My lab makes me productive in society. I write really cool open source code for anybody to use, and I earn money by traveling around meeting interesting people and helping them to solve important problems. I have “hard fun” looking for ways to do these things in harmony.
My lab is where I can be creative. I can ask myself, after 25 years of thoughtful programming, what’s the right way to do fast ethernet I/O? and then develop my answer: a small 10G Ethernet device driver written in LuaJIT and embedded in the application. Fun!
My lab lets me work with friendly people in the open source world. I get to take part in the conversation on how to write networking software, and I can collaborate on equal footing with other clever hackers who have their own interests and labs, big and small.
My lab lets me buy fun toys (without asking permission :-)). Any day now I will receive a server with twenty 10G ethernet ports to share with everybody hacking on the Snabb Switch project. We get to break new ground together in the spirit of creative fun.
My lab lets me create software of enduring value. I do not have to constrain my code with secrecy and license restrictions, which means that it can take on a life of its own. The software can follow its own strong tendency to spread and thrive. I have just given a talk about SLIME at the first Emacs conference – 10-year-old work on a 37-year-old editor and still in widespread use!
My lab lets me choose to do all of these things, all by myself, and it would let me choose to do something completely different if that was what I wanted. It lets me decide when to work from my house in the Swiss Alps, a beach in Thailand, my family’s home in Australia, a cosy cafe in a big city, or a friendly office. It makes me abundantly wealthy in freedom and independence.
In summary I feel that I am close to a local maximum for creativity and freedom.
The problem has never been to “make” the company a success, but rather to preserve the great situation that I already had from the first day. On the one hand I need to avoid things like running out of money, selling shares, and signing employment contracts, and on the other hand I need to keep writing cool open source software and finding people with important problems I can help with. This way I can keep on being proud of my company.
A man is a success if he wakes up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.- Bob Dylan
Know what I mean? I would be happy to hear from you on firstname.lastname@example.org.