a blank page

A blank page is scary. It is filled with possibility, but sometimes it’s really hard to know where to start. Maybe this is why I struggle with a lot of the writing-related tasks that I have at work; because the page is always blank when I start. I focus more on that blank page and how big of a task it is to get some of these big ideas out of my head and onto paper that I struggle to get anything out at all.
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Why I’m giving up Facebook

Starting Wednesday, I’m shutting down my connection to Facebook for the next few months and drastically cutting back on my usage of other social networks (especially Reddit). I’m looking forward to digitally “detoxing” and strengthening the connections I have with friends and family, and maybe even making some new ones. I’m looking forward to using my time more wisely and investing in new skills and habits. I want to stay connected, but I want to do it personally and intimately.
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the fastest way to success

I recently heard a quote by Tom Ziglar on a Ziglar Show podcast that went like this: “The fastest way to success is by replacing bad habits with good habits.” This got me thinking. What kind of bad habits do I have, and what do I want to replace them with? I started writing down a list of bad habits that I have, and discovered that a lot of them went like this:
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tips for new or not so new managers

So you’ve just gotten that management role for which you’ve been gunning for months or years now. Congratulations! You’re a few weeks in, and you’re realizing that you are in over your head, and that maybe this isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You’re looking for advice, and I’ve got some for you!

Have a story you want to tell

Some people call this a vision. I like the concept of ‘telling a story’. Think about what you want your story to be six months, a year, and 3 years down the road. Use some of your thinking time to put yourself into the future and look back on the time period you’re going for. Think about what the journey looked like, and write it down.

Here are some questions to ask when coming up with your story:

  • What does your team look like?
  • What have you accomplished together? What ‘next-level’ things did you achieve?
  • How have you grown?
  • What direct impact have you had?
  • How are things better than when you found them?

You don’t have to know everything

In David Marquet’s book Turn the Ship Around he mentions how he had studied for over a year to take command of a certain type of submarine. He studied how everything worked, and was an absolute expert on every facet of that type of submarine. At the very last minute he was reassigned to one of the most underperforming submarines in the US Navy. To add insult to injury, it was a class of submarine that he was not familiar with. He learned some valuable lessons about how you don’t have to be an expert, and you don’t have to know everything to be an effective leader. In fact, the opposite was true. He was more effective because he empowered his crew to make decisions based on the information they had (which is often much more than the leader has.) This allowed him to be freed up to focus on more strategic issues affecting him and his crew. Ultimately, his crew and submarine went on to become one of the highest rated crews in US Navy history.

Here’s a great talk where he shares some of these ideas:

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making sensu work with graphite

Like many companies, I’m sure, we’re investigating using Sensu for monitoring and Graphite for metrics collecting. The docs for making these two commuicate together over AMQP are pretty good except for one thing. Using the docs that I’ve read, when you start up Sensu first with its default options for AMQP, and then start up Graphite to read from that queue, Graphite will crash every time it tries to create the exchange.
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