I work in the software industry for a professional services firm. I wear many hats: vision facilitator, thinker, product manager, program manager, engagement manager, business analyst, writer, scope negotiator, salesperson, marketer, tinkerer.
I love solving business problems with software. I enjoy working across a number of different industries and meeting people in every kind of organization. I’m passionate about gathering and analyzing business and user requirements. I’m particularly interested in information/knowledge management systems. My specialization is in a variety of Microsoft products, notably SharePoint and Office.
It’s taken me many years to reach a reasonable level of comfort in my role as consultant. I still regularly experience the unavoidable self-doubt that any smart person in consulting would (“Don’t these people know that I barely know more than they do? Do I actually know more than they do…?”). I also regularly struggle with the transitory nature and constant change of work that consists of serial projects with an ever-changing cast of colourful characters. But these days, I’m able to compartmentalize my work better, manage my time and personal limits better — and enjoy myself much more than I used to. Consulting, I think, is probably the best choice for those of us who think like entrepreneurs but aren’t wired to put everything they own on the line for a single idea. (It’s also possible that I simply haven’t stumbled on my idea yet, or that I failed to recognize it as such — though that’s a bit sad to think about.)
Of course, in our post-capitalist world, business isn’t just a mode of working but has become a mode of being. I take pride in being in ‘business’ only slightly less than reluctantly, and always with a healthy skepticism. Call it a contradiction, but I also think business will ultimately be responsible for bringing about the really big shifts we need in the world because politics clearly can’t (imagine ecologically driven products that people actually want to buy and that make business sense, for example). Finally, I’m very conscious of not wanting to define myself primarily by what I do for a living.
I see it as my role to continually search for more authentic and honest ways of conducting business. I try to root out dysfunction in the workplace wherever I can. I’m honest, direct — and these days, I’m much better at diplomacy and being friendly than I used to be. It’s something I work on daily because authenticity and honesty can’t exist without the balance provided by being approachable, compassionate and leaving one’s ego mostly at the door.
I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with my partner Jennifer and her son Angus.
I studied literature and philosophy at university and sometimes only vaguely remember how I ended up working in the tech industry. I find the Internet endlessly intellectually stimulating in all its forms. I spend countless hours reading online every day (unfortunately, to the detriment of reading books, something that — depending on the day — causes me no small amount of agony). My interests are pretty wide-ranging, and I believe that a life fully lived these days involves challenging the Renaissance man (or woman) in all of us to emerge. That means not being afraid to engage in cultural, political, civic or business discourse, “qualified” or not. More and more, I think that’s what a blog is for.
I love music and actively collect CDs and listen to them. Asking me to specify the genres I like typically results in much confusion. I love something about almost all types of music. I grew up listening to classical music and learned to play a number of instruments (recorder, piano, trombone, clarinet). As a rebellious teenager, I had a high school metal/punk band with a few buddies. I sang (yelled?) and played keyboards. Favourite musical genres include classical, rock (all flavours), hip hop, reggae, jazz, world… don’t get me started (just look at the “Music” category to get an idea). If I had to identify a pattern of my last few years of listening, it’s been a consistent journey towards warmer, more acoustic, more authentic sounds from all corners of the world (which does not, however, exclude ‘electronic’ music in any way).
I was born in Germany (Köln/Cologne), moved to Namibia when I was 8 and grew up there. When I was 18, I moved to Cape Town, South Africa to go to university. Later, I relocated to Johannesburg, where I lived and worked until 2000, when I changed continents again and came to Canada. Toronto is a fantastic city – peaceful, civilized, evolved, multicultural, interesting. While it’s certainly not New York or London and faces its fair share of socio-political and infrastructure challenges, I’m permitting myself to really like it here for the first time since I arrived.
I’m a committed vegetarian, interested in my own health and the planet’s, and I like to cook and eat (and sometimes, write about it).
Welcome to my blog.
The header image is a slice of Paul Klee’s painting ‘Maibild’ (1925, oil on cardboard). I love Paul Klee’s work and I think this painting is a very suitable visual umbrella for this project. (And I’m fairly certain that there is no copyright on it anymore since he’s been dead since 1940.)
My partner Jennifer is a gifted and experienced WordPress consultant and made most of the modifications you see here. If you’re looking to get your own WordPress site, you should really hire her – she’s awesome (don’t take my word for it; check out her testimonials on LinkedIn). This is her company:
I make every effort to present valid HTML pages. This often works out but is sometimes hampered by things like YouTube video embedding.