Tina from the xVM marketing team cajoled me into doing a little improptu video while we were at IDF. She posted it on YouTube. Since I always encourage people to do things like this, I thought I'd post a link here. :-)
I had the chance to present to the all-hands meeting for Sun's Information Products Group (IPG) recently. IPG is the group that produces documentation for Sun's products. I challenged them to help the rest of my group move out of the 90s and into the new millennium in how we communicate with our customers. I asked them to think about the following:
Blogs, not books (bite sized info chunks with a peronal style)
A picture is worth a thousand words (cliche, I know, but true)
A video is worth a thousand pictures (so, a video worth a million words, right?)
They've actually been producing some slick stuff lately, and I want to encourage more. However, I did get a few shocked looks when I suggested people get much more personal in their blog postings and even consider posting videos with themselves in them. I believe people read blogs of people they get to know and like. If people don't get to know you a little through your blog then it might as well be man pages.
I sometimes get accused of overusing a few strange expressions in my management style. One of my favorites is telling people not to cross the streams. Why don't you cross them? Because, it would be bad. Everyone knows the answer to that one, right? Of course, in thinking about it, there are around 200 people in my group, about half of whom work outside the US and may have no idea what I'm talking about, so I thought I'd lay it out.
The expression comes from the movie Ghostbusters. A comedy from the mid-80s -- and one of my favorite movies. Here's the bit. In the scene, our three heros are using their new Proton blasters to try and capture a ghost. As they get started, the nerdiest Ghostbuster stops the action and gives them a warning.
Dr. Egon Spengler: There's something very important I forgot to tell you. Dr. Peter Venkman: What? Dr. Egon Spengler: Don't cross the streams. Dr. Peter Venkman: Why? Dr. Egon Spengler: It would be bad. Dr. Peter Venkman: I'm fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, "bad"? Dr. Egon Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light. Dr. Peter Venkman: Right. That's bad. Okay. All right. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.
So, what does this have to do with managing software projects? The answer is that I've long seen a tenancy for well intended people to mix priorities or ideas from two projects and merge them together. If it works for this project, it should work for this other one too. Or, a piece of guidance given in one context gets used in a different context where it may not be appropriate.
So, if you hear me say something about crossing the streams, I'm probably implying that we may be merging two incompatible priority sets, and it could have unintended repercussions. Why don't we want to do this? Well, because, it would be bad.
In case you've never seen the movie. Here's a link over to the trailer over on YouTube.
A super-quick, mini, video tour of JavaOne. Complete with cameo appearances from a few folks on the Sysnet team. With all the new real time Java work, there is a lot of push here on robotics (very cool). There is also a complete Sun Black Box and Java on the client is back in a big way with JavaFX. One of the best JavaOne conferences I've attended in years!
For those of you who could make it to the show, enjoy!
I've become used to many of the cool tools I use everyday on the internet. But, sometimes they can still surprise me. Regular readers of my blog know that I redisovered my passion for making movies over the recent winter holiday. Since then I've been making short videos and posting them to YouTube to share. Sometimes I make home movies of my family and sometimes video diary entries from far off lands.
While on a recent business trip to New Zealand, a few folks from Sun took a little boat ride for fun just before we got on the plane for the ride home. I recorded a little footage on my pocket camera during the ride. After I got home, I spent an afternoon editing the footage into a little video with some music and graphics. I then sent the movie to a few colleagues who were on the trip. I put up the video near the end of March, and when I looked at my YouTube account I realized that over 1,000 people have watched that video! I know that popular videos on these sharing sites get millions of views, but I'm still astounded that over 1,000 people watched my little movie. There really is something to this thing about user generated content, social networks and online collaboration. Hey, and maybe I still have a second career ahead of me as a movie director. Ha!
For anyone that's interested, here's the little movie in question.