Art as Therapy, your house edition; therapy from Jeb Bush, have an ask; burn the hatchet
(I’ve been consolidating all the past places I’ve had newsletters. If you got this email in error, or don’t want it, here is the unsubscribe link. I apologize for the merge-madness.)
Epigraph for this issue: it’s probably fine.
Theme song: “Rise,” Herb Alpert.
The Beautiful House
As the Old Sing, So Pipe the Young
I like a Jan Steen house because it’s beautiful (and not another Christ, Madonna, or Greeks scene), and, because it’s intricate and so fun to look at like a Richard Scary world.
I’m now trying to take that pleasure and use it another way: if I like those chaotic houses so much, I should like the equal beauty of mine. You know with kids and toddlers: they’ll just take a pack of Uno cards, and before you notice, those cards are everywhere. Glitter. Friends over constantly, all that.
Put another way:
[the] painting by Jan Steen is entitled The Life of Man which he completed around 1665. In the painting before us we glimpse into the busy bar of a tavern full of people of various ages with one thing in common – they are all there to enjoy themselves.
Have an Ask
Letters to Jeb Bush - “You need to simply ask for help and give people an out.”
I love this reverse-therapy: how people in bas mental states can help the people around them de-stress. Most of the discussion I encounter about mental stuff is about the person with the problems; but here, you have a little bit about the people who live with those people. They too need a help, an occasional “out.”
In corporate-playtime, this is called having “an ask.” In The Big Meeting, you want to not (1) only point out the state of things (these public cloud companies are getting popular, and reducing our on-premises hardware sales), (2) suggest a course or action (we should start talking about how data is being held hostage by public cloud companies and how on-premises is actually cheaper), but also (3) ask the people in the room for an action (will you give me funding to commission a research report?). Most people leave off the third, so the powerful people in the room are left thinking, “yeah, but what am I going to do about it?” Worse, the other people in the room will bat about their own asks, and seek to take away your role in fixing it. The worst case is to only do (1)
A classic newbie mistake. In that case you’re just wasting everyone’s time in The Big Meeting because you’re complaining. Even if you’re right, you’ll be slotted in as the boy who cried wolf and/or a Cassandra.
(Related: the strategic management of business, business [as opposed to daily management of activities] is all about people just sort of winging it. Even if your culture uses a lot of data [and doesn’t fall into the trap of dueling hench-people selectively using data - lying by omission], your strategy is always speculative and full of that Powell 40/70 problem: you rely on intuition, lack of information, and just sort of…wing it. If you’re not frequently wining it, you’re probably stuck in analysis paralysis which can be much worse.]
[Related to related: one of the ways you can tell a really good executive is that they will own failure instead of blaming staff or “macro trends,” headwinds, and secular-horseshit. Not that many IT vendor executives finally faced up to public cloud and simply said “yeah, we1 failed to compete there. I remember several meetings we had in 2008 where I heard about S3 and EC2, and it sounded so rinky-dink - “a book seller in Seattle” and all that. So we just ignored it for too long. We should have learned more and had a longer term commitment regardless of the EBIT(A) hit at the time, which would have been nothing compared to what it is now. All that said, let’s move on and let me tell you about what we’re doing now…” As Jeb Bush said: “What am I supposed to do? Go in the fetal position and suck my thumb and hold on to my little blankie and say, ‘Woe is me?’”]
Also to like about the piece: “Jeb Bush does not need to answer my e-mails.” I spend a lot of time thinking about prioritizing my life, prioritizing what I care about and feel bad for not doing - that is the issue, feeling bad for neglecting things, for not giving the right amount of attention. But, you can’t do everything, pay attention to every one, fix the problems that come in front of you. It makes me think: if you’re clear on your own priorities, it’s easier to not care (in a mentally health way) about missing out on other priorities.
$200 of a great developer and DevOps conference - AND THUKUBES
Developer, DevOps, platform engineer, digital transformation executive…just looking for an excuse not to go into work…
These are all great reasons to attend SpringOne this year, December 6th to 8th in San Francisco. I’ll be there! I don’t remember which talk I’m giving, but it should be fun…for me! Hahrhahhhaaa…
Anyhow, I think about 40% of the content is now posted so you can check it out.
When you register - YOU MUST REGISTER! - use the code COTE200 to get $200 off.
Content from me
Listen, you should click on, download, register for, whateverthefuck all this stuff. I made/worked on it, and I think it’s damn good. Plus, lead-all-the-gens, MOFOs. (Wow. Punchy.)
The Legacy Trap - Marc and I are finally done with our Legacy Trap booklet. We gave an overview of it this week in webinar form. If you register for it, you’ll be able to download the booklet for free.
State of Kubernetes 2022 - another webinar from me this week. You can hear my analysis of our recent survey about kubernetes usage. I tried to go over what to do about these findings with respect to putting together your own kubernetes strategy. Also, at the end is our most recent overview of our kubernetes stack, VMware Tanzu Kubernetes for Operations. Watch the recording for free, it’s good stuff!
I was a guest on the ITSM Crowd show. It was fun! Claire let me monolog on two topics: why ops people should care about all this software stuff (“what problems are they facing”), and, the what/why of platform engineering is. Also, a little bit about myself in the beginning.
No Free Lunches or Haircuts, Software Defined Talk #380 - This week we discuss why Google abandons products, the 2022 State of DevOps Report and Elon’s texts. Plus, some thoughts on glasses…
Tanzu Application Service 3.0 Overview, with Nick Kuhn - formally known as Pivotal Cloud Foundry, the beloved by many PaaS has a new version. Hear all about it.
The paywall works both ways
I know it can seem like a major theme of this blog is old Gen X WWW dude discovering other old WWW people who are getting back into blogging…but…
My generation of Internet people grew up with everything on the Internet for free, even music. We are older now, in middle-life. We have jobs, we have kids and less time for…having fun?…figuring out how to get things for free. But, we still want the things - news, entertainment, music, etc. I think now, we just have the means and reasons to pay for it.
We’ve bought all the mattresses and Squares Space we can, gone to the Master Classes - we kind of just want to buy stuff from Amazon now? $5 a month to get rid of ads, and hear 30 extra minutes in a podcast? Sure! Anyhow: I feel like us Internet olds are totally into paying for things and won’t get all upset about, as we would say back in our 20’s, paywalls.
Also, the quality of content you pay for is…better? Maybe it’s selection bias: I only pay for things I like. In contrast, when you open up the WWW, just everything flows in.
The paywall works both ways.
“I like whatever this guy’s doing.” Here
“[A]pparently writing two books and taking on the ownership of a restaurant are not restful activities. Who knew?” Trisha on 9 months of sabbatical.
It’s decided: my favorite episode of Hilda is “Chapter 11: The House in the Woods.” It has every element that makes Hilda my favorite, especially The Woodman.
While we’re on the topic of Hilda: have you noticed that all of the power outlets are American? And, clearly, this is not America. It’s a mixture of the UK and Scandinavian. The only American accented character is The Woodman. Marra and the other nightmare girl. And Tantu. And that other Nisse that tells Hilda they can’t go to nowhere space on the outdoors because it’s too “vast and cold.” OK, there’s more than just The Woodman Whatever! (Of course, they could be Canadian, especially the Nisse…)
My point is: North Americans are the extreme minority. I’m just saying: the American Empire is so overpowering that even the power outlets in Hilda are American!
I feel like I should also reiterate the observation that all Hollywood Vikings are apparently… Scottish. At least the adults, as in How to Train Your Dragon.
What’s that, you say? “Well, which accent from Hilda do you wish you could do?” Oh. Thanks for asking! Definitely The Mountain King. Him and that giant from the first few episodes have the best accents ever.
“Burn the hatchet.”
(While we’re on the topic of TV shows I love, remind me to tell you about how we watched The Walking Dead at The Tigress [in Austin], and over the delicious smell of citrus cocktails that filled that tiny place, it became another of my favorite shows.)
“Clam-shell assholes.” And: “you’ve never stood for bullshit. It’s one of your better qualities.”
I am holding it together this week. I just need to remember what “OK” felt like, and that it was possible, and use that in real-time, when I am not holding it together, to remind myself “oh, there is an ‘OK,’ and you actually can do this.”
“One star: didn’t have even buy it.”
“We call people mad when the regulation of their conceptions no longer corresponds to the sequence of events in our regular world; for which reason a careful observation of nature, or of mathematics, is certainly the most effective specific against madness; nature is, so to speak, the guide-rope by which our thoughts are led so that they shall not wander away.” The Waste Books, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
“The people who create SKUs.”
Parent coping technique: change “why can’t they resist doing that thing that I keep telling them to stop?” to “those kids just love to have fun” (and you draw out the o in “love” extra long.)
“[I]t would look like Fancy Business,” Matt Levine.
Relevant to your interests
I’m a psychologist – and I believe we’ve been told devastating lies about mental health - Fix the system, fix the brain.
Peak Austin eatery scene: “Fancy Sushi Bar Chef Partners With Pro Skateboarder for Smash Burger Spot on Rainey Street” -
One Long List of Social Media Tips - “Push back on deadlines whenever it’s appropriate and possible. Our industry is consumed by fake urgency that”
De-streaming - “That was the problem,” she says. “Using music, rather than having it be its own experience … What kind of music am I going to use to set a mood for the day? What am I going to use to enjoy my walk? I started not really liking what that meant.”
Draw a Triangle - if your “let’s figure out what to do” meeting is stalling out, draw a triangle and start to dissect your problem space. This is especially good for anything involve analysis, strategy in the widest sense of the word, or just figuring out what’s going on.
Outro: “Why Wait?”, Shopping.
It may feel like “we” is not fully owning the decision, it includes other people. But, that is not accurate in corporate-playtime. You have to consider the other angle: “we” includes the executive, they’re not looking to escape the set of people who failed, they are in it. ↩