Wednesday Apr 23, 2008


Tuesday is a long day for me. No getting around that. I get up at 5:30 in the morning to get ready for the OGB call at 6. After that, who can go back to sleep, right? So, I then try to get as many people in California on the phone or email or IM or IRC as possible, so I can interact with them in real time. That's critical. The time window is closing fast, so I generally work as rapidly as possible in the early mornings. Then it's breakfast with my wife with the computer on and perilously close to my kid's morning juice. This is Japan. The kitchen table is small. But so far it's been ok. The wet sneezes with bits of cereal flying around are pretty easy to clean up. No full juice disasters. Yet. Then it's off to the train station around 10 am to the office in Tokyo while the Americans all leave the office for dinner and sleep and whatever. While at the office, I have a meeting or two every now and then during the day, but for the most part I do very little work in Japan for Japan, so as a result, I have the entire day all to myself to just pound on the computer. Sometimes I'll get the guys in China and India for some stuff, but many times it's 8 hours of silence. I'm not kidding. The office here is dead quiet. It's corporate Japan. Shhhh. I do hear keyboards clicking, though, and these guys are communicating in ways I don't see, obviously, being the only American for miles around. Anyway, I can get a lot done during these times, and I've become unbelievably efficient and organized because of this, and I have zero patience for anyone who wastes my time. I've been known to walk out of meetings (or hang up if the meeting is with another region somewhere else) if the meeting is only a chit-chat session. Then I split around 6 or so to take a swim in the cleanest damn pool on earth and get home before the trains are so packed that I suffocate on the way or amuse myself by counting the ear hairs of the guy standing next to me. He's inches away, of course, yet he never notices me. I seem to be the only one on these trains who notices anyone else. No one just looks around. Odd. Anyway, once home, I play with the kid. Eat. Whatever. But as the evening rolls on, I start to peek at the clock and figure out who in Europe I need to get since that's their mid-day and, more importantly, who in the US is just waking up to start their next day (which is still my same day). This can get confusing any time during the week, but on Tuesdays it goes straight into the Twilight Zone. On Tuesdays, I have a 10 pm meeting with some guys in the UK who have just returned from their lunch on the same day, and then again at 1:30 am my next morning with the Americans who just finished their breakfast from the previous day. Meanwhile, my dinner from many hours ago has already digested, and I'm getting hungry again and my family is long asleep. And it's dark outside. After my 1:30-2:30 am call, I generally need to get someone back on the phone for a quick check on something, and I immediately conclude that -- ouch! -- everyone's up over there and there's a lot going on, so I quickly see if I can do some stuff while they are all in one place. When 3:30 am rolls around I've pretty much had it. Bed. 22 hours. That's Tuesday.

Wednesday Apr 16, 2008

A New Focus

It's not every day you get to re-write your job description, but that's exactly what I'm doing. It's not a big deal, really, since the OpenSolaris project is growing and changing, and we need all sorts of people doing all sorts of things -- and we don't have nearly enough people or resources to exploit all the opportunities globally, but that's another story (and a good problem to have, too). Anyway, I view this as just a re-balancing of my job based on four factors:
  1. Getting elected to the OpenSolaris Governing Board,
  2. The evolution and changing needs of my team in California,
  3. My own career goals, and
  4. The unique opportunities offered by my geography.

I'll still be doing project management and building OpenSolaris communities globally, of course. But I'm going to narrow my focus so I can get closer to some engineering projects that not only generate contributions but also help lead to revenue for Sun. And I'll still be interacting with developers and users, but I want to get involved with other open source and standards communities and more customers, partners, universities, and governments as well. I'm already getting more requests to brief customers about OpenSolaris, so I want to expand that it if possible. And although my focus has always been global, I'll surely be spending more time in China and India and other parts of Asia since those markets are growing rapidly and since I live in the neighborhood. I'll also be exploring some new opportunities in Eastern and Western Europe this upcoming year.

Here's a rough split of time and projects:

  • Website: 40% on website development projects, especially the implementation and support of the software platform on which runs.
  • Globalization: 20% on g11n engineering projects.
  • Governance: 20% on OGB initiatives across the entire OpenSolaris project.
  • Advocacy: 20% on user groups, conferences, and presentations globally.

There's a fair amount of crossover there, but that's ok since it gives me the flexibility to mix and match projects under some main categories that make sense if I absolutely had to quantify them. What changes significantly, however, is the project mix and time split. Governance, website, and globalization are all new and will take up most of my time. But there will be many opportunities for community development in APAC with user groups, conferences, and engineering projects. And although all of this involves advocacy to one degree or another, I'll now be focusing those communications efforts specifically on the projects I'm driving rather than anything I can get my hands on across the entire OpenSolaris community. That's a critical point. That also will be a big change as I specifically let go of some stuff in order to take on new stuff. There is no other way to grow, in my opinion, unless you have a solid core competency but also aggressively reach out to grab new things. So I intend to build from that perspective.

And finally, I'm now getting closer to the globalization engineering organization at Sun with a dotted line report to Mimi Hills, the director of g11n who manages software development operations at many sites around the world. I'll be adding some OpenSolaris-related g11n engineering projects to the mix of stuff I do for Bonnie Corwin's OpenSolaris engineering team. First up with g11n will be to evolve the language/country portals on so we can properly implement the localization of content on the site. This is important as we build the OpenSolaris community around the world. If you build globally, you are actually building across languages and cultures, and that's very different from building within a single language and culture.

So, we'll see how all this goes. It's all based around engineering project management and community development, but hopefully much more focused and much more valuable. For two years now I have been busy creating additional networks to support these moves. I've had an excellent FY08, and I expect FY09 to be even better. Should be fun.

Friday Apr 04, 2008

Weekly Reports

It's late Friday afternoon here in Japan. That's weekly report time for me. I never miss it. Not that I like it, per say, but it's critical to document what you do. That function usually takes me a couple of hours on a Friday night or a Saturday morning, but today it's just a bit of editing since I now do my weekly report a little bit each day. What a relief. It's amazing how much easier this is. It's also amazing how much work you do every day that you forget when Friday rolls around. Much better this way.


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