Happy Holidays

Dear #ohana, I humbly submit for your approval this highly plagiarized and marginally altered version of “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” Because nothing says Christmas more than over-used tropes and sloppy satire.

In all seriousness, you are my #ohana, and I wish you all safe and happy holidays.

Twas the week before Christmas, or just thereabouts;
Not a user was stirring, in Contacts or Accounts;
The records were updated and cleaned with great care,
Knowing that deals soon would be there;
The admins were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of badges danced in their heads;
And Astro in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains on a new winter app,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But Cloudy the goat, and Codey the bear,
With a little old genius, white hair so sublime,
I knew in a moment it must be Einstein.
More rapid than eagles his insights they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Contacts! now, Campaigns! now, Accounts and Contacts!
On, Leads! on, Emails! on, Answers and Contracts!
To the top of the feed! the top Chatter wall!
Now update! update! automate all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the insights they flew,
With all the Release Notes, and Sir Einstein too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each Cloudy hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Sir Einstein came with a bound.
He was dressed in a suit, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of Notes he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the datasets; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

Marketo v. Pardot Cage Match: Round 3, Administration

If you’re wondering “why are we talking about administration, if the last round was emails?” Well, frankly, because it was the next thing I thought about. I kept trying to think of a logical order to do these in and just came up short. Then I remembered that this is my blog, and I can do these in whatever order they come to mind.

So let’s talk about what Administration means here.

A lot of marketing automation functionality focuses on marketing (true story). And a lot of comparisons and ratings focus on that. That’s good; it matters. But if you’re responsible for managing the platform, there’s more than email templates, campaign managements, and calendars. There are integrations to consider, user management, and what-have-you.

Round 3 of our cage match focuses on common administration functions: user management, integrations, system maintenance, and certification.

User Management

How easy is it to create users and control their access to the database?


If you can read and click on checkboxes, then you can manage users and permissions in Marketo.


Users and Roles that can be assigned are managed in the same place, under the Admin section of Marketo.

marketoroleRoles should be set up first, and editing or creating them is simply a matter of checking off the items that the role should have access to. Access and abilities are provided in handy sections – you can check the global setting or get granular, if need-be.
Easy as that.

Adding users is about the same. Simply click on the New button, put in the email, select their Role, provide an access expiration if necessary, and boom – the new user is emailed.

Access to Marketo is not controlled by license, but some functionality – namely the Calendar – is. Keep that in mind.


Maybe it’s because I just handled issues surrounding this, but one thing that you must understand about Pardot users – if you want sales reps to see Pardot info in Salesforce, they MUST have a license. And if you want it to be easy for them to access, you MUST turn on SSO for each of them. Not doing so can cause issues.

Point, Marketo.

Other than that, it works much the same. Create  a user, send them an email, and there is no user license cost.


Beyond integration to a CRM (which is important. I did a session about it!), which is important, how easy is it to integrate with other services?



For the uninitiated, LaunchPoint is basically a big book of available integrations that just require you to sign into the thing you want to integrate. They have a pretty good list of things that do this.

Is the integration that you need NOT on LaunchPoint? I bet they use REST or SOAP API, in which case you can access your endpoint, userID, and encryption directly in the Admin area of Marketo. They have a host of partners out there that can be setup and integrated in 15 minutes.

As far as Salesforce integration goes, it’s easy to set up and maintain. Create a Marketo user (with its own Profile), put in that user’s information in Marketo, and that’s it. Ok, that’s not it. There’s other setup – creating the fields that are needed, making sure to hide anything you don’t want Marketo to have access to, etc. But essentially that’s it.

From there on out, every 5 minutes there’s a sync. You can sync Leads, Contacts, Campaigns – it all fits together really well.

Your Sales reps can see Marketo information via the AppExchange packages Sales Insights. This creates Visualforce pages that you can add to the page layout (now Lightning compatible), as well as a custom object where ALL Marketo information can be found. Reps do not have to have a Marketo license in order to use these features.


Pardot calls them Connectors – a series of pre-built integration between Pardot, certain CRMs, and other marketing software types (webinar platforms, social media platforms, etc.).

They have a pretty good list of options.


But if you use something else, you need to know how to create some API integrations.

Connecting to Salesforce here is similar – you create a Pardot user in Salesforce and then use those credentials to create the connection. Then you have to individually map custom fields to Salesforce. Once that’s done, you can use Automation rules to sync the lists that you want, or you can sync individual Prospects. Syncing happens ongoing based on changes and automation rules.

In order for Pardot information to be available to Sales reps in Salesforce, those reps must have a Pardot license, as well. While not necessary, it is also recommended that those users be setup with Single Sign On, too. While this isn’t a big deal in Classic because it will just not load the Visualforce pages, if you’re using Lightning, and the sales rep doesn’t have Pardot access, the page will not load at all.

System Maintenance

I’m going to spare us all. This is the age of cloud-based platforms. System updates happen automatically in both systems – Marketo has 3 major releases and 3 minor releases per year. Pardot has them whenever they feel like. Just kidding! Monthly.


Getting certified in these platforms are fantastic ways to expand your career, so being able to do so is important.


I took the Marketo certification twice. I took it twice because in order to re-certify, you have to take the whole the test again. And it even costs the same!

I don’t get to play with Marketo anymore. There are no training sandboxes or anything like that, so many of my screenshots have to come either from previous presentations or from their docs site. It makes it really daunting to consider re-certifying. There have been some big changes in the Marketo game, and I wouldn’t have the hands-on practice that I’d need to really get in there.


I’m working on my Pardot certification right now, but I can tell you this – sandboxes and an entire certification track of training. There are so many resources out there, and recertification is like Salesforce’s process. Take a release exam. You stay up-to-date on those new functionalities and changes, and you are golden.

Salesforce, as a whole, makes certification a relatively painless process, so that the only really difficult part is the actual exam. Which is the way it should be.


Administering any platform application is going to come with some challenges, but those challenges should not be caused or exacerbated by the platform itself. Software is designed to make people’s jobs easier, and while being the administrator doesn’t mean using the platform to streamline our own job, it shouldn’t be hard, either.

Marketo and Pardot both provide easy ways to support users and customize the platform, with the exception of certification, Marketo wins this round.




I said I was going to keep posting, and there I go, a week two weeks with no post. Not even a NaNo excerpt.

I am working on Part 3 of the Cage Match, but I am a perfectionist…so I’m not publishing it yet. Instead…here’s a NaNo excerpt.


The fact that she had a reinforced steel bedroom nestled in the bullet-proof glass and concrete of the rest of her house was something those close to her commented on frequently – perhaps if you slowed down a bit, Kami, or you shouldn’t be so brazen about giving out your address and challenging people to ‘do something about it.’

Kami had outgrown the days of puffing out her chest and pretending to be the meanest, baddest mercenary available. She wanted steady work and enough money to keep her and Mana well-supplied through retirement. She also wanted to have fun, to be fair.

Ensuring that she wasn’t being followed, she turned sharply to make an exit ramp and head back toward the mountains where she lived. She took the back roads, winding her way around steep drops and heavily wooded forests wreathed in mist, until she arrived on the back end of her own land. In total, she laid claim to about 20 acres.

When she discovered the path to drop zone O-55, a common one, on the back end of her own plot, she built a shed to hold onto her bike when she went on a drop and to hold supplies in case shit ever went down. She secured the Suzuki inside, grabbed a snack-sized bag of wasabi peas, and slung the duffel, package and all, over her shoulder.

It was a minor hike, really, maybe a kilometer to the ravine that marked she was close to the entrance. Hopping down into the small gully, she splashed through the thin stream of water with a grin, spying immediately the rocky outcropping that signaled the cave entrance. She stopped just outside the chilly dark of the cavern to double check her bag – M9? Check. SR9? Check. Gummi bears? Check. Wasabi peas? Check. Extra jacket? Check. Package? Double check.

She adjusted the duffel to sling across her chest and ducked into the inky blackness of the cave.

The path was always dark and silent. It was, at times, discomfiting. In general, however, Kami found it to be remarkably soothing, like a soft embrace, welcoming her. Her eyes adjusted, though they were largely unnecessary. Feeling out the edges of the path was more about sense and less about knowing or seeing. Not everyone could use it, though, and that was why she was paid the big bucks.

In the silence and the gloom, she imagined what might be in the box. It was heavy for its size; 30lbs for such a small box, it had to be something dense. Or perhaps dense somethings. She scanned her memory of the stall where she had picked up the order. A lot of plush toys, some tacky gifts, and manga. Books, she thought. It could definitely be books.

Books were easy, though. Why would they need her to make the delivery?

Must be some kind of books, she thought with a near chuckle.

Time disappeared, along with color. That was good, though. Color here meant something bad. And the lack of time made it seem less important, seemed to constrict it down to seconds. When she returned home, she would have a better sense of how long she was gone, but during her travels, it didn’t matter. Didn’t even register.

Her thoughts wandered again. It had been a few years since she had dropped the full time employment and went onto contracts exclusively. It was paying off. The free time, though she had struggled at first to fill it, was perhaps the best bonus now. It left her and Mana time to do whatever they wanted. They had traveled back to his home on the islands, gone to England a few times, the States. Life was good.

As for this job, Kami was familiar with the area known to her as “O-55.” She was certain that the locals had another name for it, but she had never cared to learn it. What did it matter? She knew where she could stay for a night if needed, where to get food, and where to drop her deliveries. Better if she knew it only as O-55; no one could ever find out where her meeting locations were, if they didn’t know someone who knew how to do business with her.

As if on cue and with almost no warning, she stepped out of darkness and onto soft ground, grass crunching beneath her boots. She studied her surroundings; no one was in the vicinity, and based on the color of the sky, she was a little early.

The small town that marked the center of drop zone of O-55 was about a hundred paces from where the path ended. She strolled toward it, unhurried and bored, keeping her profile low. Now free from the dark and cold, she fished in her pocket for a pack of smokes, took one out, and flipped her lighter.

Her normal meeting spot was an alcove between the local tavern and a kind of general store. She thought that’s what it was, but she really wasn’t sure. To be fair, she had never stepped foot within it. The tavern she knew well. Tavern and inn, really.

Seeing no one awaiting her in the alley, she leaned against the wall of the store to finish her smoke.

She didn’t have a long wait herself. The shadow of movement caught her eye, and she turned her gaze on the opening of the alley. She could sense their nervousness, like a breeze preceding them. The shadow fidgeted, got a little bigger. Finally, at the far end, she saw a head poke around. She pushed herself lazily off the wall.

The satyr made its – his, she noted – way down the muddy alcove, and she suppressed laughter. Even when nervous and sneaking, the damn thing looked like it was delicately prancing over the muck. And he was definitely insecure about this whole deal. She wondered how they had even heard of her – they clearly had no experience with slightly shady, not entirely legal trading.

“I’m here on behalf of Tomiko,” she offered, hoping to ease his mind a bit.

“Korpik,” he responded automatically, still fidgeting after coming to a stop and looking up at her. He held out his hand.

She gave a short sort of chuckle, grinned at him in some disbelief, “It’s not customary to share names.”

“Oh,” he slowly and awkwardly withdrew the offered hand.

“But,” she extended an olive branch to alleviate some of his embarrassment, “I’ll let you buy me a drink.”

That perked him up. Kami wasn’t exactly feminine, but she had done enough business with satyrs to know what got their little hooves tapping. And it always involved drink and merriment.

“Why yes!” he smiled, “I could do that. There is the matter, of, uh, however.”

Kami tapped the duffel bag sitting against her thighs, “Right here. It’s best if you take it just before you head to wherever you’re going. Rather than carry it around with you all day. I’m staying at the inn, at least for a few hours, before heading back.”

Seemingly satisfied with the plan, Korpik’s tail gave a short wag, and he bowed, gesturing grandly to the end of the alley, “Very well. This way, then.”

Kami arched an eyebrow, “Generally best to exit the back way,” she inclined back the way she had come with her head.

“Of course. Of course!”

He turned on his heel – hoof? – and started back the way she had come, Kami following after him. They looped around to the main road and approached the inn.

NaNoWriMo started this week

I have participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the past 7 years. Well, this will be my 7th year, not including Camp NaNo in the summers, which I usually only do half-heartedly.

I had to look that up. Every year feels like the first year because it’s new and exciting, and I get nervous about word counts and holycrap50000wordscanIevendothat. I haven’t been successful every year. But for at least 50% of them, I’ve knocked out 50k or more.

I should back up. NaNoWriMo happens every November. Hosted by the Office of Letters and Light (btw, if they ever need a Salesforce admin, I happen to know a gal), it’s an annual mad dash to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. In actuality, it can be anything. Novel, poetry, fanfiction, novella, short stories…whatever. The point is to write. Every single day. And to not worry about editing.

It’s like a safe and responsible form of reckless abandon.

It’s an exercise is not second-guessing every little thing that you do. Do you not do that? I do. All the time.

It’s a somewhat social event, in that you can be social if you choose. There are online forums and regional groups that might host write-ins and weekly meet-ups. I’ve never been to one of those. Never could work up the courage. Go me!

It’s getting back to the roots of something that I really, really enjoy, outside of the necessities of doing it for professional purposes (no offense, blog, ILY.)

So anyway. There it is. Don’t be surprised if, in lieu of useful information about Salesforce, you see a bunch of excerpts over the next couple of weeks. I have 50,000 words to write.

I’m getting real for a minute

reallifememeI actually feel weird about that phrase because it implies that I’m not always real. To be fair, sometimes I feel like I’m not…

But that’s not the point. It’s a widely understood idiom to the bulk of my audience.

Moving on.

Sometimes it’s hard to get up the energy to write one of these. I enjoy writing. I really do. I mean, I got a degree in writing because I really enjoyed having an audience that kind of had to read my diatribes the practice of word craft.

It’s still just really hard to get up, sit at the computer, and type the words on some days, though.

And I feel like it’s becoming more frequent lately. I hate that. I love writing. I love it. I come from a family of writers – men and women who can rewrite a song on the fly for fun. Poets. Story tellers. Playwrights (true story). Song writers. Animators. Writing is part of me.

But here I am, with 7 drafts cast aside (I am not exaggerating. I have 7 drafts started and waiting, and I’ve spent hours of the past couple of weeks staring at them), and I just…can’t.


This is my white flag.

I started publishing again 9 months ago. This is, by far, a record. And I don’t want to break it. I want to keep writing, practicing the craft that I “left behind” however long ago. I want to keep writing on the chance that someone out there Googles a question in frustration, and I happened to answer it, bizarrely, somehow.

It’s just…really difficult right now.

So I’m giving myself permission to write whatever I want. If it’s Salesforce-related, awesome, that’s the goal. If it’s an excerpt from NaNoWriMo because that’s all I have in me, fine.

Whatever keeps me writing. Keeps me going.

Just keep writing.





Marketo v. Pardot Cage Match: Round 2, Sending Emails

Edited to include a note on Marketo’s Email Editor v2.0

First of all, disclaimer: Marketing Automation is not just for email automation. It does a lot more than that. However, for a small team that is just starting out with Marketing Automation, this is likely where you’re going to start, so that’s where we are now.

It also is something that should be considered as part of any and all marketing initiatives. It’s easy to think that “email marketing” and “sending emails via Marketing Automation” are the same thing, but they are not.

Email marketing is a channel of marketing.

Sending emails is the ability to send an email to a prospect – be that via email marketing, specifically, transactional emails, drip campaigns, or even internal messaging.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s how I’m breaking down this round of the cage match:

  1. Planning: this involves the process of planning what and when to send
  2. Designing: this involves the ease of creating the email – can you clone something you’ve built, how do templates work, etc.
  3. Sending: this is pretty straightforward. How easy is it to send the thing you’ve planned and created?
  4. What I am NOT covering: Dynamic content in emails – I will be handling things like this in another post.

These are exceptionally broad-stroke sections, I realize. A lot goes into planning. But since every team does planning just a little bit differently, I don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty here. I’ll give examples, though, don’t worry about that.

Continue reading “Marketo v. Pardot Cage Match: Round 2, Sending Emails”



I got home a little after midnight, throat sore and super stuffy, but none of that mattered because *DREAMFORCE*.

As some of you know, things have been a struggle lately. And travel plans had me in San Fran for a limited amount of time. But that time was SO WELL SPENT.

My first Dreamforce was in 2014, and I had been using Salesforce for about 3 months. It was overwhelming. It was lonely. I was a solo admin, and I’m not always good at talking to strangers, so I didn’t put myself out there that year.

But I went to a ton of sessions, took so many notes, and I went back to my job inspired to be a leader in my company. I refreshed our org, found super users, focused on problem solving…I started on the path to getting certified.

Having stumbled onto Salesforce, in the way so many of us do, that was the perfect way for me to start. It got me excited for the platform and the potential.

Skip ahead to #DF16.

Things change, and they change fast. In 2 years, I got certified, got involved, and started meeting people in the community. I became more comfortable going up to people at Salesforce functions and introducing myself. I became more comfortable sharing knowledge and resources with people. I still struggle with asking for help, but I’m getting there.

This year was inspiring in a different way, but once again, in exactly the way that I needed it to be. I’m just going to say it: Dreamforce is the Room of Freakin’ Requirement.

It searches my heart every year, and it pumps out what it needs, and I come back with ideas and excitement and something new.

This year it was community. Ohana.

Working from home can feel isolating, even when the majority of the community activity happens online. But it’s one of those things – feel isolated, pull away, feel more isolated, pull away more, and on and on. And as an introvert – someone who recharges by seeking solitude, I feel like a cell phone. I become reliant on the charger (my house) to the point that time off of it, I’m less likely to hold onto my charge. 5 minutes in, and I’m looking for an exit. I don’t like that.

I had it in my head that, despite the friendships I have made in the community, I would continue to feel isolated at Dreamforce.

Newsflash: I was so wrong.

I have made friends, of course, but more importantly, I’ve built a family in the community. I have, in the words of Bilbo Baggins, “visitors, well-wishers, and distant relations.” Brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.

Maybe it was because I didn’t have the whole week this year, I spent the majority of my time in community-based activities: User Group State of the Union, Awesome People Party, volunteering in the Admin Meadow (my personal favorite! Please, please, please let me do that again!!), DnDF16, celebrating LOVE…basically surrounding myself with my family.

It reminded me what is important. I came back with a list of priorities and goals, and I know that I have a whole community of people that will keep me honest and focused on those goals, that will remind me to focus when needed.

So thank you, Ohana.

This post brought to you by (in alphabetical order, to help me): Adam, Amber, Amy (x2!), Annie, Ashima, Ben, Beth, Bill, Brian, Chris, Dale, Denise, Doug, Erica, Gillian, Jen, Jennifer, Justice, Juliette, Kris, Kristi, Nana, Mark, Melinda, Misty, Ross, Sarah, Scott, Shonnah, Stacey, Steve, Stuart, Vinay…and pretty much everyone else!





Marketo v Pardot Cage Match: Round 1, UI

I’ve been learning Pardot, prepping for the exam, doing all the things.

But I can’t help comparing it to Marketo. For obvious reasons. Marketo was, you know, my first. Marketing Automation Platform. My first Marketing Automation Platform.

One thing I know is that there are very few comprehensive comparisons between the two platforms. Which I get. This has taken me some time. I’m still uncomfortable with the idea. There is bias to contend with. But it’s important and a little therapeutic to go through this process, so here I am.

This will be a series, as comprehensive as I can manage, based on different aspects of Marketing Automation, in which I will compare the two. In each round, I will give the platforms a rating from 1 to 10. At the end, I’ll do a brief overview and announce the winner!

Please keep in mind: this is largely subjective!

In Round 1, I take a look at the UI of each system, considering its ease of navigation, organization, look and feel, and even diction choices.

Continue reading “Marketo v Pardot Cage Match: Round 1, UI”

I did a thing: Becoming a Salesforce Admin Story

This is kind of awkward for me, which is weird because I’ve acted and spoken publicly, and I don’t get really bad stage fright. This feels different, though.

I did an #AwesomeAdmin video. I was truly honored/humbled to be asked in the first place because, seriously, what do I have to tell people that better smarter other folks in the community can’t say better? But then if I can help someone find their way to a great career or something, then I should do it. (Right, Spiderman?!)


One of the questions they asked me was how I became a Salesforce Admin…and why. I gave an answer that was suitable for a short video. There’s more to it, though, and since I’m way better at writing than speaking out loud, I figured I’d take this opportunity to share that story.

Skipping ahead a bit because I’m not about to sit here and write out all of the random things I’ve done to make money before. So many things. None of them illegal, just to be clear.

I first got a job at Lean in 2013. It was a big deal. I had been working at Geek Squad, which meant some weekends and nights and a bit of a drive. Lean was Monday to Friday, 9-5, and 3 miles down the road.

I started as a Logistics Coordinator, managing inbound freight for one of our clients. It was good work, sometimes stressful (Snowmageddon, I’m looking at you). But as might be evident, I was also doing other stuff in the company because I can’t keep well enough alone. More specifically, I was working with the HR team on an Emergency Response Plan because I had experience with that sort of thing (see unlisted list of jobs I’ve done).

In that work, I was told that there was a data analyst spot opening in Marketing – was it something I’d be interested in? Uh, well, yeah.

I applied when the job opened, interviewed, and I got the job. Hooray!

“You’ll also be the administrator for Salesforce and Marketo.”

“Sounds great!” What is Salesforce? What is Marketo? Cue frantic Google searches, video watching, and standard Hollywood meet-cute.

And thus, I became the admin for my little org. There was an agreement that if I could get certified in one of those systems within a year, I’d be compensated for it. Cool! (Spoiler alert: I got certified in both! Go big or go home!)

Enter Salesforce Community, stage right.

I went to Dreamforce that same year. It was a little overwhelming, really. I had been using/administering Salesforce for less than 6 months when I went. But it drove me to the online community. The online community drove me to learn more about regional things – user groups, and even better, regional events like Midwest Dreamin’.

I’ve talked about Midwest Dreamin’ before. Like…a lot. But it’s because it’s important to me. So, so important.

I took the job offered because it sounded interesting. I took it because there would be fewer late nights trying to find trucks to cover loads. I took it because I really liked the manager.

I stuck with it because of the potential, the community, the people.

I am so proud to be an #AwesomeAdmin. I am so happy to know the people in this community. They always surprise me. There’s always someone else I have to meet that is going to be delightful in a completely unexpected way. Or someone I know but learn eventually that we have even more in common. Or a group of people that are playing D&D for a good cause, and I get to play D&D related to my job. WHERE ELSE DOES THAT HAPPEN IN LIFE?

All of this just to say thank you.

Thank you to the community. All of you out there doing what you do. You’re all inspiring.

Thank you to the Awesome Admin team. How amazing is it that we have an entire team at Salesforce devoted to promoting what we do?!

Thank you to Salesforce in general. So much promise and opportunity for people because of the culture that Salesforce promotes.

Thank you to Marc Benioff, obviously, for getting the whole show started.



Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This question.

I have nightmares about this question.

Not because I think the world will end in that time frame (although, ask me again after the election, maybe). And it’s not because I don’t imagine what I can do or that I don’t have ambition.

People change, though. Sometimes slowly, over time. Sometimes surprisingly fast.

When I make a plan, I need to stick to that plan. I don’t like deviation. I like routine, and if I know I have to break that routine, I have to know what I have to do. I break things down: get to point A, do X, then get to point B and do Y. Why do you think I like video games so much? That’s exactly what they do. NPC hands you quest, you follow the steps of the quest, experience points and reward!

Real life doesn’t respect the laws of video games.

Planning too far ahead invites too many unknown variables. You go from a linear equation to a matrix in no time at all. It invites error and failure – not the iterative kind, either, where you fail fast. Like the…I spent four years getting this degree, and it turns out I don’t want to be a book editor kind.

But it’s not just that.

5 years. That’s a lot of time to learn, to grow, to become. So you say “man, what do you think you’ll be doing in 5 years?”, and I start thinking of all of the things I could do in 5 years. Certifications earned, books written, games played, conferences attended, experiences. 5 years can hold a whole lot.

I become paralyzed by possibility.

The last time I was asked this question, it was framed with “what is the endgame of being a polymath?” That just seemed so contradictory to me.

What makes me a polymath is curiosity. If something interests me, then I dive in, and I will retain some of the knowledge I gain for longer than is strictly necessary. It’s why I’ll spout out random facts and find every tangent possible. (Did you know that cats most likely domesticated themselves? In Egypt, they learned to mimic the frequency of an infant crying in order to be fed. They don’t generally meow to communicate with one another. So cool!)

Most things don’t hold my interest for very long; I’m not wired to become fixated on one thing forever. I become fixated for a short time, absorb a ton of stuff, and then I move on. It’s not because I don’t WANT to be summarily consumed by a single passion.

My dad used to tell me that I go from 0 to 100 too fast, that people have a hard time keeping up with that. He’s right. And I’ve tried to tone it down. At least, you know, the manifestation of it. I don’t *fangirl* the way I used to. Externally. Inside, I might be screaming, jumping, and pointing, but on the outside, I am sarcastic and super chill.

So, anyway, I’ve been thinking about the question and where I see myself in 5 years, what it means to be a polymath, how the word endgame kind of freaks me out, what I want to be when I grow up, and stuff like that.

And I decided…I’m going to go have a tattoo consultation on Sunday. I haven’t gotten any ink in over 2 years, and I have a few ideas. So that’s pretty cool.