Happy Birthday, Doug!

I first met Doug in the late 1990s at a talk he gave at PARC. I was expecting him to wax poetic about the good ol’ days and to tell war stories about his days of changing the world.

Doug did none of that. He spoke about collective intelligence and bootstrapping and improvement communities. He used language I didn’t understand, and it was all about the future, not the past.

I didn’t understand what he was saying, but I kept coming back. There was something in what he said and how he said it that I found compelling and important, and it made me want to understand. I started reading his papers and attending all his talks.

Then I enrolled in a course Doug taught at Stanford in 2000, almost exactly ten years ago. That was a life-changing moment for me on two levels. First, I started to understand Doug’s language, and it completely changed how I viewed the world. Second, I started to get to know Doug as a person, whose gentleness and warmth made his message that much more compelling and meaningful. Doug cares about people. That’s why he’s so passionate about what he does, and that’s why he’s still doing it at 85 years young.

Doug, you have a been a great friend and a great model. I treasure our friendship, and I wish you the best. Happy Birthday!

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