos), meaning “study of”) is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope (limitations) of knowledge.[1][2] It addresses the questions:

  • What is knowledge?
  • How is knowledge acquired?
  • To what extent is it possible for a given subject or entity to be known?