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Lion in a what?

Digital Media, Organizational, and Personal Development

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My interests changed.

This will not be a withdrawal of the declaration of self-actualization that was in the last blog post. It will be a short story followed by a plan for action.

In December 2011, I was at a national conference for an organization called AIESEC US. It was a non-profit that I worked at in college that facilitated work-abroad exchange for university students. Typing that sentence took a few seconds longer than it should have - because I used to say that value proposition almost every day. At the beginning of each Fall semester at universities across the nation, recruitment for new AIESECers begins - it may be your campus' best-kept secret. Today, when a fellow alumnus shared a post from the AIESEC Mizzou recruitment page, I found this video I recorded about two years ago.

AIESEC was quite a big deal and gave me a lot of confidence in my self-efficacy. I made lifelong friendships and tapped into a love for organizational development that persists to this day in my new career as a software engineer. At that conference in December 2011, I came up with an idea for an app to streamline workflows at AIESEC conferences. I called it the M.A.T.T. - the Member Assignment and Task Tracker. I shared it with my former and future supervisors. They both thought it was cool and endorsed the idea. I even pitched it at a Startup Weekend and while the audience didn't think it was the sexiest idea, I had two business leaders in the audience give me their business cards and tell me to contact them when I made the app. I have their cards sitting behind me on my shelf.

I have made database schema, UI wireframes, and diagrammed a product roadmap for creating the M.A.T.T., but for some reason, I haven't made the app. Which, as a developer, is generally the most fun part of the process. Instead, I learned Ruby on Rails and built a different app, investigated social networks in Kansas City and visualized them using D3.js, and started working on my front-end development skills while making toy Ruby and R scripts for a local non-profit.

I think, given my actions, I've been traveling the path of a web developer with an itch for hacktivism. But I want to go down a more technical path - I have the gift of a love of math. And that requires time that I currently don't have. For many, many months (44 since December 2011), I have put off completing the M.A.T.T. while doing other things. I decided to create the M.A.T.T. originally because I loved going to AIESEC conferences and connecting the pathways between logistics, training, and other programming, but now, I don't feel like I belong in that world. I think that my interests have shifted away from event management and logistics (although I am very good at them) to understanding how and why the logistics work and maybe how to make them more efficient. Of course, that is an analogy in reference to my previous blog post, where I talked about improving measured systems. Right now, I'm looking at community gardens.