Issac Roth and I cover a wide-range of topics linked to our personal lives, our work together at Red Hat and the technology world in general–all sparked by wildfires he almost lost his house to.

Issac and I go back to the early days of OpenShift at Red Hat. This conversation is not about that though maybe some day we’ll do one. Today I’m sharing a reflective Saturday morning conversation we had in October 2020 about what Issac is seeing in technology and the world around him. It’s an exploration and reflection on what it was like to be five houses away from having his house destroyed by fire and the process he and his family went through to save as much as they could.

Conversation Highlights

  • John and Issac reconnect after a long while
  • Wildfires in the California were stopped five houses away from Issac’s
  • The world is decomposing and it’s not necessarily a bad thing
  • The internet enables decomposition
  • Decomposition makes space for new things
  • The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson
  • The Long Tail is already happening
    • TikTok has millions and millions of videos instead of one movie
    •  Platforms like BandCamp and SoundCloud
  • Finding smaller ways to influence policy and the big divide
  • More choices leads to decomposition which makes way for new things
  • Fire as a good thing
    • Controlled burns
    • Tree species that require fire to germinate seeds
  • Purging old stuff often makes us feel better and creates space
  • Possibility as the opposite of scarcity
  • Empty space and lack of consumption makes room for creativity and possibility
  • Parallels between the startup world and a burned out forest
  • Consciously creating space in the day to have all the time that’s needed
  • Cross pollinating ideas between different communities
  • TikTok as a way to connect and experience people completely different than ourselves
  • New technologies that help us connect were made possible because of decomposition
  • The things that technology enables also comes with tradeoffs
    • Makes privilege gap wider
    • Exchange of personal privacy
  • The systematic process Issac and his partner went through to evacuate their house, save what was most important and say good bye
  • How the process of almost losing his home changed Issac and the parallels he sees to technology and the environment
  • The changing nature of story telling with TikTok and Instagram
  • John’s version of better story telling
    • The meaning and focus we give is a choice
    • Sometimes our thought patterns and beliefs need to be decomposed
    • Setting aside fear and living with uncertainty
  • The practice of creating space to deal with uncertainty
  • Celebrating uncertainty
    • The opposite of fearing what’s around the bend
    • “Showing up to serendipity with preparedness”
  • Is the future brighter than we think as a result of decomposition?
  • Possibility does not negate the things that are hard to be with


All songs licensed under Creative Commons