Monday, November 22, 2004

Who is this guy?

[This was moved from my Open Source Marketing blog on Jan 6, 2004.]

Before I get to far along in blogging my adventures in marketing open source software, I should probably share a bit of my background, lest people get the idea that I speak from some kind of authoritative position that I don't actually have.

First, I'm not really a reverend as most people would understand the term. Yes, I am ordained. (And you can be, too, by going to and signing up a few clicks with the Universal Life Church. Their tenet is pretty straightforward: do that which is right.) So, intellectual honesty: I am an atheist. That does not mean I hate God. It means that I put God in the same category as Santa Claus, Sasquatch, and leprachauns. Humanity has a wealth of rich evidence of how the universe works, and we continue to learn more. Learning about the universe--string theory, quantum theory, relativity, and evolution--provides a much rich story of our creation that makes the gods of so many creation myths look like characters in quaint stories we used to comfort ourselves before we had better answers to some of our greatest questions. Stating that you are an atheist can drive away a lot of people because it creates such a fundamental difference to deep believers in one religion or another. I risk losing readership (or worse, inviting debate) just by stating my position on the matter.

So. where from then does the "Reverend" epitaph arise? I guess I get a bit passionate about the things I discuss in my presentations. At some point, people just started calling me that. (And, I may have had a role in promoting the name, just because I find humor in it.)

Second, I'm not a trained marketeer. I have not taken formal classes in marketing, nor have I done so much reading or gained so much experience that I speak from some kind of learned authority. I'm far more in the by-the-seat-of-the-pants classification. I have a bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and after a (very) short career as a ranger in the U.S. National Park Service, I transitioned into Information Technology. I've been a technical teacher, a technical sales expert, a product manager, and a marketing manager in the IT field over the past 10 to 12 years. The marketing part only in the last 4 or so.

I lay out these two facts about me to make sure people don't get the wrong impression about who I am. I'm not religious, nor am I trained in marketing. I'm just some guy going through a learning process about marketing in the relatively new intellectual frontier that is open source software.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Random Question: What's the most amount of sand you've ever had in your swimming trunks?

I used to actually find a weird thrill in having sand in my swimming trunks. I couldn't get enough sand. Arriving at the beach I'd feverishly scoop handfuls of sand into my shorts.
As I walked on the beach, people would stare in alarm at my swim trunks, which looked like a conspicously overloaded diaper. In time I found myself buying ever larger swim trunks in order to increase the capacity of sand I could have in them.
This of course eventually lead to impede my mobility. One particularly clear day, as I stood immobilized in my small mountain of sand, I became aware that I had forgotten my SPF65 sunblock, and soon the smell of my own searing flesh overpowered the bliss of so much sand. Through the sunstroked haze, I became aware that I was encircled by small sea creatures--crabs, sand fleas and and various other aquatic arthropods--all creeping toward me while gulls of all kinds were swooping down to feed, probably hoping for my consciousness to fade so they could start with the tender eyeballs, as scavengers are wont to do.
I fled screaming, an imperiled man, lobster red on top and pasty white waist down from being buried in the sand that now seemed so abhorrent.
To this day my sand phobia is such that I cannot bear to even have a grain in my shoe without resorting to a compulsive foot washing ritual that lasts for hours, puntuated by needing periodic hits off of my calming inhaler.

(That would be my best possible Martin Sargeant.)