Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

16 Jul 2012, 22:32 p.m.

Two Weeks Home

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2012 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I'm home from Wikimania, where one of my presentations got someone "legitimately excited!" And what else can you ask?

Home for two weeks before I take a nice long summer vacation.

A few random thoughts:

"Assume Good Faith" is a pretty life-changing choice.

"I have this problem" and "we have this problem" are qualitatively different situations.

Some stimuli are like necessary vitamins and I need to make sure I get them, or I'll feel run-down. Examples: exercise, seeing my colleagues, making other people laugh, walking in greenery, telling and hearing stories, hugging, and the music of the Mountain Goats.

Multiple people have asked me, in the past few weeks, how I've gotten to where I am, to who I am. One answer: the hospitality gifts my parents gave me, plus an unremitting personal history of feeling like a powerless outsider and thus an iron-willed resolution that no one should ever feel like that again, plus catching open source zealotry as a youth.

Instead of "what do you do?", when I meet strangers at conferences, I ask questions like "what cool stuff are you up to?" or "what is your current endeavor?", allowing people to self-define by their chosen interests, but avoiding implications that reduce them to their current externally assigned titles.

One of the hardest parts of conferences: I rarely see these fascinating people, and can't just stop time to mind-meld with them.

Sometimes I misread my own calm as feeling tired.


16 Jul 2012, 22:57 p.m.

yay!! - I love AssumeGoodFaith!

16 Jul 2012, 23:20 p.m.

What would illegitimate excitement be like?

17 Jul 2012, 11:27 a.m.

Love this: "I ask questions like "what cool stuff are you up to?" or "what is your current endeavor?""

Pete Forsyth
24 Jul 2012, 19:14 p.m.

Love this post -- lots of little tidbits of goodness. Avram, I think illegitimate excitement would also get (legitimately) caught by the spam filter Mark encountered :) And I agree, "what are you up to" is a great, yet elusive, ice breaker question. Going to make a conscious effort to add that to my repertoire!