Last Friday noonish, I was back at PDX. I had decided to invest in the Thursday night parties - to strengthen those bonds of friendship that are the backbone of the open source community - then sleep, pack and take the light rail to the airport in the morning, skipping the remaining Friday morning conference sessions. I had already been at the convention center 6 days in a row, figured it would be enough for now.
On New Years Eve I wrote some random reflections about life and business. This is a followup with more thoughts I've remembered since I wrote that.
Obviously in personal life, but also in business, I've found that my integrity - and a reputation of having integrity - is the most valuable capital I have.
I've even resigned a job to avoid a situation where my role would have included making public statements that turned out to be misleading. While it was a risk, in hindsight it was 100% worth it.
It's better to ask for forgiveness than permission
New Year is a perfect time for reflecting on past and future and my life in general. Here are some thoughts, mostly from a work life perspective, that I've collected over several years.
All links are to books I've found inspiring and highly recommend.
Value to our shareholders
When I go to work in the morning, not once did I start my day with the words: Today is a great day to create some value to the shareholders of my employer.
Value to the customer
Every exec with a tie can recite "we should provide value to the customer". This is an empty statement. It doesn't include any information about what is actually important to their customer. It doesn't mean they actually know what their customers need, nor value.
The big picture
As we were driving the 9 hour trip to visit our parents, the childrens grandparents, for New Years, my wife at some point decided we had enough of childrens songs and inserted daddy's favorite CD: the live recording of Leningrad Cowboys Total Balaika Show in Helsinki, 1993. This historical and amazingly weird outdoor concert is perhaps best explained by you simply watching a few Youtube videos from the concert, but it brought together a Finnish punk band turned Soviet Union parody and the actual, very much official Red Army choir aka Alexandrov Ensemble. Wikipedia has more details, but just to underscore the historical backdrop: in 1994 they also performed in Berlin, while the last Russian troups were leaving Eastern Germany.
Nowadays you can buy small network attached boxes to function as small home-office disk servers so cheaply, that most of the time I take backups by having a couple of those lying around the house. But for many years I used to backup my personal Linux desktop by burning CD's and then DVD's.
The challenge with backing up to a CD/DVD is that you easily have more data to back up than fits on one disc. The TAR utility was created for tapes and completely lacks any capability of splitting itself into parts. What's more, with TAR you create the archive first, and then compress it, so it is not possible to know in the TAR phase when you've actually reached the size of your CD or DVD, and in the compression phase it is generally too late.
To round off my memoirs from the MySQL conference 2011, I'll just write down for the historical record my own activities.
With the community picking up tasks that used to be handled by MySQL AB, it somehow has fallen on my lap to drive the selection of winners for the annual MySQL awards. This was the second year we did it and we have settled on a format where the winners are chosen by a community panel consisting of 2 previous years winners, plus the conference chair(s). I think having the community nominating and voting the winners have brought forward some truly deserving and sometimes also surprising winners, and it has been a pleasure to be involved in this process. I feel privileged to be part of a process channeling so much goodwill and respect from the MySQL community to the winners.
This year's winners were already published here previously.
Xtrabackup Manager BoF
Together with Lachlan we did a BoF on Xtrabackup Manager. There was a good group of people turning up. I didn't write down the name, but someone offered to participate by creating a browser based user interface, which XBM doesn't have yet. Peter Zaitsev stopped by for a word of encouragement even if he was also going to another BoF at the same time.
As some Facebook friends already guessed from my status updates this week, my 9 month paternity leave is now over and I've survived my first week back in work life, waking up at seven in the morning! This is just a personal-life blog post to let everyone know what I'm up to, (For those asking: Ebba is doing fine, she recently started to stand up and even takes steps if I hold her hands.)
During the past months I had many interesting conversations and ideas of what to do next, but in the end Nokia was the company standing out with a very interesting offer. So as of last Tuesday I work at Nokia as Senior Performance Architect in the Mobile Solutions division, better known as the Nokia Ovi web services.
Last Saturday I became father to a baby girl - in addition to our 2½year old son.
Those of you who are my former collagues from MySQL, you know about the generous Scandinavian 5 week vacations. (Which in MySQL were practiced globally.) I have decided that now is a good time for me to enjoy another Scandinavian perk: long paternity leave. I will be home with the rest of the family until approximately next February :-)