So, it’s been almost 1 year since heading to Berlin and in that last year, I have learned more than I could ever put in just one post.  At the forefront, however, of those lessons is a word that has often come to my mind, while here… Transparency.

After reading this report on the celebration of open collaboration at a govt level.  I was reminded of why I love California so very much!

There is something about the culture and community there that embraces so much change and innovation.  And isn’t afraid to open themselves up to transparency.  Since coming to Berlin, I’ve struggled often, with my work culture.  For the last year, I’ve been back at a 500 ton gorilla trying to get them to see some new light and it hasn’t been easy!  I realized quickly that I was possibly a little nuts to most people there, by the number of emails I am willing to send, the wiki’s i’m willing to post to daily, and the amount of conversations I am willing to engage in.   And by “willing” I mean, “expected”.

It was just very different for me.  I honor, celebrate, and thrive in transparent environments.  I enjoy discussions and I enjoy San Francisco because it brings to me a playground for creativity and support for those who want to play.  In the last year, I have gotten used to being blind about many decisions, feeling no autonomy in my work, and getting very quickly emotionally detached from anything I have been making.  The result leaves me unsatisfied.

I don’t intend for this post to undermine the work that we have done nor my colleagues.  I believe the work to be great and my colleagues even better.  However, there is something very old to me about the culture at the 500 lbs gorilla and it runs deeper than I anticipated.  Despite the efforts that we have made, I feel that much of the change needs to come from the very top and I’m afraid that it will just take too long coming from the bottom, for me to be interested.  I don’t want to live in a world where folks tell me what to make.  I don’t want to live in a world where I tell someone else what to do.  I want to live in a world where I respect my fellow employees so much, that I want to help them grow to become the best they can and I expect they will do the same for me.

I want to live in a world where community and leaders, collaborate alike.  I come from this environment and I guess, I just kind of expect it now.  Transparency is powerful, enabling, and free.  It’s revealing of vulnerabilities and to those who don’t want to work to change, once they are revealed, it’s threatening.  I understand that, but I don’t want to be a part of those who feel threatened.  I want to be a part of those who are willing to open up and create a better, freer world.

I miss the culture of California.  I feel blessed to understand it.  In this spirit, I write this post, as I feel it’s time for more transparency and change.


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