There I was, nine years old, and it had slowly dawned on me that becoming a musician was no longer the only thing I wanted in life.
I had just finished reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and found myself designing my own book covers. I did not only want to compose and perform music, I wanted compose and perform music and tell stories.
But that wouldn't be the last time I got immersed into someone's work of art only to find myself driven by a new passion for a new medium, dreaming up my own creation.
Along came Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings. Sometimes it amazes me to think that occurrences like the advent of the DVD coinciding with the home video release of these masterpieces played an undeniable role in the development of that 11-year-old nerd with waist-long hair and a rather feminine - perhaps even Elven - face. Some twenty hours (of New Zealand's finest artists and craftspeople discussing everything from the time these books had been written in to the painstaking process of hand-animating facial expressions of digital characters) later, I found myself staring at the $ 18,000 price tag of the software Massive that Weta Digital had written for the production of crowd scenes in these movies. One day, I thought, I'm going to do what they do: Make music, tell stories, shoot movies, create digital art.
On the artistic side of things everything was set in motion. The only problem was that I thought I had to choose. So while I did continue to play the guitar and compose and write stories and create 3D animations, I struggled to fully commit to any one of these things. I believed my passions were conflicting with each other.
And then I finished school. Life was waiting for my next move. Expecting me to make a choice - I thought.
Not having built a career in any of my areas of passion (by that time: Music, filmmaking, 3D art, storytelling and photography) I looked for a job. Just something to earn some money while I figured out "the rest". The first time anyone hired me to work for them was in IT. Far from what I expected, but it turned out that solving problems and constantly expanding my pool of knowledge came easily to me. And I liked it. Beyond that I came to the realisation that there were many lessons to be learned from IT - unlike most other areas of life that are being organised only to the extent that human habit allows, computers are entities created by humans from scratch. And in order to make that magic happen -make a flow of electric current work for us - there is no way but to use uncompromising logic and structure to direct those electrons. Humans startetd to create in ways they never had before - everything we take for granted in our existence had to be imagined, designed and defined for this new type of digital existence: The fundamentals of communcation, languages, protocols, interfaces and infrastructure, such as ways to store data in an organised and reliable fashion. I am absolutely fasinated by the implications this holds for our present and future. There is so much potential in automation, artificial evolution, machine learning. The future is here, and has been for decades. Our ways of utilising these technologies lag far behind their potential. Technology doesn't have to catch up anymore - we do.
While keeping things simple and easy to use, preferably.
As for my personal journey up until this point, one of the lessons that I have learned repeatedly is: Don't make a choice if you don't have to. One human can be more than one thing, have more than one profession (James Cameron and Charlie Chaplin have proven that a long time ago).
Whether you're building your life or a system: Look ahead, look left and right. Look beyond limitations. Don't build the thing that does one task for you when you can build the thing that does all of them.