Making the World More Understandable

What’s a Tora and Why Should I Use One?

No, I am not referring to the Jewish holy text – that’s a different spelling.

The character in my logo is the Kanji character tora and it means tiger.

I have always loved cats. At some point, maybe in high school, I identified my affinity for tigers. There was no great “Eureka!” moment or life changing event, I just knew that I had a thing for tigers. Years later, my mom described it best when she asked me, “It’s primal, isn’t it?” Yep. It lives in that part of my brain that is all emotion and no words. That part that manages life’s basic needs: food, shelter, and running faster than something else the predator is chasing. And, for me, my thing for tigers.

Oddly enough, my thing for words also lives in that part of my brain that is all emotion and no words. I am passionate about clear communication.

Clear communication is not always grammatically correct. It is more about style. It is about word choice. It is about putting things in context for the audience. Content for a group of engineers with the same disciplinary background will be dramatically different from that for a classroom of 5th graders – even when the subject is the same.

Speaking of engineers, I spent over 10 years translating them and creating user-friendly documentation for some pretty obscure software applications.

Some people think that writing technical documentation is different than writing anything else – and maybe, for some writers, it is. But that is not the case for me. I am about clear communication; that means that if I can understand a topic, I can write about it. And my background is such that I can understand a great many topics.

I grew up in what I call, “The Land of the Leftover Hippies,” also known as the Rockridge neighborhood in Oakland. Now, Rockridge is more yuppie than hippie, but in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s it was pretty weird. Being in the shadow of the Berkeley campus can do that to a place. Although my parents are a little too old to of been hippies, I had lots of exposure and balance. So, when it comes to what some call “woo woo,” shy of a blood sacrifice – I have got no problems.

I also have an engineering degree from Berkeley. I did not work as an engineer long enough to become a very good one, but I was always able to communicate with them, and for them.

By Bay Area standards, I am fairly middle-of-the-road. But I’ve been on both ends of the logic/spiritual scale and find I work well with most anyone anywhere else on that scale.