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
Oscon is over, I'm home and recovered both from jet lag and just general exhaustion.
Oscon is a very broad conference so there is a lot to learn and many people and projects to befriend. There are many things and angles one could write a blog post about. To me Oscon is above all the conference to meet other open source people and have the deep and inspiring discussions. So in that spirit I will make a few philosophical remarks in this post, thoughts from Oscon 2013.
If you'd want to read a run-through of the conference itself, I recommend Dirk van den Poel's very extensive summary.
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.
I've never been to Burning Man myself, but I'm aware of the event due to Drizzle development stalling to a halt during that festival. In other words, I have many friends that go there.
It was interesting to read a statement from the organizers of Burning Man about the fact that this year there is way more demand for Burning Man tickets than they can sell. Apparently even the desert has its limits (and more so the road leading to it).
Organically growing volunteer projects are exciting because they just grow and grow and there seems to be nothing there to stop them. But once in a while they hit bottlenecks that need to be solved.
I just uploaded my slides from my Open DB Camp / Froscon talk to Slideshare:
Last week Monty Taylor wrote an interesting blog post Oracle do not, in fact, comprise the total set of MySQL Experts where he protested against the title of Oracle's new podcast series Meet The MySQL Experts. Now, when I say "interesting" I'm not really referring to the factual argument he is making...
What was interesting about this was to see Monty burst out like that and express some true human feelings. Through all the controversies we've seen around MySQL, the Drizzle team has made a point of staying out of such discussions and just working on cleaning up their code and adding cool new stuff (added as plugins, of course). And if anything, I would have expected it to be someone like Stewart to finally break and start ranting about something, if it were to happen...
Just to be clear: I do not actually agree with Monty on the factual topic he is raising. We are of course all very geeky and arguing about English grammar is a good way to relax, but as far as I'm concerned it is quite common for titles of podcasts and such to be shortened versions of the full, grammatically correct sentence whose meaning the are conveying. After all, it would be silly to have a podcast called "Meet the MySQL experts who work in Oracle's R&D department, but excluding those experts that do work at Oracle's support or consulting organizations, even if they are great minds too, and also excluding anyone not working for Oracle at all."