This week found me and my shadow in Redmond again on errands obscura. Going from meeting to meeting to meeting this week, I recalled a sage warning by Eddie Churchill when he was handling much of the Microsoft technical liaison a few years ago: “You thought you had it tough in the bad old days when Microsoft was our sworn enemy? That was nothing! Microsoft-our-best-friend could be a much more serious problem – they could love us to death!”
Eddie’s argument: If only 1% of all the Microsoft product groups requested a meeting to open a technology or business conversation with Borland, Borland’s schedule would be booked solid for months. Since techheads are needed at some level in such discussions (we hope / when we’re lucky), and techheads are a key part of Borland product development, keeping the techheads in meetings has a direct impact on product schedules and revenue. No malicious intent is necessary.
His point: We (Borlanders) have to keep our bright-shiny-object lust in check to avoid getting drawn off in too many directions at once. If we spread ourselves too thin, we run the risk of getting nothing done at all. We have to have the discipline to sometimes turn down good ideas in order to ensure we have the focus and bandwidth to carry through on the really great ideas.
Don’t worry – I don’t think we’re being smothered yet. The thought just crossed my mind as I was hopping from one meeting to the next on vastly diverse topics. There is certainly no shortage of irons available to put on the fire.
SciFi Night Out
Allen and I had the good fortune to hook up with Chris Anderson and Chris Sells after dinner this week, and for reasons that are far too simple to explain rationally we ended up at the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle. Now there’s a scary image: four uber-geeks waxing nostalgic at display case of plastic phasers, replica light sabers, and future-fashion pajama uniforms. Chris Anderson made some remark about the geekiness of hanging out at the SciFi Museum. I countered with the observation that hanging out with Chris Anderson at the SciFi Museum is well beyond mortal geekdom. He was speechless (laughing, shock) for seconds.
What was truly frightening/embarassing/incriminating was the impromptu “name that movie” game that evolved as we wandered through the exhibits. The game itself was fine. What was incriminating was how well we knew the answers. Actually, the game started out as “name that movie” and evolved into “name that movie, the character who used that sidearm, who they shot with it, and whether they were left or right handed”. I was quietly laughing at the absurdity of all this until we came to the (very cool) ship observation deck. Somebody digitally composited space ships from dozens of movies into a spaceport scene, with ships flitting in and out like so many 600 ton sparrows. I was mesmerized. Enterprise, Voyager, DS9, Discovery (2001), Nostromo (Alien), Buck Rogers, Farscape, and on and on. There was a wee bit of disagreement about the Nostromo until Allen noticed the sillouette identification key below the observation port. Just like at the zoo! (and actually, the ship shown was the Nostromo’s launch, not the main ship itself) No Klingon or Romulan birds of prey, though.
Eating of Minds
Allen and I had lunch with Chuck Jazdzewski (who swears he will never have a blog) and caught up on all things not work related. Later, the three of us met with Anders (Hejlsberg) for coffee. He asked how Delphi was doing, what’d we’d been doing with it, that sort of thing. He seemed pleased to hear Delphi is still going strong and evolving to stay current and competitive.
So what does all this have to do with software development? That would be the errands obscura part. Basically, it boils down to xxxxxx xxxx xxxxxx, discussed possibility of xxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxx with xxxxxx. Their response was xxxxx xxxxxx xxxxx, so we’ll have to xxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxx and xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxxx before xxxxxx xxxxx. Xxxxxx xxxxx xxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxx xxxxx xxx xx xxxxxxxxx xx x xxxxxxxxx x xxxx xxxxx xxxx xx, to which Paul Lynde replied “Who told you about my elephant?”