Hawaii, Communication

I've been in Hawaii trying to think without much success. I joined #ossasepia with the hopes of being of some use working in/around China, but that path is closed off for the indefinite future due to a failure to communicate. I am not interested in doing software. I've been doing software almost every day for 16 years. There has to be more to life. This leaves me stuck. I would rather open a laundromat.

I know that I do need to get a better understanding of what is meant here by engage. And here.

I actually find chit chat boring, and prefer to engage in discussions about actually important subjects with my friends. For example, I spent two afternoons on this trip talking about Bitcoin (when asked, and not autistically), business, politics, relationships, and even touched on a bit of ethics with my friend1 who lives here.

Another recent example is that I started a meetup group in Sacramento about history and philosophy. Three people attended the first meetup. I lead the group, having everyone introduce themselves and talk about what brought them to the group, and then lead the discussion of Xenophon's Apology and Symposium. It went off pretty well and I believe it was rewarding for everyone who attended.

I also joined a Spanish language meetup recently and spent about an hour speaking mostly in Spanish with a guy I never met before mostly about Mexico. It was kind of a one sided conversation with me asking the questions and him answering and kind of going off aimlessly on whatever.

Here in Hawaii I did speak with a few randos on the beach here and there, but it was just the "where you're from" type stuff described in a Trilema article I can't find.

And now for some pics of Hawaii.

My friend took me snorkeling out beyond the rocks. It was beautiful but I did worry about being sucked out into the ocean.

This is from a trail down to a beach not far from Hawi.

From the beach

The view back up into the valley

Building a tadpole farm

You can see Maui in the distance.

Pics from a trip to the Waipio Valley

My friend had this house built. Off the grid, powered by solar + Tesla batteries.

This papaya was delicious

How to kill a pig

  1. He's an electrical engineer who made his fortune selling a kind of web portal for EEs to a bigger business. He's now working on a board game that (in my opinion) is actually interesting. []

7 Responses to “Hawaii, Communication”

  1. Diana Coman says:

    Looks like a great holiday place! And nice pics but rather hard to look in more detail due to size.

    If software was all there was to life, we'd be eating electricity in short order so no, I'd surely hope nobody lives for/with software only. In some sense though, software is perhaps the most anti-human life you can find out there and on top of it, bitcoin even more so with its harsh and strict disregard for all sorts of human comforts or dearly held beliefs and all that. So if it is warmth and human connection you seek, your best option is always direct interaction, I don't see any way around it/ other than it.

    More specifically for the original problem, from your new examples, the pattern that pops out is that you can indeed talk about history and philosophy, possibly other topics too but the point is: you are talking *about* topics, not *to people* ie about themselves. Did you actively find and bring new people to this meetup/similar groups you've run? Or how did they find it/ decide to come to it?

    It sounds like you would be perfectly fine to give a lecture/ lead a group on some of the topics you are familiar/at ease with as long as your audience is already there for it but you are totally stuck re getting people interested in a topic you care about. So the practice here wouldn't be simply to chat up random people as in just exchanging some words but more along the lines that you exactly avoided for your own consulting business: go and bring in new clients. And I chose your business context rather than something else because I assume that there you know the "topic" best really so at least that part should not give you trouble. Onth, if that's too big a step, there can be smaller steps to take but the core of it is still the same: you need to practice figuring out people rather than just topics essentially. Possibly your upfront framing of some interactions as "conflict" holds some key there but I can't say whether it's a cause or an effect of your problem (or even both!)

    In any case, enjoy your remaining holidays!

  2. thimbronion says:

    > not *to people* ie about themselves

    I have done this. For example, I had some probing discussions with my parents over the last couple of years (For example, why do you still talk to your mom even though she treated you like shit). I should post about those discussions at some point, if only to clarify what I learned for myself. This leads me back to Stefan Molyneux though. I've listened to all of his podcasts, each 1 to 4 hours long, coming out once or twice a week going back roughly a decade. They're mostly conversations with people about themselves. I've been using that podcast as a substitute for connecting with people.

    > Did you actively find..

    Hm. I would say no. I posted my meetup group with a description, and it got about 50 signups within a week. There was a little back and forth over what the first meetup would cover, but other than creating the group and the description of the first meetup I didn't target anyone for recruitment other than people who would find that description interesting.

    > go and bring in new clients.

    I have gotten people to *join* me on projects. I was able to get a friend to join a consulting project that lasted a few years. And I was able to persuade another friend to join me for a shorter bit of work. Admittedly in the first case there was a lot of money on the table. In the second, my friend had let me know in the past that he was looking for a specific kind of work.

    In terms of bringing in new clients, I have a bit of a chicken and egg problem. I don't currently have a pool of consultants ready to work. I think I could find some by hanging out at the local javascript and rails meetups. There are at least some dissatisfied cube dwellers there. Given that I don't want to do the dev work, I would definitely need to do this first.

    As to how to actually find clients to bring in, I do not know quite where to start. Local meetups are a possibility. I used to be able to drum up local clients on Craigslist, but I haven't tried in a while. SV itself has a very anti-remote culture, so it would not be easy to find clients there, even though I'm not that far away.

    One thing is nagging at me though, and that is I don't believe in the "industry." I am persuaded the whole thing is broken. Webdev is a mess, and it's getting messier, and I don't know how to honestly discuss webdev with clients without my disdain for it showing up. Like they're all going to want username/pw login, which is dumb, obviously, but not to them.

  3. Diana Coman says:

    " I've been using that podcast as a substitute for connecting with people." - this is a very, very poor strategy that precisely gets you to sound as a result weird at best. You are way better off even doing the hated chit-chat with anybody alive really because that is at least interaction whether you enjoy it or not while listening like that to people pouring out their problems is essentially a sort of ...voyeurism, what can I say.

    " other than people who would find that description interesting" - that's part of the problem: you did not make the group in order to talk to people or to get people interested or to even discover people; you made the group so you don't talk alone pretty much, which is quite different. So go and try to find new people to join this group, why not? At least there you don't have the problem of disdain for the topic as with java/webapps, right?

    "I have gotten people to *join* me on projects. " - this might be a start but note that you got *friends* to join, which is already different from just getting people. You really need to be able to figure out how to get *strangers* to join you on a project, that's the issue.

    "Webdev is a mess, and it's getting messier" - that much I am sure of, yes. The thing is: you'll find problems with each and any possible topic really. You can choose *which* problems you can live with/work with but if you are looking for the perfect thing, you'll never get to do anything really. So far there would be your work because anyway you still are doing that work, aren't you? So when you talk to potential clients, forget about yourself and your disdain - look instead and try to figure out the world from their point of view even if that includes such messes as being convinced of the magic of username/pw login. This is not about what things are, remember? It's about what and how the person in front of you thinks and it is THAT the thing you have to try to adapt your message to.

  4. thimbronion says:

    > ...voyeurism, what can I say.

    Is it voyeurism because the conversations should not be public?

    > this is a very, very poor strategy

    Agreed. Have you met Americans that don't sound weird, or is it just me?

    > you did not make the group in order to talk to people or to get people interested or to even discover people;

    I definitely made the group to find some people to talk to, unless I misunderstand the meaning of talk here. I wanted to hear what other people had to say on this stuff, not just trying to look smart in front of people. Maybe even find an expert on it. I will think about ways of getting more people to join.

    > you still are doing that work, aren't you?

    I am. But probably not much longer, depending on the price of btc. I did consulting for sheer financial need, as Naggum, who would have despised me, put it. I am running into a lot of negative feelings here. You have made your point. I can see what I was avoiding. But can I figure out how to talk to people in some other way that is about 1 million miles from daily standups and sprints and issue trackers?

  5. Diana Coman says:

    To your last and most important for you question: it really depends entirely on you; note that this is not exactly the sort of thing on which a lot of help can be given remotely; as far as I can see it and for what it's worth, I'd say your best bet is probably to up sticks and move somewhere you really find interesting, with the specific aim to immerse (to the point of losing your old and broken parts of self) yourself in that place & culture. There's a reason you say you find it easier to communicate in non-English.

    Re voyeurism not as much because not public but because you are essentially enjoying there from the sides other people's interaction without taking any part in it (rather substituting the watching for the doing).

    Plenty of Americans that don't sound weird. There's a difference between foreign/different and weird (although many people don't bother to make it, I do). The weird there is the broken/missing part(s), not the local background though. If it helps at all though, I've met others that sounded weird too (and not just Americans either).

  6. Diana Coman says:

    I should add: quite often in response to me you actually sound perfectly fine. So it's clearly possible.

  7. thimbronion says:

    > I should add: quite often in response to me you actually sound perfectly fine. So it's clearly possible.

    This is something, at least.

    > 'd say your best bet is probably to up sticks

    This is one thing I know I have to do.

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