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Archive: 28 May 2003

My Dull Surprise

I’m continually amazed by what interests people.  The most recent examples: Simon Willison’s CSS tutorials and Stuart Robertson’s “The Search For the Missing Link.”  This is in no way a denigration of the work either man is doing—it’s top-notch stuff, and is not only well presented but is obviously striking a chord with readers.  I’m just saying that it never would have occurred to me that people would be interested in those kinds of things, so even if I’d had the ideas, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to write them up.  (Exception: Simon’s CSS makeovers of the Winer and JWZ sites, which I wish I’d thought of first.  Oh well.)

This bothers me, because it hints at a personal failing.  If I’m not talking about the things that interest people, if I’ve lost touch with what people want to know, then how can I be an effective teacher and author?  Why should anyone bother to listen to what I have to say?  For a communicator like me, this is a real problem.  I thrive on the exchange of information, both incoming and outgoing.  Of course I can always consume knowledge, but that isn’t enough.  If I can’t provide it as well, the meal is unsatisfying.  The important thing is the sharing.

Am I bored with CSS, and having that stunt my abilities?  Is this a lurking fear of being eclipsed by newer (and generally younger) contributors to the field and eventually forgotten?  Have I just been in the game too long to stay in touch with the audience?  I’m sure people out there would be happy to tell me that I could still see what the audience wants if only a massively swollen ego weren’t blocking my sight, and for all I know they’re correct.  Maybe it’s time to move into a different area of study, and see what happens.  I hear they’re taking applications at that truck driving school.

It was two years ago tomorrow that I started work for Netscape, by the way.

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