Tuesday, September 28, 2004
This past weekend was the Kansas City wedding of Jen's college friend Emily. Well...it was in Lees Summit, MO actually, but who's counting. I was able to meet Jen's good friend Tammy for the first time, not to mention the bride Emily, and to see Beth again is always cool. We stayed in a Hampton Inn that was recently redone and all jazzed up; Their hotels are always nice, but this one was extra fancy, with wireless internet access for free and a fancy bathroom, and all sorts of cool stuff. I loved it. And at $65 a night the price could not be beat; It sure beat the pants off the Marriott I stay in while in Tejas. On Sunday we were able to spend the day in downtown KC with Jen's friend Jason and his wife and daughter at an awesome art festival in the city. Unfortunately, between two weddings, being sick all last week, and taking about 8 airplane flights during the past week, I am pretty exhausted.
Last night, I did have a nice sleep, but this stuff just beats on you after a while. I am looking forward to a weekend at home.
I have finished reading Birth of the Chaordic Age, and it completely blew me away. It is written by Dee Hock, the founder and CEO of VISA International for many years that uses that ordeal and his own autobiography as microcosms for the greater drama of the forces of chaos and order in large organizations and the world in general. Also, Nonzero which was an incredible book that I had started while living in DC but never had a chance to finish. It offers a retelling of history mingled with game theory, offering as a hypothesis that mankind as it has evolved has persisted a number of traits and memes that carry on between civilizations, despite their differences. I highly recommend both of these. I am currently working on The Success Of Open Source, which I have found to be one of the best and most comprehensive histories of the Open Source Software movement that I have ever read.
Right now, I'm just watching Tony Blair's address to his party and drinking a glass of OJ while I tap out a few words to let y'all know what I've been up to. By the way...I'm bored, so if I haven't talked to you in a bit, reach out to me and let me know you're still alive.
Monday, September 13, 2004
(written earlier today)
Spent the first week in Chicago getting acclimated to the new culture. So far, I am excited to say that the environment is quite a bit more academic and entrepreneurial than I am used to, which is, I guess, one of the things that attracted me to the company to begin with. Quite a few folks that I have connected with have mentioned that I will say to myself, “these guys are completely disorganized” quite often within the first few months, but that eventually I will come to love the place. Already, I can see what they are talking about.
As I dig deeper into the various discussion areas and databases, I am finding that many of the folks share common interests of mine and tend to get into very engaging debates. There is also a plethora of folks that seem prepared to assist with almost anything; My last firm purported to have this sort of atmosphere, but in reality, most people would only assist you if they could benefit from it in some way. Here, within moments I was able to find plenty of discussion and examples related to complex technical topics that I am extremely interested in, as well as some that I never knew existed.
In any event…I was not staffed during my first week, so during week two, I headed into the NY office for a day to meet the MD there and it turns out we had a few common acquaintances. I spent the rest of that second week connecting with new co-workers and getting up to speed on different agile methods, as well as, how to balance their use with more traditional methods to which I am used to. I thought that the book “Balancing Agility and Discipline” had some great discussion of this topic.
Last week, I had a nice relaxing Labor day with Jen and then spent the rest of the week doing project interviews and devouring more agile material.
I also managed to finish a ton of reading material (see below) and play a good amount of guitar.
Yesterday, I ran the Madison YMCA 4th Annual 5K. My first one!!! I finished 75th, which was roughly right in the middle. It was the first time I have run a ‘race’ since I started running though, which was pretty interesting. Even though I have been doing 3.5 miles a few times a week, I tend to run at a fairly steady pace, and in this event, everyone was sprinting right out of the gate, which made you tend to run much faster than you normally would just to keep yourself from getting trampled. Plus, the course started off with an enormous hill which didn’t lend itself to getting yourself off to a good start. But anyway…eventually, quite a few people fell back and everything leveled off nicely. I look forward to running another one of those.
Recently Finished Books (i'll talk more about these later):
- Extreme Programming Explained
- AntiPatterns In Project Management
- Balancing Agility and Discipline
- Test Driven Development
- Trading Up
- The Lexus and The Olive Tree
Right Now I am killing time in Dulles Int’l Airport (a.k.a. the black hole, a.k.a. the worst airport that I have ever been in and for those of you who ever had to commute between here and Newark on a Weekly basis, you can stand by that statement) because my connecting flight to Austin has now been delayed for 2 hours and is not expected to leave for another hour. If only I had been able to take the non-stop from Newark which was quite a bit more expensive but would definitely have made it there on time. But that was not possible, so we might as well not talk about that. I have been mad at myself because I did not find the time to put together a decent entry all week, so at least I was able to get some thoughts down.
Now, I’m going to get back to my coffee and NonZero….