Remain Curious

David Bradford is considered by some to be “possibly the most networked man in the West.” To use the term coined by Malcolm Gladwell, he’s a connector. In fact, he actually introduced Malcolm Gladwell himself to Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google. David knows everybody, and having earned the nickname “The Human Internet,” he is the connector of connectors. He’s maxed out his number of friends on facebook. I’ll bet you didn’t know that was possible. It is.

David attributes much of his success to a natural curiousity about others. When I spoke to him, he asked “Where are you from, and what are you passionate about?” Then we spent the next three minutes talking about me.

Do you see how ridiculous that is? If anybody has anything interesting, remarkable, or valuable to say, it would be this guy… not me. The man recruited Steve Wozinak to work for his last company. My greatest achievment thus far has been convincing Holly to marry me (although those of you who know her, realize how great of an achievment this actually is). Still, David was curious about me, and I grew a lot of respect for him.

Curiousity is a rare characteristic among adults. We usually have it squelched out of us by the time we’re in our twenties. It tends to get overshadowed by virtues like “persistance,” “determination,” or “dilligence.” And yet, curiosity is the seed from which greatness grows. Science Fiction writer Iassac Asimov noted the value of curiosity when he said:

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka” but “That’s funny…”

The curious are compelled to investigate how things work. They take things apart, they ask lots of questions, they look at the source code.They are the ones who get on wikipedia and click that random article link (I’m going to click it right now, and the article is… Doctor Radio!). They see life as an interesting puzzle, not as a “to-do” list.

I’m just as guilty as anybody for getting wrapped up in my left-brained worldview of tasks, commitments, schedules and data. I’m in the thick of it right now but once this end-of-semester madness is over, I’m making sure to give myself a little time to just doodle around. Who knows what will come of it.

Remain curious, my friends.