This summer has been a season of celebration for me. I finished my first novel, Viral Times, and I marked 25 years of writing stories about the HP 3000. But between those highlights arrived the sweetest event, our first grandson. Baby Noah Seybold was born into his grandparents' lives on July 19. Noah, a marvel in miniature as elegant as any RISC chip design, is a chip off this old block, a generation I think of as Seybold 3.0. (From the left in the picture, there's Seybold 1.0, Noah, and Seybold 2.0, our son and new father Nick.)
Noah's beaming dad was not yet two years old when I started making HP my life's career. I might say that journalism has been my life's work, but the tender cries and hummingbird heartbeat of a newborn boy that I heard once again give me perspective. My partner Abby and I -- well, all grandparents -- might see their life's work as generating a legacy, improving one generation at a time.
Technology is as different in the birthing room as it differs in your computer room, comparing the mid-1980s (Nick's birth) with Noah's 2009 debut. Being born is improved in its integration of family (like your networking), where the whole clan of Noah's mom Elisha's folks and Nick's family could visit the little boy within two hours of his arrival.
There was the in-room warming table, the more precise monitoring (not an HP instrument anymore), the in-room staff chosen for emotional coaching as well as medical savvy. A midwife and a duola coach brought this boy into our world, with nary a doctor needed (but one on call).
After our glorious tears on Noah's first afternoon, Abby and I floated back home (a car was involved, I think) to embrace what sparked the pride and joy of the day. We brought up Nick with attention and ardor to hope for this day when a new generation would join us. Our lives have swelled with a new understanding of the word legacy, a word used as an epithet during the years of my career.
As leaders, creators and devoted humans we all strive to leave a legacy. It must be something of great value if so many pursue it. But as you may know from either grand-parenthood or a life working through change, a legacy must contribute to whatever follows. After 25 years of learning computing, and teaching it through stories, I understand how we build a legacy one bedtime story, program design or midnight support call at a time. Generations grow stronger when they're lifted onto an older shoulder. Older clears a path for newer, which enables the latest.