This is an updated test from LiveWriter
A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. – William Shedo
It was a beautiful midsummer morning on the porch at the local cafe, and I savored my coffee and blueberry muffin, while the outdoor ceiling fans turned idly overhead. But shortly, into the reverie intruded a young family on a breakfast outing. A young woman had clearly brought her kids, husband, and her parents out that morning for breakfast on a lovely day.
It seemed that this family must certainly hold the center of the bell curve — a 30-ish couple, parents of toddlers, and a 60-something couple clearly enjoying their role as relatively new grandparents. Watching this prototypical family while avoiding the flying food debris created by the toddlers revealed a lot about how our goals and actions change during our lives.
The children of course operate on entirely short term goals — like getting bits of muffin into their mouths and figuring out how to run around the table while still satisfying their hunger.
But the young parents certainly had developed a more complex set of goals. They wanted to have children, to make enough money to support them, to nurture them, and undoubtedly to see them grow into mature and independent adults on their own.
The grandparents gave me pause however, for I wondered if many of their most cherished life goals had been met already and how they felt about that. They’d obviously raised a lovely young woman, cared for her, provided for her education, and seen her produce offspring which clearly delighted them.
But were these people now satisfied with their life? Do they now hunger for something more? Having achieved a primary goal of all parents, are they now ready to rest and be satisfied. While I never asked them, my feeling is that they are not satisfied nor should they, or any of us, be. Humans have a hunger for the future and want to see it and participate in it.
Our ability to think in the future, to plan actions, and to set and achieve goals is what separates us from the apes after all. But it is not just figuring out how to avoid embarrassment at the hands of a 4-year-old or what to have for lunch. All of us yearn for higher purpose, for more abstract and even unobtainable goals.
Author Robert Heinlein said, “In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.” And indeed, experience has shown that, while we must live in the “now”, we must also have an eye on the future. Once we give up on our goals and dreams, we give up a portion of what makes us human…. and alive.
Please send your letters of support to: benedictxvi-at-vatican.va
To the Holy Father,
Thank you for your courage in speaking forthrightly and for inviting members of the Islam faith to constructive engagement. I respect your right, and the right of all Christians to speak favorably about our religion and to invite others to peaceful and meaningful discussion about the nature of the world’s faiths.
The fact that your invitation was met with hostility, threats, violence against church property, and even murder, should not dissuade us from our support of Christianity. Neither should we feel a need to apologize for our words of faith, nor should we be surprised when some religious leaders inspire their followers to the very behaviors which reinforce the descriptions which so offend them.
Holy Father, I shall encourage all Americans to join me in thoughtful prayer for your continued leadership, and for the family of Sister Leonella, a martyr in the cause of peace and freedom.
Richard C Rumbaugh
In memory of Scott Blackwood, and many other horsemen.
Just a Horse!
From time to time, people tell me, “lighten up, it’s just a horse,” or, ” that’s a lot of money for just a horse”.
They don’t understand the distance traveled, the time spent, or the costs involved for “just a horse.” Some of my proudest moments have come about with “just a horse.”
Many hours have passed and my only company was “just a horse,” but I did not once feel slighted. Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by “just a horse,” and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of “just a horse” gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.
If you, too, think it’s “just a horse,” then you will probably understand phrases like “just a friend,” “just a sunrise,” or “just a promise.” “Just a horse” brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy.
“Just a horse” brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person. Because of “just a horse” I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future.
So for me and folks like me, it’s not “just a horse” but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.
“Just a horse” brings out what’s good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day. I hope that someday they can understand that it’s not “just a horse” but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being “just a man.”
So the next time you hear the phrase “just a horse” just smile, because they “just” don’t understand.
– Author Unknown
Ray Lane of venture capital titan, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers, has posted a compelling essay on his “7 Laws for the New Software Landscape”. It’s an excellent piece, and worth reading in its entirety.
But the key messages are delivered in laws 2, 5, and 7. And all of them have to do with the changing role of IT in the typical enterprise.
Virally adopted – Users will hear about it via word of mouth. Someone downloaded it and is saying, “Try this.”
First, software success in the new era will largely come from viral marketing and viral adoption. Of course, it has long been a universal truth that end-users will adopt and implement technology that suits them, bypassing IT if possible. But the technology and the new business models embrace this concept and exploit it as never before.
Delivers instantaneous value – As soon as users begin to use the application, they realize its value. There is no waiting period or return that is based on usage by a larger group.
Second, the software must deliver value to the end-users instantly. Forget the long process of gathering requirements, and developing software, and deploying it globally. And if they’re not careful, forget IT, too.
Minimal IT footprint – CIOs are critical in determining how technology is utilized by the company but no longer have to make all the decisions. Ideally, products should be able to be adopted without IT’s approval.
Here, the advice is explicit — go outside of IT, at least to start with. Now, it must be said that if the new software is to become an enterprise-wide success, that IT must be engaged, in order to connect to networks, security systems, directories, email systems and the like. However, I wonder if IT really understands the threat that is out there to its traditional role and existence?
Read the whole article.
[H/T: Innovation Creators]
Rod Boothby of Innovation Creators has a typically thoughtful entry on the changing nature of software, in particular the selling of software to large enterprises. The rise of Software as a Service has profound implications for end-users and for IT departments.
The key to selling software and making money is to follow the “KISS” principle, and also keep it cheap, and very very easy to implement. In addition, as Rod notes, sell directly to end-users, not even to business units or to departments.
Why? Because large purchases of large functionality require large amounts of justification and, typically, large lead times and large business cases. And not to mention of course, the large implementation projects that accompany such purchases. Did I mention the key word “large”?
In many ways the traditional IT organization is still thinking of huge multi-million dollar ERP projects from the 80s and 90s. And the fear of failure that those days created has transformed most CIO/CTO types into very cautious cost and risk reducers.
Avoid the CTO or CIO: Today’s enterprise CTOs and CIOs are in the job of not getting fired. Many of them do not think in terms of both business risk and rewards. They are in a cost center. So they think about cost reduction and risk mitigation. Preferably total risk elimination. Cost is budget is power, so in reality, it isn’t such a big driver for many of them. If you do talk to a CTO or CIO, ask them what percentage of they spend in the last 12 months went to a new vendor with a new product. That is how much they are focused on innovation. My guess is that on average, it will be less than 5%.
Rod’s right. In my experience, it’s probably way less than 5%. But, end user departments are increasingly sophisticated about their IT needs and in some cases about the solutions available to them. So if you can convince even a small group of business users of the value of your software, and charge them a few dollars a month, they just might be inclined to give it a try. And, if your product is good, it catches on and spreads.
That’s why one of the precepts of the new software business is viral marketing and growth. Read more about that in part 2….
A new Guinness record holder made an appearance in Boston recently. At 19.3hh, he is the world’s tallest equine celebrity. A Belgian draft horse, “Radar” stands over 6 feet 7 inches at his withers (shoulders).
A four-year-old in the crowd captured the sentiment:
“He’s really big,” Brianna said, “and pretty.”
Right… and as he consumes nearly 60 pounds of food per day, and 20 gallons of water, young Brianna should be glad she’s not cleaning the stall after him.
The armed undercover officers who protect U.S. airlines against attack no longer have to fear being overdressed. They’ve been told they can ditch their suits for outfits that blend in with their fellow travelers’ attire.
It seems that the air marshals are supportive this time around:
Air marshal Frank Terreri applauded Brown for giving the marshals discretion on their clothing. “They trust us at 35,000 feet to protect passengers, carrying a gun on the plane, but they weren’t allowing us to dress” casually.
“I think it’s a huge step in the right direction,” said Terreri, who represents a group of more than 1500 fellow officers. “We stood out like sore thumbs, and now we won’t.”
About time… thanks to new agency director, Dana Brown.
Who knew… that creating a bidding war for leadership of the UN-led peacekeeping force in Lebanon would cause France and Italy to offer more troops? France, demanding leadership but embarrassed by its initial offer of a mere 20 troops, but apparently threatened when Italy rose to the occasion, first raised the ante to 200 troops and now, 2000.
FRANCE has pledged to send a total of 2000 troops to the United Nations multinational peacekeeping force for Lebanon, in a last-minute effort to hold on to its leadership role in the face of Italian competition.
President Jacques Chirac made the announcement on Thursday after his country had come under widespread criticism for initially offering just 200 more soldiers to the force, which already includes 200 French soldiers.
But now Italy has countered with 3000 soldiers:
In the meantime, Italy stepped forward with an offer of up to 3000 soldiers, and Israel’s Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, placed a call to his Italian counterpart, Romano Prodi, urging him to assume leadership of the force.
The Italian Foreign Minister, Massimo D’Alema, said yesterday that international troops could be sent to the Gaza Strip if the Lebanon force proves successful.
And this is the fastest organized peacekeeping force in the history of the UN, not that that is saying much.
Amazing what a little competition and threat to international dignity can do.
We were not the only ones to express the opinion that Ehud Olmert should resign as PM of Israel. Now Irish Pennants reports on news that two thirds of the population feels he failed in the Hezbollah war. Only 29 percent believe he should continue as prime minister.