Buddhists know a thing or two about anxiety.

Those serene robe-wearing monks live the same wrecked inner lives we all live. But they sit a little easier with it… they’ve made peace with their anxiety. They don’t even call it anxiety. They call it Monkey Mind.

Around two and a half thousand years ago, the Buddha sat under a tree thinking about what he’d done. Or as Buddhists might say, meditating. …

I am a fly fisherman. Running water calms my mind.

A stream, filled as it might be with the chance of hungry trout, is a holy sacrament. Sanctum sanctorum. I go there to fish, I go there to pray.

I take to the water with my 4-wt fly rod to becalm my demons.

I’ve mastered the arcane art of knots, learned the names of many odd patterns of fly, perfected my roll cast, all that I might periodically transcend this plane, and exist briefly in the light of the divine—which for me is a #12 elk hair caddis fly, drifted…

You say self-medicating like it’s a bad thing.

It’s got medicating right there at the end! From the Latin medicari. You know what medicari means? It means to remedy. To fix. To heal. It’s where we get the word medicine.

So don’t give me that look.

I’ve read enough about the storied Muddler Minnow to believe in the fly. Theoretically. Like how I believe in original sin, or democracy, or Fender Stratocaster guitars.

Borne of that belief, I’ve carried a rusty forty-year-old Muddler Minnow in my fly box for the last few seasons. I picked it out of my dad’s…

an astronaut at a bus stop with a balloon
an astronaut at a bus stop with a balloon

I’ve been a hiring manager in high-tech for a long time. I’ve probably screened ten thousand résumés through the years, a magic number, as everyone knows.

That editorial vantage point grants me certain insights about how you might best tell the story of… you.

In the fullness of time I will share these insights in my first TED talk. I will wear a smart blazer, perhaps a turtle-neck; the talk will go like this:

Tom who?

He strolled into the room with a physical ease and cognitive avidity rarely seen in mere mortals. For he was no mere mortal.


I have friends who fish in Alaska. They tell cautionary tales of entire rivers taken over by hungry grizzly bears gorging on spawned-out salmon. Their wisdom about grizzlies is this:

In Alaska, if a bear takes over the river you’re fishing, you yield.

I’ve never been to Alaska. I fish mostly in New Hampshire, where I chase wild brook trout in the skinny waters of our forested mountainsides.

These fish are wary. They startle easily. If you spook them, they dart for cover and stay hidden for longer than I usually care to wait. …

This was written pre-COVID19. But much of my commentary about the open office will become relevant again as we contemplate returning to offices some time in 2021.

There are a few sure-fire ways to pick a fight in a tech company.

You can ask which Dr. Who was the best, and nerd-snipe at least a few of the people in your shop.

You can shout “VI Forever!” and start a fresh battle in the decades long text editor war.

Or you can utter the three words that galvanize tech workers across the world: Open Space Office.

People HATE open space…

Back in the first half of 2020, I spent a lot of time in my shop (MakerTank) building things and generally trying to live the Maker Tank Manifesto!

I’ve noticed a couple of interesting side-effects of that shop time:

Sure, I re-primed my short-term memory to be able to recall the width of saw kerfs and the nominal vs. dimensional measurements of lumber and plywood.

The MakerTank work bench, tools, projects, fun!
The MakerTank work bench, tools, projects, fun!

But more interestingly, after three decades making software, I began to think in three-space again. And once again, as I did when I was machining prototype astronaut swag for a living, I got comfortable thinking…

Tom Hickman

maker, writer, fly fisherman.

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