Today I get the pleasure of sharing with you 20 Questions with one Patrick Beja. Patrick is now a delightful correspondent for the Daily Tech News Show headed by multiple 20 Questions Tuesday participant, Tom Merritt (interview 1, interview 2). He brings a very measured thoughtfulness to his reporting on technology and backs up his thoughtfulness with his own experience in the computer gaming industry. Most of his podcasts are in French, because he happens to be French and speaks French as his primary language. I have listened to Le rendez-Vous Tech in its natural French... I understood enough of it to know that I should stick to the Daily Tech News en anglais. Patrick is delightful to listen to because of his insight and his supple French accent. So without further ado... Voici nos Mardi de 20 Questions:
I am a cartographer and one thing I really love is looking at a person's geographic story. For example, I was born near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. My family moved to Montgomery, Alabama when I was a baby and then to Birmingham, Alabama when I was 3 or so. I grew up just to the northeast of Birmingham in a small town called Center Point and lived in the same house until I left for university when I was 17. I went off the school at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio where I met my wife. We moved to Columbus, Ohio when we graduated from college and have lived in the Columbus area since then. Question 1: What is your geographic story?
Ha! There couldn't have been a more complicated question to start us off... So, let me do this chronologically, as you did:
I was born in Lebanon, where I stayed for only a couple of years before my family left the country, chased away by the war. We found ourselves in France with not much more than a suitcase and my newborn baby brother. We stayed there for a year or two and "tried" to move back home, as my parents felt the war was winding down, which turned out to be wishful thinking. So after a few months we left Lebanon again and came back to France. Another few years, and my father's work took us to Cyprus for a year, and then to Beirut (again) for a year. I was 13 or so by that point, so it wasn't an easy change. Then back to France (thankfully!), where I had a hard time re-adjusting, as could have been expected.
I did high school (redoing my first year) and university in Paris (two widely different university courses: IT and Japanese), and then, as I turned 25, I decided I wanted to live in Japan, almost on a whim. So I did just that; I lived in Japan for about four years, split between Tokyo and Kyoto. A wonderful and trying experience; I left a part of my heart in the streets of Akihabara and another on the banks of the Kamo-gawa.
At almost 30, my time away had made me realize I didn't have to be what I thought I had to be, so I figured I'd forgo my pre-ordained path of working in the IT industry and decided to find work in the movie industry instead, and Paris was probably the best city to do that. So I came back and did just that, again. Half a decade later, I met my Finnish wife as she was swinging through Paris on a student exchange (she has a pretty complex geographic story herself), and it was love at first sight (which I wouldn't have believed existed before it happened to me). She went back to Finland shortly after, and the long distance relationship took me there every few months. Then she came to live in France, and we huddled in my tiny 20m2 studio for a couple of years, getting married in her countryside home town midway through. Now we've moved to another lovely apartment in the very close suburbs of Paris, and we're planning on staying here for a while... until we move to Finland for a few years, maybe? Time will tell I guess.
Wow, that is quite a geographic footprint. I love sharing with people who have moved all around the world. The shifts you made are impressive ones, not only geographically, but culturally and linguistically as well. So... You most likely speak Arabic from your Lebanese roots, you clearly speak French since you live in France, you have to know some Japanese, I would imagine you either can speak a bit of Greek or Turkish from your time in Cyprus, you most likely are learning/know some Finnish, and we are chatting in English. Of the languages I listed out, most come from different language trees. That is some crazy impressive polyglot action going on there. Question 2: So... how many languages do you know? and to what level of functionality do you consider your knowledge of them?
Heh, you like questions that will illicit lengthy and complicated answers, don't you!
Ok, so first, my parents' and my native tongue is French. They were both part of the French speaking community (Lebanon used to be a French colony, and kept strong ties with France after it got its independence. Actually it had strong ties with the French, English and Arab worlds and was a very westernized country before the war. But I digress). So yes, I do speak French, and it is my first language.
I apparently spoke Arabic as well when I was a kid (around 3 or 4 I think), but I've since forgotten 97.3% of the little I knew. I can kind of understand the topic of a conversation if I pay attention and your definition of "understand" is loose enough. My parents speak Arabic as a second - no wait - third language, and aren't fluent (my mom has a strong accent even). Their second language is English.
And I speak English as well, as you know. I wasn't totally fluent until I started listening to podcasts though. I spoke pretty well already: in Cyprus I learned practiced my English and not Greek or Turkish, and in Japan I lived with a kiwi for a year or so (a New Zealander, not a bird. Or a fruit), but I didn't speak very naturally until I got into podcasts; movies and TV shows will only get you so far.
I also speak Japanese reasonably well; I studied it for four years in college, and started really practicing there. We went back there for our honeymoon last year, and I was surprised at how conversational I could get, even after all these years…
And finally, I'm learning... Swedish! My wife is a Swedish Finn, so her family's first language is Swedish and not Finnish (Finland is a bilingual country with a Swedish speaking minority), and so I'm learning that of course. I learned by myself a bit and I can say a few things, but I'm not quite there yet. I'm starting serious lessons in 2015.
And in case you were wondering, my wife speaks more languages than I do. I think as a general rule of thumb, you can just assume that she basically does everything I do, and more, only better.
I knew that Lebanon had a French colonial influence to it, but I did not realize the strength of that French legacy. Also, I did not realize that Finland had a Swedish speaking minority. I just thought that since Finnish is such a small language group that the Finns would be a bit more isolationist about their official language.
This is my typical question 3, so without further ado a sharp left turn from geography and linguistics to Question 3: Cake or Pie, which specific kind and why?
Gluten and dairy free pecan pie. First because pecan pie is by far the best dessert pie ever conceived, and second because I can't really eat gluten and dairy nowadays (food intolerances; it's not allergies, it'll pass).
I grew up in Alabama with two pecan trees in my backyard... I still have never and will never like pecan pie... I understand the gluten and dairy thing. I have had to be gluten free for about a year now... I hate being gluten free. Absolutely hate it. France is known for croissants, baguettes, crepes, and other gluteny delectable ... I am not sure that I could handle the aroma of freshly baked European breads daily...
Question 4: If you do accidentally eat something with the gluten in it, how long does it take you manifest your symptoms?
Well, as I said, it's not an allergy so it's not very severe. It only gets annoying if I eat gluten a few times a week for a few weeks, and I've been observing a strict "everything-free" diet for a couple of years or so now, so hopefully I'll soon be able to eat it again. Although to be honest I'm not sure we're made / supposed to be eating gluten, intolerance or no intolerance. Or at least not as much as we do.
And yes, being deprived of croissants, pains au chocolat and warm baguettes has been very hard on me, as a French person especially. But surprisingly, among all the things I couldn't have (there were more than just those initially), the thing I craved the most was coca cola. For the first two or three weeks, I missed it more than chocolate, which was a surprise...
I have the intolerance pretty badly. It is not an allergy because it does not affect my immune system as much as it irritates my gastrointestinal system to the detriment of all around me.
You are now a correspondent on a tech news podcast that is based in the US whilst you are in France. Question 5: what are the technical difficulties that you are running into with this cross-continental kind of job?
The timezone differences are the main challenge. Not only because it's bloody confusing (especially around Daylight saving switches, which happen at different times in different places), but mostly because now that I'm doing this full time, I want to preserve as much of my evenings as possible to be with my wife... Given how much I work with Americans, it would be easy to get every evening filled with podcasts, and that's something I want to avoid as much as possible - it doesn't mean I'm never doing anything evening time for me (DTNS being the prime, and weekly, exemple), but there has to be a balance: I could very easily end up having three or four evenings a week eaten up by podcasts. Most of the time my US friends are kind enough to wake up early enough that I'll be done by 8pm my time, which I immensely appreciate.
The Phileas Club is also an interesting show to schedule in that regard : since we often have people from the Americas, Europe and Asia/Australia at the same time, finding a common time slot is... fun. I usually end up doing it on a Saturday afternoon my time.
My wife works with an international cadre of people, so she is constantly trying to coordinate schedules for people in the Netherlands, England, British Columbia, and occasionally Australia... how she manages to get people in relatively similar time zones to meet at the same time is dizzying. The fact that she is often having to coordinate intercontinentally is even more boggling. I would imagine the second you work becomes yours alone and you are the one responsible for content that the work/life balance is almost immediately thrown asunder. I know that since my wife decided to go it alone, we have been constantly renegotiating our own work/life balance. It is difficult to say the least. There is a saying that when you work for yourself, you are always working. The only thing that keeps us sane and our marriage intact is near constant communication.
I have consistently heard that prior to your recent striking it out on your own as an independent podcaster that you were in the "gaming industry," and I am sure you have gone into detail on some of your own podcasts and guest spots on other podcasts, but I am going to ask anyway. Question 6: What was your professional role in the gaming industry?
I've talked about it here and there indeed: I was working at the PR department of Blizzard Entertainment, in their central EU office, working mostly on World of Warcraft and Hearthstone (it's no big secret: I'm listed in the credits of all Blizzard games for that 5 year period). The question I often get when I tell people, especially gamers, what I now used to do is: "why in the world would you ever leave a job like that?!". It always makes me laugh, but I haven't looked back since I put in my resignation a few months back, simply that I'm doing something that I love even more... And hopefully I won't have reasons to regret leaving that awesome job! :)
It is a difficult thing to willingly leave a good thing to try something that might be more fulfilling. Honestly, I commend you heartily for doing it. I am in a dead end job that I cannot stand, and I am nearly immobilized by the fear of the unknown. I need a new job that allows me to grow and learn... I am getting a masters in User Experience Design all in expectation that I will do the work to find a new job, but this fear is hamstringing me from moving forward at a pace that would be helpful. It is time for me to get out of doing GIS/data warehousing of holes in the ground and get into something dealing with UXD. I really stand in awe of your ability to take that chance. I am so happy for you and your ability to create content unfettered.
Question 7: What creative endeavor have you wanted to do, but just not felt like there is an outlet for it?
Honestly, the steps to being happier (in work and elsewhere) are different for everyone, so maybe taking things slow and small are the right way to go. One thing I'm certain of though, is that you can spend your whole life saying "tomorrow". Not everything needs to happen immediately, but if you reach the point where not doing what you want has become routine, you're in danger of looking back at things years later and saying "I wish I had", which is the saddest collection of words in the the human language.
Anyway, to answer your seventh question, there are tons of creative endeavors I would like to initiate or take part in but don't. It's not for lack of outlet though; I believe that with today's tools and means (computers and networks) there is nothing that can't be formalized somehow. Sure you might not be able to direct a blockbuster movie from your bedroom, but you can certainly take up 3D graphics, or stop motion video, or something to convey your ideas. Similarly, podcasting will enable anyone's ideas to reach the world in an even more simple manner. Honestly, the things we can do today and the possibilities we have, they're almost endless.
I have a deep seeded aversion for the "back in my day" type of ideas, because most of the time they're rooted in preconceived and erroneous notions. Now is the best time to be alive, likely for almost anyone almost anywhere, but mostly for us privileged first world dwellers. Not making the best of it when we are afforded so many opportunities is an insult to... well, the world. There, rant over. :)
You are a simply wonderful, deep, contemplative man. I am fighting a tendency that runs deep in my family of dealing with "if only" and "not ready yet." It is conversations with you and people like you that get me to actually get myself moving.
You create an amazing amount of content through your large amounts of podcasting. I can only imagine that much creation takes up a huge portion of time. Question 8: What do you do to rest and relax? What are your hobbies?
Here lies my deepest problem: I've made my hobbies into my work. So when I want to relax for a bit, I basically get some work done (playing video games or browsing the tech and gaming blogs). I know, right?!
But aside from that, I also enjoy cinema quite a bit, and dinners with my friends. I'm not one for evening dancing in trendy clubs. Although there was a time when I did go out to bars around the city. But that's a story for another time... :)
I was curious about that. I have heard from some comic book creator friends of mine some similar issues. Some of the magic of doing "what you love to do" goes away because you are now forced to do that activity for your subsistence and not just for the love of it. It doesn't necessarily diminish the love someone previously had for an activity, but it does sometimes transform the joy of a beloved activity into the tedium of a chore.
All of this being said, Question 9: what is your favorite aspect of podcasting?
Definitely this: it's not radio. Radio has a very set tone and way of speaking even. It doesn't feel natural, it feels written, artificial. I love the fact that podcasters make listeners feel like they're part of the group, just talking it out and having fun while having coffee. That's, in my opinion, what creates the unique proximity between podcasters and their audience, and there's nothing quite like it in the "traditional" media. At least in France…
I would say there is nothing quite like the podcast/audience relationship most any place in the world at the moment. It is at both times a very intimate interaction and a global distribution methods.
Question 10: Fill in the blanks: I find that I am mostly _______. Others feel that I am mostly _______.
I really think I've never seen anything like a podcasting community anywhere on the Internet... It's a great place to be.
And to answer your questions:
I like to think myself as balanced, first and foremost. Interestingly enough, I think it shows very much in my work, as I insinuate that value anywhere I can. Well, almost anywhere I can. :)
And apparently others think of me as passionate, at least according to twitter... I like it too!
"Balanced" and "passionate," while not diametrically opposed, could be fairly disparate. Since many people would consider impassioned behavior to be un-balanced... Question 11: Why do you think there is a perception gap between how you view yourself and you feel others view you?
I... guess I'm passionate about being balanced? :)
I think balance is a very misunderstood value nowadays, because of the politicization of... well, everything. I believe it's not only possible, but also important to listen to what the other side has to say if you want any of what you're saying yourself to have value. Wait, let me rephrase that: I think it's important to *understand* what the other side has to say, not just listen to it.
Even that idea of "sides" is polarizing. It frames the world in one dimension, where you have to disagree with someone on everything if you don't agree on one thing. It creates a world of enemies and opposition and, quite frankly, breeds unproductive anger.
And it's easy to talk this talk and say "yeah! right! we need to hear each other!" and then just get angry the next time you hear something you've labelled as "not my side"... But that's exactly when you should take a second and listen and, again, understand what that person is saying.
And maybe you'll discount and condemn them afterwards, and that's fine! I'm not saying we should all hold hands and sing songs around the world tree; it's ok to disagree, of course it is. I certainly have a strong set of opinions myself. But far too many people disagree with one another without even understanding what they're disagreeing with or why. And that's why I strive to represent all the arguments in most of the things I do, even when it's not easy.
So yeah, this value of balance - wait; after this vibrant speech, which no doubt moved you to tears, I feel I should capitalize the word - this value of Balance is really important to me, and I believe it's a way to make the world a better place.
So that's how I can marry Balance and passion I suppose (see how I sneaked a capital B in there?). But I'm sure a lot of people responding were referring to my passion because I took it so far that I quit my job for it. And it's true that podcasting is a real passion for me: it's such a wonderful tool, at the crossroads of expression, technical expertise, comedy, art... You have to have a little bit of all of that in you to be a podcaster (or at least to be the kind of podcaster I enjoy listening to). I really love that medium.
But I love other things as well: tech, of course, is one of my great passions, and I think it shows in the way I cover it. I'm not the most knowledgeable person on the topic, but when I talk about something on the show I try to understand it well enough that I can then explain it in a simple way to my listeners. And that's not as easy as it sounds; it takes real dedication.
Video games too; I think it shows in my voice, when I talk about a game I love, how passionate I am about these things.
I'll skip the other topics I cover (I could talk about The Phileas Club all day), but suffice it to say, I am not afraid to love something and to let people know.
I think ultimately this passion thing comes down to a key value of our now prevalent geek and nerd culture: don't be afraid to be yourself. We've lived for years kind of hidden away, being made fun of, ostracized even. Life was never hard per se (first world problems), but now that we're older and can tell people to fuck off, it's liberating.
I also realized myself (in the sense that I became a fuller person) a few years ago, after a somewhat-upsetting-but-not-world-ending breakup in my 30's: I decided, consciously, that I had had enough of the dating / masquerading game, where it was expected that you would present the best version of yourself, hiding, transforming, deforming who you are, in order to fit some image of what you think would get you in someone's pants or heart. It's all so silly really, and we know it, and we still do it...
So I was ready to be myself, or die a lonely male spinster trying. Resigned would be a better word; I wasn't happy about it, and it wasn't like it was a great revelation... I was just tired and sad of not quite being myself is all. I can't quite take for myself the immortal words of Joey Tribiani "I've had my share of women... Actually I've had a lot of people's share of women!", but I can say that by my mid thirties I was satisfied that I could get a girl, have a relationship, and that I wouldn't die a virgin. So that part of my animal alpha caveman brain was "checked", kind of, and I was ok with the idea that I wouldn't compromise myself anymore.
So I started just being myself, pretty much all the time. At a party, I wouldn't necessarily limit my conversation to music or movies or oh so trendy TV shows; I'd also talk about video games and the Internet and how incredible and transformative and amazing it all is. It probably kind of sounds silly today because those topics have become very mainstream, but in the late 2000s it wasn't so. iPhones were barely a thing, nobody used Facebook, and the media was only discussing video games when they could link them to a terrible tragedy. It's amazing what a few years can change...
And you want to know the kicker? I was tired of dating, I stopped even trying, and I had half given up on the romantic thing altogether, right? Well, of course, that's when I met my wife. She was a law student, she had never played video games in her life, and I was in love with her the moment she said hello... I have never been more myself with anyone, from the get go. Of course I wasn't being obnoxious and we talked about a lot of things other than smartphones and video games, but I never avoided the topic, never hid who I was (am). I knew I would ask her to marry me within weeks; I still don't quite understand how I was lucky enough to find her... :)
Wow, well, there you go: passion! I guess my passion is to answer a two line question with an insufferably long essay on the human condition! But I guess it is kind of answer: passion and balance can be two very different things, can't they?
This was indeed a long response but no where near the idea of insufferable. I agree that balance and passion are not mutually exclusive because one could believe very fervently in their ideas and not completely dismiss opposing ideas out of hand. I am very happy that my 2 line questions are eliciting such thoughtful responses. This makes me feel like I am doing something right.
Question 12: What is something in your life for which others (and potentially you) are surprised at your amount of passion? What is a unexpected topic/subject that you cannot help but voice your opinion? For example, I have oddly strong opinions about frosting and icing that I could expend surprising amounts of energy discussing at length..
I like to think of myself as balanced, but one might describe my attitude as contrarian. They would be wrong of course, but it is true that my pathological need for balance tends to make me argue (or attempt to argue) the opposite of pretty much anything anywhere. If a person or a group veers towards a unified/uniform view of something, it makes me uncomfortable and I start thinking about the other side of the coin. Almost all the time. I'm sure I would debate frosting and icing with you at length if you became adamant and I was given the chance... It's a curse, really.
So to answer your question, there isn't just one thing, it's pretty much everything.
I have noticed you sometimes becoming the de facto Devil's Advocate, so to speak, on DTNS before. This makes pretty good sense.
Oh, unlucky 13.... When I played soccer as a kid, I would get ready in a very specific sequence. I did it at the time because it was my "lucky" method. Looking back now, it was clearly not about invoking any sort of luck, but a method and ritual to get myself in the correct frame of mind to go onto the field and play my best. Question 13: Do you have any superstitions or rituals?
Hmmm that's going to be a quick one : I have very very very little of those. I'm not saying "none" because I'm guessing everyone has their amount of healthy OCDs, but I prefer to separate myself from those things, doing what I do because I want to, or need to, or think it's important, rather than delay or change them because of a supernatural reason that I know shouldn't matter. It's not always easy mind you, but I feel rituals are a ultimately doing me a disservice... Emphasis on "me" there: I'm sure they're very helpful, maybe even necessary, to a lot of people.
Interesting. I would have thought you would have some mindfulness rituals or something. Some kind of pre-game warm-up before you start a podcast.
Bringing it back to technology, since that is how I know you primarily, Question 14: What do you think is the big technology story to watch for in 2015?
I've always hated trying to predict technology trends, mostly because I always get it wrong... :)
But I think it's safe to say there are two fields to keep an eye on for important developments this year:
- First is the Internet of Things, in which I'll include the smartwatch market, which will be bolstered or undone as a "mass consumer market" for the foreseeable future by the release of the Apple Watch this April. My prediction is that it'll sell truckloads in the first month or two, and will ultimately end up in drawers. I haven't seen anything in that product that convinced me it'll be a long lasting success on the scale of the iPhone/iPad/etc. I'm happy to be proven wrong.
- Second is Virtual Reality, which I'm curious to see evolve. My guess is that it'll reach consumer grade product and release this year (Occulus Rift seems likely, and maybe even Sony's project Morpheus, although I'd see that one released mid to late 2016, as Sony coasts on the PS4's organic success), but practical application won't become convincing until later, 2016 or 2017 even. We'll get impressive demos quickly, but it's such a different environment that people (developers) will need a significant amount of trial and error. I'm also doubtful of short term prolonged use in gaming environments; it might come, but my suspicion is that it'll initially be more akin to a theme park ride for most people (those who aren't enticed by a four hour long trip in a space ship or a mech, which are the kind of environments where the device makes sense to implement). Long term, who knows, maybe, with specific tailor designed experiences. It might also fizzle out as motion gaming did though... It's not a sure-fire hit, unlike a lot of people are betting. That's gaming only though; as Facebook's acquisition of Occulus suggests, VR tech will likely not be limited to games, and we might see it become more prevalent in other (unexpected) areas. Only time will tell though…
Time will definitely be the great arbiter of things to come. I guess time is always like that.
I was unsure of the "Internet of things" until we got wi-fi enabled lights in our basement. All the lights in our basement have individual pull cords and switches... now they can all be turned on, dimmed, and turned off individually or as a group from nearly anywhere. It made a believer out of me.
I feel like this year will be yet another year of seeing the potential of VR without coming to the culmination of anything consumer ready. I want VR to be a thing this year, but it just seems to fanciful. This is, of course, is the opinion of a guy who has not even seen what an Oculus Rift looks like, much less what one can do.
Question 15: So I am intrigued about this Phileas Club podcast of yours... What is your favorite aspect of the that podcast? and why should I become a listener?
Heh, you're tugging at my heart strings now. :)
The Phileas Club is a show with a simple idea: gather people from different countries and cultures every month, to let them tell us how the important events had been relayed in the their countries. Being of a diverse cultural background myself, I have been shocked at how limited our view (incl. mine) of most issues is, especially when we think it's broad. I'm also 100% convinced that a lot of our disagreements come from a lack of understanding of what we actually think. This show is a way to try and fix that, at my tiny level.
So it's a show I've had a lot of love for for a long time, but with the latest episode (about the Charlie Hebdo attack), I've found a way of putting into simple words the reasons why I think it is so valuable: it's not a show about agreeing or disagreeing, it's a show about listening.
We had a wonderful individual (Mahmoud) on that episode, from UAE who expressed his views and opinion on the attacks, as a muslim and as a Jordanian national, and I was struck by the realization that we basically never hear from normal people in these countries. Here's what we usually see: 1) terrorists killing people. 2) Extreme fringes burning flags. 3) War victims crying for their lost ones. Here's what we don't see: normal people explaining what the see, think and live every day, and who are much much closer to ourselves. I think this is a deep failing of our media, and podcasts is a perfect medium to remedy it.
The Muslim world is obviously a big part of it, and Turki from Saudi Arabia had become a large part of the show in its previous run, but it's not limited to that of course. I've always tried to be as inclusive as I can, and hope to be even more in the future.
I love that. You have a new subscriber. I often see most of our conflicts come from lack of empathy and some of this lack of empathy is due to lack of information.
Question 16: How many podcasts are you a primary contributor to? I know of 3 off the top of my head, but if pressed I could probably remember 1 more.
Hmmm actually for active shows it's "just" The Instance and DTNS. I won't count Overwatchers since it's on hiatus until we actually have something to talk about... There are a million other things I'd love to do, but I've learned not to rush in and to take time to do things well rather than quick. :)
Since we are nearing the end of the 20 Questions... Question 17: Is there something I have not asked that you are surprised I haven't, or feel that I should have asked? And feel free to answer that question.
That's a tough one...
Well, after thinking about it for a while, I came up with one. It's not so much that I would have expected it, but I think it's a very important one that not enough people ask themselves: "are you happy?"
We're getting into easy philosophical debates here, but I do believe that it's very important to take action when you're not. In the immortal words of Steve Jobs (I like quoting him a lot) at his memorable Stanford commencement speech, if you're not happy doing what you do every day, and that continues for too long, you have to do something about it. It's so very tragically easy to slip into a comfortable routine, and wake up 20 years later, aghast at the time you've lost! That's everything.
As I paraphrased in an article I wrote when he died (Steve Jobs), "No one can be happy every day of their life, but you should be happy most days." And not everyone can quit their job and go para-sailing all day (some have families, obligations, etc), but we shouldn't put off learning to dance, or playing games, or writing books, if we feel that's important to us. At least not putting them off forever. Set a date, a limit, and if you haven't done something about your situation by that point, realize what it really means for the rest of your life. Realize that if you don't do it now, you might never do it, and examine the consequences. If you're fine with it, whatever. If it make you ache, my advice is to act.
That's also why I don't like New Year's resolutions: I understand why they work the way they do, but I don't want to wait until the New Year to do stuff I feel is important... If there is stuff left for me to decide I should do around the New Year, it means I've failed to make a change before that. Why wait? If you're going to do it, do it. If not, don't kid yourself with what we all know is New Year bullshit, and consider whether it's actually important to you.
And to be clear: this is also about money. Keeping in mind the goal of living a full, happy, fulfilled life, how much money do you really need? A roof over your head, food in your plate, Internet in your home... And in Europe, we even have "free" education and health care. Is there anything more that's essential than that? Everything else, the money can't buy. You don't necessarily have control over finding love, which would be the other "important thing", but you do have control over what you do with your time. Will you spend it recklessly climbing a corporate ladder that will give you only more worry and less of... everything else? Will you kill yourself "making it" as an entrepreneur, neglecting yourself in the process? What's the ultimate goal? And if it is to become regional manager of FuturaMegacorp, awesome, do that! I just worry about doing things out of habit, and not examining our "real" wants.
Do we need money? Sure! A roof doesn't come cheap, and food isn't free. Will I take more money if I can get it? Of course! Bring it on, I'll always find a use for it. But will I sacrifice my time and my happiness for the pleasure of being able to show someone else something I'm not?... That's another tough one. I try not to at least, and trying is already something.
And if you're reading this, chances are you're lucky enough to be living in a part of the world where you're afforded that chance to try. It feels like it would be a shame to throw it away...
So to answer my own question, yes I'm happy. And I like to think it's because I chose to be.
I'll leave you with one of my famous quotes (they're famous in my mind anyway): "there's always a good reason not to do something". And it's true, there always is... :)
I love that question, and I might need to appropriate it for future 20 Questions that I do. That really is a fascinating question because, as long as the question is not answered glibly, it is an extremely telling response. That answer means something. I am glad that you are happy Mr Beja. That is wonderful.
I have to say that I am not quite happy right now. If I could shore up some professional issues right now, I think my overall happiness would go straight to happy. Usually the workplace does not temper my mood, and regardless of that environment, the family life and my creative endeavors bump me easily over into happy, but currently my workplace coupled with the time requirements associated with my education responsibilities (I am currently getting my Master's in User Experience Design in order to alter my workplace issues) has tipped me into slightly less than happy, but I am working toward becoming happier, and I can see happy on the horizon.
Now it is time for me to turn the tables, Question 18: What question would you like to ask me?
I think as long as we're actively working towards weeding out of our lives the things that make us unhappy, we're good. The real danger comes when we're constantly saying "next week", "next month", "next year"... and then it's 2015 already.
Alright, question 18. Well to be honest, by now there are a lot more than one question that I'd like to ask you: this has already been a wonderful, almost introspective experience (I honestly didn't think it would be this cool), and you've steered it pretty masterfully...
But if I had to chose one, it would be this: what defines you?
It's a simple question, but it shouldn't be taken lightly; you could even read it with a slow, dramatic movie voice in your head to grasp the gravitas of its implications... :) It's tricky because it could refer to the way you see yourself, or to the way others see you, or to the things that are important to you, or any other things that you choose to read into it.
So what do you think? Is it a good question? A bit too pompous maybe? I'm really asking; you're the expert here. :)
You have free reign to ask me any questions you want… I have really enjoyed my time chatting with you via email. When these email interviews conclude I always feel a bit sad because I know that the level of contact I have been experiencing with my questionee will never be the same.
As to the question you posed... Wow, that is an incredible question because it is so fraught with meaning. I always ask my questionees to ask me something on Question 18, and this is the deepest question anyone has asked me. To answer your secondary questions first because it gives me some time to think, I think this is a wonderful question. It is better than good. It is not remotely pompous, and I hardly consider myself an expert.
Now onto "What defines you?"
To start with I am going to treat this as an action verb and who the actor is on this verb. Ultimately I want to define me, but I am afraid that in some instances I allow others to define me. My definition should be consistently mine regardless of how much that definition changes I should be the one changing its content and meaning. One good thing is that I would say that more often than not I am the person defining me.
Now onto the content of that definition...
Currently I would define myself as father, a loving partner to an amazing woman, an artist, someone who wants to laugh,someone who wants to learn, and someone who is too often hamstrung by his comfort in the fear of change. Does that about crack it? I hope that cracks it.
Question 19: What are you taking from this 20 Questions that you did not bring in with you?
For question 19: It's honestly very difficult to separate my experience with your questions and the changes in my life over the past few months. We basically started this relatively soon after I left my job, and things have been evolving slowly into a situation where I'm starting to get my bearings again. So I guess I don't know how much this series contributed to my thought process throughout, but I'd say that I have done a substantial amount of self examination, and probably a bit more than if we hadn't been going back and forth. And while it certainly hasn't been the only factor, it's helped me situate myself a bit better, driving me to take the time to wonder about stuff I don't often do. Not sure it works as an answer, but that's what comes to me... :)
That is a wonderful answer. If this 20 Questions conversation has contributed to any self-reflection or helped to illuminated any of the path you are currently on, then it has gone beyond my wildest expectations. I know that I have thoroughly enjoyed myself in this back and forth interaction and I hope you have as well.
Unfortunately it is time to come to a close though, but let's end it on a high note. Question 20: What's next? Be as concrete or as vague, as short-term or as long-term, and practical or philosophical as you want.
Heh, I hope you're going to like this one: "I don't know, but I'm excited". :)
I love it. I think that it is one of the most appropriate answers to this question
I want to thank you heartily for taking the time to answer my inane questions with such grace and aplomb. You are a gentleman and a scholar. I have enjoyed this conversation more than you could know. My wife listened to you on the Daily Tech News Show last week, and she agrees that one of the supporter levels on your Patreon should be you reading our emails out loud to us.
Thanks so much for this gift of 20 Questions.
Please follow patrick on twitter @notpatrick and for more information concerning all of his various podcasts (like the newest episode of the Phileas Club wherein a Frenchman, a Swede, a Thai, and a Saudi Arabian talk about Putin... so much fun) please go to Frenchspin.com. If you want to partake in Patrick's French language offerings, please make your way to FrenchSpin.fr
Merci! Merci Beaucoup, Patrick! Je suis dans votre dette. Bon chance!
I guested on a design podcast a few weeks ago
It was bunches of fun
You can listen to it here, go ahead, give it a listen
I talk about the Siri
Mainly I talk about how Siri does not live up to the commericals
I just finished up a final project for class
Ergo the absence for the past few weeks
Sorry about that, but there are only so many hours in a day
This week’s topic for the Ten Ton Studios Sketch Challenge is Space Ghost
What a great topic
Have a great week everyone
Live Long and Prosper