Overheard : Giving your best

A power quote by Abraham Lincoln. Ran across it while reading The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World . BTW, the book itself it a great read on history and leadership.

I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so to the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right won’t make any difference.

Overheard : Communication

Mark Horstman, on his podcast about when not to use email (https://www.manager-tools.com/2017/05/when-not-use-email-part-2)

No delivery of information is purely about information. Every delivery of information has some effect on the relationship that is formed during the communication or (relationship) that previously existed.

Overheard : Quote about Servant Leadership

Quote (or rather statement) by Arthur Brooks on Servant Leadership. Credits for capturing the statement and documenting it, goes to Bret Simmons.

“We in this country are facing a lack of visionary servant leadership. Any leader you can think of will say they are fighting for people, and this is a necessary but insufficient condition for being a leader, to fight for people that need you. But what we really need for real vision is level two and level three servant leadership. What’s level two servant leadership? It’s fighting for people that need you that you don’t need. Level three servant leadership is fighting for people who don’t like you. This is the problem, where we split into tribes where leaders only lead their followers.” Arthur Brooks, February 18, 2016, TED 2016, Vancouver, British Columbia

31 Days and 29 posts

In early March 2012, I decided to write at least one blog post per day for the whole month. How did I do? 29 posts in 31 days. I should acknowledge that I cheated a bit :), by blogging two posts in a day, but scheduling them to be published in different days.

My learning from the month long exercise?

  • There is truth to the adage “practice makes one perfect” :). The more I wrote, the quicker I was in getting the posts completed. I used to take a couple of weeks to a month in completing a post, but now, I can crank one out in a few minutes.
  • I stuck to the “perfect is the enemy of good” principal. Even though I knew that some of the posts were not as good as I wanted them to be, I kept posting them and then editing them later on.
  • More content = more traffic. Even if you don’t write earth shattering articles, there is just more content for the search engines to index you on. I saw an uptick in the traffic to the site in March.

Let’s see, how long I can keep it up.

And no.. this is not an April fools joke :).

HOW TO : Identify good talent

In the fortune magazine, there is a section (and for the life of me.. I cannot seem to find it online and I just cleared my dining table of all the back issues of the magazine 🙁 ) on how business leaders see trends in real life and than make judgements on where the economy is headed. For example, if someone sees a starbucks they visit regularly become more busier than normal, that person judges that the economy is doing well.

I judge good talent (think sysadmin, dba, programmer, application engineer etc) in a somewhat similar fashion. I should note that this system is not perfect, but it seems to have worked out more than not for me so far. I judge their talent based on what browser and how they use it.


Ever see a person who has multiple browsers (not tabs) open and is doing a specialized task in each one of them? Their home screen is usually set to a specialized search engine (blekko, duckduckgo, wolframalpha) and they have add-ons that block ads and show them a variety of information of the site they visit. These are usually the best folks to have on your team. These are the folks that you want your systems designed by.


This group tends to either use firefox or chrome. Has Google as their  home-page and know how to use multiple tabs. Yeah.. sorry, I a browser discriminator :). Since there can only be a few rock stars in the world, you should consider yourselves lucky if most of the members in your team belong to this group.


Ever see someone, whose homepage looks like Google but is not.. And has a bunch of “toolbars” that take up 1/3rd of the screen. And has popups showing up randomly? Yep.. these are the folks you don’t want touching your code. Even with a 10 foot pole.. no sir.. Having these folks move to firefox and/or chrome doesn’t help the situation either :).

Stay Hungry.. Stay Foolish

Just read a really nice article on the Harvard Business Review by Walter Isaacson on leadership lessons of Steve Jobs at http://hbr.org/2012/04/the-real-leadership-lessons-of-steve-jobs/ar/pr .  There were a lot of points that Walter makes in the article, but the one that resonated a lot with me was the need to “Stay Hungy.. Stay Foolish“. This is similar to having a “hacker mentality”, which I believe is one of the key ingredient for a person to be successful (professionally and personally).

Being a hacker means..

  • being inquisitive about how things work.
  • always being a student
  • being able to challenge “this is how we always did things”
  • never stop perfecting
  • remembering that one can (and used to) survive on ramen  noodles 🙂