I made the decision to attend the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas this year in November. I’ve thrown my hat in the ring for Monday’s Hackathon at re:Invent, and am hoping to come away with new insights into ways to employ AWS infrastructure for faster and more cost-effective software deployments. There is also 5k run on Wednesday morning that I signed up for. I figured it was a good way to get in some exercise after sitting all week, and I’m working on some solid fitness goals for next year…
While at the conference, I am particularly interested in hearing anecdotes from startups in how they are using Cloud-based infrastructure to start, grow and scale a technology/software businesses. It would seem that Cloud Technologies could be a great leveler in this regard. And of course, hearing from Werner Vogels about what new technologies are on the horizon for the AWS Platform should be very interesting as well.
This past Tuesday I chaperoned a group of High School kids in my daughter’s Geography Class. Our mission was to spend all day at the World War II Memorial in Washington DC surveying visitors about the memorials the respondents were visiting, how far they traveled to get to DC, etc. I was glad to spend time with my daughter, but I thought staying all day at one memorial was going to be really boring. I was wrong.
As I sat at the entrance of the World War II Memorial listening to the High School kids survey random people coming and going, I watched and listened to the people milling about. I reflected on what the memorial really stood for and became quite moved by the overall experience. I heard accents and languages from Japan, Germany, Australia, Canada, Great Britain and from all over the United States. I witnessed World War II vets visiting from all over the country as provided for by the Honor Flight Network Program, a non-profit organization that helps US Veterans find closure by bringing them to the memorial of the war they participated in.
I watched several cohorts of Honor Flight supported Veterans come through the memorial. One veteran, in a wheelchair and with tears in his eyes, shook my daughter’s hand and thanked her for coming. My daughter said she felt bad because the only reason she was there was because of her High School Project. 🙂 I watched these veterans take in the memorial and get transported back in time to the mid 1940’s when life seemed both simpler and much harder because of the war. These men and women cried as they looked and touched parts of the memorial recalling times past as they fought one of the most significant wars in history.
While at the memorial, I also thought about my Granddad, Jim Dupler. He was in the Army Air Corps (which became the US Air Force) during the War and flew B-26 bombers over Tunisia fighting General Rommel. He told me a few stories about his time in the war. He recounted to me how he could see flack from the enemy guns exploding below and around his aircraft. He told me he never really thought about dying through all of that. In fact, he only suffered some shrapnel through the bottom of his foot during one of his flights. He survived the war, retired as a Lt. Colonel, and was able to spend alot of time with his kids and grandkids. In fact, my Granddad survived all of my Grandparents and even my parents! He just passed away this October 2nd, 2016. He was 96!
My Granddad was never able to visit the World War II Memorial, but I took him there that day in my mind and heart and we remembered with those who sacrificed and fought with him.
I just finished reading ‘The ONE Thing’ by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. This book was recommended by several people on many of the different podcasts I listen to, so I thought I’d give it a read. This book both bothered me and inspired me…but it mostly inspired me.
The interview question, ‘How do you eat an elephant?’, came to mind while I read this. The answer is one small bite at a time, and focus while you’re doing it.
The domino metaphor is a powerful one. Setup up a *HUGE* domino and try to knock it over by setting up increasingly smaller ones until the initial domino can be knocked over with a simple flick of the finger. In other words, big goals can be broken down into increasingly smaller ones, which when lined up in succession, can lead to an amazing chain of successes. ‘Overnight Successes’ are actually not a thing, but a long succession of ever increasing successes leading up to a big one.
FOCUS. Focus on ONE thing. Focus on ONE thing that will knock over the next domino. That’s the trick, now, isn’t it?
The first 4-5 hours in the morning are the most productive of the day. Don’t let anyone hijack that time. No Scrum. No meetings. No phone calls. Just productivity. Save the rest for the less productive hours of the day…in the afternoon. Easier said than done. Usually, our professional time is not our own. Perhaps, not yet anyway.
Keep your ‘One Thing’ in the fore front of your mind and activities always. Constantly ask yourself if what you are doing is helping you knock over that next domino.
Focusing on one thing is hard for me. I suspect it’s hard for most people. If it weren’t difficult to focus on just ONE thing at a time, I imagine there would be a whole lot more wildly successful people in the world. Focus has to be one of the secret ingredients to amazing success in life. My mind seems to always be wandering out to sea…
Summarizing books like this just doesn’t seem to do them justice, so I apologize in advance. These summaries are mostly for me and for solidifying key concepts in my own brain. This ONE book is definitely worth a read, however, so pick it up at amazon: