Who are your heroes? What must someone do to qualify as a hero in your book?

My heroes are the first responders and those who put their lives in harms way each day that I might enjoy freedom. But I know that freedom isn't free; it's often purchased with blood.

Rarely, however, do you get to meet the individual that paid for your freedom. This brief video tells the story of one individual who had just that opportunity.

Ten years later: remembering the man who led people to safety after terrorists struck the World Trade Center on September 11th - a former Boston College lacrosse player whose trademark was a red bandanna

While we reflect on the events of 10 years ago, let's not forget those heroes that routinely put their lives in harm's way for our safety and freedom.

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

According to Engadget, RIM received an 'open letter' from an disgruntled employee.  I won't speculate on whether the letter really was from a disgruntled employee or whether it was appropriate to post if it was - there's plenty of speculation in the comments. What interests me are the talking points from the letter and what takeaways might be applied to any company, mine or yours, large or small.

Let's take a look:

Focus on the End User experience

Apple raised the bar here and they raised it high. End users want to feel good about the tools they use. And so they should, it makes for happier more productive users. End users don't care about technology platforms - they care about how a product makes them feel about themselves, the benefit they get from the product, and yes - whether it's shiny or not.

Recruit Senior Software Leaders and enable decision-making

While this advice is important to organizations of any size, it's critical for large organizations to have teams that work well together with clear leadership. This leadership needs to extend to customer communication as well. Decision-making needs to be placed with the people that can have the greatest impact or at least consider these people in the process. New styles of management, including one I recently learned about: Holacracy appear to be an interesting way to help enable better decision-making across the organization.

Cut projects to the bone

To me this means, "choose your battles carefully". It's hard to fight on many fronts and do it well. Don't try to be all things to all people. Find a core competency and do it really well.

Developers, not Carriers, can now make or break us

Lots of ways to read into this, but I'm not going to draw conclusions about any companies I know. Let's simply say that the app store model has a place in many product strategies. Users and developers want to be involved, they want to contribute, they want to share what they have done and they want to profit by it. Give them a venue to do that and a community can thrive. Lock them down and they will find another way (or another product). I think back to the days of VisiCalc, SuperCalc, Lotus-123, and Excel. These products thrived because they met a need and anyone with a small degree of effort could create a solution with it and share it with others. We would not have seen this level of innovation if these tools had been locked down, read only. Can you think of other platforms/environments where this holds true?

Continue Reading "What can we learn from the 'Open Letter' to RIM?" »

The business of death - lessons learned

Sunday, June 26th, 2011
John David Head shares some valuable lessons learned from the recent passing of his father. Key points include:
  1. Paperwork is either your saving grace or your worse nightmare.
  2. Salespeople at cemeteries are the new low of low
  3. Emotional Attachment to things can make you do silly things
  4. Documents, Lists, and Storage
  5. Remember that even with death, your life must go on
To John's point #2, I am reminded of the time my brother an law and I accompanied my wife and her mother to help them select a casket for Kathy's father. I gritted my teeth through most of the sales pitch and attempted upsells (e.g. extra padding in the pillow, the kind of satin lining in the casket, or the type of plating on the fittings) but when the salesman got to the part about the 25 year warranty on the hardware I became (quietly) livid. It was all I could do not to burst out and ask why not a lifetime warranty? - it would have been just as valuable.

Apart from honoring your loved ones and letting them know they are loved - it's key to be prepared and ask the tough questions up front so you won't be alone making difficult decisions later. I think John provides a good starting point. From a spiritual perspective, there are other important questions to ask, sooner than later. The answers to these can provide great assurance and comfort during such times.

I appreciate John's willingness to share his experience. You can read his blog post here.

Go Home and Love your Wife! (No excuses)

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Dr. Voddie Baucham discussing the Importance of Marriage...
ManDrowingInBox115.jpgI've been socially disconnected since returning from Lotusphere. This is mostly due to big changes on the business and personal fronts. For starters, on the business side, we launched a new product, a new business model, and a new web site to tie it all together. If you have ever done anything like this you know how time consuming any of these can be, not to mention all three concurrently. I'm fortunate to work with an awesome team and Ryan Heathers, my director of consumer sales and marketing  did an amazing job coordinating all aspects of this project.

Things are busy at the Mack's, too. A move, a wife recovering from surgery, homeschool for the kids, two daughters getting ready for college, and Amy's world debut of her first orchestral score on Saturday. Her score will be performed by the GBC Praise Symphony Orchestra this weekend along with the West Coast Premier of Dan Goeller's presentation of The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde. I'm excited about all of these.

If you are in Santa Clarita on Saturday and want to attend the concert, let me know. If you use Lotus Notes and want to learn about eProductivity and the new free Essentials version, please check out the new site. If you want to tweet about either, I'd appreciate that, too.

Anyway, there's an update. I do plan to get back to the social side of things soon.

Love is...

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Opening up the refrigerator to find a plate of freshly iced cookies from my daughter.

Thanks Kelly, you made daddy's day.

Love, Dad.

Why I Love My 3D Printer

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

The last time I blogged about 3D printing was in 2004 when I visited my friend Bill Griffin invited me to have a look at The Ultimate PC Accessory, a Stratasys Fused Deposition Machining (FDM) system.

Unfortunately, I can probably list 100,000 rea$on$ why I would not be getting one any time soon.

Six years later, a 10-year-old 3D printer hacker who goes by the name DocProfSky shows us how you can build your own 3D printer for about a thousand dollars.

Before you get caught up in how cool the technology is, watch the presentation skills of this young man at the Ignite Phoenix event.

MakerBot is an affordable, open source 3D printer. It makes almost anything up to 4"x4"x6". Build your own MakerBot and it makes things for you.

I haven't built one of these yet, but it's definitely on my Someday/Maybe list.