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Archive: March 5, 2009

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we might as well win

Thursday,  03/05/09  10:47 PM

We might as well win - Johan BruyneelNon-cycling fans might not know the name Johan Bruyneel, but in cycling circles he's a legend; not only was he a great professional rider himself, but as the Team Director for Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador he's won eight Tours de France in nine years.  As a Coach/Manager this puts him in John Wooden / Vince Lombardi / Joe Torre territory.  So he wrote a book called We Might as Well Win, and being a cycling fan and owning a Kindle, I figured I might as well read it. 

Last night I downloaded it, sort of as an impulse buy, and idly started reading it.  Wow.  What a great book

I had pretty low expectations, I guess I thought it would be your usual run-of-the-mill athlete memoir, but the philosophy and approach is fascinating.  Within five pages you can see why he's been so successful, and why he's been able to help a world-class athlete like Lance become a universe-class athlete.  It is really well written, interesting, and useful; I honestly felt myself putting some of what he writes about into practice today.  (Interestingly, some of it ties closely to the Tyranny Antidote stuff, like focusing on what's important and eliminating distractions.)

I've only gotten about 1/3 of the way through it so far and am pretty excited about going to bed tonight just so I can continue.  Stay tuned for more...


the power of babies

Thursday,  03/05/09  11:05 PM

I have a good friend whose sister delivered a baby girl today (congratulations!).  She emailed pictures, and as I'm looking at this teeny little being I was overcome by emotion.  There is something amazingly powerful about babies.  Of course we are all hardwired for reacting to babies; evolution has seen to it that we think they're cute and want to care for them.  Babies hit us at a deep level.

But the emotion I felt wasn't just about the baby girl, it was about the parents, and my friend, and me, and everyone whose lives were touched by this event.  (Maybe about you, too, reading this blog post!)  It brings us all back to what's important.  These are weird times, wherein it's been possible to lose all the material things you've worked hard to gain over ten+ years in six months.  Which makes you wonder, what's the point?  And then you consider this baby girl, and you think about the paths that led to her existence, and the road ahead for her - paved with the unknown, as Tolkein says - and you realize what's really important, and it isn't your big house or your fancy car, it's your family and your friends.

This ties in pretty nicely with the philosophy of Johan Bruyneel, who advocates focusing relentlessly on the things which matter, and with the tongue-in-cheek-but-really-good Tyranny Antidote, which includes pruning away the things which don't.  I think I'm going to go spend a few minutes with my daughter :)


Thursday,  03/05/09  11:41 PM

Today was a day of deep work, immersed in coding, on negative time trying to fix some bugs and ship something.  I tried to practice the Tyranny Antidote, eliminate all distractions, focus.  I was somewhat successful at this, but somewhat unsuccessful at the debugging.  A tough slog remains, and I'm traveling to Boston tomorrow for a conference.  Whew.

Okay; I haven't made a filter pass in a couple of days, and it's all happening...

stock market "gyrations" since stimulus announcedObama claims he's not worrying about the "gyrations" in the stock market.  Riight.  The chart at right shows what has happened to the Dow since the stimulus package was announced.  The markets are clearly pissed off.

David Brooks: This is not the Obama I thought I knew.

Glenn Reynolds: Actually, it's the same Obama it always was.

Bill Quick: Same thing, same results.  "California spends far more than it takes in, despite having some of the highest taxes in the United States. It is hostile to business, and the middle class is fleeing in droves...  Does any of this sound familiar? It’s what Obama and the Democrats have in mind as a 'solution' for the rest of the country."  I hope not.

Oh, and meanwhile 8 million mortgage holders are now under water.  California lost $1.2T in real estate value last year, accounting for about half of those mortgages.

The WSJ considers the boutique banks which thrived taking dot-com businesses public, and wonders will the four horsemen ride again?  I sure hope so; an IPO market for venture-backed companies is a good thing for innovation, the economy, and everyone...

StatoilHydro headquarters in NorwayCool green building of the day: the StatoilHydro headquarters in Norway.

Thou shalt not text until Easter.  When 21st century technology meets 1st century religion, weirdness results.

Michael Arrington thinks it is time to start thinking of Twitter as a search engine.  I think it is time to start thinking of Michael Arrington as a koolaid drinking fool.  I could be wrong but I still think the Twitter emperor is not wearing any clothes.

DaVinci surgical robotRobots!  The Boston Globe's Big Picture delivers again.  As many of you know my daughter Megan had open-heart surgery performed via robotic arm seven years ago, when she was four.  That technology was incredible, but it has become even more amazing since...

This makes me happy: VB 6 supported in Win 7.  The ice age has been postponed and the dinosaur lives on :)  This was almost a given considering how many of Microsoft’s customers continue to use VB 6 because of difficulties and incompatibilities with migrating to VB.NET; not little companies like Aperio but little companies like Texaco and GE and Nabisco and State Farm and Walmart, where most of the internal applications are written in VB.  Still it is good to have it confirmed...

Zooborn: baby WombatZooBorn of the day: a baby Wombat.

Josh Newman: remember when I used to blog?  I, too have found blogging about not blogging to be a great way to start blogging again :)  Welcome back!


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Correlation vs. Causality
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Try, or Try Not
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visiting Titan
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On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
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how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
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your cat for my car
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world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
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introducing eyesFinder
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where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained