Cross-posted from the Communitech blog.
Waterloo Region is a small town in a lot of ways. Even smaller when you work in tech. I’ve argued over whether the average number of degrees of separation among people is two or three, which ain’t nowhere near six.
In some areas, the sphere shrinks even more when you’re in a sub-space of tech, like startups, as I was. However, the Region is still small enough that even our sub-groups are generally still all part of “tech”. Enterprise, startups, developers, marketers, mainframe or mobile — we all hang out.
A few weeks ago at my family birthday lunch, I observed my niece, who is two, having a fairly lengthy conversation. With the vacuum cleaner. (Since there were no people in her immediate vicinity, I specifically asked if that’s what she was talking to, and she confirmed it.)
This is interesting for a couple of reasons. Turning two a couple months prior to that seemed to flip a switch with her talking — before that she talked very little. More, I think, because she couldn’t be bothered than because she didn’t know how. And why should she? She did pretty well getting people to understand what she wanted from a handful of words, whines, and poking. The conversation with the vacuum cleaner, while not entirely composed of recognizable English words, was the longest chat I’d heard her have.
Which got me thinking.
This is a picture I did not take of a middle-aged woman in a burgundy convertible Miata, driving down King St. in Waterloo on a warm evening, with a wood and wire cage containing several chickens balanced behind the seats.