That’s me in the foreground, next to my sometime workmate, mentor and friend – Miguel – shaping baguettes at the bench. It is a unique work situation. Two men, side-by-side, working together for nine hours a day, five days a week. A duo – at its best, a duet. And sometimes a momentary clash of directions, followed, thankfully, by a return to the duet.
I doubt many people in today’s workplace ever experience the degree of camaraderie, unspoken understanding, and above all, the necessity of getting along that we have. It is a situation for which no company’s HR department could be equipped. It is the two individuals, and not some corporate office, which determine the outcome of this working relationship. This is part of a baker’s life, and for me, an introduction to a new adventure.
A few short years ago I was a market researcher who helped build and run a professional services group for a leading purveyor of online survey software. If you peruse this website you will find a collection of my thoughts about marketing, surveys, and ways in which the web may be leveraged in their service.
But you will also find an expanding body of thoughts and experiences shared about the joys and tribulations of bread and baking which reflect my new passion.
Quite a leap from the world of “knowledge work” to that of the “trades.” But then life doesn’t have to be consumed in lockstep fashion, which is fitting, because my life hasn’t followed a single trajectory. It has been a series of adventures, which on reflection at a certain age, seem as though they were intended, though I know this is surely false.
If there is anything approaching a "career" it is that I've spent most of my life as a learner - and if I could call that a profession, I'd lay claim to it.
I have a Ph.D. in philosophy of technology, but in my case that speaks more to a passion to pursue things that interest me than to a life's devotion to a particular discipline.
Traditionally, the pursuit of interests without a corresponding commitment to them exclusively has been called "dilettantism." An interesting word in that its roots are Latin for "delight," yet it has come to connote someone who dabbles without ever achieving mastery – a bad outcome.
But after many years and much thought, I've arrived at the belief that the term “dilettante” has gotten a bad rap. I now think that dilettantism is what allows new connections to be made and new perspectives to be glimpsed – all courtesy of curiosity married to life experiences that may be outside the scope of a particular discipline.
So this blog is dedicated to curiosity and dilettantism. Here with respect to ideas that interest me – as diverse as bread, marketing, research and the web – but in a larger sense to the way we approach and live our lives.