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.
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!
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.