I Am Not A Renaissance Man

Last night I put together an abstract for my GoH (Guest of Honor) session at Linucon this October. The GoH session is the “all about me” session where I get 50 minutes to talk about whatever I want to.

I’m attending the ‘Con as both a Sci-Fi Guy (Schlock Mercenary) and a Linux Guy (GroupWise), and on either topic I can ramble for hours. And then it occurred to me… THAT, in and of itself, is kind of interesting.

I Am NOT A Renaissance Man. I Don't Know How To Fence.
By day he manages a 100-million dollar software business. By night he creates the finest science fiction ever to grace the world of webcomics. By-and-by he teaches Sunday School, raises four children, and invents foodstuffs. Meet the man who gave the world GroupWise on Linux, Schlock Mercenary, and the Chupaqueso, and learn the dark secret of his so-called success.

I crack me up.

16 thoughts on “I Am Not A Renaissance Man”

  1. “By day he manages a 100-million dollar software business. By night he creates the finest science fiction ever to grace the world of webcomics. By-and-by he teaches Sunday School, raises four children, and invents foodstuffs. Meet the man who gave the world GroupWise on Linux, Schlock Mercenary, and the Chupaqueso, and learn the dark secret of his so-called success.”

    I WILL have ‘spy’ in the crowd… That had BEST be how the MC introduces you, or every-one of us will feel cheated (though maybe you should mention being married to such a kind, caring, patient woman?)

  2. on the subject of Michael Jackson

    Did you ever see the British satirical puppet show “Spitting Image”? They did a good job on “Bad”
    “…I’m mad, I’m mad
    I’m looney in the brain
    I’m mad, I’m mad
    I make Reagan look quite sane…”

    It IS over 20 years since I heard it of course…

  3. Ha! Now all you need to do is get a tour set up and charge exorbant daily prices for your week long seminar guaranteed to help others reach the same levels of success!
    It’s looking good Howard, expand on the concept and I’m sure you’ll end up with a smash up speech.
    -J-

    1. I do, however, know how to NOT fence

      I’ve held a sword before. I own several, a couple of which are quite nice. But I know full well that unless I’m up against a guy with NO sword (or no skillz) I’m better off falling back on a more useful skill: hitting what I aim at with a firearm.

      Let’s face it. The odds of me having to defend myself with a pointy-thing are much lower than the odds of me having to defend myself empty-handed, or with a firearm (one which I own, or which I take away from the idiot who pulled it on me).

      I’m not combat-trained, mind you. I know full well that in the most likely self-defense scenario, my best course of action is to hand my wallet to the mugger. It’s relatively cheap, and while it may reinforce negative behavior, at least it stimulates the economy.

      1. Re: I do, however, know how to NOT fence

        Well firearm use would probably be the modern equivalent of fencing. Besides, carrying a full sized sword around is probably a little over the top. Not to mention the police get all twitchy. Besides, if all he has is something pointy then something blunt moving at high speed from a distance usually wins.

        I know full well that in the most likely self-defense scenario, my best course of action is to hand my wallet to the mugger.

        Yep, because he’s already got the draw and chances are you’d be drawing from a concealed carry. Even if it does reinforce negative behavior, he’s likely to run into someone some day who’ll enforce some better behavior on him. Over confident muggers are sloppy muggers.

      2. Re: I do, however, know how to NOT fence

        If you ever do get a hankering to try fighting with a sword and shield I’d be glad to try hooking you up. There are lot’s of Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) chapters in Utah. It’s a medieval recreation group kinda like the black powder or civil war reinactors but earlier.

        One of the most common activities for this group is to do mock combat using real armor and a kind of blunted sword (actually made from Rattan). I don’t live in that area, but I can probably find a way for somebody to contact you and loan you armor for an evening if you like. Having fought off and on for many years I can tell there is nothing more relaxing than getting together with good friends and then trying to beat the crap out of them.

  4. Whenever I see…

    … something like that (“manages 100 million dollar business”, “founded 2 billion dollar telemarketing firm”) my first thought is, “then why doesn’t he take 2 million of it and stop working so hard?”

    (I know, you don’t actually CONTROL that 100 million. The people I *REALLY* don’t comprehend are the Gates types. If you actually have 100 million to spend, why are you doing 60 hour weeks and trying to fight competition any more? I’d be relaxing in Maui, writing SF on MY schedule…)

    1. Re: Whenever I see…

      Indeed. I wish they’d given me a percentage. All I ask is for 10% of everything we make ABOVE the most optimistic projections of Sales and Senior Management.

      I’d have pocketed close to 2 million in just two years. And then yeah, I’d pay off the house, live on interest, and draw comics full-time. I think Novell KNOWS this.

    2. Re: Whenever I see…

      Because if you’re the sort of person who amasses that much money through work, you’re not the type to just say “Forget this grind” and then sit back and enjoy it.

      But I’d be very happy if someone would gift a few million to me so I could persue my wants.

      1. Re: Whenever I see…

        Consider the fact that a person with a 100 million dollar business has invested lots and lots of emotional energy into it. Giving it up or selling it might not be so easy to do.

    3. Note also…

      Note also that in any particular business there is gross size and net. I’m paid out of the gross, as are the rest of the expenses involved in running the business — facilities, marketing budget, plane tickets (lots of those), engineering salaries, hardware… the list goes on for a LONG time. Once all that’s been spoken for, there’s the profit. Some of that goes into bonuses, some goes into mergers and acquisitions (re-investing in the business) and some of it goes to shareholders.

      Now… if I OWNED the 100-million-dollar business, I’d have the ability to sell it off and retire on the sale price. I don’t own it. I just MANAGE it for the people who do.

      –Howard

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