tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:/posts AdamGreenfield.com 2013-10-08T17:29:49Z tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/600829 2013-09-11T18:15:04Z 2013-10-08T17:29:49Z Close to home

Several years ago, I was living just outside New York City. This particular morning I happened to be at my girlfriend's place in central Pennsylvania and we weren't even completely awake when her brother in law came to the door almost panicked. I didn't know him very well and didn't know what to make of it at first when he came running in. We turned on the television just in time to see the second plane crash into the towers.

I'll never forget the feeling I had trying to take a mental inventory of where my friends and colleagues were likely to be that morning. I started calling, texting, emailing (like everyone else at that moment) trying to make sure my friends were safe. Only a few were in Manhattan that morning and luckily they were all OK.

I will never forget

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tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/578658 2013-05-12T22:17:22Z 2013-10-08T17:25:18Z Reflections on Mother's Day

I was raised by my mother and my grandmother. Throughout my life they have provided me with the love, caring and support to make it through even my toughest days. Anything good that I have or will accomplish is in no small part because of them. They both broke their backs to provide their children and grandchildren with opportunities and experiences that surpassed the ones they had growing up. They taught me right from wrong, strength during hardship, compassion and empathy, how to improve yourself, and countless other things that one could easily overlook. I carry these things with me for all the days of my life and even in times I lose my way it is these tools that I use to find it again. There is no gift, no card and no flowers that will ever truly express how much I appreciate what they’ve done and continue to do for both me and my son.

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tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344274 2012-01-29T01:41:00Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z PIPA/SOPA

 

Just watched a good TED Talk on the larger issue behind PIPA and SOPA. It is worth taking a few minutes to understand the speaker's perspective.

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tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344277 2011-12-06T15:42:02Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z Your words have power use them wisely ]]> tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344279 2011-11-25T06:59:00Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z House Keeping

I've started developing in my "free" time and as part of that I decided to fix the screwed up installations of MacPorts and RVM that I had on my primary laptop.

My machine has been so screwed up I've been developing for a while using a Linode instance, ssh tunnels and ExpanDrive. This solution has worked pretty well except for an annoying issue with TextMate freezing every time the application got focus when I had an ExpanDrive based file system opened. I started with blowing away my old installation of MySQL, MacPorts and my previous system-wide installation of RVM.

The new development tool chain uses Homebrew, RVM, and Vagrant. Hopefully the time I had to invest to get to this point will encourage me to keep things clean. The idea of building isolated VMs for project development seems solid and a number of people I have some respect for seem to be using vagrant successfully for this purpose.

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tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344281 2011-10-17T03:45:19Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z The Good Life

The Good Life

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tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344282 2011-10-11T04:50:00Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z Forks in the road


Tonight I found out that another co-worker is taking the next step in their career and leaving our company. Selfishly I’m sad I won’t be working with them anymore, but honestly I’m happy for them and know they have a very bright future ahead.

What really got me thinking was the conversation we had after covered the basics (e.g. sorry to see you go, where are you heading, etc.). The reality is that most careers don’t follow the clean-cut path they have in the past. Not very long ago it was common to work for the same company for decades, leave with a gold watch, benefits and a pension. That definitely isn’t the reality I live in, and I often think about the going on five years I’ve invested in my current organization. Granted my career path has been pretty interesting over those years – but I’ve been at the same place.

Today you are responsible more than ever before for your own retirement, your own career and your success. My friend made the comment that loyalty doesn’t exist anymore, I responded that I don’t think it is gone but I think it has changed. Today’s loyalty is a bond between humans, not between a human and an organization. I think I like it that way

When giving me advice at one point a few months ago a senior executive whom I’ve grown to trust said to me that the only way to build the kind of bond he and I were talking about at the time, where near frictionless disagreement and collaboration are possible, was to go through “battle” with someone. He didn’t mean this strictly in the military sense however I can only imagine the result is even stronger in that case. He was referring to the absolute certainty to the guy standing next to you will still be there, fighting right along with you, even when things get ugly. In some jobs, that might be an everyday event or an extraordinary circumstance. Either way the result is the same, you learn who you can trust. You learn who you can count on and you learn whom you can’t.

I’ve lost another one of the people who fit solidly in former category. The good news for me is that you never really lose those people; you just might not know how or when your paths will cross again. In fact, I got a call from another one of the people I’d put in that category earlier today asking me to speak at a User Group his organization is hosting next month.

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tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344283 2011-10-08T20:37:00Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z 360 Feedback

One of the Operations Directors at work developed an application we have started to use to gather 360 feedback from the other people in the organization you interact with frequently. This tool basically asks for a number of objective criteria to be evaluated on a 1 to 10 scale and then provides the ability to give you some structured (but largely free form) data on things you are doing well and things you should consider changing.

I like this application and the idea behind it. When it is presented to you (and your manager) it shows you all the feedback but keeps the people providing it anonymous. I will say that I wish there was a way for me to ask questions (anonymously would be fine) about some of the feedback so I can really understand of it but most of it is pretty interesting.

One of the outputs it gives you is the graphic I'm showing here, it maps your certain traits based on the objective feedback. The other most interesting part is looking at the delta between your average rating from peers and how you rate yourself.
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tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344284 2011-10-06T03:11:37Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z Steve Jobs on Death

I hope most people have watched this amazing speach, but it is worth watching today. Steve Jobs had an incredible impact on the world in his years.

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tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344285 2011-08-10T18:01:29Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z The only reason people listen to me is because of my f-ing sweet hat

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tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344286 2011-04-17T18:58:39Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z Achievement Unlocked: Workaholic

This was originally a pearl of wisdom I sent to a co-worker who told me I'd have something "by the end of the day" on a Sunday:


After 10 years in different roles I've stopped wearing "workaholic" like it is a badge of honor. I work weekends if I can't avoid it - but it leaves me regretting the time I missed with my son and my friends. I work nights if I have to, because I need to carry my weight and not create undue stress on my colleagues (most of whom I also count among my friends).

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tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344287 2011-04-16T20:40:00Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z Customer Service

I smashed my touchscreen phone this week. I bought it from my carrier a few weeks ago, and now my new phone was pretty much useless.

I took it to the manufacturer (not even the people I pay every month for phone service). A nice woman looked at my phone for about 10 or 15 seconds (the damage was bluntly obvious), looked at the records on her tablet and said that she would like to offer me a one time free replacement. 

She activated my new phone with my carrier, smiled and I was on my way with a working phone less than 30 minutes after I walked in.

Do you know their customer service is awesome? I don't even need to tell you what type of phone I have and most of you probably already know without ever having seen me carry it.

This is one of the reasons I pay a premium to buy Apple products. Good luck getting Motorola or HTC to do this. And that is assuming you can find their place of business, and then good luck getting them to do it for free. And even if you do all that, I bet it took you more than a 30 minute trip to the mall on a rainy Saturday 2 days before you have to travel for work.
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tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344288 2011-01-12T17:06:00Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z A little stuffed penguin

When I started traveling all the time, my son gave me one of his stuffed 
animals to bring with me. I carry it in my bag and wherever I go I try
to take a few pictures of this little stuffed penguin in various
locations. I was touched because it is one of his favorite stuffed
animals and I smile every time I see it in my bag.

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tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344289 2010-12-17T22:28:06Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z Angrybirds: Dean's Favorite Game! ]]> tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344290 2010-11-05T00:06:09Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z Current Status ]]> tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344291 2010-06-18T02:41:39Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z Current Status ]]> tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344292 2010-06-08T05:10:22Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z Shoot down the stars So take a step back.. And a breath in.. Let it out now.. Put your chin up.. You can do it tiger.. You a man now.. And in your dream it's time to do the best you can now]]> tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344293 2010-06-08T02:42:37Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z Nostalgia ]]> tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344294 2010-05-06T18:43:39Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z Obligations If you want me to leave, tell me and I will talk away. If you want to
avoid me, tell me and I will make myself scarce. If I have become an
obligation, tell me and you will never have to bear that burden again]]>
tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344295 2010-05-03T06:52:06Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z CloudEnterprise Customer Portal Demo ]]> tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344296 2010-05-01T04:29:00Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z 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.]]>
tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344297 2010-04-13T15:04:28Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z 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.

 

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tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344273 2010-04-12T07:16:57Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z I wonder how much money...

we spend just advertising to get people to fill out the census. If the 3 post cards including the actual form containing the census and TV ads were not enough.... BOOM! Facebook Ads :)

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tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344275 2010-04-06T02:54:01Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z What it is all about ]]> tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344276 2010-04-06T01:18:54Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z 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 
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tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344278 2010-04-04T19:05:04Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z 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.
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tag:adamgreenfield.com,2013:Post/344280 2010-04-04T08:56:00Z 2013-10-08T16:35:20Z 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.]]>