Of tea and serendipity

FullSizeRenderToday, over tea, I was talking with someone about how the way that others see us can be so different from how we see ourselves. The focus of the conversation was national identity, and what place we call ‘home’.
That conversation reminded me of an article that I wrote nearly 10 years ago, where I discussed the concept of identity, and reviewed mechanisms of identification. Out of curiosity, I decided to re-read that article. First, I cringed at the writing style – so elaborate and, yet, so clumsy. But when I got over the style issues I, actually, saw that what I was talking about in that paper is extremely relevant (and helpful) for something that I have been working on for some time now… and that I have been struggling with.

There you go. I have been struggling with this particular piece of work for about a year. And, eventually, the clue to the answer came in the form of a conversation, over tea, about anything but work.

It was a delightful stroke of serendipity.

And it was a delightful reminder of the value of slowing down and connecting with other human beings.

3 thoughts on “Of tea and serendipity

  1. I’m very intrigued now. Could you share more about what your working on? I’m very interested in identity and finding one’s place in the world; and how we are influenced in what we think.


  2. Hi Arjan,


    I don’t work on issues of identity (how it is formed, etc). The article that I mentioned (written in 2005) was about identity fraud detection systems and, thus, it started with a discussion of what identify is. I remembered the article because of the casual conversation that afternoon about our own identities, and how it had been influenced by places we had been to, and the people that we met, over and above the place where you were born or where your family came from.

    My work is in the areas of customer profiling and customer management systems. Which, in a way, are about capturing / representing a customer’s identity.


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