I've been drawn into learning and writing about the Scala programming language. This is rather amazing to me because for awhile I thought I couldn't be interested in programming languages again. It turns out I was just really, really tired of all the tedious trivia involved in programming languages, and the discussions surrounding that trivia. Scala leapfrogs all that; it doesn't tell you what you can't do or what hoops you must jump through -- it works for you so you can focus on expressing your goals.
It's also excellent to have my hands on something tangible again. While it's great to attempt to create completely new things -- like a new business structure -- it turns out that I need to balance this by doing something concrete that creates a product.
This reminds me of when I was studying physics as an undergraduate. I was never a very good physicist, but I got terrific value from studying it. It taught me to struggle with problems that seem intractable, and to keep trying and poking until I discover a crack that might begin to yield a solution. This was extremely helpful in the early days of C++ when there was no introductory learning material and a buggy compiler.
Although I felt a bit dirty going from the purity of physics to the practicality of engineering, it was delightful to be so functional -- the background in physics and math made engineering problems relatively easy. I went from fighting with seemingly impossible problems to an easy understanding of everything. It was wonderful; it felt like the payoff from years of feeling a bit dim in physics.
This is the same. After a year of (exclusively) trying to stretch my brain so that it might be able to fit some of these new ideas, I need to be functional for awhile, to take a breather and do something that I know I can accomplish.
This project is still "my personal Everest," the mountain I must try to climb because it's there. I might be reading the alternative-business books a little slower, but I'm not worried -- it's an ambitious project and it will probably take many years to begin to bear fruit. I have no expectations of instant results.
This might be a step of possibility, however. It has occurred to me that reading and writing and talking about different ways of doing business is no substitute for doing experiments. And one experiment, certainly, is starting a business -- by which I mean a business with a group of people, not a sole proprietorship as I have been doing for the past ... um ... bunch of years. I am arguably best equipped to start a software-development business (which also requires minimal capital to start). Since I have personal difficulty not using the most advanced tools I can get my hands on (tools which are typically not yet used in the mainstream), and also because I like to invent new things and solve new problems, I suspect this would be a product company rather than any kind of programming services.
I don't feel like I'm ready to start a business yet. But from listing to the (really great) Stanford Entrepreneurial Though Leaders lectures, it sounds like you're never really ready -- the idea comes and takes you by the throat and there's nothing you can do about it.
I will continue to struggle to discover the next organizational structure. But now, at least for awhile, I've got a bit more balance in my life.