Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pilot is done

The project is looking good after completing two pilot runs last week. Lots of drama but the exercise came out well despite some issues. These are blockers which need to be resolved before going live. It was a fun exercise and the team learned a lot from the experience. Most of the members including me are either near middle age or past it and some are a few years away from retirement. It’s a fun situation like that Clint Eastwood movie about aging astronauts going back into space. It’s the first time I have ever worked in such a team where usually I am the oldest member. Now it seems I am the strapping young teenager. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the ‘youngest’ member is tasked to do most of the work. More often than not, thought leadership is the key to getting things done despite not having the formal authority. But there’s a ‘rebel in my soul’ that often sticks out in meetings and results in awkward moments. I am not as good in interpersonal skills as I would think.

During certain moments, one begins to doubt if one has reviewed all the angles. It’s the burden of being the thought leader or initiator. Although most of these folks have done projects, this piece is unique even for me. Driving down to distant places, meeting people and disrupting their work so one could test the new software are a challenge in itself. But it’s a new experience meeting the folks in this new land unlike in the past where one is jaded after doing too much of the same thing. Although the project seems to be the same, the culture, the people, the technology and the situation is entirely different. Being away for nearly two years bring back warm memories of those ancient years. Distant lands of the East like Bangkok (Thailand), Shenyang, Shanghai (China), Manila (Philippines), Singapore, Tokyo, Ohta (Japan) and New Delhi (India) restores good stories. But I had reached a certain plateau so I needed to move on.

Now the game is different which brings a new sense of wonder. Distant places like Reno, Monee, Laurens, Washington, Los Angeles and Greenville are the new places to discover. One loses one’s cynicism when learning something new. It’s really a New World especially the technology and innovation. It’s the only place in the world other than Japan and perhaps China where new innovation changes cultures and lifestyles. Perhaps the innovation is coming out of the West Coast, in California or Seattle and East Coast cities like New York or Boston. But there are bastions of conservative traditions where the old ways are preserved despite new tools like social media. Nevertheless, one just loves the new gadgets that one easily purchases with the high wages or easy credit that fuel the culture’s consumerism and materialism.

But it’s the driving force of change and new experiences that taxes one’s mind. So reading books like ‘Getting Organized in the Google Era’ by Douglas Merrill is a leg up in the New World. The main thesis is to use Google to manage one’s life by posting personal information like Calendar appointments into the ‘cloud’. The mobile lifestyle is the new way to be successful. Mobility not only means being away from one’s home but within the home itself as well. One does not need to be in front of a computer to be productive or learn new things. New devices like Google TV, Sony Dash, iPods and tablets are bringing us into the Star Trek era. The pilots for this lifestyle have been expressed in visionary shows like Star Trek or Star Wars or Blade Runner and even James Bond. So the youth of today even the baby boomers of yesteryear have been primed for this type of mobile lifestyle.

Is that why one can easily move into different lands and cultures? Doing or watching the pilot is one way to practice. One is surprised that one can moved forward despite some momentary doubts. It’s the benefit of creative thinking that one practices with the appreciation of art, for example. Visualizing the outcome is a method that one can practice intuitively. One has come a long way from the exotic East. It’s a long road that ramped up with the discovery of visual thinking, cognitive therapy, blogging, traveling and self-reflections. Experiencing and exploring new situations like Toastmaster, roller skating and golf were small steps that lead to the New World. One thinks it’s a state of mind that one gets first by extensive reading. It’s an advantage that one has like parachuting into Iraq or Afghanistan and undertaking to change things with the latest tools and techniques.

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