A Trace in the Sand
Ruth Malan's Journal
on Architects Architecting Architecture
I also write at:
- On TRAK
Architects and Architecture
- Anna Liu
Architect Professional Organizations
Agile and Lean
Other Software Thought Leaders
- CapGeminini's CTOblog
CTOs and CIOs
- Werner Vogels (Amazon)
- Jonathan Schwartz (Sun)
CEOs (Web 2.0)
- Don MacAskill (SmugMug)
- Wired's monkey_bites
Social Networking/Web 2.0+ Watch
Strategy, BI and Competitive Intelligence
- Freakonomics blog
Um... and these
- CNN Money Business of Green videos
February 201002/02/10 Who Speeded up the Universe Clock? I Protest!
This journal turns 4 on February 3. Oh my goodness, that is tomorrow! Time passes so quickly! (Hmm, where did I say that before?)
For those with a penchant for investigating historical moments (grin), here's the birth and birthdays of this timorous-audacious journal thing:
When I stand back and wonder what I would like to have achieved with the past 4 years of writing here, and what I would like this to be, going forward, it is something like this:
I serve as a seer of this system and software architecture field--one who sees and celebrates the great and exciting and delightful and funny and insightful and paradigm changing and helpful things other people do; who interprets them and points out their relevance and importance to architects. And I use this as a place to educate--to draw forth from within*--myself. It is, after all, my Trace--a trace of discovery, without and within.
Historical note: In case you didn't follow the links above to the earlier "birthdays" of this journal: this Trace was inspired by Grady Booch's blog; of course what I do is quantitatively (grin) and qualitatively different, but it was reading Grady's blog that triggered the idea of putting my "lab notebook" online. Of course, I'd been enjoying Grady's blog for more than a year before that dawned on me... Oh well, that's yet another demonstration of how powerful framing is--how we see a thing, shapes assumptions we make, making possibility appear or disappear from view. So it's not that I was particularly dim-witted or anything. Your opinion of me notwithstanding. :-)
* Dana told me today that the root of educate is educo which means to draw forth from within. The things he knows! I keep being astonished and impressed, even when, given our close collaboration, it is hard to know what part of me is distinctly me. But, the same goes for, though to a lesser extent, everyone who has contributed to my thinking--through direct interaction with architects, and through the rich discourse I enter into when I don't just read someone's writing, but interact most intensely with it.
2/24/10: For those who are new to this journal, this month focuses on my brief spurts of play and relief from spending most every non-client moment on writing an EA Executive Report for Cutter, so I'd recommend selecting a month in the past (e.g. January) to get a sense of what (and how very much) happens here.
2/3/10 Happy Birthday...
Norman Rockwell... :-) Well, gosh, thanks for all the good wishes you thought... perhaps. ;-) Eh, as I've said: it doesn't serve anyone to encourage me! :-) Like, I might feel the warmth of your "smile" in the chilly dark one-way street of this electronic medium and then, oh goodness, I might write more, and that would be a disservice to you and to me... Oh right, news flash--I couldn't possibly write more, so no worries there. ;-)
2/4/10 Software Brings Down Toyota?
As for the acceleration problem, Woz, standing for all who were going "mechanical, yeah right!," points to software...
It seems like integrity is going to have a day in the spotlight. Ethical and structural integrity. A "teachable moment" for consumers, but also a point of leverage for all who are trying to reshape how software gets created and evolved! Not to mention yet another trumpet call for ethics and transparency among corporate leadership. While hopefully the NHTSA will take the fallout from Wozniak's publicity as a rousing dousing!
Unfortunately this puts lives in danger, creates domestic challenges for Toyota owners, and is a veritable cascading crisis for all hooked into the Toyota sales, service and supply network.
The giant stumbles. Who'd have thought?
So, still questioning the utility of scenarios and roadmaps? It raises a different set of questions around business continuity, doesn't it? Talk about game changers!
This is so big, so devastating, I feel for the management who must have been shocked and horrified these past months as the problem ballooned. I do not condone masking safety problems like these. As for the tricky problems surrounding market position and shareholder value (which can devastate lives and livelihoods too), if that was the only consideration we'd still want more transparency. [Dana relayed the Chamberlain story--also told here--about a long held secret; but this is a different world.] I expect there are some interesting stories behind the scenes--people who faced the issue head-on, who advocated transparency (cultures differ, but I'm sure there had to have been career-threatening "speaking truth to power" going on--along with a complex of factors making for a decision course fraught with difficulty and room for human error), and who worked with all they had to find and fix the issues. So, while we call for integrity when problems surface, I also feel for everyone caught up in the ramifications of this.
At least we need to reorient ourselves. When it comes to failures, lessons are best learned from someone else's experience! (Imagination is not just there to invent novel product concepts, but to empathize and find solutions to problems we share--by analogy and by precedent.)
“With good program architecture debugging is a breeze, because bugs will be where they should be.” — David May
“There are two ways of constructing a software design. One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies. And the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies.” — C.A.R. Hoare
“Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.” — Brian W. Kernighan
And when things do go wrong, acting with good grace. Humor is out of place at the heart of this issue, but as we look on at the foibles, it is well to remember:
“Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is”
-Francis Bacon, Sr. (English Lawyer and Philosopher. 1561-1626)
Now, billionaire Wozniak can obviously afford not to drive his 2010 Prius (he could be driving a Tesla and accelerating without using the cruise control...). Yet he does, and he replicates the problem "over and over again" feeling safe that he can brake his way out of trouble. Hmm. We love you Mr. Woz. Please don't do that any more!
When the Tiger Woods hoopla broke loose, I wondered what Accenture would do. This (above) was in the airport in Chicago (photo taken by Dana when we passed through on New Year's Day)... I don't know if it was just serendipitous timing, but it made us laugh and grab for the camera!
[Yes, I'm working on ?finishing up that EA executive report for Cutter.]
2/5/10 The Dark Side... And the Light: Civic Hacking!
Clearly wrong: Google systems hacked, viruses, trojans, malware, ... (the theft by itself is a big deal, but there is also unfathomably enormous economic and social waste countering, dealing with, worrying about, etc. these infractions on people and organizations--and truly horrifying when used against people fighting human rights abuses!)
Tough to interpret entirely generously: Facebook, about-facing on a dime, making private information public...
And software that rocks!!
2/5/10 I write what I see
Well, we're going to the Woody Guthrie's American Song musical tonight. It's fun having a bluegrassy/folk singing mandolin player in the house. Bluegrass is not a genre I've spent a lot of time with, but I'm liking what our boy is drawing us into--"old time music--roots with the dirt still on." Ryan's bluegrass band is slotted to play two pieces at Max's Place. And Ryan is getting into recording and mixing using Audacity--he's a veritable one boy band! It is a whole different world for 11 year olds! So, how 'bout that Audacity? Open source that delights.
"I write what I see,
-- Woody Guthrie, Apr 4, 1948
2/6/10 Woody Guthrie--a gritty voice recording an era in the becoming of America
Aside from just listening, I love doing comparative listening, investigating the unique character of different interpretations, voices, times... :-)
Ryan taught me again a lesson he'd taught me before. The winter storm that we'd been promised was at last producing sticking snow, which slowed traffic and we arrived across town shortly before the show started. The venue was pretty packed, so the only 4 seats together were in the back row. Dana went to sit down--in the back row--and Ryan crabbed dramatically. I took him to look for two seats closer to the front. We found some about 4 rows back. Ryan crabbed some more. Then he saw 2 seats in the front row. We went and asked--and they weren't taken!!!
The lesson? Don't settle. Most everyone settles. There's probably a seat, or two, in the front row! If you didn't feel dissatisfied, didn't ask, you wouldn't know. (And if you don't want to take the lesson from a kid via a mom (gasp!), Randy Pausch relayed much the same lesson: "All you have to do is ask" in chapterlet 55 of The Last Lecture.)
No, this has nothing to do with architecture--except the "don't settle" lesson. Skip the ungracious crabbing. But hold out for a higher standard.
There's also this: What Woody Guthrie did was write the words and experiences of the people he met and observed closely. The architect does that also--write what I see, what I've seen, what I hope to see. Architecture is very much about taking what we are seeing and have seen/experienced/learned, and formulating and expressing what we hope to see. That is intentional architecting with an evolutionary flavor, and evolutionary architecture with an intentional flavor. Not either or. But and.
Abraham Lincoln looked for analogies and to precedent to draw on as he formulated his course leading up to his inauguration and taking the reigns of power at a time when the country was being rent asunder. So, I think there is great precedent for looking to analogies. :-)
"I want to put a ding in the universe." -- Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs said it, and he surely is doing it, holding to a standard of innovation and design excellence that raises the bar (rumors aside; grin). And Woody Guthrie did; he put a ding in the universe so loud my ears ring even now!! He was not highly educated or refined, except by life and by a keen aesthetic tuning to enduring human truth--and a sense of what conveys and should endure. It certainly is a reminder not to be arrogant and superior, for those who etch themselves in history come in all manner of shades of education and "accomplishment." Lincoln wanted to leave a mark on the mind of man, to be remembered beyond his life. He did. He put a timeless ding in the universe, too. And there is a lot that was accidental, as well as so much that was very intentional, with deft strategic maneuvering and careful observation, listening and learning.
2/6/10 More Books (I'm Gonna Need Another Life!! Can I get that on Amazon (yet)??)
2/7/10 Good Things Geeks Do!
The Geek Group is such a great concept, located in a community that needs to reinvent itself. This is probably something you ought to bring to the attention of your corporate philanthropy group, in addition to considering lending personal support. Seriously, we're all worried about how to get kids interested in STEM, and these folk are doing that and more--taking innovation and education to the people in a seriously charged way!! :-) A place to do "open source" research and development is going to challenge the status quo, but I can see this thing becoming a franchise! I wish they were in our town!
"The Geek Group gives them [geeks] a physical place to band together, pool their resources, and together accomplish more than any one of them can separately. We are a Force Multiplier for genius. In addition to that by providing large-scale tools than none of them could reasonably own on their own, like giant CNC equipment, robots, and millions of dollars in materials and parts we allow them to take their creativity to staggering new levels." -- The Geek Group
2/7/10 Superbowl Fever... Somewhere
Naturally Bloomington "owns" the Colts, so Superbowl fever is big in our town. Well, the family and boy guests will just have to call me for the commercials, because I'm working... (Woody Guthrie's American Song aside.) ;-)
Hey, some things are life-shaping important. The thing about Woody Guthrie is that he still makes one think about the world we live in and what's important. That's what folk music is all about--in Guthrie's estimation, and mine. I identify so much with his sense that he borrowed words from the people he watched and listened to: "I borrowed my life from the works of your life."
"I think back through my life . . . to everybody that I owe. The amount that we owe is all that we have. And the only way I can pay back all of you good walkers and talkers is to work." -- Woody Guthrie
While I identify with these words, I'm not so tall that my feet don't touch the ground--not by a long shot. (Guthrie was institutionalized for the last year's of his life, as eulogized by Bob Dylan.)
[When asked how tall a man should be, Lincoln reportedly responded: "A man should be tall enough so that his feet touch the ground."]
2/9/10 Why You Need an Architect!
This cartoon video is cute and insightful (getting quite a bit done in the 3:15 minutes): ♫Meet the Architects☼. It's a neat animation using the city planning/building architecture analogy, and it gets important points across--"Isn't the software running yet? My business has tripled!"
I have no idea why it took 3 years for me to stumble upon that! But if your PHB needs a fresh wave of enthusiasm for architecture (tides turn), this little 'toon is a fun way to seed the concepts.
Congratulations Dr. Ferguson. But... just what have you done with Darth Don?
2/12/10 TED, SATURN and the Off-Ramp/On-Ramp Thing
Well, like Natalie Merchant (smile), I'm also doing the kids-are-bigger-now on-ramp thing with a tutorial at SATURN. Well, actually, I haven't totally decided whether I will do the tutorial or whether Dana will. If I was kind to SATURN (the organizers and the attendees), I'd take the back seat--again. Anyway, no-one will be disappointed if Dana replaces me, but there'd be exodus if it went the other way... So, I'm listed.
The tutorial topic? Ok, I offered the organizers "Leading Change" (given the conference theme, I thought that would be fitting and would map to the Cutter report), "The Art of Drawing People In" (drawing out the themes in my ♫CAEAP presentation☼, but with time to actually draw some "pictures" ;-) or a tutorial on VAP (visual, agile, intentional-emergent, collaborative, etc.). They went with "The Art of Drawing People In"--no doubt swayed by my charming presentation at CAEAP. ;-) Right... Uh, moving on. So, this is the idea: The Art of Drawing People In will pick up themes introduced in the CAEAP Summit presentation, and explore the role of visualization in software development given that, well, software is developed by and for humans, introducing all kinds of difficulties that visuals, pictures--sketches, graphic brainstorming templates, models--are well suited to addressing. Hopefully it will draw enough people in that last afternoon of the week slot... with fears of a double-dip recession causing budgets to remain pretty well locked down... Hmmm... Well, it'll be great, really it will! Whether I do it, or Dana. Because the people participating make it so, and they'll be, well, drawn in! ;-)
When the kids were little, I travelled with them and our nanny--so I could only do that for paying work, not for conferences, and Dana did the all-important conference circuit thing during the days of building a presence for Bredemeyer. Then the kids hit the middle zone, where they were at school and didn't have a nanny, and I didn't like to be away from them for discretionary travel like conferences, being that I had to be away from them to work with clients. Now, well, I can't be at SATURN for the whole week because of 6th grade graduation, and that's too bad. Kids! Ah well, they teach what it means to give of oneself, to be generous and flexible! Mother Theresa said it is easier to satisfy a hungry stomach than a hungry heart--and those hungry hearts take so much time and energy! But they fill my hungry heart overflowingly! So it works out.
As for Natalie Merchant, she took all that love given and received and, if ♫glimpses reveal, created something full of bountiful Grace! A wonderful blend of playful wit, charm, heart and a very intensely thoughtful, curious mind.
Ah yes, Leading Change--the current working title for our executive report is "The Heart of Change: To Lead is to See, to Frame, to Draw." But I've played with "The Art of Change" and simply "Leading Change." So, soon you'll see what has been brewing the past few months, as you've peeked in on what's tumbling about in my head. I'm at the utterly panic-stricken point where I don't know if it holds any value whatsoever. Oh well... It's close... Late! But close!
After this, it's back to VAP, and software visualization. I need the change of scenery from strategy and leadership and the "soft" side of getting great things done with and through people--smart, independently thinking, creative, introverted people and smart, collaborative, exuberantly extroverted people. All kinds of people, with all the backgrounds it takes to make the connections that make market-shaping innovations possible!
2/13/10 Lego -- Leg Godt -- Play Well! ... I Read! (It's all Connected!)
The company name Lego was coined by Christiansen from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means "play well". The name could also be interpreted as "I put together" and "I assemble" in Latin, though this would be a somewhat forced application of the general sense "I collect; I gather; I learn"; the word is most used in the derived sense "I read". -- wikipedia
2/13/10 Connections and Constructions
'Seymour Papert defined constructionism in a proposal to the National Science Foundation entitled Constructionism: A New Opportunity for Elementary Science Education as follows: "The word constructionism is a mnemonic for two aspects of the theory of science education underlying this project. From constructivist theories of psychology we take a view of learning as a reconstruction rather than as a transmission of knowledge. Then we extend the idea of manipulative materials to the idea that learning is most effective when part of an activity the learner experiences as constructing a meaningful product."' -- wikipedia
2/14/10 Happy Valentine's Day!
2/15/10 I'm Against It!
If things get tricky during an architecture review, this might help defuse tension: ♫I'm Against It☼. That, and keeping a "parking lot" of known and foreseen problems with the architecture so that the review doesn't get bogged down in discussing issues, keeping the focus on identifying them and out-scoping the resolution of issues (with the judicious exception of those that can be resolved with just a short--timeboxed--discussion among those present). (Progress against issues and challenges should be shown visibly on the architecture "dashboard." This can help keep a healthy orientation towards "failing fast to learn cheaply.")
(left) The view from the house this morning... I worked... :-( ...I'm against it!
"I don’t know what they have to say,
It makes no difference anyway --
Whatever it is, I’m against it!
No matter what it is or who commenced it,
I’m against it.
Your proposition may be good
But let’s have one thing understood --
Whatever it is, I’m against it!
And even when you’ve changed it or condensed it,
I’m against it.
I’m opposed to it --
On general principles I’m opposed to it!"
-- Whatever It Is, I'm Against It, Marx Brothers
2/17/10 What You're About to Forget
Ryan, motivating to skip a lesson that gets repeated every year in his class, argued:
"Repeating a lesson only reminds you what you're going to forget."
2/18/10 Fits all Spouses and (other) Bosses
Not that I'd ever need it... but you might find it handy to have this Dilbert in your "defuse the tension (use with caution: might infuriate)" standby folder--you know, the one where you keep the Marx Brothers ♫I'm Against It☼ clip/lyrics and odd bits and bobs like "this is like finding a needle in a needlestack"--also courtesy of the Marx Brothers (via Ryan).
2/18/10 Buzz Gets Buzzed
2/19/10 How Many LOC Does It Take To Run...
F-22 Raptor: 1.7 million
Boeing 787 Dreamliner: 6.5 million
IRS: 50 million
Windows Vista: 50 million
Car: 100 million
Goodness me! Can it really take twice as many lines of code to run a car as it takes to run the IRS? And substantially more than a factor of 10 to run a car than a 787? Yes, yes,... lines of code is a very fuzzy measure... not at all apples to apples... Still, there's a lot of room in an order of magnitude! ...
"For today’s premium cars, ”the cost of software and electronics can reach 35 to 40 percent of the cost of a car,” states Broy, with software development contributing about 13 to 15 percent of that cost. He says that if it costs US $10 a line for developed software—a cost he says is low—for a premium car, its software alone represents about a billion dollars’ worth of investment.'
-- This Car Runs on Code, IEEE Spectrum, Robert Charette, 2/2009
Any idea how many LOC it takes to run a Fortune 500 business? I'd sure appreciate a reference, if you've come across one. I know, I know, businesses are run on shrink-wrapped, outsourced, open source, plus, plus, plus, code, but even an idea of how many lines of code companies in various industries maintain would be hugely interesting and illuminating! We wouldn't really know what it meant, but it would impress us! And it would give more of a sense, as in the car case, of how much the cost basis of services and things has shifted to software...
And anyone got a sense of whether that 100 million for a car is in the right ballpark?
How many LOC does a State Farm or Bank of America maintain to run their businesses? Just what kinds of numbers are we talking about here? Does anybody know???
Mark Zuckerberg used an interesting return-on-developer measure--Facebook has 1 developer for every 1 million users, making for around 300 developers. ...There again, it would be interesting to know: how many lines of code?
2/21/10 On TRAK
"You might be interested to know that a new enterprise architecture framework has just been released as open source. Called TRAK is has a lineage through MODAF to DODAF but is deliberately a lot simpler than both of them and is a general system-centric framework (not just exchanges involving computers). The metamodel is at http://trakmetamodel.sourceforge.net and the architecture viewpoints at http://trakviewpoints.sourceforge.net."
-- Nic Plum, personal email, 2/21/10
Nic is putting together a support site/blog/wiki at www.trak-community.org.
2/24/10 Darth Don... survives The Suit!
Just when I was concerned we'd lost Darth Don to that stranger in a business suit, he shows up again. Phew! There's villainy of the sort Darth Don does with bunnies... and there's putting out a star of humor in my nerdverse--that Suit was looking like a pretty dark character!
2/24/10 Happy Birthday -- Mr. Jobs!
Born in '55 turning 55, and a multiple of two prime numbers--that's a significant birthday!
February 1955 was a big month for birthing shapers of our tech world!
2/26/10 And It's -- Siamese Twins!
Ok, I'm so embarrassed to still be working on that EA Executive Report... Yes, I
could be done(-ish), but I'm still crafting... At least I've realized what my
trouble is--I've been trying to birth conjoined twins! The title we've landed back on is "The Art of Change: To
Lead is to See, To Frame, To Draw," and Part I is the Change part and Part II is
the Lead part. I'll let Cutter decide if they want to publish Part I by itself;
or Part II by itself; or a great big bumper issue that is Part I and II together
(20,000 words+), or go with a Part I-Part II sequence for consecutive months, or
...skip it altogether... Part I motivates Part II, and is an example application of Part II.
(Another of those good old smuggling donkeys/head fake things.) Part I is the inspiration (what is happening in tech/IT and
why architects are needed to lead) Part II is the action (how to lead). etc. So, conjoined twins. But they could be separated at birth and
both may even survive the separation... If you liked
Getting Past "But"
Report about innovation and agile architecture, scaling agile, and organizing
for architecture and innovation, then you
might like this "Art of Change" one...
"People who like this sort of
thing will find this the sort of thing they like." -- Abe Lincoln
And it will feel like déjà vu if you've been reading my journal these past
months and years, but it is more the "landscaped garden" version... its just a
(Yes, I flagrantly mix metaphors. Always have.)
I'm fully aware that I can sound like the chief cheerleader in Grady Booch's fan
club, but his biggest contributions lie squarely in the field I work in, so I
pay attention to what he has done and is doing. Anyway, I think that on the
grand occasion of the 37th anniversary of Grady's 18th birthday (Grady's
framing, not mine), it is worth celebrating what he means to our
field and what his work has meant to each of us.
Ok, I'm so embarrassed to still be working on that EA Executive Report... Yes, I could be done(-ish), but I'm still crafting... At least I've realized what my trouble is--I've been trying to birth conjoined twins!
The title we've landed back on is "The Art of Change: To Lead is to See, To Frame, To Draw," and Part I is the Change part and Part II is the Lead part. I'll let Cutter decide if they want to publish Part I by itself; or Part II by itself; or a great big bumper issue that is Part I and II together (20,000 words+), or go with a Part I-Part II sequence for consecutive months, or ...skip it altogether...
Part I motivates Part II, and is an example application of Part II. (Another of those good old smuggling donkeys/head fake things.)
Part I is the inspiration (what is happening in tech/IT and why architects are needed to lead)
Part II is the action (how to lead). etc.
So, conjoined twins. But they could be separated at birth and both may even survive the separation...
If you liked our Getting Past "But" Report about innovation and agile architecture, scaling agile, and organizing for architecture and innovation, then you might like this "Art of Change" one...
"People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like." -- Abe Lincoln
And it will feel like déjà vu if you've been reading my journal these past months and years, but it is more the "landscaped garden" version... its just a big landscaped garden...
(Yes, I flagrantly mix metaphors. Always have.)
I'm fully aware that I can sound like the chief cheerleader in Grady Booch's fan club, but his biggest contributions lie squarely in the field I work in, so I pay attention to what he has done and is doing. Anyway, I think that on the grand occasion of the 37th anniversary of Grady's 18th birthday (Grady's framing, not mine), it is worth celebrating what he means to our field and what his work has meant to each of us.has done so much--so much more than anyone else--to make design a practice in our field and to otherwise enable developers and architects. Ada Components, Object-Oriented Design, OOA/D tooling and CDEs, UML, patterns and software architecture, preserving the stories that are part of the heritage of our incredible "software tribe," and ... more. Booch: A Man of Methods does a good job of filling in some of the history, covering Grady's pioneering role in object-oriented design. It is worth noting that it was a strategic and open-minded move to bring Jim Rumbaugh and Ivar Jacobson into Rational, and to initiate the creation of an industry-standard modeling language--Grady was, you may recall, well-positioned to attempt to dominate the space with the leading OOA/D tool company at his back. It would have been a battle; possibly ultimately a losing battle, but a lesser man might well have held out for the chance to be the dominant methodologist, gaining standardization the de facto route rather than the industry consensus route. Instead, Grady did the bigger thing for Rational and for the software world, initiating a collaboration among the three leading methodologists of the time to create a "fusion" (grin) that was then put to a wider team to solidify as UML 1.0. Grady's contribution to visualization and design in software has been to create a cornerstone for our field. This contribution should put him in every Hall of Fame our software and computing field has, for it is enormously important--presumably the Computer History Museum's 2010 Fellow Awards will come to figure among the other Fellow, Jolt, and Dr. Dobbs Excellence in Programming awards Grady holds.
While he has accomplished so much, and gets some degree of acknowledgment (no roast would be complete without a mug-shot; grin), Grady retains such an awe-struck, celebratory orientation to what has been accomplished in the medium of software, and through software in the world. And he doesn't rest on his accomplishments; instead he leads us in thinking about the challenges of our field, and how to address them. He has done so much to evangelize virtual worlds and Second Life in particular--helping us see beyond the wondrous-imaginative fantastical play spaces of Second Life to its rich potential to enhance our real life work worlds with an immersive collaboration experience that makes distance immaterial (though time zones still matter). In addition to energetically championing the preservation of the landmark code of our software field (through the Computer History Museum), Grady has interviewed some of its key history-making, history-shaping figures, preserving their vivid stories captured as only Grady could capture them--for Grady has a mind-boggling breadth and depth of understanding of the technologies and issues in software not only today but over its history, and Grady is immensely personable, gentle, open to the humanity of the person he is interviewing. I am, for example, so happy that he interviewed John Backus before he died. Happy for John Backus because I'm sure that that conversation with Grady, with someone of Grady's standing but also someone who intimately knew much of John's history and understood exquisitely John's contribution to the field, was something John treasured in his last months. And happy that we get that wonderful window on John's perspective and stories and have those preserved.
Grady Booch and Steve Jobs--yes, February 1955 was a big month for birthing shapers of our tech world.
2/28/10: Daniel Stroe pointed me to the 55th birthday roast for Steve Jobs on Gizmodo. It reminds me that there are other parallels, beyond being born within days of one another. Both Steve Jobs and Grady Booch have set "dings" ringing in our design universe. Grady too had to undergo life-threatening surgery to save his life, and I am so grateful that both are still here to continue to influence and shape our world, inspiring and enabling and enriching our lives with what they do, and where they lead us.
What I appreciate in Steve Job's "ding" is that he brought into the mass mindset the notion that technology can be beautiful, aesthetically pleasing, enriching, a thing of delight in looks and in use, and a vehicle for expressing our individual art, as well as being art itself--bringing individual self-expressiveness to PCs, bringing music with us on the run, bridging communication and play. All this is a deeper level of design that is not just about the skin of the thing--though on the surface it is beautiful too! And so much more that I'm way too busy to express, but which my spirit bows to in gratitude and awe.
"How come you never said anything about this?" He said, "I decided that you could either make great contributions or try to get credit for them, but you can't do both." -- Watts Humphrey quoting Dick Garwin who designed the hydrogen bomb, "An Interview with Watts Humphrey," by Grady Booch, informIT, March 1, 2010
3/4/10: While I really like that quote, it is important to remember that a crucial aspect of leadership is creating the context for the work to be done, and that means that the work (not our personal accomplishments, but the work in the larger sense, meaning the vision and the work of everyone in building the vision) has to be actively advocated and championed so that it sustains support from its sponsors (who are, after all, dealing with competing demands for the resources this work is using) and partners across the organization (who might be facing considerable local compromise to obtain the overall outcome that this work promises).
2/28/10 Way to Go Canada!
What a nice demonstration of what a vision and motivation can do! The USA's history-making medal count is super-great too!
2/28/10 A Carrot
It's been a while since someone added a comment to their mailing list signup on the Bredemeyer site, so this was nice:
"I wholeheartedly appreciate your efforts." -- Kiran K., 2/25/10
It's gratifying when someone takes a moment to say something appreciative. It's sort of like an electronically-conducted smile of thanks. It has been a labor of love building and evolving the (extensive) Bredemeyer Resources for Architects website, and it is heartwarming to get a word of thanks every now and then. :-)