What can you do to change the world?
My friend Alex just spent 2 months in India and Nepal, where he hiked the 300km Annapurna Circuit. During a fifteen-hour layover in Munich yesterday, we had some beers and schnitzel together at a Biergarten, and Alex asked me, “Nat, you and I and all our friends are pretty smart, capable people. Why aren’t we working on something great that could save the world or be worthy of a Nobel prize?”
I love my work in the Linux world, and hope it has had some positive impact on the world. But what Alex said hit home. Right now, could I be doing something bigger? Something better? Could you? Even if you are passionate about your work, it’s a good call-out and an important thing to reflect about. If you’re not trying to do your very best, why not? Do you have a good reason?
This theme of Alex’s reminded me of Tim O’Reilly’s “work on stuff that matters” post from January. Tim had some nice guidelines for “stuff that matters,” but I liked the gut-instinct feeling of Alex’s question. What’s your Nobel-prize project?