Chairman Ed

Connecting people, ideas and processes


Thoughts from “Chairman” Ed

I chose this name, or title, because it’s something my wife says to me when I am spouting an idea that might be particularly interesting to me but not to others.  It is a kind of ego check which she executes effectively.

I do have some ideas that I would like to get organized enough to put in written form, and then to share them with others.  But I need to keep in mind what may be interesting to me may be of little or no interest to those folks who I hope might find them intriguing.  Thus the title is a continuing reminder to me to keep my ego in check.

The title is obviously a play on the notorious little red book from Chairman Mao.  For me the title of “chairman” actually has some practical meaning because in my work I am Chairman of several business groups that serve as a form of peer advisory board for the members.  So, there is some legitimacy for the title chairman, although we typically use the more gender neutral “chair”.  That didn’t seem to quite work in this case.

My hope, and intention, is that over the next 25 or 30 years, if I’m allowed those years, is to enhance these ideas and move them to a broader audience.  I also hope, if there is interest, and if it is practical, to help implement a few of the organizational concepts.

My initial intention is to use a combination of a blog and a wiki as tools to develop these ideas, as places where others might share their thoughts and reactions and as places to accumulate other related information publicly available on the Internet.  The blog would give me space to work on small segments at a time as ideas get developed and other information is found.  The wiki would give me a place to accumulate and better organize the information.

I have a conceptual model that I use to describe a creative process like this.  I call it flash, gas, liquid, solid.

The flash is the initial idea, often illustrated as the lightbulb or stroke of lightning above the cartoon character’s head.  The gas is the vocalization of the idea, talking about it to others, the air over the larynx.  The liquid is ink on paper.  The more organized presentation.  The solid is when something actually materializes in real form from this process.

The gas, liquid and solid are obviously the different forms of matter that we know most commonly.  Today we also know that matter can be in the form of a plasma or a super critical fluid.  I’m not quite sure how each of those forms fits into my little model, but perhaps writing on a computer and making the writing available on the Internet is more like the idea of a plasma or super critical fluid than the older concept of ink on paper.

I’m not sure how possessive, or parental, I will feel about the concepts and ideas that I share, but my underlying hope is that the energy of others can be gathered around them, and that over time they may take shape and form that is socially beneficial.  My belief is that by sharing my efforts and ideas I will not lose anything, but rather I will gain from the insights and efforts of others.  For me ideas are not money, a scarce resource, rather they are an abundant resource limited only by our creativity and collaboration.

Finally, there’s something about organizing and sharing thoughts that have accumulated over many years that gives me a sense of a higher purpose beyond the things I need to do to survive in life, take care of my personal responsibilities and be a contributing member of my community.  I have felt that it takes some intestinal fortitude to bring out to a bigger world, and public scrutiny, what has only been internal to this point.

I learned this a number of years ago when I wrote some op-ed items for my local newspaper and two of them were featured on the front page of the Sunday opinion section.  I realized that I was really out there and exposed in a very public sense.  I learned that I need to trust myself sufficiently for this to happen.  I also learned that for me it is much more difficult to trust my own thoughts and feelings by making them public than to remain in the shadow and say nothing.

This is my effort to come out into the light.

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