42 first principles


There are thousands of publications that aim to provide a concrete step by step guide to teach you how to improve X. That is not my goal for writing down my principles. It's merely an attempt to create an inventory of the unwritten rules that influence me daily. Through reading them you will get a better understanding of me, and maybe, hopefully, also gain some helpful ideas for your daily work as a human working with other humans, earning their living through collaborating with others humans on coercing machines into providing more value than pain.

I've been given the privilege to very early discover that I could turn my fascination with computers into a job. Already as a teenager, I was able to find the application for my interest in helping local non-profits, political parties and companies in my hometown to make their first digital steps. In 1998, at the age of 17, I started my first business, creating dynamic websites in HTML4 and PHP3 — which was possible because I had access to dial up internet since around 1996 when AOL launched in Germany; since the launch of DSL in 1999 I had uninterrupted access to relatively fast, and stable internet connectivity.

Still today, access to the internet and a computer is not ubiquitous. I had this privilege from the moment I developed and interest to become involved with it, and with that access around the clock, whenever I wanted, I could learn, try, repeat.

I have the privilege to be a German, white, male, and in my career so far have always perceived others to welcome and respect me as a member of their cause, colleague or collaborator. When I received pushback or met obstacles I always was (made) aware how to overcome them and had access to the resources to do so. I usually managed to achieve my goals and, where I failed, the luxury to leave a pointless professional relationship.

I am free of kids, which gives a tremendous amount of additional resources to invest in my skills (like writing this blog post). I never needed to reduce the level of commitment to my career because of children.

My privileges are many, and I greatly benefited from them.

In knowing my privileges, and respecting the opportunities they have given me, I thrive to treat others not as equals, because very few had the same privileges as me. But I aim to use my skills, experience, and resources to their best impact in our relationship.

This post is part of the 42 first principles series.