Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Technology Explodes in Space

As if the entire space industry is tied to Moore’s Law, the prediction that “[technology] performance will double every two years”, space innovation and the pursuit of applications with off world technological advancements seems to be accelerating and doubling at explosive rates.

For example, there are now “10 spaceports in the nation” (1) with “eight non-governmental facilities in the entire country (that) received FAA licensing approval to operate as spaceports” (2). In no particular order these spaceports include the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, California Spaceport, Oklahoma Spaceport, Cape Canaveral Spaceport, Cecil Spaceport, Mojave Air & Space Port, Spaceport America, and Kodiak Launch Complex. There’s also SpaceX Spaceport which is under development in Texas (4) and Spaceport Puerto Rico. Around the globe there are even more spaceports in places like China, Dubai, Kazakhstan, Russia, Algeria, Kenya, South Korea, Australia, Japan, French Guiana, India, Israel, Marshall Islands, Iran, and Sweden (5).

Many of these spaceports are sending up satellites into low Earth orbit, others are sending astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) and even others have plans to launch humans and innovative technologies to the moon and Mars. So how can you get involved in this explosive technological advancement that is influencing and shaping our world?

I offer the following for your consideration: NextPhase Foundation

NextPhase is leading multiple opportunities for technology and space innovation by bridging the gap between entrepreneurs and the technology industry. For example, they have secured an agreement with NASA in a collaborative effort to expand education and entrepreneurial programs as part of the Space Act Agreement. Working with multiple partners across the technology and space industry, public and private sectors, NextPhase is executing a creative and inclusive approach to all things innovation. In 2017 they are launching a Technology Transfer Startup Challenge! Teams will get the opportunity to compete and develop innovative technologies by leveraging NASA patented IP (6).

As many of you may know, I was honored with the opportunity to serve as an Advisor and Judge to NextPhase and the Technology Transfer Startup Challenge (respectively). I look forward to the opportunity to see incredible innovations as things progress and sharing the stories and opportunities that will develop. You can follow NextPhase on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.
  1. http://www.airspaceportok.com/
  2. http://www.gizmodo.com/
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spaceport_America/
  4. http://www.space.com/27234-spacex-texas-spaceport-groundbreaking.html
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rocket_launch_sites
  6. http://www.nextphasefoundation.org

Thursday, November 10, 2016

We choose to go to Mars

On September 12, 1962 our nation came together when John F. Kennedy gave his speech “we choose to go to the moon”. In his presentation he acknowledged that we would need to innovate new materials necessary to achieve our goal of landing humans on our celestial satellite. Then, on July 20, 1969 the United States Apollo 11 was the first of several manned missions to land on the moon's surface. Like a family that becomes stronger when every member works together to achieve a common goal, each of the states within the United States became stronger when they worked together to achieve a common vision that, at the time, was on a massive scale.

Throughout the decades, the ongoing pursuit of space exploration continued to make progress. For example, in 1977 the Voyager I was launched and it continued on a path toward outer space when, on August 25, 2012, Voyager I exceeded the boundaries of our solar system. To put this into perspective, this one event alone was 45 years of ongoing technological achievements. Meanwhile, in 1998 the first of several components for the construction of the International Space Station (ISS) was placed into low Earth orbit and additional components were added until the ISS was completed in 2011. As a result of the ISS, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) have accelerated and innovation has afforded, not only the United States, but the entire world to advance technological applications. These advancements have prepared us to pursue a new vision; to take humans beyond the boundaries of our moon.

We choose to go to Mars. This vision is shared among many who are passionate about STEM, passionate about space exploration, or passionate about exploring the unknown. From space tourism to colonizing Mars, technological innovation, imagination, and our future in human space exploration has been set in motion. It is a competitive collaboration among entrepreneurs where both private and public sectors from around the world have come together. It is a partnership where companies like SpaceX, Boeing, and Virgin Galactic work in collaboration with NASA to advance innovation and opportunity. It is Elon Musk at SpaceX announcing his plan to support the colonization of Mars and Richard Branson at Virgin Galactic paving the way for space tourism, where we as a nation are once again coming together as family to achieve a common goal.

The benefits of space exploration and colonizing Mars are beyond the scope of simple measure. The journey itself is filled with technological and innovative opportunities with many of these advancements being incorporated to support education at all levels. For example, organizations like NextPhase Foundation are working in collaboration with NASA to stimulate the development of innovative technologies through the application of NASA’s Technology Transfer Activities. The technologies discovered by our nation’s ability to go to the moon, our nation’s ability to send technology that is exploring the outer limits of our solar system, and our nation’s ability to collaboratively construct the ISS continues to benefit the whole of humanity. By choosing to go to Mars we will take the necessary steps of developing and advancing innovative ideas and we will leap forward, developing and improving technologies that will bring about positive social change for all humankind not only during the years it takes us to reach Mars, but in the decades and centuries to follow.

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Monday Coffee, room for cream

Every Monday morning I am blessed with the opportunity to mastermind with a colleague over coffee. We meet at Peet’s at 6 a.m. - shortly after they open for business. Now that I’m writing about it, it kind of reminds me of that show “Cheers” with the exception that this is the place we go before the start of the work day, also we meet for coffee not beer. However, the idea is still the same “sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name…” anyway, we say good morning to our extended family who are behind the counter grinding and preparing coffee. We place our order, I get dark roast with room for cream most days, and on occasion I’ll order a latte, and my colleague gets his coffee. We find a nearby table where we place our pens and notepads so they’re at the ready. With only one or two sips of that hot rich God given gift that breathes life back into our very souls and reminds the rest of our body to awaken to the opportunities that lie ahead, we begin our Monday.

Our meetings are filled with purpose. We share updates, insights, and we discuss our progress from the previous week. Then, after a brief discussion of last week’s success or character building days we roll into our plans for the weeks, months and years ahead. It could be considered a type of vision quest or a form of awakened meditation. Whatever you’d like to call it (mastermind), it’s an incredible experience. I highly recommend it for anyone seeking high levels of achievements.

This past week I was introduced to a new book called The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra. It’s a well written book that is designed to take less than an hour to read. It does not disappoint. I want to suggest that the concepts and philosophy of the author’s message helped to bridge the gaps of understanding life’s purpose, but instead I would suggest that its ability to bridge these gaps depends on where someone is at in terms of what they’re looking to understand. In either case, it was a good book to read and it helped to improve my vision of how the dots are connected, so to speak.

While many of us hold daily or weekly meetings at the office or with our colleagues, these meetings may not be the same as a mastermind meeting outside of the office walls. For example, the conversational topics of the meetings on Monday mornings are not limited and there’s no pressure to say the wrong or right thing. Also, we do not judge each other, but instead we offer perspectives and insight. The meetings help us to see and build something extraordinary in our minds eye and we guide each other by helping to work out the details. Step by step we work our way backward in order to bring about the vision into reality. It’s an incredible process that I would encourage others to explore.

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Dry Erase Office

Over the past few months my office has been under construction. That is to say, my team and I are looking for a larger office location that will provide us with greater opportunity to meet the needs of our clients. During this transition I have been working remotely out of my home office. The layout of my home office is great! On one wall there are five white boards. Each white board serves a purpose. One is for weekly goal setting, another for daily planning, another for reminding me of the mission and vision, and another for brainstorming and quick notes. This is where things have to change; I need a larger brainstorming wall. My home office is in need of a make-over! Well…at least one wall needs an upgrade.

I have a large stock pile of dry erase paint that I plan to use to convert one of my office walls into a brainstorming dry erase wall. When it’s finished, I will be able to throw up ideas on the wall. Since I’m involved in research, strategy and innovative solutions, the dry erase wall will be a fantastic tool for developing and conceptualizing ideas. It will satisfy my need to connect the dots, so to speak, between organizational needs and opportunities using abstract thought. Don’t start-ups use this concept?

The dry erase office reminds me of a movie, “A Beautiful Mind” starring Russell Crowe. Which is a bit unsettling. At one point in the movie when the film crew gets a shot of the professors office, the walls are covered in newspapers and miscellaneous clippings that make no sense. I often wonder if that scene was a cover up to make the professor look psychologically questionable… At least my dry erase wall will not have pieces of paper covering the wall, but it will have many abstract thoughts all connected by lines, words and illustrations.

In some sense of reality my dry erase office is an outside representation of my thought process. It surrounds me every day, it provides a road map for strategy and solutions, and it offers an opportunity to capture innovative ideas. I guess the next challenge is to incorporate some kind of technology where my home office is transcribed and duplicated at my soon to be new office. That way, all of my dry erase office wall thoughts can follow me to the other office without having to disrupt the process. Just thinking outside of the “office”…

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

5 a.m. No Alarm

I remember when I was in high school and I had to get up at 6 a.m. to get ready for school. Every morning I would keep hitting the snooze button until 7 a.m. rolled around. Then, at 7:05 a.m. I would jump out of bed and was ready to go in 15 minutes. I lived with my mom and three brothers in the hidden hills of Sonoma County. I was the youngest. In order to make it to the school bus stop I had to run down the side of a hill that would cross the yard of two neighbors. Most of the time I would arrive early to the bus stop, but for some reason it seemed like the bus was always late except on the days that I was late, then the bus was on time and I had to find a ride to school. While back in the days when 7 a.m. required multiple snooze alarms just to get me up and running, nowadays I don’t even need an alarm. Something changed…

I was introduced to The Peoples Network (TPN) in my early 20’s. TPN was an amazing program filled with entrepreneurs, business advisors, motivational speakers, and wealth management experts. It was a resource that I used to learn more about how to increase success and how to embrace life. Unfortunately, when I was in my 20’s I had no idea what I wanted out of life. I knew a job was important, but I never really defined what I wanted from a career. Anyway, TPN is gone and the internet was born. Access to information, experts, and advisors became more readily available and so I continued to listen, read, and get involved in things of developmental interest. YouTube was and still is a great resource for finding motivational speakers and educators. Attending events and organizing events also because a great way to connect with like-minded people.

Today, I follow three basic daily principles:
  1. Read what’s important to my field of study
  2. Meet people who share the same interests
  3. Execute a plan of action to achieve my goals
This may sound simple enough, but it requires consistent action. It also requires me to set high standards and expectations that pull me forward. The daily rituals that I aim to achieve are not just things that I want or need, they are things that I must achieve. It’s a do or die mentality. To remind me of my goals I have a daily schedule written down on a white board in my office. I read my action plan every morning and I mentally check off the list as I complete each task. This practice keeps my self-confidence high, it increases my energy, and it inspires me to do more. I also start my morning early. If you were to ask my friends what time am I get up in the morning they would probably tell you that I’m up before the rest of the world wakes up; it depends on which friends you ask. Essentially, I have been getting up at 5 a.m. for so many years that I no longer need an alarm. I naturally wake up at 5 a.m. Sometimes I’m up at 4 a.m., but that’s just crazy talk.

There is a point to all of this. Success is defined by what we do every day. Small changes that we do everyday will add up to long-term changes. Here’s what my day looks like; at 5 a.m. I start my day listening to Les Brown, Jim Rohn or Napoleon Hill. I open up YouTube and select something new in the area of personal development. While I’m listening to these experts of business, financial investors, etc., I’m stretching, running in place, and putting in the time for an early morning workout. Then, I get my newest member of the family, my Siberian Husky, and take her out for our morning run. When I get back I feed all the animals including the chickens, who aren’t even out of the coup because it’s too early for them. At 6 a.m. I work on my life goals, action plans, action steps, timelines and measurable outcomes for each area that I’m working to improve and achieve. By the time 6:45 a.m. rolls around I’m reviewing the stock market and getting a glimpse of opportunities. Then, at 7 a.m. I start my work day and I execute a plan of action for my employer. By this hour I’m full of energy and ready to take on the days challenges.

My daily routine helps me to expand my perspective and see things from multiple viewpoints. I’m able to identify opportunities, view difficult situations from a positive approach, and I am able to see challenging days as character building days. By the end of the day (3:30 p.m.) I complete my work day and begin family time with my wife and children. I will even take an hour to do some gardening; a little meditation (me time).

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Lunch with a Developer

I received an email this morning from a Developer I met last year through social networking. He asked if I wanted to meet sometime during the week while he was in town for a few days. We grabbed lunch at Hot Italian in Sacramento. Then, we shared stories about some of the technology projects that he worked on and I shared stories about some of the projects that I worked on. We both discussed some of the challenges we faced in different areas of development and the process we used to meet those challenges. Of course we also did a flashback to the days of DOS and VB. Then we went right back to today’s technology and explored where things are taking us in terms of BigData and IoT. We connected the dots so to speak. Toward the end of lunch he explained that when we first met online a year ago he had sent me his resume and requested feedback on how he could improve his resume presentation. After I provided feedback he applied the changes. Now, a year later he made it to California and he wanted to connect with me over lunch so that he could say "thank you" in person. Incredible!

While it’s not always possible to meet everyone for lunch and have a one-on-one in-person conversation, I do believe that it’s important that we make an effort to get out there and connect with people beyond the phone and computer screens. Casual meetings, a cup of coffee or a game of tennis are great ways for getting to know someone.

On that note, who’s up for lunch? I’m hosting a Free Lunch event on Tuesday, September 13 in Sacramento. It’s from 11:30 – 12:30 p.m. We will be having a guest speaker, Matthew Royal, MarkLogic Sr. Consultant joining us. You can RSVP by going to http://www.meetup.com/Technology-Leaders/

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Radio Guest Speaker

Good morning! Happy Tuesday!

Dr. Andy Jones, Academic Associate Director of Academic Technology Services at UC Davis, recently invited me to be a guest speaker on KDVS 90.3 FM in September. This will be my first radio appearance. I'm looking forward to the experience.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Inside the Mind of a Tech Recruiter

When I look back over the years I can see how the interview process has changed. For example, when I was searching for my first job it was more about my willingness to learn and whether or not I had reliable transportation to get to work on time. As time progressed the interviews began to include questions surrounding years of experience as it relates to the job. Nowadays there are online characteristic assessments, knowledge tests and certifications. Fast forward to tech recruiting...

So how does a tech recruiter put professional evaluations ahead of personal opinion in order to identify exceptional candidates during an interview? That is an excellent question!

Recruiters are often interviewing experts in their respective fields so we prepare in advance before the interview. We study the requirements by breaking down each of the skill sets needed and we ask the hiring manager questions to better understand the project. If we’re not familiar with a development language, we will make the effort to learn it and learn it quickly. We research its history, we compare and find common threads between other development languages, we get involved with meetups and dev groups and we attend classes. Yes, we will even download a Virtual Machine (VM) and examine and modify code. We also search online for tech blogs and we develop tech questions by considering topics from current technology discussions. We research answers to our interview questions and we consider other possible solutions. Then we began the interview process. One interview after another we evaluate the responses from multiple candidates as we distinguish differences from one response to the next. We carryout phone interviews, Skype interviews and in-person interviews (when needed).

The idea behind all the researching is to insure that we execute an interview process that will effectively measure a candidate’s many abilities and reduce the recruiters influence of personal opinion. Measuring a candidate’s abilities include gauging their knowledge of the technology language in question, their skills in finding solutions to language barriers, and their ability to provide examples that illustrate other skill sets like a candidate’s ability to recognize their limitations and their willingness to ask others for assistance (teamwork!).

Over the years interviews from Customer Service to Sales and from Quality Assurance to Executive Leaders has led to identifying different interview response patterns. These emerging patterns help in identifying exceptional and qualified candidates. For example, does a candidate provide clear examples of projects they've worked on and the process involved in its success or failure? Yes, it’s actually true that exceptional candidates have worked on projects that failed!

As organizations began to advance the recruiting process and apply more data analytics to the interview mix we are going to see an emerging trend that will require recruiters to understand even more areas of statistical data and research. As this trend develops we are likely to see tech recruiters responsible and accountable for assembling extraordinary teams that will consider every level of development and management. The recruiting process will move away from individual hiring and focus on team hiring.

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Looking back to go Forward

As you know, we’ve discussed multiple topics ranging from “Keys to a Strong Resume Summary”- a brief look into what recruiters and hiring managers expect to see in a resume, to “That was a great solution!”- a perspective on the value of acknowledging others for their efforts. The goal of each discussion is to look at situations from a positive perspective. While it’s true that we could discuss negative events in our work lives or complain about the manner in which we felt ignored by someone in the work place, our ability to recognize what can be learned from these events and sharing this information with others can be insightful and encouraging.

Sharing knowledge gained from our personal struggles is one way we can help others to see that there is light at the end of a tunnel, even if it means that we have to turn around and head back. In other words, although we could share events from a point of anger and WIFM (What’s in it for me?) it seems to be more productive for everyone if we shared events from the point of opportunity and how our knowledge can help others succeed. This is not to suggest that we ignore our trials and the tribulations which brought us to our point of an epiphany. It’s simply to suggest that we avoid getting caught up in the negative energy that is often associated with the difficult path that helped to strengthen our character and our ability to persevere.

For example, I remember a time when I was six years old and my father, a business man, professional welder and general contractor, believed that it was necessary to punish me for not having the intuitive knowledge of knowing the names and use of every tool in his tool box. I recall a time when he was working on a welding machine out on the back patio of our home. I wanted to sit outside and watch my dad work. I looked up to him. Unfortunately, I had already learned that my father was not a patient person. Going to him for advice or asking him questions so that I could learn was not something that I would recommend to anyone. I learned to fear my father and how he would respond to situations. It kept me from learning from his incredible knowledge and personal life experiences. When my dad worked I knew that he expected me to help with the level of knowledge that a seasoned professional might have. I knew that I couldn’t offer him any value at that time because I didn’t have any knowledge that could be of use to his standards. As I was standing inside our house next to the sliding glass door I watched him work. He took the welding machine apart and he was troubleshooting the problems. My curiosity and admiration of how my father was able to repair machines kept my attention. Then, my father caught sight of me and asked me to bring him a tool. After that I knew I would be in trouble because when he asked for certain tools I had no idea what he was talking about.

Rather than going into the details of the negative events that transpired I learned that we all need to take time to understand the strengths and opportunities of others. Whether they are our friends, family or colleagues, it’s important that we understand each other’s skill sets and abilities. Having this knowledge will help us to understand how everyone can contribute. This knowledge will add value to not only completing projects, but it will add to the value of recognition of others. In terms of co-workers, it can help us identify training needs or apprenticeship opportunities. Taking a positive approach that is geared at helping others succeed will have a positive impact for years to come.

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

That was a great solution!

What would it feel like to be acknowledged for a solution you suggested, implemented, or supported? I guess that would depend on who you are, how you interpret feedback, and perhaps what the circumstances were during the time you were acknowledged. People respond to feedback differently, including positive feedback. The reason for these different responses can be generalized into many categories, but we will use three main ideas in this example; self-perception, perception of others and environment.

Self-perception (i.e. life experiences, self-perceived value, expectations) is how you view yourself. It affects how you interpret situations. For example, maybe you’ve experienced a tough situation at home where a family member was hospitalized, maybe you’re mentally preparing to run a marathon, or maybe you feel self-doubt about your ability to meet the standards of others because you’ve experienced failure in the past. These life events affect how you view yourself and they influence how you interpret feedback from others.

Perception of others (i.e. body language, authority figure, appearance) is how you interpret others. The presentation of others could include the way they dress, the facial cues they communicate, a fragrance they’re wearing, their tone of voice and other verbal and non-verbal cues. All of these human to human signals could remind us of past situations where we experienced a positive or negative emotion. When these emotions are triggered, good or bad, it could affect how you perceive others and this in-turn could affect how you interpret feedback.

Environment (i.e. timing, location, events) can be easily explained by using scenes from a movie. For example, the hero in a movie is saved by a girl who managed to stop a bad guy from getting the hero. The hero dialogues with the girl about how thankful he is that she saved his life. They talk about how if it was only seconds later it would have been too late. Meanwhile other people are trapped inside a burning building, the other bad guys are getting away, a top secret device is being stolen and the audience is yelling at the TV screen to get on with it! Seriously…! Was that the time to take a 5-minute break from all the havoc just to acknowledge someone for the value they added to the situation? Couldn’t a simple “thank you” suffice for the time being and then after all the events have cooled off come back and spend the same 5-minutes to express gratitude? Maybe the hero could offer to take her out for coffee or lunch, give her a thank you card and emphasize the real value that her actions brought to the successful outcome of the situation. It’s been said that timing is everything and in situations for offering feedback, the environment can affect how you interpret feedback.

We can’t always anticipate how positive feedback will be interpreted. Sometimes a simple “thank you” will suffice. However, if it’s followed by “you’re doing a great job, let’s get together for lunch this Thursday” that would be an entirely new level of awesome. Acknowledgments go a long way. They offer a boost in someone’s confidence, it motivates others to keep up the good work, and it reminds others that they are important. It’s critical that we engage and acknowledge others for their efforts. We can only hope that the message will be well received.

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Technology drives Human Factors

How far will the advancements in technology take us? I remember when I first attended college I became passionate about understanding people. I wanted to identify how and why people respond differently to given situations. Technology has played a significant role in helping me to evaluate the data and with the ever increasing amount of new technology, which allows us to capture more and more information, the opportunity to evaluate data, make correlations, and identify cause and effect is becoming more readily available.

Analyzing data has always been fascinating. I remember during one of my psychology classes we were discussing the behavioral approach to psychology; the belief that environmental or external factors influence and shape our behavior. In this approach observation is a key element to understanding why an individual will respond a certain way to a given situation. For example, if there’s a fire in a bedroom one person will run out of the house for safety while another will find a fire extinguisher, return to the fire and attempt to put it out. Identifying and understanding why these two individuals respond differently to a situation could assist in determining what jobs would be the best fit. However, this is just one factor and it doesn’t exclude someone from a career. If, for example, the person who ran out of the house for safety wanted to become a fire fighter, then having the knowledge that they run away from fire could provide insight into the type of training they will require in order to help them overcome their behavioral response to fire.

With the advancement of technology, it’s possible that we could improve our understanding of how and why certain behaviors are triggered. Technology will enable us to analyze more variables and correlate other factors which influence human behavior. Technology will help us to more accurately determine cause and effect. This information will enable us to improve a behavior response so that a person could improve their skill sets and perform tasks that might not otherwise be possible in given situations.

Advancements in technology will continue to improve our ability to apply new methods for assessing human factor variables. These analytic processes will advance our understanding of human behavior and assessment tools like the Data Driven Approach to Hiring Talent, screening process for selecting Private Astronauts, and team development designed to improve organizational performance.

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

It's Not Me, it's You

Isn’t software development just like a relationship? We either make it work or we dump it and move on. So what is it about development that makes us push beyond those tough moments and overlook the little things? Is our long term vision of what we’re developing the key factor that pulls us forward? Is it our common purpose at work that helps to create our organizational culture? When like-minded people are pulled together because they share the same vision they become a support group for each other, they become the motivation, the drive and they protect each other from outside distractions; a culture develops.

Having a clear vision, a common goal, gives us direction.

So what happens when we reach our destination? What happens when we achieve our goal? Do we marvel at the success of our work? Do we take a deep breath and smile? Or do we dwell in the hard times that we had to overcome in order to achieve our goal? In my own personal experiences it’s usually a quick celebration that could last a few hours over sushi and beer or a weekend break to reflect on the long awaited success. However, it doesn’t take long before I begin thinking about the next project and I start to feel the pull of wanting to get back to the adventure of working with my team and pursuing the next goal.

What is the vision that you share with your colleagues? Do they share the same vision?

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Everything you need to know about Technology

If you ever wonder why we innovate, develop and improve technology, just look at my daughter's smile as she's enjoying a Popsicle made with state of the art refrigeration. It's all about the end user.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Winter during Summer

Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall are often used as a metaphor to refer to the seasons of change as they relate to life. Initially, when I first heard of this idea of applying the seasons to life plans my perspective was more of what I actually do during the winter. I would get stuck on the fascination of winter, never going beyond my personal experiences. For example, I enjoy the winter in terms of skiing down the slopes or building an igloo with my daughter. During the winter I relax with a cup of hot chocolate and mini-marshmallows or a bowl of popcorn while watching a Star Wars trilogy. My ability to apply the metaphor in terms of how it relates to preparing for life and what’s to come never went beyond my actual life experiences until I had children. Once I understood the metaphor it was a life changing moment.

In terms of software development the winter could be a time when Murphy pays a visit (Murphy’s law: “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”). For example, when my colleague and I were improving the response time for end users to retrieve customer information from a SQL database we kept running into a script error in dev. At first it was a simple syntax fix where the wrong character was being used, but when the syntax was no longer the issue it was discovered that the real issue was far worse. Years back we hard coded several pages in order to quick fix something that was crashing our system. After we fixed the issue we had to get back to what we were originally working on at the time and we put off making a more practical, permanent fix to the temporary hard code solution. So as time moved forward we forgot about the hard code. When the problem resurfaced we spent weeks going through the lines of code to properly address the issues. Most of our time was spent recalling the original problem. This event occurred at a time when we were launching new products, increasing sales, and enjoying the fruits of the year. It was our summer that was interrupted by a brief winter. Just like the winter season when plants stop growing and things freeze over our development stopped progressing and we were feeling the pressure from clients and our sales team to get the next release published.

It’s never a question of whether or not seasons will change, it’s a question of when. Making a plan, allowing time for Murphy and being at the ready to address unexpected changes in the seasons of life will help you meet these opportunities and character building days. Sometimes winters can be long, but it helps to understand that just like the changing of seasons it will pass and make way for spring.

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.