So now what do we do with our lives?

After SIME 2000, bumming around with some authors and being asked by reporter after interviewer to share my thoughts, I started thinking, hey, I should be an independent media agent, working, travelling, updating my web site. Like I envisioned for myself as a youth. What am I doing instead? I work at a large company for the greater good of gamers.

The Net has made some rich, left some standing in line.

I have stock options; I hope I'll vest them and my company will make money and go public. I'm sipping the kool-aid. We believe we're a good company and people will like us so we will grow and make money. Every day in the paper I read about Internet companies folding as the market cools to the hype of the new economy. glow of massive burn rate has worn off; you can't expect to grow and be useful while you're spending money and not making any. But our founder is charismatic and he tells me that we're different. And I like our site. Still, should we expect to make a useful site for gameplayers and be rich? How much do you want from the universe?
I hold on because I'm having fun and I'm learning, that's why I took this job. But I keep almost forgetting that, probably because of the watchful public eye on the market, following the money. Being a webhead in 1994 and not making buckets of cash seems to be like building a ranch house at Sutter's Mill in 1848 and living there for the view.
So now I'm writing this shit to work out how I feel about having enjoyed myself while other people were stroking up the world's internet cash erection.

We believed in a new means of freedom and creativity in work; some, like me, too young to have experienced the grind of a real job.

My Mom paid for me to go to college and I didn't have to work or take out loans. So I was free to pump web pages day in and day out, and excited enough to proclaim freelance web production as the means of liberation and sustenance for the future.
Howard advised me to get a real job so I would know what it feels like to work until you're tired - it keeps you from making too much content in your spare time, but it has increased my beer and DVD consumption.

But now we find our tools and diversions make regular wage slaves of us, wage slaves with regular jobs.

A hundred years ago, people lost their fortune through drink and divorce. Now maybe this generation will drown in a sea of Palm Pilots, DVDs and German sport convertibles. If you play around in the world of "e business" you need to stay media and technology literate which is expensive.

The doors on sawhorses have become cubicles
The late nights become overwork

What was a culture of earnest passionate dedication to changing human communication is become an organized methodical means of accruing human capital. A tolerance for casual clothing and weird hairstyles has been veneered over "the office of tomorrow" which is actually still the office of Frederick Winslow Taylor.
I'm not opposed to efficiency, but it seemed to me that a large part of the fun office culture I've enjoyed is the intimacy and the intensity of working in close quarters. But that can stand in the way of ambitious productivity. Sigh.
It looks like we're not going to eradicate poverty, hunger, lonliness or boredom with the web.

Whatever I believed about the power of personal storytelling online, addressing the real problems of the world take serious hard work and even delaying gratification. Bummer.

We're making another generation of canny white men very rich.

Technology has made some very very rich people. And everyone else has access to technology that makes them more productive. The web has not changed the social and economic structure. This is disappointing.

And if we work enough ourselves we might have a comfortable life and send our kids to good schools.

I drive to work and I think about how I'd like a nicer car with more safety and comfort, so I'm going to keep working to make money to buy a car to drive to work. That's comfort.
Now that I am a whole five or six years old than I was when I started here, I know people my age that are having children. And through them I can see that if and when I have kids, I will want to provide them the same access to tools and ideas that my parents provided me. I would also like to have a nice home with a yard and some friendly neighbors. I would like to be wearing a sarong and taking my kids to visit artists. These are ordinary desires.
So either you can see the bliss in contentment of that small life or you can labour on the fringes to make a small new society for a hardworking few.

I struggle with myself - isn't it human and appropriate to want a house and some kids? and some movies to watch and a fat internet connection and occasional plane trips to visit far disparate friends?
That's just the kind of shit that's ruining the planet and crushing our souls! We should all be living in a DemonBox!
Releasing my firm grasp on a steady paycheck is going to take some serious doing. And then? Making it up for yourself is hard. I can't imagine making up a lifestyle and then getting other people to join up! It used to be called a commune or a cult, now it's called a startup.

The Internet has forever changed the world so there will be more of the same.

You can reduce the progress of technology; beneath it all, people still want to eat fuck and shit. A little less meta, and people still want to be powerful and respected. A few carve a place for themselves at the top and many suffer at the bottom through no fault of their own. The Internet hasn't changed any of this, it's changed the way we see that world.
I plan to work as an odd man in a growing corporation - encouraging humanity in small ways while my paycheck keeps me consuming.

I'm trying to live with myself and be realistic, as I'm being reflective. I know why I took this job, and I mostly enjoy my work. I begin to wonder what I'm doing to better the world though - I used to travel and share the web. Now what can I do?
In my Dad's eulogy there's a story about him chastising the hiring committee at his lawfirm for regarding potential hires in an inhumane way. There's a lot of work to be done fighting the potential of large groups of people to dehumanize small groups of people. Each corporation needs help with this. Or maybe they don't?

Deep down I'll always love this soapbox and I'll eventually return to radicalism, when I can afford it.

Send me internet stocks and I'll quit my job.

So what am I doing with my life?

Maybe I just lost my guts for hacking it alone? Maybe I need to make web pages in a group setting. Maybe I'm just going to a different kind of school.

I think I'm missing out on the community service end of things; leads to a feeling of uselessness.

Find your fancy.

Thanks, Cyborganic!

and DSLNetworks for the home bandwidth.