on leaving Cambridge

This morning I confirmed I’m definitely going to Columbia in the fall. This is a little weird for me- as everyone on earth knows, I am pretty sick of Cambridge and Boston winters, and I’m not a huge fan of some things about Harvard Law (Doonesbury was hilarious about Harvard yesterday). But I have a ton of friends here, favorite parks, favorite restaurants, favorite walks, etc., and I’m absolutely a huge fan of Berkman, Berkman’s attitude, and the network of people, events and opportunities available to me here. So Harvard was very appealing despite it all, and I’ll leave Cambridge with very mixed feelings. I plan to stay in touch and be around as much as I can, but it isn’t easy from several hundred miles away, even in this day and age, and even as much as I believe Acela is the most civilized form of transport on this continent.

It has been a long day, so I’m afraid I’m not very coherent. Besides the mild disappointment, it really finally hit me today that I’m walking away from everything I’ve done the past five years to start over from ~scratch in a big, exciting, and a little scary place, and a totally different field, without much of a safety net. The plan is not to stray too far, of course- when I come out on the other side, I still want to be involved in protecting and nurturing the revolutions the internet is enabling. That might not be free software; it might be wikibooks, or other things that Jimbo thinks will be free, or whatever cool software secondlife/there.com/opencroquet become in 3-4 years time. Whatever it is, there will be brilliant people working in it, and I’ll do what hopefully I think I can do best- clearing the way for them to invent and implement our future, just this time with some better tools. But it’ll be different, and new. And I think it’ll be fun and rewarding- but the risks and rewards are staring me in the face today like they haven’t in the past, so I’ve been a little pensive today.

Anyway, this isn’t happening, like, tomorrow; my current plan is to stay at Berkman until right before GUADEC, maybe travel a bit with Krissa, and then come back home, pack, and get my ass to New York. I’m sure a good-bye bbq or three, and some good-bye drinking, will be scheduled before then. But in the meantime… I’ll probably be a little more pensive than usual for a few days.

Alma Mater with students
Alma Mater with students