Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What I do

I have written about 10,000 blog posts, but I've not said much about myself. This is an exception. Please feel free to skip it.

I'm writing about myself because a classmate from eons ago asked me what I do now, and in particular how I use up my brain reserves.

First of all, I'm a father and a husband. Emily and I have 3 children and we share our home with a dog (Kateva of and a school rescue-gerbil (Kangaroo). For reasons I won't go into here our parental duties are very rewarding but also above-average demanding. Running over, around and into some of those challenges uses up a good bit of brain space.

Then there are hobbies, of which the most intellectual one is blogging and reading and sharing and so on. Excluding sports teams I write on three blogs including and

Lastly there's work. This comes in a minor and major flavor. The minor flavor is that I'm adjunct faculty at the U of MN Health Informatics department. This has involved teaching courses over the past decade, but more recently we've a full time teacher who has taken this on. So its pretty light duty at the moment.

The major flavor is my work for a publicly traded corporation that, among other things, develops software products that are used by physicians and nurses. There I am a variable mixture of a working informatician (industrial ontologist I used to say), a domain specialist (less so as my aging medical knowledge obsoletes), an executive (more or less), a knowledge worker (more), a manager, a designer, an analyst, a project manager, an inventor, a cautious* disruptor, a fixer, a product owner, a librarian and whatever else is needed. It's a good job for anyone who gets bored easily and likes solving problems**.

In a past life I was a country doc. Emily and I worked in the same practice.

I have worked in the bowels of a publicly traded corporation for over ten years; longer than I've worked anywhere else. I do not think of myself as a very corporate person, and I find my continued survival bemusing and a bit puzzling. To a significant extent I have persisted there because it's been a great fit for our parental joys and obligations.

And that's what I do.


* I learned the cautious bit the hard way, but still I am. Corporations are interesting entities.
** One of the most important lessons of my professional life was learning the difference between problems that are mostly important to solve and problems that are mostly interesting to solve.

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