Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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This is some ideas I wrote through on the plane on the way over to Reboot '99. I was supposed to speak and I'd spoken last year, so just telling my story wasn't enough. I'd have to update them, and I felt I should touch on some of my deeper musings about the nature of life and the internet, etc. This piece has some lines and sentiments I picked out for my stand up.

last year i came here
i don't really remember how
but i said something like
personal publishers are important
and they will teach you about the fundamental nature of the internet

now i say,
i have graduated from college, and i think about how to pay my bills and manage my debts

i had a sweet job where all my financial responsibilities were handily managed
i was an on air host of a tv show
where i was promised the opportunity to share the wisdom of my friends
and promote the kind of web philosophy that i believe in:
you can do it, technology should be easy,
expect to have access,
and if you can get on a computer, expect to do it for free

and then someone, a viewer of this tv station from somewhere in the country realized that i was a godless pagan pornographer and they wrote the station. the station asked me, "would you be willing to remove the mature content from your site?" and i thought to myself, tv shows come and go, but mature content is forever. so i said, take your lots of money and successful entertainment business and keep it to yourself, i am going to go spend money i don't have in the company of friends.

so what do i do with myself?
i sit on the bleeding edge of internet technologies, i can forsee trends that think tanks would stake a reputation on. i have a comprehensive and entirely useful view of the range of uses of the internet, and i have invaluable firsthand knowledge of internet usage patterns. in short, i am one of the best qualified internet marketeers and e-product developers in the world. except for one thing. i am misguided.

all this expertise i have,
i sit in my house and i talk with my friends. and my friends are the geeks and gadgeteers that make the the internet tick. we trade new music files and we show each other the URLs that are in your newspapers next week. we beat each of the major media outlets to the story, and we have a more authentic take on what happens.

so here's a lesson for you -
if you want to know what's happening with the internet, pay attention to the people around you (or around me)

and you can have all this, i think, if you do like i do, and you take up gardening.

gardening is actually a recent pasttime of mine.

i've learned a lot about the world by gardening
first of all, gardening is a luxury - perhaps the greatest luxury in a world where people don't have enough space to live. but it doesn't take much to garden, you can make something fantastic out of a box of dirt.
it is a pleasure to be able to enter the world of plants and spend time in the company of your own mind as you try to cooperate with and outsmart mother nature.

in gardening, the plants i am proudest of are often the plants that are the most unruly. they are plants that grow into the space of the other plants, they don't respect my vision for the garden, but they have an undeniable vitality that inspires me to visit them daily to see what they have been up to since i left them. i am going to be quite excited to revisit them after my time here in copenhagen - i have a passion flower vine that is lusting after a few branches of my lemon tree - i'm trying to keep them apart but the vine will doubtlessly take advantage of my time out of town.

recent trends in gardening, that i think are worth sharing with an internet conference: local plants. the local plants grow best in your soil, so those imported business models and experts are fine until the harvest time.

so i think about the internet - the internet is why we are all here. because there is this new way of exchanging information and cohering relationships and really making a large world a little smaller.

and i think to myself, as i watch members of my community grow rich off phantom profits,
after i have quieted my own dismay that i do not even have a thousand shares in a piece of ass, i recognize that if i think about what i would like to be doing in 50 years, i hope to still be gardening. and i hope the internet does not make it so that i can't garden anymore. but i think the internet will make the gardening all the more fun, because i can be a writer publisher and share my thoughts with the world and still work over my plants.

and so my advice to you folks is to be sure to find something to love. i've aged since i started working on the net, and i appreciate the security that comes from a fair amount of money. but i'll tell you what, if you're a boss, you can be sure your employees are doing most all of their best work for love - because of projects that interest them and challenge them. and without them able to cooperate with friends to make those projects happen, there's no way you can hope to

so i guess i encourage flexibility.

i would say to make your hobby your job, but that would mean you could no longer derive the right kind of pleasure from it. let me say that i hope the kind of employment arrangements fostered by the internet are here to stay, and will be available to our kids who will probably be even lazier than we are.

so just make sure you have something to garden. learn to maintain and relish personally some corner of the world to share with folks. if it's online, even i'll get to enjoy it.

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