web counter Media Lies: New friends and challenging thoughts

Friday, January 21, 2005

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New friends and challenging thoughts

I met Richard Thieme at a security conference this week. Richard is a technology philosopher, if I may introduce a neologism. He is a much sought after speaker, an author and a consultant, a self-made and thrice re-made man who has had several careers in his short lifetime and may well have more before he is done. He has a website as well as a blog and a newsletter you can subscribe to.

After absorbing a breviloquent 45-minute version of his standard two hour offering, I felt compelled to immediately purchase his book, Islands in the Clickstream, a collection of essays that he has published over the years. Richard is not an average guy. Nor are his thoughts average thoughts. If you are comfortable where you are, do not befriend Richard. He will challenge your status quo and force you to rummage through spaces in your mind that have lain dormant for ages — perhaps forever. He will make you think in uncomfortable and sometimes unanswerable ways.

We need men like Richard — men who challenge the things that are and demand the things that are not — men who refuse to think inside the boxes constructed for them. We need to listen to such men, if for no other reason than to validate that what we are doing is what we should — that we haven't wasted our lives by accepting the labels we were given and failing to reach for the stars of our chosen universe.

Another philosopher I have known once told me, "Always leave a place better than you found it. You never know what impact the smallest thing you have done may have on another, nor is it necessary for you to know. It is enough to do and allow God to nuture the seed."

I think Richard is one of those rare men who does this, leaving behind the trail-dust of his thoughts, allowing others to gain from his insights, never worrying if he has done the right thing, simply doing what he knows is right, leaving a place better than he found it.