1) What has been your favorite job?
I really like the one I have right now, actually.
2) What did you like about it?
Of course there are things that I don’t like about it (it’s a job after all, I do it because I need the money), but there are a lot of things I like about it. Doing product work is a really nice way to have a lot of impact with what you’re doing: every user of the product will use whatever you decide to do. If your product is used by a wide variety of people (or organisations, if you’re doing boring business software like I am), then you will hear lots of different viewpoints and have to weigh them.
The company I work for now is also much, much more people-oriented than the one I used to work for, so that has certainly also helped with my motivation.
3) How can a kid become like you when they grow up?
The best advice I can give is: “Stay curious”. Try to find out why things are like they are — very few things are so because of the laws of nature. Often, someone thought this thing should be done in a certain way — but if the right people can be convinced it should be different, it can be changed just as easy. This is the ‘hidden truth of the world’, and it applies to things like economics, politics, but also to boring business processes. Get to the bottom of things, and ask yourself if there are better alternatives.
4) What safeguards do you use to avoid mistakes?
The most important one is: do not take a decision when you’re under pressure. That not only applies to work decisions, but also to personal decisions. I know that nobody wants to get into conflicts, but if someone is pressuring to make a decision a certain way (like in a hard-ball sales pitch), you know that that outcome will be most beneficial for them — and not necessarily for you.
5) What’s changed in the world that you’ve had a hard time keeping up with?
I find myself ill-equipped to deal with the global rise of fascism. I thought we’d know better by now, and I find it hard to adjust to the idea that lots of people are now openly fascist.