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History Lessons are Personal

by Patricia Dillon

November 2, 2020

It seems like we've worked through a lifetime of lessons. The rigors of university classes are no match for the slower paced churn of a work life lived in service of new and exciting projects.

We began at the dawn of the PC. Studying computer science in Cambridge, MA was exciting. Scrounging parts from student dorm rooms to make and juice your PC with a little more RAM. It seemed like the 1950’s suburbs with cars, only our technology was a personal computer. We worked for a group of MIT folks with the same build-your-own attitude. It was early days and they custom-crafted everything from the file system to database and query language. Fortran was the language of the day and securities accounting was our passion.

We learned and moved from Fortran to C; IBM to Tandem; and accounting to trading. Little did we know the move would take us around the world to stock exchanges in Mexico, France, Columbia, and newly privatized countries in Eastern Europe. Working in Eastern Europe to setup stock exchanges in countries transitioning from centralized, socialist economies to decentralized, capitalist infrastructures was new and challenging for all of us.

It’s now 2020 in the United States and we are one day away from the presidential vote.

The last people with living experience of the first World Wars are leaving us with troves of stories detailing their life experieces. The direct effects of those wars and that history – from the creation of Israel to dissolution of the Soviet Union – are being played out on the world stage today.

What will the youth of 9/11 and the resulting wars in the Middle East think of our decisions and the world we've created based on those events 50 years from now?

Peace is not even a word people use anymore but the world is crying out for it and a new way forward free from the mistakes and technologies of the past. Free from the fossil fuels that steal from our pockets and our health.

Maybe it’s time to review recent history and find a new way forward. Surely there is nothing wrong with chosing leaders with experience. But if we don't build a diverse world leadership that includes the youth, we will continue to ignore what's coming out of our tailpipes.

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