The single worst strategic mistake that any software company can make

Oldie (originally published April 6, 2000) but goodie from Joel Spolsky on Netscape's decision to re-write Netscape 6.0 from scratch:

It’s important to remember that when you start from scratch there is absolutely no reason to believe that you are going to do a better job than you did the first time. First of all, you probably don’t even have the same programming team that worked on version one, so you don’t actually have “more experience”. You’re just going to make most of the old mistakes again, and introduce some new problems that weren’t in the original version.

Sunday, May 13 2018

Day 1: iPhone X review

I've been using the iPhone X for about 24 hours now, and here are my initial, not-well-thought-out thoughts.

FaceID

Works remarkably well, and much quicker than I was expecting. Works well at night, with a hat, without a hat, and with green eggs and ham. I've had issues with TouchID in the past when my fingers were sweaty (like after a run) or I had too much dirt on the home button. These problems disappear with FaceID. One drawback is that it doesn't work with my sunglasses on, and I am a serial sunglass wearer.

Wireless Charging

I have a Qi charger built into my car, which I wanted to use with my new phone. I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to use it with my credit card sleeve that I have used with my iPhones for the past 6 years. Good news is that the Qi charger works with up to 4 cards in the sleeve. It charges slow, but it does charge. I need to test how much slower it actually charges.

Tuesday, November 7 2017

A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders

The fundamental premise is that he realized that when people come to you for orders, or ask your permission to do something, they don’t bring any of their own responsibility to the request. They’re asking you if they can xyz. That puts it on you. They don’t have to fully consider their ask because they still need you to OK it. You’re their door stop just in case. So it’s not about them and what they want to do, it’s about what you are OK with them doing. And even if you OK it, it only happened because you said it could happen. That creates too many dependencies, and — like Marquet — I believe people and teams within an organization should be able to move independently of one another. Fewer dependencies, not more.

"Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders" is a great book on creating leaders in your organization and creating organizations that scale. The Signal v. Noise blog post linked above provides a perfect summary of the book.

Wednesday, November 1 2017

I'm coming back to Colorado

Before anyone ever cared where I would work, I was a kid from suburban Colorado. It's where I walked. It's where I ran. It's where I cried. It's where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I'm their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Colorado is bigger than Restaurant food delivery. I didn't realize that five years ago. I do now.

Back in 2012, when I left for Seattle I was thinking, This is really tough. I could feel it. I was leaving something I had spent a long time creating. Seattle for me, has been almost like college for other kids. These past five years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better manager and a better man. I learned from an organization and people that had been where I wanted to go. I will always think of Restaurants as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing today.

I went to Seattle because of Amazon. I believed we could do something magical if I came to Seattle. And that's exactly what we did! The hardest thing to leave is what we built with those guys and gals on the Restaurants team. I've talked to some of them and will talk to others. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished. We are family for life.

I'm doing this essay because I want an opportunity to explain myself uninterrupted. I don't want anyone thinking: He and management didn't get along. That's absolutely not true.

I'm not having a press conference or a party (I am having several parties). After this week, it's time to get to work.

I always believed that I'd return to Colorado and finish my career there. I just didn't know when. But I have my boy, my dogs and my wife, Run. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown. I looked at other companies, but I wasn't going to leave Seattle for anywhere except Colorado. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy. I'm lucky that Amazon now has roles for me in Colorado, and I can continue my career with Amazon in Colorado.

To make the move I needed the support of my wife, and my son, who can be very tough.

I'm not promising HQ2. I know how hard that is to deliver. My patience will get tested. I know that. I'm going into a situation with a young team and new managers. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn't know they could go. I see myself as a mentor now and I'm excited to lead some of these talented young guys and gals.

But this is not about the roster or the organization. I feel my calling here goes above software. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Denver, but I think it can mean more where I'm from. I want kids in suburban Colorado to realize that there's no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get.

In Colorado, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.

I'm ready to accept the challenge. I'm coming home.

Sunday, September 24 2017

Desert Bus: The very worst video game ever created, or is it?

The drive from Tucson, Arizona, to Las Vegas, Nevada, takes approximately eight hours when travelling in a vehicle whose top speed is forty-five miles per hour. In Desert Bus, an unreleased video game from 1995 conceived by the American illusionists and entertainers Penn Jillette and Teller, players must complete that journey in real time. Finishing a single leg of the trip requires considerable stamina and concentration in the face of arch boredom: the vehicle constantly lists to the right, so players cannot take their hands off the virtual wheel; swerving from the road will cause the bus’s engine to stall, forcing the player to be towed back to the beginning. The game cannot be paused. The bus carries no virtual passengers to add human interest, and there is no traffic to negotiate. The only scenery is the odd sand-pocked rock or road sign. Players earn a single point for each eight-hour trip completed between the two cities, making a Desert Bus high score perhaps the most costly in gaming.

I so wish I had a copy of this game.

Saturday, June 24 2017

Alexa: I am Groot

Me: Alexa I am Groot

Alexa: I am Groot

Monday, May 15 2017

Hello World!

"Hello World"... I think that is what I am supposed to say here.

This is the first post on my new website, built on AWS (using EC2, CodeDeploy, CodePipelines, CodeCommit, RDS) using a new PHP MVC "framework" I built.

Things I still need to do on this site:

  1. Improve the CSS to better support mobile
  2. Rip off less of the CSS of another website
  3. Choose between either 1st person, or 3rd person in my writing (Dave uses both)
  4. Figure out what I am going to blog about
  5. Make the body text readable (Black header, with grey body, not super readable)
  6. Make editing of blog posts possible without manually deleting the DB entry for the post
  7. Figure out why my overly aggressive SQL injection protection is not allowing me to add single quotes in posts it's fixed now.
  8. Add support for strikethrough to markdown parser

Ideas for what I am going to blog about:

  • Recipes for some of my famous dishes (Breakfast Ramen, Breakfast Pizzas, Steak cooking styles)
  • The worlds best tshirts
  • Developing a personal uniform (wearing the same attire day after day)
  • Technology
  • Creating lists
  • Liam Neeson movies
  • Longmire and Hell On Wheels TV shows
  • A combination of all the above

Why did I create this blog?

This is the 3rd or 4th blog I have created. I created a blog way back in the day on Blogger.com, then moved to Wordpress (self hosted). My Wordpress blogs were almost constantly hacked, and at some point it just stopped making sense to try to unhack them given the amount of time I was spending unhacking. Figured I could build a better, more secure blogging engine/CMS myself. We will see if that holds true.

Thursday, April 6 2017