My Personal Manifesto

Why do I need a Personal Manifesto ?

I heard the idea of a personal manifesto when I was in Synapse, Goa from a script writer (sadly, I don't remember her name - thus proving my theory that ideas are more memorable than people :-) ). She had come to give a talk to us about creativity and work-life balance. She read out her own personal manifesto to us. At that time I had dismissed her idea about the personal manifesto as too wishy washy and something that artists indulged in. However, I now realize that a manifesto can give me a compass to help me navigate where I want to go. Whenever I am in doubt about my next course of action, I can refer to my manifesto and use it to correct my course.

My Personal Manifesto

I want to change the world for better.

Since it can be quite difficult to see my actions bring a change in the world instantly, I will use a variation of "Six Degrees of Separation" 1 law to measure the effectiveness of my actions.

If my actions bring about a change in the way at least seven people think about or do something, I will be satisfied that my action has succeeded in changing the world. However, even when trying to change the world, my explicit goal will always be to optimize for fun 2

The key idea behind this statement is that my idea (or action) does not have to be big or grandiose, however it has to change the world. To shut down the loopholes in this, let me clean up the definition a bit

  • I am trying to influence seven people instead of just six so that there is some more challenge
  • The seven people affected should not fall into my immediate acquaintance i.e. they should not be my immediate family or my coworkers or people who I have known well for at least 5 years
  • The idea is to do stuff that is fun as well as helps change the world. However, having fun takes precedence over changing the world
  • My core competency is in technology, hence I will try to bring about a change using technology as my vehicle.
  • Sometimes this will require a bit of marketing, but I hope to make technology so good and usable that the main attraction for the users will be the technology I offer, not the marketing talk I give about it. At all costs, I will not lie and I will not be ambiguous about what I have to offer.

And to complete the picture

My emotional state of choice is ecstasy. My nourishment of choice is Freedom. My addiction of choice is technology. My religion of choice is music. My currency of choice is knowledge. My politics of choice is none. My enemy of choice is ignorance. My weapon of choice is information. 3


Footnotes

1. Six degrees of separation is a theory which states that anyone on earth can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries. Also see the small world phenomenon

2. This part is inspired by the pugs project, which had an explicit goal: optimize for fun. Fondly referred to as -Ofun

3. This part is inspired by the Worldwide Party People Manifesto. The original has sadly disappeared, but you can see the copy available on archive.org and my own selection from the whole manifesto.

Additional information