There’s a couple weeks backlog here.
I went scuba diving for the first time a few weeks ago. My son liked it so much we went twice. I was worried at first - I don’t take well to learning new things at all, I fear it. But this time it was great and, even, relaxing. There’s a lot of garbage voices that fill my head all day long: I have that thing where, though it’s easily provable that it’s the opposite in my life, I can’t ever focus on good things - I can only see good when I look outside of myself.
When I was concentrating so hard on breathing (a completely unnatural and panicy feeling underwater at first, even with the respirator!), just trying to move, and then trying to enjoy the bizarre world of being in the ocean, I couldn’t think of anything else but diving. It was great!
Maybe that’s a good way to get over a fear of learning: it’s more relaxing than listening to myself.
Enjoy the links!
I recorded a rare, delightful episode with my friend Charles Lowell. He’s worked with kubernetes on a recent project, and being the epitome of “developer,” I wanted to get his take and tips on it. Have a listen, if only to relive the sounds of DrunkAndRetired.com, our old podcast from when we were young.
I’m building up my kubernetes knowledge, as you might guess, so I also talked with Dawn Foster about the kubernetes community. She had some great insights and you should listen to the interview.
I was in the Pivotal London office a few weeks back, and did this short interview with Hannah Foxwell:
Hannah works on the platform operations team at VMware. Her teams helps organizations put platform teams in place that run their cloud native platform, like Pivotal Cloud Foundry. As she says, the platform team that delivers an internal platform as a service to the developers. Hannah has spent a lot of time finding and working with those operations people who end up being SRE-like, coding folks. They’re running those centralized cloud platforms in large organizations. We discuss some approaches to changing ops people’s work, working through resistance to change, helping ops people become systems programmers, a bit of SRE, and putting in place a friendly culture.
Also, while I was at the beach a few weeks back, Matt and Brandon recorded on over on Software Defined talk:
We try to make sense of the latest Google news, discuss who’s spying on whom and a few hot takes on the latest M&A. Plus, Matt Ray teaches us about hippos and wombats.
Brandon is always an excellent MC when I’m away, he drives the agenda and fills in the role of asking questions the audience might have.
Last week, we got to talking about white papers and silly AMI pricing, as well as a some brief kubernetes from me - take a listen!
When Kurt first showed me that song, I was thinking more about how we were gonna do it. The meaning of the words didn’t come to me until way later. I still get new things out of it now. That song just gets better when you bounce it against the world.
For example, in one of their many failed experiments, the team tried to analyze the impact on conversions by showcasing “WiFi Signal Strength” for all properties. Their hypothesis was valid; guests, especially business travelers, prioritize Internet speed as one of their primary booking criteria. The test tried to measure conversion impact by displaying a banner “WiFi Strength – Strong” on the listing. Much to their surprise, the test failed to deliver conversion uplift. But the experimentation team did not stop there. By interviewing consumers in their Research Lab, another fascinating insight stood out—guests wanted to know if the hotel’s WiFi would allow them to watch Netflix or deliver emails without interruption. In scientific parlance, the team approached the problem from the Jobs To Be Done standpoint. Internet wasn’t important—jobs done through the Internet were. Almost immediately, the team ran another test; this time with labels like “Fast Netflix Streaming.” The new test drove the team back to its winning ways by delivering comprehensive wins against the control.
From “[CRO Best Practices] Insights From eCommerce CRO Apex Predators: Booking.com”
Listening to others instead of yourself
Listening to someone means asking what they are saying, not using them as a source for what you’re thinking:
Here’s the different question that is at the core of really excellent listening: “What is this person’s purpose, intent, hope in delivering this message? What does this message mean to him?” This is as opposed to everyone’s normal question: “What does this message mean to me?”
This sounds very nice. But what about all those ideas I have while they’re talking, things I want to say, questions I want to ask more, that are fleeting and will run over each other like a wall if bodies, each disappearing in the pile.
here are the different questions we want you to ask: • What if this person weren’t a problem for me to solve, but a key knowledge holder for me to understand? • What is it this person knows about the situation that could shift or change my mind and how might I find this out?
the question we want you to carry (here and elsewhere) is this: what do I have to learn here?
This is advice for “giving feedback” in work meetings, managing by having conversations with staff. It’s good advice, and generally good listening advice. It’s similar to the advice in the non-violent communications world: a system of discourse and life that I don’t really understand well, but that looks effective, if only caring.
Both from Simple Habits for Complex Times. It’s surprising good, so long as I skip through the fictionalization story through out - a trick of business book writing I loathe.
Speaking of, more from the same book.
First, the method and it’s good intentions:
Socratic questioning—Here, you leave people to draw their own conclusions by simply asking a set of helpful questions to take them to the realization that there’s an issue (and the hope is that they’ll then ask you for a solution or even stumble on your solution and offer it up as if it were their own). This, we’re told, increases ownership of the issue because the other person—the person needing to change—came up with the idea himself.
Then, how it often doesn’t work out as exploration, more as pointing to an existing point:
Socratic questioning—This one is trickier, because it often looks open and curious. You’re asking questions, so aren’t you already doing what this different-questions approach suggests? Our experience is that generally people who use this approach are not actually curious about something new they might learn from the other person. (This lack of curiosity starts, we’re sorry to point out, with the great Socrates himself, who was a smart fellow who might be forgiven for thinking he had the solution concealed inside his cloak.) Instead, the questioner leads the person down a familiar path (designed by the questioner) and entirely inside familiar (to the questioner) territory. We can spot this in our videos with leaders because they will generally ignore any new information that comes their way and continue their set of questions. When someone gives an unexpected answer to the question, the leader looks more exasperated than confused—because the other person is missing the point. The leader is using questions to search for particular answers, not to get more information on the table.
I always want Socrates to just tell me what he wants the conclusion to be and work backwards. Plato needed an editor, perhaps. But chopped down, Socrates proofs wouldn’t have seemed proofs.
Both quotes from Simple Habits for Complex Times.
Relevant to your interests
- Most of the stock market owned by a handful of people - ‘A whopping 84 percent of all stocks owned by Americans belong to the wealthiest 10 percent of households. And that includes everyone’s stakes in pension plans, 401(k)’s and individual retirement accounts, as well as trust funds, mutual funds and college savings programs like 529 plans.’
- The Economist writes up Bernie Sanders - ‘If he got his way, all American residents, including undocumented immigrants, would receive free health care, child care and education at state universities. Workers would have a jobs guarantee, seats on corporate boards and receive 20% of the equity of large firms. Billionaire clout would be broken by a wealth tax.’
- Too many solutions makes for bad security - ‘Many of the problems chief information security officers face today stem from complex IT environments and too many security products spread across these environments’
- Men are more comfy talking to computer - ‘The return of Dr. Sbaitso! “people feel more comfortable sharing things that make them feel less normal when they’re talking to software, because it’s less judgmental” ‘
- Strategy in Action: Market Segment Expansion - ‘“Morgan Stanley’s move isn’t driven so much by E*TRADE’s technology as much as it’s driven by access to the target’s retail clients… [has] average of $70,000 per client, less than one-tenth of Morgan Stanley’s average”’
- OKRs require product thinking to be successful, otherwise it’s just the same old same old - ‘You can’t take your old organization based on feature teams, roadmaps and passive managers, then overlay a technique from a radically different culture, and expect that will work or change anything.’
- Austin #1 in jobs - ‘Among Austin’s enviable stats from 2019: Unemployment was at 2.7%, or fifth best in the nation. Its labor force participation also ranked fifth at 70.3%. Meanwhile, wages grew at 5%, good for third place. And labor force growth came in at 1.6% — or 17th best, the data show.’
- Scaling Spotify guilds: good for onboarding and culture transformation - ‘So, do we recommend other companies to establish CoPs or guilds? The importance of implementing such parallel structures has been debated, and they do typically occupy the backseat in agile transformations and agile method implementations. However, Spotify experience shows that domain-specific, professional guilds is an important support for the squads and squad members. Guilds help new engineers get up to speed more quickly saving time for their colleagues. Guilds provide forums to tackle shared, emerging problems and opportunities with response times much shorter than individual experts would be able to provide. Besides, guilds’ yearly events connect people across locations that would otherwise never meet. Therefore, we do recommend others consider cultivating participation culture in general and CoPs/guilds in particular.’
- Food, we can all agree on food - ‘In the last year there’s been so much travel, so much overscheduling, that lately I think I’ve forgotten what I like to eat. So I’m trying to do tiny little things to find joy.’
- Finishing books is overrated - ‘They are often very pretty to look at. You also feel you can read them in small bites, or you can read only a single chapter or section. The compulsion to finish is relatively weak, a good thing. You can feel you have consumed them without reading them at all, a true liberation, which in turns means you will read them as you wish to.’
- Engagement rates - ‘An average engagement rate is between 1% and 3% for influencers, with most rates dropping every 100,000 followers or so. ‘
- Generation X values - ‘They’ve seen first-hand that much is outside their control. They value loyalty, responsibility, justice, and yes, success. Gen X also differs from other generations for how they emphasize simplicity and trustno excess or drama here, please.’
- Intuit developers’ experience using kubernetes - ‘It’s not quite at the level we would like. For example, if services have a hiccup or a Kubernetes pod goes down, developers still need the level of knowledge to look at the logging and understand what happened. But they don’t need to understand how to manage clusters or namespaces, they don’t have to deal with auto-scaling.’
- Analysis of Koch buying Infor - ‘While Infor is widely considered to be the third largest ERP vendor, with a 5 percent to 6 percent share of the ERP market (according to Gartner and IDC, respectively), the company is not a serious challenger to ERP heavyweights Oracle and SAP, which reported fiscal 2019 revenues of $39.5 billion and €27.5 billion (about $30.1 billion), respectively. Infor reported $3.2 billion in revenue for fiscal 2019, which was just 3.0 percent higher than the prior year, according to Infor’s fiscal 2019 results (the company was not required to disclose financials, but did so anyway, ostensibly to build goodwill among prospective investors who value clarity in corporate governance). Over a decade ago, the company touted in excess of 70,000 customers. Today, that number is 68,000, despite continued acquisitions.’
- Media tools, not social media - ‘Here’s the thing though as part of the unlearning process I’m currently going through. As a starting point, the social tools are everything, but social nowadays. I, for instance, stopped calling these tools social media a few years back and instead decided to stick around with just media tools… Because that’s what we’ve decided to convert them to over time. A series of manipulative online tools that allow us to toot our own horn about how good and well crafted our own selling and marketing messages are. We have decided to stop listening altogether. Instead, we’ve now become the product we’d want to sell to others, and, as a result, decided to stop conversing with those who we once called our own social networks or community spaces where conversations were the new currency.’
- Warm handoffs from the community - ‘“Any of the tasks that DevRel should be doing need to be directly tracked back to the corporate goals,” Thengvall said… She argues every DevRel person should be leveraging customer resource management software (CRM) to track all that she previously dubbed “warm hand-offs.”… Thengvall says a CRM helps support a mix of measurability and owning your community — instead of risking them just getting dumped into the newsletter list. These “DevRel qualified leads” are owned by the developer advocate, who then makes introductions. Does someone have a great use case? Introduce them to marketing to produce a blog post. Somebody giving really solid feedback? Intro them to the product team as a beta tester. Someone really enthusiastic about your product and great at coding? An intro to HR may be in order.’
- IDC review’s VMware’s $10bn year - ‘Fiscal year 2019 was a watershed year for VMware as it achieved over $10 billion in revenues, executed two of the largest acquisitions (Pivotal and Carbon Black) in the company’s history, expanded its vast partnership network (i.e. Telcos, MSP, ISVs, AWS), announced Kubernetes run-time and management tools, and continued to extend its product portfolio into new enterprise IT buying centers. The company also announced new security products, and a security strategy and vision now called its Intrinsic Security Strategy. At the same time, the company closed more $10 million plus deals than at any time prior. New pricing and delivery models emerged via SaaS delivered products and subscription pricing.’
- Gender drives hand washing motivations - ‘The most effective messages increased the use of soap by 10 percent, but effects varied by gender: messages focused on how soap kills germs worked best for women, whereas men responded to those that triggered disgust.’
A whole lot of travel has been canceled for me. VMware has a policy that you can’t travel across international boarders. Living in tiny The Netherlands, this means I’m grounded for awhile. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to catch up on the queue of work and ideas (I’m hoping to take some kubernetes courses and think up an outline of a new book - ‾_(ツ)_/‾).