Wednesday Mar 04, 2009

How do you respond to that?

I learned something new today. I was having a conversation with one of my daughters and we were talking about Easter brunch. I was waxing philosophic about the cool stuff at brunch that I liked and what a treat it was to go to something like Easter Brunch. My daughter cocked one jaundiced eye at me and disclaimed the "coolness". "Daddy", she said pointedly, "Brunch is just a way of cheating me out of one of my meals. I like Breakfast and Lunch." 

I had no response to that.

Monday Apr 14, 2008

Standard interfaces

So, here it is about 1:45AM MT and I am running on about 4 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours. Mom is doing well, baby is doing well, kids are struggling a bit with the new world order, but all in all very well. Thanks to all of those that sent congratulations, way too many to count reached out and sent me a kind word. It means a tremendous amount to me.

I got to thinking about how much easier things are this time then they were the first time around. I think partly it is because I am older, but, partly it is because I understand the system. In the CS lexicon, there are inputs, outputs, some range of variable checking, and only a few simple interfaces for baby 3.0 (Licensed under CUDDLE by the way. This is a minor modification to CDDL, pronounced the same way). 

Partly this is written tongue-in-cheek, but partly quite seriously. Since I have familiarity with the standardized interfaces for infants, I don't have to relearn everything all over again. The system isn't proprietary (most babies enjoy the same inputs and outputs) and instead of spending my limited time trying to figure out what could possibly be wrong, I simply run through the available options (assuming the systems are happy path of course.) So, the last two days have been pretty easy so far. Of course as the systems gain complexity, there will be discoveries, but for now, a well fed, warm and a dry system seems to equate to relative peace and harmony.

If I wasn't so tired I could come up with a clever convention linking babies to Solaris, but, suffice it to say, Solaris by open sourcing, seeks to minimize the amount of effort required to consume standardized interfaces. As your systems get more complex, you may need help scaling to the enterprise space (don't we all?), but for now, Solaris is a good way to keep your data warm, dry and well fed. If you need to burp your systems, well, we can help with that too.

Thursday Apr 10, 2008

Every once in a while...

Occasionally things just work out. I was sitting down to watch a little hockey at about 8PM tonight when my wife wandered down and asked me if maybe the pilot light had gone off on the hot water heater. It has been pretty windy so I figured it was a possibility. I ambled down to look at the hot water heater and started wading through the water that was all over the basement floor. Yes, the pilot had gone out, but, really it was the cracked water heater that was the issue.

 After an hour of dorking about with the old hot water heater I determined that it was well and truly shot and would need to be replaced. My 5 minute job was going to be much more than that all of a sudden.

Oddly, I had a spare hot water heater in the garage (don't ask).  So, I get busy draining the remainder of the old hot water heater, powering the new one down into the basement (all alone) and start looking at what I need to hook it up. Of course, I don't have the right connectors and so I sprint for Home depot. I get there 10 minutes before it closes, I get the parts I need and I race for home.

I move things around, install the new hot water heater in the right spot and I hook things up. Nothing leaks, the gas pilot light works the first time and I bleed the system. I have hot water about 4 hours after I determined that there was a leak and it only cost me $11.

This never happens to me. It always cost $500 and there are always leaks and things to tighten and do over. Except tonight, and frankly, I needed that. Best of all? My wife quite nicely recorded the hockey game and so I can watch a little hockey just before I hit the rack. Nice! A really big bummer just turns into a few hours of work and Hockey delayed is not hockey denied.

It is easy to come up with reasons to fail...

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." TR

We all have huge flaws as a human beings, for we suffer from that universal failing, being human. I think that I could walk out my front door turn left and give someone fifty cents and get them to come up with a list of failings that are both meritorious in their content and have a certain amount of validity. I think that is nearly true for everyone. Only a couple of people I know are truly perfect, at least in their own minds. It is easy to be critical. It doesn't cost very much to pick someone a part and lots of people want to do it. In fact, if I turn around with a blindfold on, I could probably find fifteen new critics of everything or everyone without looking very hard. The same can be said with coming up with reasons why something wont work. Sure, there is a chance of failure, maybe even a big chance. Everything can (and probably will at some point) fail. Easy to point out how the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly.

However, every once in a while, you find someone that is working hard to advance the ball and that has far more positive things to say. This kind of person looks for reasons to succeed, ways to find the best parts of everybody and strives hard to achieve. Next week Sun loses one of these folks. Joe is off to follow his heart and work with wood. I can't help but wish him the best of luck. He is one of those folks that you literally can't replace. Sure, I can find someone to write code like he can. I can't find his spirit, good nature, and can do attitude. This is a big loss.

Best of luck Joe!


Sunday Dec 09, 2007

For every season...

Note: I started this post back in August and time just got away from me. I think it is useful to reflect back on what I was doing in August, and so, a little bit of sharing....

21 August 2007

It has been a little more than a month since I last posted. It has been a very busy month, both personally and professionally, and as I sip my coffee I feel reflective this morning.

In the Allegory of the Cave, Plato describes about the ideal form using the voice of his mentor, Socrates. He asserts that the essential quality of a thing may be known only by knowing the form of the thing. For instance, we can only know a chair if first we understand what a chair is supposed to be. I am forced to conclude that Plato was a C++ programmer and he loved polymorphisms. His base class 'chair' was instantiated in the form of 'cave wall chair'. Anyway, Plato asserts that we must search hard to know the truth of a thing, and so claw our way up and out of the cave.

As I said, busy month. My daughter Sasha and I rode the "Courage Classic" together. It was my 8th time doing the classic and it was Sasha's first. I started doing the Classic shortly after my first daughter was born because I hoped I would never have to need Children's Hospital. So far we have been lucky to avoid anything very serious and so I consider it a wise investment. Additionally, my trooper of a kid knocked out 35 miles on her bike and climbed a steep hill up from Keystone. I am very proud of her, and I hope we do it a lot over the course of the next few years.

In the group space we have made great progress on COMSTAR  (open sourced here) as well as our Leadville training class, iSCSI activities and even open sourcing MPxIO. Life is that way some times. You make investments and sometimes a lot of them pay off in a very short time. When I look at what we have accomplished in the last few months, I am a bit stunned. Lots of very good people doing a lot of interesting work. If the reader will indulge my return to Plato, in The Sun Analogy Plato argues that the virtue of light (The Sun) is that it is used to illuminate the ultimate world of reality. I think this is our open source strategy. By showing the world how we do what we do, we help drive the code towards an ideal state (such as it is) and we enable our customers to "know" their code.

Today is the first anniversary of the day I returned from the cave back into the Sun light. I am glad to be back and I am glad to be here.

9 December:

A bunch has changed since August. I now work with the Honeycomb team and I am putting together a strategy for embedded software. We have opensourced COMSTAR, and Qlogic has created the first target mode driver with blazing fast 8Gb FC speed. StorageStop, a blog that Deirdré Straughan manages for my organization, has rocketed to the #76 most popular blog for all of Sun (at least for November), and we put back error recovery for tape into build 79 of Nevada (Step 2 of 3 in true tape multipathing MPxIO). 

Notice that we have plunged full force into video.

We have much to be grateful for. We have worked hard this year and I hope my staff manages to knock back a slug of eggnog for the holidays, celebrate(d) diwali and is having a great time getting ready for the Year of the Rat.

Oh, and: it's a girl.  Whoo hooo!


Wednesday Oct 03, 2007

To borrow and morph: Ramblings of a curious mind.

On the better angels of our nature:
 I think it was Abraham Lincoln who said something about letting your better side win. Frankly, I believe that each of us has a mean little egotistical side that lives in a dark space and makes up stories to justify our bad behavior. On the other hand, most of us find ways to reconcile our stories so that the better angels of our nature take charge. Or at least some of us do. In any case, we struggle to keep things positive, to not let the worst thoughts win out. It is easy to think the worst and it is easy to react according to that thought. And, just because you're inclined to think the worst doesn't mean that you're always wrong to do so! Your interpretation of events could in fact be the correct one: someone may have done you wrong. The crucial thing to remember is that it is not the universes around you and the events that happen that are important; it is the way you react to those events.

Whether you've been wronged or not, consider it a sunk cost. You can't change the past, and you can't undo what has been done. But you can choose your reaction. You choose your universe, and you choose how that manifestation of events affects you. Do you let the base, bitter, and cheated part of you win? Or do you cast it aside and try like hell to live your life, loving the things that you love and being the person you want to be? It isn't easy. Swallowing things that are bitter is tough. But the struggle is worth the result, at least for me. And it's so much better for me to live life concentrating on the good things and trying to find the leavening spark of life in all. I am far from perfect, but I am a fairly positive person. I try to find the good in most things, even though it's hard work. There are some people in my life who are great at this and always find positive ways to look at things, and for that I am grateful. Everyone needs someone or something to emulate.

On open source:

OK, enough of a homily. I have been thinking a lot about how to motivate people and tell them how important they are to you. I am not overly clever in this, and I find that blunt honesty is probably my most powerful tool. I try to share with people what I am thinking and how I perceive the world. I am careful to point out that mine is not necessarily the only way or even the correct way. But it is my way. People should be treated as thinking adults and given insight into things that affect their lives. I can't share everything, but I share what I can. I find it a valuable way to look at the world.

This is analogous to open source strategy. People will reward us for innovation, great engineering and a fantastic sense of purpose. If we fail, it won't be from lack of effort or from a closed-loop feedback mechanism. Every single product and project I work on right now is open-sourced and being developed in the open (more or less). This is a big change for me, and it is  liberating in a way. I don't know if it will work, but, if it fails, it won't be from lack of effort.

On kids:
Lately Sun has been releasing a lot of new products, and, at the same time, our group is having a lot of kids. I can think of at least three new parents in the last couple of months in Scott's organization and there are several more about ready to become new parents as well. It is pretty fantastic. Kids are great, and they sometimes surprise the hell out of you. I got a phone call last night from my older daughter (soon to be my oldest child), who was very, very upset. She is 7 and she had taken the bus home from school by mistake. She was supposed to go to her after school care because I was in Boston and my wife was down in Denver. Anyway, she freaked out when she realized she had made a mistake, but, she got into the house, let the dog out to do what dogs do, and methodically proceeded to call our alert roster: first Mom and then me. If she hadn't been able to reach me she would have called my brother, my parents, and the police in that order. Everything was fine and she was only alone for about 20 minutes and never in any real danger. However, can I tell you how much safer I feel that she executed our readiness plan flawlessly? I am so impressed with her poise and clear thinking. I don't think I could have been that way at 7. But she was, and I am very proud of her. I think that, given the opportunity, most people will live up to your expectations. If they don't, you probably just didn't wait long enough. Great job, Sasha!

On where you lay your head at night:

I have been on the road a lot this last six weeks. This was partly to strengthen relationships and establish new ones, partly to solve some problems best solved face to face. The upshot is that I have been in a hotel roughly 30 of the last 45 days. These last few days I was in Nashua. All of the normal hotels were sold out or wanted something like $200 a night. So I stayed in a bed and breakfast. What a great experience. Claire and David were excellent hosts. Claire made a special breakfast for me every morning. David mixed me a couple of drinks when I came home every night. We swapped stories of kids, family, music, life and work. I felt like I was staying with my grandparents (they are in their 70s). They care about people, and they amazed me. And it sure beat the heck out of sitting alone at night in another boring hotel room -  I had a great time at a place that made me feel at home. Thanks, guys!

On soldiers:
I met a military officer yesterday. I was immediately struck by her poise and grace, which reminded me of some of the folks I have served with. There is something about a soldier that just resonates with me. Serving in the military at any time is phenomenally difficult. There are great rewards in duty to others and duty to nation, but, make no mistake about it, the military is hard work. We live very comfortable and relaxed lives because of our strong young men and women. I am proud of them for their duty, courage, and self sacrifice. Serving now is an almost impossible burden on the troops and their families, and yet they keep going. Sand storms so thick they can't see their hands in front of their faces. Buddies with missing parts, buddies who never come home, and a never-ending grind of duty and obligation. And still they serve. And they do it with grace and dignity. I am humbled every day by their sacrifice. I don't ask for much, but I would ask that they come home, safe and whole, to their families and loved ones. If you see a troop, spare a moment, a kind word, even a thank you. Regardless of your belief in our national policy, they serve, and they do it so we don't have to.

And with that, I am back in the blog saddle again. Sometimes you just need a break. My rest is over. I will slowly grind out my ramblings and thoughts in the hopes that someone might find them valuable (even if used as an example of what not to do). Comments welcome. 

Tuesday Jun 12, 2007

Take a test drive

Sun is working hard on building our customer base. It is a fact that if people like your products and make them part of the "evoked set" (my marketing prof would be so proud!) they will buy them.

So, in the interest of making Sun's StorEdge Availability Suite part of your  evoked set, please - take a poke at our product. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Try it now

Thursday Jun 07, 2007

"Yes Virginia, Sundroids do dream of electric sheep".

First, yes, I am a blade runner. We all run the new blades here at Sun. Those of you that like P.K. Dick will recognize his work in my opening blab. Also, it isn't Christmas, but the new blades rock.

1. Yes, I do have pictures of the birds' nest in the grill. Dang birds will not stop building a nest.

2. The blog did see a 146% growth over April. Not sure my test worked, but there is more traffic.

The Long Purple Line   

754 hits in April
1098 hits in May
Growth: 146%


3. Last week we launched "Storage Stop, A Blog from Sun's Solaris Storage Software Group", intended to bring together any and all information useful to storage sysadmins using using Solaris as a Storage Operating System, as well as our storage products including tape, disk and NAS.

We kicked off with a welcome message from Bob Porras - that post got 190 views the first day (May 30th)!

Today we've posted a list of Storage-related blogs at Sun, so that storage sysadmins can quickly locate the Sun experts who are blogging on topics that interest them. (Additions to this list are still welcome, BTW.)

Storage Stop will publish at least weekly (on Wednesdays), and we are eager for more material for it. If you would like to see an article, or can suggest topics that should be covered (and the people to cover them), please write back to me.

Have fun. And, no, I am not a replicant, but I can replicate using our world class data storage software, AVS. 


Thursday May 24, 2007

Science, flies and saving lives

Saturday I had an interesting opportunity to observe a teacher and scientist in her element. Tin Tin does research on fruit flies in order to understand how a cell protects the information stored in DNA. A fruit fly has a generation about every 10 days, they are good subjects to study and they have characteristic and visible genetic markers that are easy to follow. I am sure there are other reasons why Tin Tin selected the fruit fly, but these seem like good starters. Anyway, according to Tin Tin, if we can understand how a normal (non-mutated) cell survives and cause radiation or chemicals to attack mutated cells, well, then we may have some insight to how to fight cancer.

The picture shows us fruit fly cell mitosis.

A couple of reason why I enjoyed very much seeing her in her element:  First, she is very good at what she does. Next, I have two small daughters and she brought the science down to their level and had them teaching me about fruit flies. Next, what she does is look for ways to fight cancer. She does this using science, technology and inspiration.

I am always humbled by these kinds of things. I think that doing good work, working with good people and working on interesting problems is almost the only thing we can ask for in a job. In life it is a bit more complicated and we can ask for a loving family, healthy kids, trash goals when we play hockey and a nice bottle of Zin every once in a while. Sorting fruit flies and looking at dead bugs is fascinating. It isn't very glamorous (in the traditional sense) but, at the end of the day, this kind of science and invention is indescribably beautiful. And, looking at cell division and maybe, just maybe, coming up with the next significant medical breakthrough, well, that is pretty damn cool. I looked around at the lab, and I have to admit, I was disappointed not to see a single Sun product. We need to fix that.


Thursday May 17, 2007

Relativistic mass

Bob Porras wrote a blog the other day that made me think of something I haven't thought of in several years. Most physics students intuitively understand that:

F=ma (Force = mass times acceleration) better known as Newton's second law.

In other words a force with lots of mass and lots of acceleration is very difficult to stop. Bob's analogy was towards open standards and the movement of things in the free world. Let me add a little acceleration to his equation (his analogy).

Relativistic Mass (mr) = Mass (m0) /sqrt(1 - v2 (v- velocity) /c (speed of light)2) or, without my cruft and a head nod towards wikipedia:

 mr = m0 /sqrt(1 - v2/c2)

This formula talks about how an object that is accelerated is apparently more massive. I know it is true in physics and (if we don't reach too far in to quantum physics) and I think it is true based on what Bob is saying. 

 Quiet simply put, an object gains mass (and therefore force) as it accelerates. There are many equations and journals you can look at to find out the math behind this assertion. Let’s take Solaris as an example however. In a closed body of software, where you have to pay before you can drive, you don't really know what you are getting. Take a version of the latest OS from the leading supplier of desktop software. Anyone actually know what they are getting when they buy the package? Do you get a chance to try it out before you lay out your 300 hundred shillings? (Or what ever you have to pay now days).

With Solaris you can. Is this force or a forcing function? You bet! Further, if you look at it from a mass standpoint, when people start contributing to open systems, they are adding to velocity. As velocity increases, so does variant mass.

So, what is the point? F=ma is useful. Additionally, if you accelerate invariant mass, it becomes more relativistically massive. 

Does it smell at all like a force multiplier to you?



The Power of Simplicity: A Near-Death Experience for Complexity

All right, so the title is a little odd. It's a web metrics experiment. I enjoy measuring things. It is a competitive thing, it is a factual thing and it is a curiosity thing. Or, maybe it is just something that makes me happy (like cheese doodles and cheese doodle exchanges with my daughters---don't tell anyone...). Regardless, this supposedly will spike traffic, so I want to see. I will share the results.

I was running through my blogroll and read Jeff Bonwick's latest post. It's an interesting read. More importantly, it explains how we think about things here at Sun. In this blog, Jeff starts with the general case for a seemingly complex problem, calculating the sum of an arbitrarily large number of numbers. However, he turns the problem a bit sideways, points out some fundamental properties, and ruthlessly excises the complexity out of the problem. He takes the complex and makes it simple. He doesn't do it using odd, brain-straining machinations or obscure formulas. He simply points out the needless complexity and removes the "useless fat".

At Sun, we write code that lasts in the production environment on the order of ten years. Think about that for a moment. Our code will be in your production environment for at least ten years. For this reason, every line of code we write is carefully scrutinized and weighed before it is released. It is a deeply methodical process. Do we make mistakes? Of course. Are there gaps? Yep. However, since almost all of our code is open, and we tend to conform to standards, we try to mitigate that risk.

So, what's my point?

At Sun we have deeply thoughtful engineers who write world-class code in an open environment predicated on standards. And we like cheese doodles. Read AmyO's blog for a bit of XAM....


Friday May 11, 2007

It matters

Sun was just recognized as one of the "World's Most Ethical Companies" by Ethisphere Magazine. That's pretty cool. You don't often get recognized for doing the right thing. You can get recognized for being first, being best, looking good, (dahrling you look marvelous!) but just leading a good life and doing the right thing rarely brings accolades. I think that is as it should be. We don't (or shouldn't) do the right thing simply because someone is watching. We should do the right things because it is the right thing.

 My wife and I were talking about this the other day. Being a geography geek, she likes map and cartography analogies. She made the observation that ethical behavior is a bit like following a true north map line. We all have a compass that orients us toward magnetic north. Most people had generally north, but the declination may be slightly off from true north. I thought it was a good analogy.

So congratulations Sun! I believe I work for one of the best companies around. This acknowledgment helps validate that.

Tuesday May 01, 2007

You can't just read about it

The other day my older daughter published her first book. Kids in first grade spend the year learning to read and write. My daughter, clever little girl that she is, wrote about what she values. She wrote a book entitled "How to read." It was a great book and I was very proud of her. In that book is a line that my mother used to use. It goes something along the lines of "If you can read you can do anything." My mother was of course an English teacher and she was profoundly responsible for my love of language and words in particular. Occasionally I get some flack (guff, grief, cruft, crud, wailing and gnashing of teeth) for having a love of words. Big ones, small ones, tall ones and fat ones. I love them, all words great and small. It isn't arrogance nor is it an attempt to make people feel small. I just love words and so, on occasion, (probably too often), I use archaic or overly complex language. Can't help it. My mother's fault probably.

Anyway, I really do believe that the ability to understand and put to use the written word is fundamental to success and I am not shy about sharing that with my children. I just ordered all of James Harriot's books for my 6 year old. I loved them as a child and I am sure she will as well.

Back to my point. (Sorry this is taking a long time.) I picked up hockey pretty late in life. The day I graduated from CU with my MBA a group of us decide to stop stretching our brains for a little while and stretch our bodies. So, having never skated, I got a bunch of gear and signed up for a league. I approached learning to play hockey like I approached engineering. I got all the required equipment and I picked up a book. In this case, Laura Stamm's guide to power skating.  Anyway, I recall being dreadfully earnest about my approach. I skated three of four times a week and I thought a lot about it. I am slow to learn these kinds of things, but I worked awfully hard at it. I recall picking up a neighbor (about 16 if I recall) to take him to the rink with me. He had played hockey since birth and it was natural for him. I recall explaining (a bit pompously if I recall) my approach to skating and hockey. When I told him I was reading a book to learn how to be a better skater he cracked up. He said, and I quote, "You are learning to skate by reading a book? Dude, the way to learn how to skate is to skate."

 Thinking about it, he was right. A book can only get you so far. You need to go out and just do. Only by doing do we learn how and only by doing and failing (and succeeding) do we learn how to be better. So, probably a obvious note, but every once in a while the obvious needs to be said. Just showing up, working through things and doing our jobs makes us better at them. Books and tutorials and lessons all help. But the best teacher is experience.

Also, Alexandra, what a great book. A how-to book on how to read. I love it! 

Slingshot on brand

I read Jonathan's blog every time he posts. It is always useful to note what your leadership thinks is important. Leaders talk about what they value (a lot) and that should drive action. One of the previous posts was about "What Brand means" and he spoke about a personal experience with a hotel chain. Good read. Check it out.

 It reminded me of something that happened to me 18 years ago. I was in Korea, serving in in the 5/17th Armored Cavalry as a Cadet Scout Platoon leader. I was feeling pretty low after a really long and really hard field exercise. Ever send a platoon of tanks the wrong way down a really long and really narrow canyon?  I did. Couldn't turn it around. Follow me... The next twenty minutes was radio call after radio call asking if I was lost. Humility is good for the soul. Ineptness is a great teacher. I never did it again. (Well once but that is another story.)

 Anyway,  I was exhausted. I was also dirt poor. Really poor. I really wanted to call somebody that liked me and didn't care (much) that I couldn't find my way around with $10mil in Army equipment following me. I called up AT&T and explained that I was a poor dogface that wanted to talk to my family. They cut me a credit card for $100 on the phone. Right there. No signature, no mindless and mind numbing paperwork. Just a friendly person that wanted to help me out. Well, she did, and she gained a life long customer. Brand does matter. AT&T wasn't the first company I called, but they were the last, and they still are. I can't even remember the other companies I called. But, I can't forget that someone made a difference in my life, and that, that has made all the difference.

Saturday Apr 14, 2007

Alea jacta est

The die is indeed cast. Supposedly Caesar uttered these words when he crossed the river Rubicon with his legions sometime long before I was born. Caesar violated the directives of the Civil Government of Rome and touched off a civil war in which ultimately he won. Let me hasten to point out I am not advocating a revolution in this post. I like my boss and my leadership. My musings are towards in entirely different leaning.

There are times when we make choices in life (work, family etc) where there is no going back. To cross the Rubicon is to embark on a bold, decisive, dangerous course of action. I want to pontificate (yes, I do mean the somewhat over inflated ego sense of the word in order to poke fun at my self) on the meaning of the word dangerous here. Dangerous implies that there is risk of failure and harm involved in the decision. Certainly when Ceaser supposedly muttered alea jacta este (also seen as alea iacta est for you Latin types out there) he recognized that declaring civil war was irreversible (just kidding doesn't really fly in this scenario) and that there was significant chance of failure and perhaps dire consequences. This sort of goes back towards one of my earlier blogs where I suggested that you need to be right. In Mandarin the word "crisis" is made up of two characters in Hanja that signify danger and decision point.

Chinese character wei 危

Chinese character wēi  is danger

Chinese character ji1 in simplified form 机

Chinese character (in simplified form) is something like crucial moment, or significant point. Probably a bit like the moment you cross the Rubicon. A side note here. This really doesn't mean opportunity as the pop culture types want to suggest. Victor Mair wrote an excellent paper on this myth here. So, to my relevant point.

Regardless of whether you speak Latin, Mandarin or English, there comes a point where you must cast the die and see how things play out. Bold decisive leadership isn't a guarantee towards success. It is bold and decisive. Got to be right, but more importantly, you have to make a decision and let things play out. One more analogy and then I promise to make my point with clarity and simplicity.

As a young officer candidate in the US Army, I was crawling through the hot dry dirt of a Kentucky summer with an M60 machine gun in my hands. I was the squad leader (yes, I carried the '60. It was my weapon of choice) and we were assaulting an enemy strong point. We were pinned down with cross fire and starting to get out flanked. My TAC officer looked at me an said "Well, what are you going to do? You stay here and you will certainly die." That was a clarion call for me. I got the point in a brief flash and it drove a whole bunch of actions. I did the Sgt. York charge and we assaulted through the position. Clearly this was a training exercise and it taught me a lesson:

1. Skate or die. (Name the game...)


2. Cross the Rubicon and be bold and decisive.

The die is cast.




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