Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 11)

The next time I hear “Nothing changed on our side…”

Just a reminder that I have worked in the IT field for 25+ years (ok everyone say it. you are old.) and in that time there are things that come up often. This time it was a production outage of one of our internal build software products. The developer’s immediate reaction was “Nothing changed on our side” When something stops working the immediate reaction is ‘it worked yesterday.’ It could be your car, the fridge, your cell phone, anything. In technology the notion that if a piece of software is in production that means it is bug free. One side note, in the 90s I heard a story from a large tech company that bug free was designated on software if something had less than 50,000 known bugs.  

On this day we had a production issue with something that had been running for a long time. The first thing most managers ask (including myself) is “has anything changed?” And in a chorus what do you think the answer is? “Nothing on our side…” The first thing about that statement is pushing blame on someone else. It immediately is saying that you had nothing to do with something ‘you’ did.  

The next question is, has anything changed on outside systems etc. This could be the operating system, user desktop, upstream feeds etc. Of course, in many cases there usually are a few changes. There are always security fixes to server and desktops, so changes happen. Upstream systems can do updates (hopefully they test with you but sometimes they do not) but that is always a possibility. 

Next step in debugging, can we reproduce it in a test environment? Try to figure out how to setup a test environment exactly like production and see if you can replicate the error. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. But hopefully it will help the team figure out what is wrong or point in the direction of debugging. If you are lucky and have unit tests you can run them, and if you are lucky (I am not) you have UI automated tests and can run those. All to see if you can find the issue. 

Now if you are not bored already as technology people are like “tell me something I do not know” and non-technology people are thinking “what does this have to do with me.” Read on, and it will. 

In the beginning I mention that every day people see this when their fridge breaks, the car stops working or the cell phone dies. What I did not say is about yourself. When you are not feeling great, injured, sick, struggling or just not working the way you should what are the steps? Our first reaction is often blaming some outside force. We can blame work, our partner, our kids, something we ate etc. Our mind instantly defends ourselves and looks for the outside force that is to blame. 

I mentioned previously being wrong is like being punched, and as soon as you feel a certain way your immediate reaction is to figure out what punched you. I also stated previously when I take my dog to the veterinarian when she is not well, they often ask ‘What are you feeding your dog?’ but a doctor only asks what is wrong. Where am I taking you? 

As this blog is introspective, I am asking this about myself. I found myself not in the shape I wanted to be, and I stated the list of excuses: I was sick, my daughter was asking me to go for ice cream a lot, I was going out to eat a lot with friends/family etc. Where I had to back away from my first thought and dig deeper. I was the one picking my meals (sick or healthy) I was the one who chose to get ice cream and they are all choices I made. Comparing myself to the production piece of software, my body was the same thing as it was long ago. The change that was going on was the choices I was making.  

I realized something simple is that I should not judge myself on my first thought. That I need to be more responsible for my second thoughts. My second thought was how I did this before and started to make those changes again. And in making those changes I found myself heading back in the direction I wanted. I am not there yet, but I am chugging away at it.  

Now back to the technology issue, there was code written a long time ago and as would be our luck had no unit tests as well as difficult to replicate. The problem was with our code. The team’s first thought was to blame others (nothing changed comment) but our next actions were to dig and find if it is. I know people often get frustrated, but getting the team away from the defensive mode into the debug mode is what a good manager does.  

The next time you hear the following with something goes wrong “Nothing has changed on our side.” Do not make yourself responsible for your first thought, but hold yourself responsible for your second, third etc. thoughts. And it is those thoughts that need to drive you to solving problems. 

This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free.  I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them.

This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book.  With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path.  I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content.  I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip.  I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.   AI is not used in this writing other than using the web to find information.Images without notes are created using and AI tool that allows me to reuse them. 

I have 20+ posts in draft, and I am not freaking out..

Well I am not freaking out yet. This is acceptance of knowing my limitation and keeping my expectations in check. I try to have a high bar to what I post, and I try not to post quantity vs. quality. I have taken weeks off, months off and instead of just slapping one of these half written and post it. Of course, this breaks all of the rules of building an audience and a blog.

But this is where acceptance of ADHD has come. In the middle of writing one post I may have an idea and start another post leaving the first partially written. Of course in the middle of that new post I am doing research and get another idea and bounce to a third. During the writing this post which was started in June of 2023 I had another idea and did not finish this origincally Now jumping back to it, hoping to finish my thoughts. Or Not…

One thing that challenged me, and often still does is the thought of doing something, anything it has to be perfect. Of course having ADHD you get distracted, your brilliant ideas are not as easy to execute, and what looks brilliant in your mind doesn’t match what the reality is. This struggle stopped me from doing many things in the past, in fact it is partly why this became a blog vs a book. Part of the fear is the book would have to go past editors etc. A blog the only person I need to get past is me.

The book also in my mind sounded better than the first few blog posts. I had never written long form before. I wrote mostly technical documentation for work, and occasionally wrote something on the side. I needed to break two things, first my ability to actually finish a post, and second understand the perfect is the enemy of good.

I posted about previously about perfection prevents you from getting work done. Now there are times when perfection is needed, think heart surgery, accounting and filing taxes and others. But sometimes things are good enough. In the Agile development practice there is a notion of Minimal Viable Product(MVP). This allows you to shit something that isn’t perfect. Recently (July of 2023 for those reading years later) Meta releases on new product called Threads which is a great example of an MVP. Please not I am not endorsing the product, the company or am invested in it. This is just an example of an great MVP, the saw a competitor having some issues and released it before it has all the features they want.

So why not use this notion of MVP with other things, including my writing? This simple agile principal has allowed me to publish ideas that are 80 or 90% complete. I don’t worry about perfection, in fact I like to challenge my readers to fill in blanks, finish the thought, continue the conversation. The question what can you do that is good enough, and iterate to get better. Even things like doing the lawn, maybe cut it in the AM, take a break to the edging later and the weeds a few days later. It has freed my mind to doing something.

The MVP broke my perfection, knowing I can update or make changes later. But I started to see this notion of good vs. perfect even more often. Like people painting their house, washing their car, folding laundry etc. Sometimes hiring a professional is a good idea, but

The other thing I learned is that not only do you need to break things up this notion of MVP, but they also need a deadline. If there is no deadline then often well it does not get done. There were a couple of studies 1 and 2 that came up with different results. Why am I not surprised. This is the ‘everyone is the same’ or ‘everyone fits in a mold’ thinking. What I ma talking about is what works for me. If I set a deadline for myself (or it is externally given) I shoot to make that deadline. It it 100% the greatest work of all time, no its an MVP. I can then give me deadlines to update and fix it. But, without the deadline I can always find something else to occupy my time, or give in to the Calvin and Hobbes Theory of last minute panic. If you can spare the time, please read the whole comic strip, its a classic.

So as I complete this months later than I started, I failed to give myself a deadline on this particular post but it does read like an MVP. I give myself a little break as my goal for 2023 was a post a week, and though yes i have 20+ in draft, the weekly deadline has me often taking one out of draft and finishing it. In this case, this is the lucky winner. It is about what works for you, and trying it out. If this does not try another method to get the tasks you need done. Failure here is a lesson in how to get yourself more productive. For me, as I reread this it is MVP and yes it is out on time. I am happy.

This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free.  I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them

This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book.  With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path.  I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content.  I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip.  I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.   AI is not used in this writing other than using the web to find information.Images without notes are created using and AI tool that allows me to reuse them. 

Life lessons from a goalie parent..

My daughter played between the pipes from the Age of 4 thru just recently when her “playing career ended.” We use the expression she was a special kind of stupid as she played goalie not only for hockey, but for lacrosse. Apparently, she liked people shooting objects at a rapid velocity at her head and did not have the reflect to duck! How did it start, well she saw Martin Brodeur playing for the NJ Devils at the age of about 2, and from that day forward that is what she wanted to do.  

She did choose arguably the GOAT to be her idol, and such began a long journey. She was not going to have a shot for anything as her height estimate was going to be well short of 5′ and in both sports size matters. Martin Brodeur is 6″2, Darcy Kemper who won the Stanley Cup for Colorado in 2022 is 6″4, Aidan Hill who won for Vegas in 23 is 6’6″ and the 2022 Women’s Olympic Goalies all over 5’5.  

This is not going to be a long story about her from Mites -> Winning a Bronze Metal at Nationals (as a 15 year old for 19U) and committing to play lacrosse in college. This is more a piece about the biggest lesson along the way. One of the things about being a goalie is that you are the last line of defense, in hockey the puck goes thru 5 others to get to you. But if you are the Goalie – you are going to get the blame no matter what. It is your only job, to stop the puck (or ball.) 

You can see young goalies get upset, as well as the teammates sometimes blaming the goalie. As teams mature (kids get older) and in hockey, the more get together as a group and talk about what went wrong and who to pick up. In lacrosse (lax) you will see the goalie huddle with her defense and talk. It is interesting to see the maturity, but that is not the best lesson.  

Goalies still give up goals, and even in pro games you hear announcers say “that is going to haunt them.” Well, that is the lesson, it can’t. In Marty Brodeur’s autobiography he talks about what he calls the “next shot.” His only focused on stopping the next shot and mentions “you cannot stop the puck that is already behind you.” That simple wisdom is what goalies learn, they take a sip from their water bottle and refocus and getting the next one.  

And if you have not been following closely, the question is how does this relate to real life. It should be obvious.  

  • Stop blaming when things go wrong. Work the solution, only way to move forward (there is time for what is called retrospective later)  
  • Mistakes are going to happen, when someone calls you to admit one, the first thing is “do we have a plan to fix it” (notice the word We – there are hockey commercials that show that, there is no I, just we)  
  • In Agile, it is why we have retrospectives, we can review what went right/wrong/missing. If something goes wrong, it’s fine to identify it (Mark it as stop doing)  
  • Learn from what happened, don’t dwell on it.  
  • And you can’t just Learn, you need to work on correcting it. Perfection is a journey and, in some cases, won’t be hit.  
  • Build a culture where people are willing to bring mistakes and issues up, the sooner the better. 

As a goalie parent watching this allowed me to bring the same team building back to my office. The key is to build the culture. My daughters playing career may be over, but the lessons hopefully will stay with her. 

This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free.  I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them

This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book.  With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path.  I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content.  I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip.  I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.   AI is not used in this writing other than using the web to find information.Images without notes are created using and AI tool that allows me to reuse them. 

What makes you a success…

As a child we developed a warp vision of success, and mine was up there. growing up in the 70s and early 80s I viewed successful people as those who were famous nationally, and then around my area those who had the nicest car. My parents drove a 1973 Ford LTD station wagon (yellow) affectionately called the ambulance (another story) but I saw one neighbor with a blue Corvette, and another with Cadillacs. In car magazines you would see the Ferraris of the world, but no one in my town had one. 

I had previously written about the notion asking a child what they want to be when they grow up is a dumb question, and the answers are what kids see as successful and or exciting jobs. I wonder if you asked a kindergarten student what determines success at that age what their answer might be. The downside of information being at our fingertips could result and the current generation saying success is having one million followers on the current social media app. That is no worse than my childhood idea of success. 

Why this idea of success was in a conversation with some people there was a discussion of someone who made a fortune and retired a lot younger than I am right now and how successful.  He was bright, hard to quantify if he brighter than me, but that was not the question that came up, the question came up is why aren’t you rich like he is?   Note this is a group of adults and we resorted to our childhood definition of success, money.  

I shook off the conversation with some comments, but I realized that still is the definition. The notion of having good friends, being able to give back and trying to be a better person is not the definition of success. None of those are as measurable is how much money do you have in the bank, what kind of car you drive, did you raise your children right or how many Armani suits you have in the closet. Being the nutcase I am, I had to think about it for a few days. I stared at my ceiling and thought what I should do now to become successful. 

The definition of success in the dictionary is “accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” It does not say anything about money or fame. The Atlantic has a good article on the history of this. Looking at the change it was not till the mid 19th century that the US started to value money and move towards a capitalistic society. Thus, one hundred and seventy years it continued to evolve, including the 1970s shareholder value, and the consumer generation of the 80s. So, the definition of success continued to be linked to money. 

An updated definition might include for human’s desire to accumulate wealth. Linked In has an article on 9 reasons why money does not equal success, but at falls apart starting with number 2 and 3. Money cannot buy family is number 2. But Family is a lottery, you are born into a family, and it is possible that your parents could have died young, or not be the greatest. You as a person may not want a family. Number 3 states Health is your most important asset. What if you are born ill or get some chronic disease, and if you like health to success those people can’t be successful? And often can money afford you to be healthier? The article does make other good points, but again put stipulations on the definition. 

Is successful being happy? A Princeton study states that making $75,000 (usd) as the amount of money that allows you to provide for your family and making more does not add to your happiness. A study at Harvard I mentioned before that started in 1938 found that happiness is not about money either. Success at work does not make you happy, it is the connections you make. If you read my series on team building, you would understand that building a team is what I believe makes me a success at work. 

But wait that breaks the definition also by adding happiness to the definition. If it is simply reaching a set forth goal, then success is seen just by you (unless you tweet or create a TikTok video) by the goal you set. It is also not something that ever ends, as your goals in life may change, or add more as you reach one. I do know that just getting this written won’t change opinion, just like the Princeton Study and the Harvard Study, as the shift started in the 1850’s towards a capitalistic society is still running its course. For me, I find watching Bruce Lee’s Game of Death and realizing that the lessons I learn guide me yet towards another lesson and thus another goal. 

This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free.  I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them

This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book.  With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path.  I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content.  I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip.  I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.  AI is not used in this writing other than using the web to find information. Images without notes are created using and AI tool that allows me to reuse them. 

Incentives gone possibly wrong?

Incentives are a wonderful thing. As a parent I did a few things I thought were smart. When they were young, I would give them one dollar if they drank water versus soda at a restaurant. For grades, would bribe them to get A’s. When you are young, you are not thinking about getting into the “best” school, and not really sure what grades mean. A parent knows that going to the right school has lots of advantages so in lower grades a bribe like that works.  

But why do parents and later students know that getting good grades is important? Colleges say they use grades to decide whether someone gets accepted. So, in turn the goals of schools, parents etc. become getting the ‘grades’ or scores needed. In fact, businesses have been built based on the fact of getting SAT/ACT scores as well as tutoring for students.  

Nothing withstanding the fact that in top schools 43% are alumni, athletes, parents or teachers or kids of ‘donators’ the race for now 57% of those open slots (AADT) . The current supreme court ruling also opened other cans of worms, but I am not going to head in that direction. The direction I am thinking is more, the fact that the goal is grades and scores, so we educate based those goals.  

Grades are a recent creation, and around 1830s they more resemble a bell curve. The average grade was a 50. The distribution was set to be more of a ranking. At some point they skewed the grades higher, cause well no one wants to be ‘average.’ Now the history of grades is not the cause of the problem, but with the the reliance on them. 

Elementary and High schools then have the current grade model resulting in parents wanting kids to have a 4.0, schools wanting kids with high grades (money, bragging rights, wall of ‘acceptances’ etc.) and kids stressing out trying to reach the grades. In this model the question I want to ask, are the kids learning anything? 

Classes that require regurgitation information (date of a war, formulas, the plot / symbolism of a book etc.) is much different than problem solving, thinking, creating, Ignoring who ‘wrote the book’ and knowing the root cause of a war to pick the right choice on a test does not teach someone how not to prevent it if they are someday president. Learning how to solve differential equations does not teach you how to question math to come up with the next theory. Removing Arts from schools ends creativity for choreographers, composers, painters and writers. So, what are we teaching our kids and why? 

The Three R’s go back to around 400 AD, and are still the core of schooling, though they got named that in the 1800s. But is this the right things students need to excel at? Are interpersonal relationships, strong core values, working with others more important? Of course, you need to learn language to communicate, math to know what you are buying but what percentage of people have ever used calculus or geometry in their day to day jobs? There are others that argue that things like financial wellness, basic nutrition and other topics should be included in the core. My question is why don’t parents or students have the option? If the answer is that colleges want some way to differentiate non AADT students maybe, we should take a stance against it. 

Harvard who uses grades (sort of) to decide who gets into its school, but questions if grades are the right way to determine intelligence. So why are we doing all this to get in? Are the incentives of grades making better people? No, I do not have the answer, but the conversation must be started, or we just continue the status quo which just seems crazy. 

This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free.  I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them

This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book.  With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path.  I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content.  I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip.  I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.   Images without notes are created using and AI tool that allows me to reuse them. 

Breaking the Stigma: Why It’s Difficult to Normalize.

Growing up, I struggled with it and often felt like I didn’t fit in with my peers. Despite my best efforts to hide my differences, I was often labeled as “weird” or “hyper”. These labels made me feel ashamed of who I was and left me feeling isolated at times. I don’t deny that it comes with drawbacks and does have issues. It is only recently that I have been open about it, as it has been accepted. But how did it go from a stigma to acceptance (and yes, it’s not fully accepted yet) 

Well, the author Geoffrey Moore has models that works for products (well the diffusion of innovation.). Could the same be said for ‘stigmas’ and is this is what happened to things like mental health? Does that bell curve explain how a stigma goes from shaming / attacking / to being semi-accept and then accepted follows the same type of pattern. Notwithstanding the occasional setbacks we can look back and see how our culture evolves. 

To understand why something is stigmatized what I could could come up with the following list: 

  • Lack of understanding or education about a particular group or condition 
  • Stereotypes perpetuated by media 
  • Cultural beliefs 
  • Fear of the unknown 

I remember seeing a therapist at a young age (ADHD was not something defined and well known) and playing chess against the therapist. I don’t remember much more, nor do I know if it helped. But I do remember that I would not tell anyone that I was in therapy, as the other kids would make fun of you. And being a kid is a 24 hour by 365 day job trying not to be embarrassed. And looking at the why’s above explains it. 

That weakness came from a stance of ignorance, and my childhood (like most) was filled of it. The jokes we told on stereotypes are seen as insensitive and fears we had often found had no basis. The parallel I can find is that as I grew up, it appears some of the ignorance went from being stigmas to acceptance and understanding. Mental health being one of the biggest, and ADHD as part of mental health is growing acceptance. Funny the word ‘ignorance’ when I was younger was an insult, and now the even that word has gained some acceptance in its use. 

The question is how we erase this lack of knowledge, how do we move things that are stigmas to the norm. The wish is for something to be instantly accepted, but here we head back to Geoffrey Moore: 

There are going to be the Early Adopters, those who are willing to accept the stigma as norm. For those struggling with it, the focus should be on only those. The majority will jump in when the early adopters have accepted it and prove they got it right. The notion of FOMO (fear of missing out) brings the rest of the crowd. The laggards, the bottom 10/15% may never get it. As much as this curve looks linear, there are going to be 2 steps forward and one step back occasionally (ok multiple steps back.) 

So, what do we do now if we find ourselves in a situation where we fit a stigma? Look for other likeminded (early adopters) and don’t worry about the the early/late majority. Sad to say nothing will instantly make something mainstream.  

And why am I talking about this? I see a few things going mainstream that were not before, and a few things going a little backwards. So, it is a reminder to me to try to be at the early adopter and accepting change vs. being the laggard. This means educating yourself, gaining understanding and do not letting ignorance be your guide. The hardest thing to do is unlearn something that you learned. Simple example is what comes up must go down. It is not true, if something is thrown with enough velocity to escape earth’s gravity it will never come down.  

The great people I admire understand that change is going to happen, and you must adapt. It is not the universes job to adjust to you. I did struggle with this topic, but wanted to write it as a reminder that what I know not always is correct. Being right is not a silver bullet.

This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free.  I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them

This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book.  With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path.  I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content.  I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip.  I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.   Images without notes are created using and AI tool that allows me to reuse them. 

Do as I Say… Not as I do.

This is one of the classic parenting statements that everyone has once heard. I am not sure when my dad said it first, but I am sure I heard it a thousand times as a kid. The sad part is we learn from mimicking or copying someone, and I guess that statement has really lost its meaning.

It is almost a week since the Vegas Golden Knights won the Stanley Cup, and as always you start hearing about the injuries that players were playing with. The biggest was Mathew Tkachuk who could not even dress himself and played game 4 (he could not play game 5.). Even the teams that were eliminated earlier, Dougie Hamilton from my beloved New Jersey Devils, Linus Ulmark (from the top seeded Bruins and I am sure there were a lot more. Showing my age, the first story I heard about this was Jack Youngblood who played a Super Bowl in 1979 with a broken leg! But I start to look at these and wonder, this is what they do and not what people say.

What happens to our youth in sports, to coaches say ‘it’s not a bad injury so-and-so played with worse.’ or do kids not report injuries trying to mimic their favorite athletes? If you look at the top reasons why kids quit youth sports, number two is “Pressure to perform…and injuries that can result from overtraining due to that pressure to perform.” Second only to it is no longer fun. It does appear that we are ‘’doing what they do, and not what they say.”

This may appear to be outside of my normal writing, but take quick second and think is it really? My overriding theme of this blog is getting better every day, and the stories are lessons I learn along my journey on life. One statement I will stand by is some lessons need to be learned by self-failure, that it not possible to learn by being taught. Unfortunately, maybe this lesson is one that should not get to that point.

When my daughter was younger, she once got a concussion playing hockey. Although it was cleared by her doctor to play, I kept her out some extra time. Concussions and youth sports can be a complete discussion in itself, but I have done that with other injuries. I kept her out to ensure her long term health was insured. No injury is worth long term problems.

In professional sports though, there is this warrior mentality and as that article mentions, as long as the winning continues that people are ok with it. I wonder if anyone looks later at the wins and recognizes them as Pyrrhic Victories. I apologize for challenging my reader to remember High School history, but the comparison is valid. Are athletes at any age driving to victory so much but it’s not the team that suffers in the end, but the athlete. The pro athletes who play thru devastating injuries are not thinking of the lesson, this is their livelihood.

This is one challenge that I wonder if there is a solution for, I am not for regulating pro sports about athletes playing hurt. From experience I do know youth sports try to limit their liability but saying “you are not allowed to play hurt” but being involved in it, I have seen reality. I guess the only way to do this is for one to put themselves not in a position to teach your child (or coworker or friend etc.) never to say do what I say, not what I do. This means following your values in situations where you may sacrifice something.

This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free. I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them

This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book. With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path. I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content. I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip. I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog. Images without notes are created using and AI tool that allows me to reuse them, but zero content was written, corrected or modified by AI tools.

What James Webb Telescope reminded me of Bruce Lee

I have never shied away from stating that Bruce Lee has had an impact on my philosophy of life. Most people know him based on one or two quotes (Be Water) but he stated a juggernaut of ideas that most miss. Even the famous ‘Be Water’ quote is partially taken out of context, or people know only part of the quote. 

I have talked often about his movie Game Of Death, and its meaning, learning a lesson at each level in life to move to the next and finally reach enlightenment. I guess this lesson I knew but never really saw.  

Bruce introduced (and then closed) the world to a new martial art Jeet Kune Do as a way of taking other styles and merging them into one. He was one to learn as much of what he could from other styles and started to incorporate what worked. He found inefficiencies in using a style in a fighting scenario. His goal was not to have a style that you graduate by knowing katas but knowing how to apply in a fight. 

Bruce then closed the schools abruptly. The notion that the style was becoming something taught and documented went against his philosophy. What was that you said? Bruce believed the art of Jeet Kune Do was to constantly evolve and change as something new was discovered. The notion that it became fixed also was against his notion of Game of Death (constantly learning to get to the next step.) 

I didn’t think of this until the James Webb telescope findings started to disprove or challenge current scientific theories. So, what does Bruce Lee have to do with that? Scientists (or we should say good ones) are constantly looking to learn and either prove or disprove theories. They are not satisfied with the current answers. Bruce was never satisfied with his fighting style, he was always trying to improve. 

Why are we not looking at scientists when they admit they are wrong and celebrating it? Their current theories are based on knowledge they know at a point in time. All studies and theories should start with ‘To the best of our knowledge right now’ and ‘Here is the data to show it.’ The end of all studies should be, we will continue to learn and please challenge us.  

I talk often at work about answers being ‘point in time.’ Which is when someone asks questions about why something was done, I say rewind to that time and see the data you had to look at. The questions should be not why something was done, but what is the lesson we learned and could we found different data. Thinking like Bruce, who by this means was a scientist of martial arts and life, we continue to climb the tower of knowledge and understand the past and prepare better for the future. 

Funny I knew this before, I knew what he closed his schools, but I never matched it up to my life so easily and all because the James Webb Telescope is breaking modern science

This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free.  I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them

This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book.  With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path.  I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content.  I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip.  I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.   Images without notes are created using and AI tool that allows me to reuse them. 

The Snowball effect….

For those who listen to Dave Ramsey or other financial podcasts the term Snowball is well understood. For those of you who never heard about it before, if you are in debt what you should do is pay off the smallest balance first (pay minimum in others) until that is paid off, and then go to the new ‘smallest balance.’ The downside is that you may pay more ‘interest’ but it gives you the quickest victory.  

In the world of agile there is a similarity called ‘Minimal Viable Product.’ Basically a MVP is what developers can build as fast as possible to give the users something they can use. The goal of course is a dopamine hit for the victory. 

As I was in meetings, and I looked at my personal life I started thinking. This notion of small victories can be applied more broadly. I look at my garage which somehow no matter how many times I clean it, turns out like a cyclone hits it. I dread cleaning it each time as it is a good 4-5 hours (my ADHD kicks in) project. So, I avoid it. What if I “snowballed it?” What if i just cleaned one shelf? Or just one area of a shelf. Would I get the dopamine hit to drive me to do more? Emptying out the whole garage is time consuming, do I need to do that?  

Are there other parts of my life that I struggle to tackle as they are bigger things? Looking at them not in the order that people would do them, but the order if easiest to hardest. Would I get things done?  

I understand that ADHD has certain traits including the fact we struggle with things that have no due date, that take a considerable amount of time and thus put things off. I once wrote about the Mark Twain theory of Eat a Frog, which is an alternative to the snowball method, and I did this a bunch. I have fallen into doing tasks that have less friction if I am honest with myself.  

I do not know the exact moment when the lightbulb went off that I connected the Snowball to Agile to day to day, and it doesn’t matter. Now the question is where to apply it first and see if it works. I guess I will let you know, but as the reader is there something that you are putting off that maybe the snowball would help solve? 

his opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free.  I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them

This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book.  With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path.  I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content.  I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip.  I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.   Images without notes are created using and AI tool that allows me to reuse them. 

The one person smiling … and AI

When I was in high school I tried out for plays and musicals. I had dreams of being on stage and becoming rich and famous (don’t most kids?). Those dreams were shattered as the Drama teacher (Mr. Vogel one of many teachers who helped shape me — and gets credit) needed me to do sound and lights. I was relegated to do geek stuff and I resembled that remark.

well not exactly teens — AI failure to generate correctly

During the rehearsals of musicals there were dance scenes and getting some 9th-12th graders with no dance training to dance was entertaining. Mr. Vogel knew a secret, that in a dance number with multiple people doing a synchronous choreographed routine that if you were out of step, missed a step if you kept smiling that people would think you were doing it right. The people who looked confused, looked at their feet or looked like they were concentrating too much were the ones that could be doing it wrong. If was the thought of confidence on stage that showed competence.

What does this have to do with AI? Using Chat-GPT or other tools they answer is such a confident manner that we believe what its generating is correct. In a previous post I spoke about this same idea of trusting blindly like a GPS and driving into a lake, I also have written about we trust Google also too much taking the first result as truth.

oops, my bad

A confident response does not mean it is factually correct, just like the dancer that is smiling, he may be out of step. Unless you know what the right dance move is supposed to be or the right fact you are being fooled by confidence. As a human we need to dig into our science background and question the result we are getting back to confirm the facts (as opposed to falsehood and confirmation bias.). Just ask the lawyer who used it to research a case and his only check was to ask GPT if it was lying.

There is a fear of AI taking over but the real fear is humans failing to think.

AI generating the thinking statue

This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free.  I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them

This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book.  With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path.  I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content.  I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip.  I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.   Images without notes are created using and AI tool that allows me to reuse them.

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