Thursday Jan 29, 2009

Jason McElway, Autistic Basketball Hero

This video has apparently been around for awhile, but I saw it first today on my son's Facebook page.  It is the coolest sports story I've seen in a long, long time.

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Wednesday Dec 03, 2008

Courage From a Distance

AesopBack on November 11th, I posted a blog entitled "Innovation Requires Bold Courage."

Today, an interesting related quote attributed to Aesop crossed my desk: "It is easy to be brave from a safe distance."

I suppose this applies to all the armchair quarterbacks of the world and to all the folks who dream of innovation without really getting their hands dirty.  For football players, really bold courage means giving it all on icy Lambeau field in January.  For those who really innovate in technology, it means down-and-dirty, against-all-odds kind of innovation - a grind-it-out persistence in the face of criticism and doubt - not second guessing from the safe distance of the ivory tower.

I tip my hat to those who really innovate - and to those who brave the bitter cold of January football games in uncovered stadiums.

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Tuesday Nov 11, 2008

Innovation Requires Bold Courage

At Sun Microsystem's Customer Engineering Conference, Sun Vice President Hal Stern proposed that courage was essential for innovation. His challenge seemed particularly relevant as we seek to thrive amidst challenging times.

I enjoy exploring the meanings of words, so I turned to for assistance as I pondered this concept:
  • Innovate: "to begin or introduce something new"
  • New: "of a kind now existing or appearing for the first time"
  • First: "being before all others with respect to time"

Basically, innovation demands that we do something before anyone else does it - before "best practices" are known, before markets are proven, before all the "gotchas" have been experienced. To those who try to innovate, there always seems to be an abundance of people who point out potential pitfalls, pose a host of reasons things won't work and warn of impending doom.

In a Sun sales training conference last August, a featured speaker, Robert Kriegel, called this oppressive phenomena the "firehose principle" - where naysayers always seem to appear with virtual fire hoses to douse the emerging flame of any new idea ... which brings us to a second essential word - Courage.

  • Courage: "the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear"
  • Danger: "liability or exposure to harm or injury; risk; peril"
  • Fear: "a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined"
Because fire hosers seem always to emerge in opposition to new ideas, we must cultivate a courageous quality of mind or spirit that will enable us to face opposition without fear.  Then we can innovate.

In another recent dictionary discovery session, I found that "Valiant" means "boldly courageous".  I think that is the type of courage Hal Stern challenged us to foster.  This is not a call for rose-colored glasses or intellectual dishonesty, but it is the type of courage that drives us to overcome obstacles, find answers to tough questions, fight the opposition and persevere to win.

In these troubled times, we at Sun need that type of bold courage.  We need to leverage our culture of innovation, not just in technology, but in business practice and personal performance, to conquer the fire hoses and deliver results.

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Sunday Oct 26, 2008

Churchill on Courage

"No sky is heavy if the heart be light."

-Winston Churchill, British statesman.

When I sense a virtual heavy sky, I am uplifted by the inspiring optimism and tenacious courage of this remarkable political leader, who, in the depths of World War II, when his country was being ferociously bombed by the enemy, urged his countrymen, "Never, never, never, never give up!"

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Discovering Identity was founded on in May 2005 as a means of documenting my exploration of the field of Identity and Access Management. In February, 2010, I switched to hosting the blog at In March 2012, I began posting Oracle-related information in both places.

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