Still not sure what I wanna be when I grow up

Depending on how you count, in a year or two I will have been an impresario longer than I was a hacker.

So what should I do in Season Three?

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72 Responses:

  1. Run for the Board of Supervisors, of course.

    • drew w. says:

      or, go all Falling Down on the ABC.

      • Nah, too quick. Actually having to become part of the SF political sausage factory guarantees at least a decade worth of indignant blog posts.

    • Juan Quintela says:

      I was about to suget politician, San Francisco mayor, but your suggestion also work O;-)

      • SF Mayor is really more of an appointed position: I don't think it's open to anyone who's called Rose Pak "the vampire of Chinatown." But we've already established that any idiot can get elected to the Board.

    • I think you've got the right general idea, but jumping up the political hierarchy much too fast...

      1. Become visible in the political scene. Help with a campaign, volunteer heavily for a non-profit, get on the board of a non-profit, etc.

      2. Try to get appointed to one of the various boards, committees or task forces for the City/County government. SF Bicycle Advisory Committee? Tenant seat on the Unreinforced Masonry board? It's common for some of these boards to have a seat that each Supervisor appoints.

      3. Run for one of the lower elected offices. School board? something like that.
      4. Run for an office up the hierarchy a bit. Board of Supervisors?

      Imagine the years of entertaining Blog rants that jwz on the school board could lead to. Even the Bicycle Advisory Committee is likely to lead to all sorts of entertainment for us...

  2. JPXXX says:

    Get into geology. It's really interesting.

  3. Jason Scott says:

    I've observed, read about, and known a lot of lives and their arcs.

    Either you:

    See a technological itch and decide to scratch (although that seems to be happening with DNA)
    Open a second space somewhere, maybe not even in SF, to try life not under an oppressive regime
    Become a teacher or someone pass knowledge on, via a book or similar
    Totally move somewhere completely else, like the UK.

  4. solarbird says:

    Ha! It's not just me! :D (Music for me is Series 3; I'm only at, like, episode 4. ^_^ )

    Research and genetics was fun (Series 1), hacking was less so but still interesting (Series 2), which pointed me at biointerface stuff, which was totally cool. I almost did machine-human interfacing for my third series; look up some of the work Dr. Bach-y-Rita did on that and also brain plasticity in sensory processing, and generalise from there. Lots of potential there from the bio side. You'll have to pick up some bio background, but honestly, it's not that hard. There's a lot of it, but it's not difficult - just abundant.

    If that's too close, have you considered large-scale kinetic sculpture? I've never done that, but I know people who do and it looks kinda awesome.

    (Oh, in ref. the Board: I had a recurring guest role throughout Series 2 over in a separate politics series. AVOID AVOID AVOID oh god so horrible.)

  5. Steve Morris says:

    You just added an impresario layer without stopping the hacking. Just add another layer, say, philanthropist-impresario-hacker.


    • Elusis says:



      • ...: Across The Eighth Dimension!"

      • Steve Morris says:

        Thought of a better one - poet/impresario/hacker. Having read jwz's pithy mcom code comments before they were sanitized to prepare for open source release back in the day, I'd bet he could pack quite of bit into a haiku.


    • daswench says:

      I'm pretty certain one could argue that jwz's role as impresario counted as a form of philanthropy.

  6. jope says:


  7. Eric TF Bat says:

    Steve Wozniac is saying he wants to move to Australia. Why not do the same? We still have an economy, and we solved the whole "should poor people be left to starve in the gutters and die of hangnails" firmly in the negative some years ago (ie we're all socialists). The night club scene stinks, but at least you'd have an excuse here for bands not bothering to show up for their bookings.

    • Ben Brockert says:

      Though aren't your fundies as bad or worse than ours, with regards to their influence on government?

      • Eric TF Bat says:

        Nowhere near. Our current PM is an atheist, and while she won't be around much longer (she's as popular as buboes) the guy who will probably be the next PM (who is not the current opposition leader, but will stage a coup at the appropriate time and romp it in on the wave of nationwide relief) is similarly irreligious. Some religious groups have entirely too much influence, but compared to the US system it's paltry.

        A bigger problem is the effect of Rupert Murdoch, but that's a constant.

        • "No-where near"? The state-required religion-in-schools in Vic and NSW doesn't phase you?

          • Eric TF Bat says:

            Not compared to some of the rubbish I've seen Americans putting up with. Creationism in schools? Orwellian pledges of allegiance with sinister anti-communist religious amendments? Mention of a particular religion's deity on every piece of currency? Insane. Doesn't happen in Oz.

      • NotTheBuddha says:

        It's more a problem of anti-fundy sentiment, part of the Azaria Chamberlain fiasco was FUD over Seventh Day Adventism.

    • NotTheBuddha says:

      Australia still has a bit of a problem in deciding that people who don't actually need help or supervision get it regardless, without the supervisors having adult supervision of their own, and jwz can get that at home.

      • Eric TF Bat says:

        Yeah, bit of a nanny state at times, though it varies with the local council. Nothing like as horrible as the Tales From Kafka's Nightclub that jwz regales us with, though.

    • Nick Lamb says:

      Unless aforesaid poor people are foreigners and are so desperate they arrive in an overcrowded and badly leaking boat. In which case it appears that so far Australia is still going with "fuck it, send 'em back" or "lock 'em in a cage". Keep at it though, plenty of worse places than Australia, that's for sure.

  8. Jesper says:

    As far as I'm concerned, "chronicler of the absurd" already covers hacking, head butting RMS about emacs, your time at Netscape and Mozilla, running a club, posting fun stuff here and battling the local authorities. I have no idea what you'll do next, but you'll be a pragmatic in a world where people are a problem, so you won't be running out of absurd any time soon.

    If you really want to get out of your current line of work and return to your original competence, I would like to be a spectator to you picking a big technical problem of some sort and trying to solve it.

  9. Ian Young says:

    Embittered recluse helicopter pilot?
    ...only drawn out of retirement because some dapper one-eyed man in a white suit says that it's just you and Ernest Borgnine vs. the world?

  10. Pablo says:

    Where's the 'previous' link?

  11. TProphet says:

    Hey, I'm stopping my life as a hacker on 1/31. For lack of any better ideas I'm planning to learn how to be a business weasel so I can say phrases like "synergize paradigms" with a straight face and take most of the money while engineers do most of the work. I like music and have a few years of experience promoting raves though. Should I open a club instead?

  12. spoonyfork says:

    Public-service politician, congress. CSPAN viewership could go through the roof with snark-laden tirades from the house floor debates. We need more of your flavor of unreasonableness.

  13. extra88 says:

    Become the Walter White of kombucha.

  14. Anont Race says:

    Alternative energy if you want to be the most beneficial to mankind (read up on peak oil to know why).

  15. As someone who knew you back in the Emacs days, I would vote for a return to create an actually modern Emacs. But that seems about as likely as me finding significant time to work on Emacs again.

    So I would say SCUBA diving instead - much less stress than hacking and the scenery is better. As long as you aren't an instructor you should rarely feel the need to pound your head into a wall.

  16. Spiral Insana says:

    I've wondered for years; you dig music much, obviously.

    Ever tried MAKING it? Sharing it with the world?

    Why not (assuming a negative on either or both)?

  17. gryazi says:


  18. Diffeomorph says:

    As a programmer that's been turning progressively into a musician, I strongly recommend it.

  19. James says:

    The hegemony isn't going to undermine itself.

  20. bq Mackintosh says:


    Because for your third act you might need something that can strike your soul with genuine fear.

    Also, although slightly obvious, because it will make for an epic "I for one welcome our new ___ overlord" post. Also also, it requires a suitable breeder, and the assemblage of previously links would be amusing on that process (which you would be obliged to conduct in public, at least in the theatre of my mind). Final also, as the progeny \w{2}Z absorbs knowledge this too will get a previously to such things as Roomba posts.

  21. MDR says:

    You could make drawings of a really big boat and sell imaginary condos to Libertarians.

  22. Leonardo Herrera says:


  23. n_by_nw says:

    May I suggest that you write a book or some sort of fictionalized account wherein you can share all the REDACTED fun from both the club and your hacker days.

  24. Invade & conquer Canada.

  25. Phill says:

    Improve the lives of others.

  26. DaveL says:

    I go for "write a book," because that's what I've always wanted to do and never done. Projection > all.

  27. M.E. says:


  28. Bill Paul says:

    Kill off a major character.

  29. 8d5c97040d64 says:

    Make a dozen babies.

  30. agamemnon says:

    there are people who want to go work for a bar to make it successful, and those who want to go work for a successful bar.

  31. AB says:

    Having already taken some steps in that direction with recent Kickstarter contributions, you should go whole-hog and become a fulltime patron. Not nearly enough of those around these days, and numerous bands that could doubtless use them.

  32. Jon Konrath says:

    Biotech. You've already got all of these DNA domain names.

  33. deathdrone says:

    jwz, will you start a band with me? I think we should call it "Stable Island Glisten." I'll do vocals and beeping noises and you can do booping noises and bouncing cow.

  34. Paradox Six says:

    In all honesty I think you'd make a good D6 sup, assuming you live in that district. You're self-obsessed (and bar owning) like Chris Daly, minus the nuttery, but with knowledge of how a city works like Ed Lee. D6 still needs a lot of help, and since you have the business background like Newsom had, you'll be able to help out small biz all over your district and the city.

    It is all a question of hiring the right political adviser to pave a road for you to city hall and getting endorsements. 4-8 years, what could possibly go wrong, other than hours of boring meetings full of complaining citizens?

  35. Holy shit.

    Well, season three is usually the time travel episode.

  36. Alex says:

    A catgirl, evidently.