19 May 2005

The Purpose of Growing Up

"I'll tell you what I think. I think you don't grow up until you stop thinking about other people's purposes or lack of them and find the purposes you believe in for yourself." --Orson Scott Card, Xenocide

Adolescence is that painful period when doubt hovers above and within every thought and action. To a blessed few, the teenage years are clear sailing. To the rest, the teenage years are a roller-coaster ride sans brakes or an "Off" switch.

The Internet Industry in Puerto Rico is still a few years away from adolescence. Within the metaphor, one could say it is in the mid-childhood phase, a 7-year old kid still clinging to pre-school tendencies while trying to make sense of its growing emergence into a wider world.

As such, the Industry--We--are still caught in the grip of "them," those companies or industry niches that We deem are "showing the way." Very few are local companies; most are based in the U.S. We see them as worthy of imitation, which might be a good thing, except that We often also see them as "unbeatable." Combine that with the narrow-sighted focus of Puerto Rico as Our only market and you have a child who thinks he can't do math better than the teacher and sees monsters in closets.

Our Industry will grow up and it is The Jenius' hope that it will do so in "dog years," not in "Fool" years. (Yes, The Jenius would rather be a dog than a Fool. Anything's better than a Fool.) But in growing up, the painful "teenage years" will be Our next biggest threat. And what separates a successful adolescent from an embattled one is a sense of purpose. Not one imposed from without, as society and education insist, but one that is chosen and accepted freely, then internalized. This is never an easy step, at any stage of growth. But the sooner it is taken, the better.

To have Our own purpose, to trust Our own mind, to seek Our own path in Our own way because no one else can or should do it for Us is the step We need to take. It won't happen immediately; it may take a few years. But it can't take long. The world moves on and it pays no attention to those who choose not to keep up.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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