More on random thoughts…

It still bothers me that a person who gets walked out of an account forever, can be labeled a leader of the future. To me this seems almost like a slap to the rest of us. Consultants are communicators, if you so annoy a customer that they say “we don’t ever want this person back.” you can’t communicate. You’ve failed at the essence of consulting. But apparently you are a leader of the future.

That really saddens me. I don’t know what to do about that.

It makes me feel like everything I’ve done in the past 3 years is a complete and utter waste of time.

Anyway – blog will be sporadic for the next few days – in Southeast Asia. Have a great week all!


A series of Random Thoughts…

Random thought 1:
Why does the world look different when you are in a cab? I’ve been driving now for more than 30 years.
It’s curious to me how the world appears differently from a cab – just a random thought.

Random thought 2:
Why is it more fun to travel with my wife? by a factor of 10 in fact?

Random Thought 3:
How can a consultant that has been removed (forever) and told by one of the largest customer’s the company has to never come back, be one of the leaders of tomorrow? My thought would be that person needs to be on a performance plan, not patted on the back.

Architects as sponges

How much data can you absorb?

As an architect I often wonder about that question as it is something that both impacts me and at the same time is a skill I use and leverage more than any other.

1. Learning quickly
As a sponge I find that it is a curse and a boon to pick up things quickly. Bad for me when I jump to conclusions too quickly, but good for the most part in the sense that I am able to pick up a net new technology quickly.
2. Sponges can be quiet 🙂
Sometimes as an architect you just have to listen. I hate it at times, but it is all about what the requirements are. Knowing what the requirements are reduces proejct risk – becuase frankly you build wha the customer wants.
3. Sponges can take a hit 🙂
Fill a sponge up with water and hit the sponge. It will bounce back pretty quickly 🙂

It’s an interesting idea – one that I have been thinking about for a long time. The value of a sponge is that information is easily produced (squeeze the sponge too hard and you will end up with a mess but that is a pretty much a rule with just about anything anyway.)


what remains of my quest

Many years ago I founded the Society of Dead Teachers. We originally met in the Chi Chis restaurant in Bloomington Indiana every Friday afternoon (they gave free nachos) 🙂 The organization grew into an international teaching organization peaking in 1990 at nearly 15,000 members world wide. We had an internet discussion list that was syndicated world wide (

It was a labor of love…We had a magazine that ran reviews of things relavent to teachers (technology, education etc). We had vast discussions (I talk about one of them here ).

For a time we solved th problems of the world, but that passed with the changing (me leaving teaching and no longer as engaged/invovled in the issues of education).

And that passion is something I’ve talked about missing before.

Anyway on this day, the muse of athletics bothers me. There is so much promise in college, high school and even younger athletes. For every steriod using athlete there are a 1000 athletes that never turn pro, never do steriods and love the game.

There was great Kevin Costner movie “For the Love of the Game.” That is what I miss in athletics today. I used to coach kids who loved the game. Not money. Not fame. Not steriods. The game. You see the game is something tangible. It is something that will change your life.

You may never be a professional, but you have to play.

hp touchsmart tx2-1025dx notebook pc

Another day – another review – this one for the new HP Tablet PC. I have been a huge fan of tablet pc’s (as a concept) but not happy with the overall quality of the various Tablet’s on the market.

However this device touches just about every issue I have, and makes them go away.

1. Price Point – less than a $1000 for a fully loaded tablet – awesome
2. quality – I am a huge HP computer fan – so that is pretty safe. I have the touchsmart desktop as well – and frankly they did a good job with these.
3. 64 bit (tablets are often memory intensive rather than disk intensive based on how you interact with them).

So now the review….
1. The 5400 rpm drive is a little slow – took longer becuase of that to load the software but overall not a horrible drive.
2. screen is awesome – you can touch with pen or your fingers! I lose the bloody pens all the time so that is a good thing.
3. So far no driver issues – but that is mostly a market improving issue rather than the drivers not having issues (more 64 bit systems).

Dragon 10 doesn’t work on the device – as it doesn’t support 64 bit vista – that is extremly disappointing – one of the value props of the tablet is to move me away from my desktop and installing D10 helps with that

I give this laptop a 7 out of 10.


I wonder if…

Today I heard an interesting lesson, that moment when you as a child start doing the things your parent used to do, and your parent begins doing the things you used to do – role reversal.

I wonder about that. As a parent that seems to me to be the ultimate moment. When my child is able to do things better than I can. I guess I would feel like that was success – complete and utter success.

Then I wondered how I would feel if it happened becuase I could no longer do the things that I used to do – then it changed my perception.

I am looking forward to the day when my children can do something better than I can. But I dread the day they have to do something becuase I no longer can…


My newest list – hd

HD Radio – very cool (other than the fact that none of my favorite stations don’t broadcast in HD yet) very cool. I have the sony and it’s a great device!

HD – TV I noticed the other day when I was flipping channels that the difference between analog and digital broadcast is significant. You can actually see the difference. And it’s not that the analog broadcast is on a cheap tv – same tv just a split signal. The difference is amazing.

Soon it will all be digital!


Wait – someone stop the bus

A long time ago I took a class from a brilliant man (Michael Clifton). In that class he taught a technique called “catching the bus.”

The technique is to match the speed, cadence and speech pattern of a “long talker” and then “catch the bus” take the drivers seat and move the long talker into a long listener mode.

It’s one of the many tools that I learned in that class. But recently I’ve been thinking about that technique and a few other’s that most of us have in our toolbelts. How many different communications tactics have you learned over the years?

I’ve been thinking about the concept of communication a lot. It’s a simplistic thing we all learn to do at an early age and yet somehow it is the one thing that we struggle with our entire lives.

Who we are talking to is often if not always as important as what we are saying. I have friend who always says, a great presenter can make average material good. But a bad presenter can make great material boring.

So what is the link? How do we catch the bus? Is the bus off course? Should we stop the bus completely?

Learning the boundaries of communication is a lifetime process. How we are percieved is often not what we think of ourselves.

I have a former co-worker who thinks eveyrone loves him becuase he is “honest.” But the thing about being “honest” is that when someone plays back the “honest” feedback to the original person – they have to accept it with the same level that they expect others to recieve their “honest” feedback. This person doesn’t do that, he is very absorbed in the honesty of his message.

Of course my previous manager loved him, becuase he was “honest.” Which is kinda sad in a “the way things are is the way things are” kinda way.

Communications. It is the human experience.

Architects to the rescue

If we assume that having architects on projects will make the project more succesful (actually in this case you either in agreement or disagreement)

How do projects fail?

Alignment with the business is the first reason I’ve found that drive projects to failure. Not having the right people form the money side of the organizaton involved or engaged will cause most projects to fail.

This issue is a subset issue of the broader reason “why projects fail.” for the most part on the projects i’ve seen fail it has almost always been communication. Communicatoin both up and down the ladder in regards to the project itself.

Risks…what could go wrong
Issues…things that haven’t yet become risks – or external pressures
The winds of change (technology changes after the project starts)
The winds of change (business climate changes)
Competitive Advantage disapates

All of these are communications issues in their structural affect. If the risks are talked about they are in effect reduced. If the issues and winds of change are talked about, documented and planned for they will have a reduced impact on the project.

All of this is critical to the role of the architect on a project team. I dub them the great communicators – architects talk about their project because frankly they have to in order for the project to succeed.


What was the last thing you said

As I walked out of the door this morning I realized that the last thing I had said wasn’t very nice. I called my wife and apologized. But it really made me think.

How many times as people do we walk out of the house with our last word stinging rather than reassuring? How often do we leave in a negative fashion that impacts everyone around us?

It’s a thought, not a good one but a thought.