Martin Emde

I am Martin Emde. I put stuff here (and here).

Jan 31

Dear Management; Trust Us

"Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop." - Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Dear Management;

We’ve worked together for a while now. There’s been ups and downs, but we’ve always tried to serve our common goal. However, we think lately you may have lost your way. We’re worried and we want you to know:

You need to trust us.

We invent the things that make the company money. You may think we work for you, but that is not true. We work for the company and we’re the rubber that meets the road for our company’s product. We’re people, with our own ideas, dreams, experiences and goals. If we were computers instead of people, it would be your job to plan out the exact product you want, and we would execute it exactly how you imagined. If we were computers you would write high level management code and out would come “The Product”. Even if we were were just typists at those computers, you might expect an extension of your hands on the keyboard, multiplied out as needed.

That’s not how we work.

We’re not computers. We’re creative workers. We’re novelists and poets. We’re the long form journalist to your copy typist. We’re painters and sculptors of the expressions of logic, process, flow, and interface. We dream about how to make systems work. It is our passion to create from nothing, and improve what we find. We learn and grow and we incorporated what we know into our work.

We know you have important goals that need to be met. We can admit that sometimes we go down rabbit holes and encounter trickster cats that waste our time. Sometimes it takes much longer to find the exact right size than we thought. We’re guilty of spawning mad hatters and evil queens but we also know how to deal with them. The world we create is not only folly, but exploration and wonder.

Passion is delicate.

To the extent that you can encourage our passion in the right direction, you can influence what we care about and where we go. You need to know that our passion needs careful handling. When we work with you, we share the delicate crystal of our passionate creativity with you. We trust you with our learning and practice that sustains our lives. It is our driving force, a desire and power of will that we’ve trained and sharpened. We depend on our passion to feed our families and to live our lives. The reason we’re here with you is that we think that we can do something great.

By foot we walk the path over which you fly.

It looks different down here. We’re happy to journey towards your destination if it’s a goal that we share. You can help us share your passion but we need to find our own way there and we might not arrive exactly where we aimed. A path laid out for us results in a freeway, not a scenic trail. Slowly, by foot, we labor every step of the path over which you fly from high above. It’s easy to lose the journey in the quest for the destination. It is paradoxically short sighted to focus only on the distant destination, forgoing the experience of each step in the journey. We cannot plan for terrain which we have not seen, and we cannot see terrain at which we have not arrived. From high above you cannot hope to predict the path, but the changes are gradual when we take our steps one at a time.

Without those of us who walk the path, none of us will ever arrive. Maps of an unexplored frontier are nothing but a fools guide to certain death. With each step we can choose a direction. The soles of our feet will guide us on the right path, and we will tackle hard terrain one step at a time. We may encounter worlds which none have ever seen, but only if we walk, and learn, the path.

We need you to believe we will find our way through the forests and thickets. We’ve calibrated our compasses and trained our minds for this journey. We’re happy to have you point over the mountains and say “the promised land is just over the top!” We’ve done these journeys before. We know how to ford the rivers and streams, and though we may lose a few brave souls to dysentery along the way, we’ll arrive somewhere wonderful if you allow us to blaze our trail.

Listen to us, and we will listen to you. We are happy to work with you and we will take you to wonderful places, but you must walk hand in hand with us.

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