May 23, 2004

In Praise Of Polymaths

Polymath: n. person of great and varied learning.

Sounds much more fun than being narrowly focused on one aspect of one field of interest. The problem with being a modern-day polymath, as Suw Charman points out, is that the world would rather you specialized. Of course, it's entirely possible that olden-day polymaths like Leonardo Da Vinci had the same problem, I don't know.

Focus hasn't troubled me unduly, at least not in my career. I've managed to stay mostly in the mobile phone / embedded software arena, and varied life with stints in protocol development, project management, application development, software porting, and a while as a COO.

Even that limited diversity brings problems. Given the precarious nature of my finances whilst launching my own business, I'm keeping one eye out for opportunities to earn a little extra cash; but it's hard to succinctly explain my wide range of talents*. Do I list the programming languages in which I can code? (C, C++, PHP, Perl...) Or a list of acronyms my code has understood? (TCP/IP, PPP, HTTP, GIF, HTML...) Devices my code has run on? (Nokia 6600 et al., Siemens SX1, Sony Z5 et al., Psion Series 5, Amstrad em@iler, Linux PC, Windows PC...) Those are the standard geek identifiers, but miss the management side of things; project or department management isn't something I could do for a short period of time, but I could advise software companies on their management, or their software process.

So many possibilities. So many other things I'd like to dabble in: building hardware; design; my artistic side (even if that's just creating some more cakes). And at the same time I have to make my fortune and make the world a better place. Hopefully, having my own business will give me some of the flexibility to pursue this multi-faceted agenda, or at least the techie part of it.

Experiment? Adventure? Impossible? Probably all three, but it's going to be fun.

* I know, so modest... Posted by Adrian at May 23, 2004 12:39 PM | TrackBack

This blog post is on the personal blog of Adrian McEwen. If you want to explore the site a bit further, it might be worth having a look at the most recent entries or look through the archives or categories over on the left.

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Don't bother listing. Just code.


Posted by: Neil Brewitt at May 24, 2004 11:28 PM
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