Your podcast made me buy a new phone

I have an iPhone 6. It is not a happy phone. It is sad, angry, and generally disappointed to still be in commission and yearns to be put out on a ice flow. It generally expresses its displeasure by passive aggressively inventing remaining battery percentage, rebooting at whim, and pretending storage is full.
So, long preamble over, I was out for a jog this weekend. An embarrassingly rare occasion, and one I take to listen to podcasts. This run’s selection was the Dave and Gunnar Show with Bob St. Clair. And it was great! I was full of thoughtful humility, and smart dogged drive to be better at that ugly transition from individual contributor to leader of leaders. I’m a big fan of the show any way, and this was an exceptional episode. I’m glad I get to work with these three, even if we rarely cross paths. Thank you.
Needless to say, my phone crapped out just as I turned for the run back home.


Repairing the Crown

Should you ever have to repair a 1950-something Crown Range, they’ve done something smart. I had to figure it out, but it’s smart.

Philips head screws are for holding things together (like sides the over doors), and slotted screws are for attaching things onto other things (like hinges). They provided a clear visual signal about what things did. Makes me feel like whomever came up with this idea would have enjoyed data visualization.

And yes, I now have two working over door handles.

How do you measure an elephant?

A couple of years ago, Massimo Ferrari and I created the most extensive and thorough financial evaluation of OpenStack, which we called Elephant in the Room. We talked about it a lot, met a lot of customers doing amazing things, and received a lot of nice press coverage. Pulling together this type of research is a lot of work, and the hope was it would do more than help a few customers. The hope was it would help change the conversation we, as an industry, are having around cloud. That’s ambitious, I know, but I’m an optimist and was convinced we needed more understanding of financial implications of our technology choices.

Using some quick R¹ for statistical testing on the results of search phrase “cloud tco” on Google Trends, there is a sustained 42% increase in that search phrase following our blog post. I don’t know whether our blog post and talks around the world caused it, but the stats are significant (p << 0.01), and it sure is a heck of a coincidence.

¹ Code and data here:

Divided Brain, Map & Terrain – Sounds Like ML to Me

Despite the guest, Dr. Iain McGilchrist, explicitly rejecting the metaphor that the brain is like a computer, I can’t help but think about the process of building and incorporating machine learning models.

Psychiatrist and author Iain McGilchrist talks about his book, The Master and His Emissary, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. McGilchrist argues we have misunderstand the purpose and effect of the divided brain. The left side is focused, concrete, and confident while the right side is about integration of ourselves with the complexity of the world around us. McGilchrist uses this distinction to analyze the history of western civilization. This is a wide-ranging conversation that includes discussions of poetry, philosophy, and economics.

When Luck Is Your Strategy

M.R.D. Foot tells a story of an underground agent forced to transport a B-2 wireless set (radio) through a railway station in which German forces were conducting random checks of luggage and personnel. The radio which the agent was carrying was a distinct size and shape and thus easily recognizable to alert police forces. The underground operative, realizing the precariousness of his situation, initiated a cunning security measure he presumed would reduce his risks.

He, reached a big terminus by train; carrying only his B2 in its little case; saw a boy of about twelve struggling with a big one; and said genially (in the local language) “Let’s change loads, shall we?” He took care to go through in front of the boy; there was no trouble. Round the first corner, they changed cases back. The boy said “It’s as well they didn’t stop you; mine’s full of revolvers.”

Foot, MRD, Resistance, (New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1977), as quoted in: Underground Management: An Examination Of World War II Resistance Movements by Christian E. Christenson