Interdependence Day

I am quite independent. I vote independent, I work freelance, and I depend solely on myself for nearly everything.

I live in a house in a nice neighborhood in Maine. My neighbors are pretty nice people. The other day, a huge piece of one of my trees broke off. Apparently it landed in the street. One of my neighbors called the town, and they came to clean it up. It’s a good thing they did, so people could get up and down my street.

And of course they plow it here when it snows and pick up my trash once a week and I depend on the town for my water supply. Thank the Lord for my neighbors and the town!

My freelance business is going great. Most people find out about it from my website. I maintain it myself, although I do have people making some technical fixes and hosting it. And of course, it works because you and I and all the rest of us are on the Internet. It’s a good thing there’s an Internet. How’d that get there?

I get lots of time to work on projects. My wife, who is a wonderful person, takes care of a lot of things in this house we share. What a great source of support she is. You can’t really be independent without a family that supports you.

How do people find my web site? Searches. A lot of my posts rank high on Google. Thank the Lord for Google, or they couldn’t find me. And of course, they see my posts on Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter, shared by myself or by other people. That’s how us independents thrive!

Other people find me because of my book. They find my book on Amazon, or in bookstores. It’s a good thing my publisher decided to publish that book. And that they gave it a good cover, and copy edited it, and printed it, and got it where bookstores can buy it. That’s how us independent authors get the word out.

For my next book, I won’t even have to pitch a publisher. It’s getting published by a hybrid publishing company. Seems like there’s always a publisher in there somewhere.

Sometimes I wonder how I ended up writing books and using them to make a living.

That probably goes back to my first book, Groundswell. It sure is a good thing that my employer, Forrester Research, gave me the time and space to write that one, and that Harvard Business Press agreed to publish it. Of course, it never would have existed — or been any good at all — if it weren’t for the huge contributions and groundbreaking ideas of my coauthor, Charlene Li. I like to say “my first book” but of course it was really “our first book.” No Charlene, no book.

Forrester had a lot do with some other things. I started working there early enough to make a decent amount from stock options. That gave me the financial cushion to do things like work on books. And that never could have happened without the analysts who taught me there, the salespeople who developed and maintained the relationships with our client companies, and all the other research people I depended on. What a great collective that was for an independent thinker.

Why in hell would Forrester hire me? It must have something to do with the four startups I worked at before then, who took a chance on me and my abilities. I sure learned a lot from the people at those companies.

The first one that hired me took a chance because of my educational background. I was a grad student at MIT. And before that, a pretty good undergraduate student at Penn State. I soaked up knowledge like a sponge. I’m very grateful for those professors for helping me develop the kind of mind an independent like me needed to get hired and be decent at math and writing.

Of course, even before that, there was a terrific public high school. And a set of parents who gave me the moral strength, the intellectual support, and the financial support to live in a nice suburban neighborhood and get a damn good education.

America certain is a great place to live if you want to be really independent. I wonder how it got that way?

Happy Interdependence Day.

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  1. There is nothing better than living next to helpful and peaceful neighbors. I mainly see them when I’m out mowing the lawn and rarely visit them, though their houses are 100′ away. I’m the one handy with a chainsaw and front end loader, so it’s me that helps out cutting up parts of their trees that fall. I find it interesting that twice in your writing you say “Thank the Lord”, yet I knew you to be a declared agnostic. I am one who believes there is a Lord and He guides the steps of our lives. Your life course has been one of blessings. Thank you for such an appropriate post today.

  2. Love this!

    My personal freedom is made possible by living in an interdependent society. I depend on multiple, vast infrastructures (social ecosystems) developed and maintained by millions of people; I depend on inventions that are the last step in sequences of discovery that span centuries and have involved millions of people. My everyday feeling of “being free” is contingent on others not violating my rights – and vice versa.

    Without a “do no harm” clause or some version of the Golden Rule in our psyches, no one is free for long. Freedom can’t be maintained without responsibility; our freedom as a society depends upon us appreciating the contributions and needs of others.