Perhaps I should have been a plumber.
Yeah - I'm sure it would've been easier. I can imagine the life: you get a call, you go out and replace a burst pipe, unblock a drain, fix a leaking faucet, whetever. Sometimes, as a treat, you get to plumb a new house; none of that messy stuff. Nice and clean. The pipes stay the same, the washers are just washers and when a new tap comes along, you look at it suspiciously for a while, mutter something about the ponytails who design such impractical disasters and then you use it for the next few decades. When you get home, you put your feet up and watch the Kardashians or the Chicago Bears, and then sleep sweetly knowing that tomorrow will be exactly the same again.
But that's not how I've spent my life.
Instead I foolishly fell for the excitement of an IBM System/360 80 column card puncher. The process was this: type out a line of code and punch; repeat; hand in cards; wait 30-60 minutes to get a compilation report; locate the offending card; fix the error and re-punch. After a day or so you've got a working program. That's when I learnt that in code: Every Line is Sacred, Every Line is Great.
Then I was dazzled by a blinking green on black console where I could write and compile entire Fortran programs in one go!
And then things started getting personal - I was seduced by the ZX Spectrum and its 48 kb of glorious RAM.
And so I stumbled on. DOS. Client-server. Windows. Sockets. Internet. App-server. Symbian. Digital pens. Genetic algorithms. Linux. Open source. Cloud. Graph databases. Blah-blah-blah.
The thing is this: you never sleep comfortably at night. There's always the next thing to learn even before you finish implementing the old one. The optimism of youth - that mastering some particular technology or protocol will stand you in good stead for the future - is smashed a few months later when your new skill is made redundant by yet another sea-change. So it's a never-ending cycle of reading and self-study, getting fired up by new ideas, enthusiastic building, and the familiar old despair when some new kid on the block steals your toys.
Now you must understand that I'm getting on in years. This is me - do you see what I mean?
There's all this talk about 60 being the new 40, but in this game even 40 is a bit long in the tooth. So I could feel this lurking defeatist attitude forming: to just become an old hack and continue doing what I know best, and keep the wolf from the door. I felt that perhaps it was time to stop chasing the excitement of the Next Big Thing and settle down like a grown-up and enjoy what I had.
And then along came the Blockchain...
Aaaaargh! Satoshi - what have you done! At first I resisted, but dammit, curiosity got the better of me. Soon I was talking loudly and excitedly about blockchains and Bitcoin to my bewildered kids. Then the ideas started firing. And then I knew.... here we go again.
When my pal @gavvet started talking loudly and excitedly about Steemit, steem, vested steem, power, steem dollars and big payouts, I knew I had to be part of it. And the more I've studied it the more impressed I've become with the sheer intellectual achievement of putting the whole thing together, and its enormous potential as a platform.
So here I am. My name is Tim Beck, I live in South Africa, and I'm very excited to be part of the Steemit community. I think this is going to be a happy place.
The worst thing about being a plumber (and I'm just guessing here), is not having to wade through piles of the smelly stuff. No, it's got to be the lack of excitement - the kind that keeps you awake at night and makes you see things in a different way. And so I'll just keep on being an excitable kid.
(With apologies to all the plumbers out there - without you we'd really be in the poo)