Looking before you leap

Recently it has started to wear on me that I don't have a better idea
of where I want to go next. Three years is the longest I've been with
a single company and while that seems like such little time in the
grand scheme of things it feels like a long time. I am not looking to
change companies but I do need to get a solid feeling for where I am
going next within the organization.

Product management has resurfaced as a love internally. I enjoy
driving our customer portal efforts, but it isn't enough to keep my
attention full time. I think the core issue is that in filling the
void with other efforts but I feel like if I had more information I
could be making a more valuable contribution than I am currently.
People lavish me with more praise than I feel like I deserve, but that
isn't a primary driving factor for me. If I could be a little more
informed, a little more focused, and have a little more autonomy I
feel like I could take my contributions even further.

With that goal in mind I need to somehow draw a map from point A to
point B. Having a few direct reports again would make this so much
easier.

Stop selling used cars

Today, I had a rare insight into the customer experience of someone trying to purchase a moderately sized managed hosting installation. Somehow in the many years that have passed since I first entered this space I've never stopped to think about how grueling the sales experience must be to have to do that shopping. Most every organization I've worked at that had a sales staff incentives them on the amount of hosting they sell. This makes sense because you want to reward sales people that generate revenue. However many of the sales compensation structures I've seen place little or no emphasis on the long term customer satisfaction and deep relationship developed by selling a customer the RIGHT solution.

People purchasing managed hosting often do so because they want to offload some of the responsibility of building, maintaining or managing their infrastructure. This is the way that many hosting vendors try to position themselves to fill for customers. So why does the initial experience so often begin with someone who doesn't have your long-term best interest as his or her primary motivator?

In many times where I've filled a pre-sales capacity for a customer I've built a deep relationship with that customer that spanned several roles in the company for me and the entire lifetime of their account. As an industry, we need to figure out how we can make that the normal experience, rather than a situation where people sometimes suffer through the sales process in the hopes that the operations experience and the technology they come out with are worth the headache.

 

Naps = Productivity

For me anyway...

I've been sleeping a strange schedule where I get a few hours at a time, then get up and end up being extremely productive for a few hours. I don't know if it will last - but for the time being I feel better, and actually sleeping less total time and am getting far more accomplished.

Who knew listening to your body was a good idea? Now to work more exercise into the routine 

Improving my password security

We all have *that* password. The one you try first when you are presented with a login form that you don't know your login for off the top of your head. Maybe if your a little more security minded you have a few of those passwords.

In the last few weeks I've been trying to force myself to adopt 1Password for improved security. So far so good. The idea is that you store your randomly generated unique passwords in a system that you trust and don't use the same password everywhere.

I'll let you know how the experiment ends up, but it is worth trying yourself as well. If you can get use to it - you'll be in a better situation when a malicious person discovers your password to some forum you registered for to make one post three years ago.

To learn a new language

I've accepted a position at work that has me spending the majority of
my time acting as Product Owner in our Software Engineering
organization (which has adopted a mostly agile development process).
The primary team I serve as product owner for (our customer portal
team) has some of our most seasoned developers and is more or less
self sufficient. My day to day oversight of their efforts is minimal
if at all. I set priorities every two weeks, check is periodically and
answer questions as they come up - but that is pretty much it.

Having a background in software engineering is it my inclination to
learn the language we develop in (C#). I'm confident I could do it in
short span of time, but I am worried the result will end up in me
becoming too involved in our project for the team's comfort. I'm happy
to let them drive technical direction and don't want to meddle in a
team that is clearly producing, but I'm also someone who enjoys
discussing software architecture.

I recently spoke with our CTO about my progress in my new role - and
one of the things he left me with was that too often I go out of my
way to "seem like the smartest person in the room." While this isn't
something I realized outright, I do understand where he is coming
from. He suggested in places where I might be inclined to make a
declarative statement, I instead restructure my thought as a question
to drive discussion. My gut tells me his advice here is solid, but
I've always thrived in highly technical environments where challenging
one another on ideas is the norm.

I wonder how his advice would be applied to my current situation,
where learning the language might result in my inclination to start
throwing out ideas for the team to challenge.