Simplify & Purge

Been talking with parents about end of life matters. Shared several interesting articles like this one about one’s digital legacy.  And I found another one today about cleaning out prior to dying.

pablo (15)My wife and I watched a show years ago where a crew came into a house and helped the owners clean out and remove things that were no longer needed. They brought things outside the house from three rooms and put them in a keep, sell or trash groups. It inspired us to do a MAJOR purge at our prior house. Before we moved to our current house, we did another purge.

A few weeks ago, I did a major purge or my cables, adapters, software, plugs, etc. equipment that has been saved over the years. I threw away multiple trash cans full of cables and the like. Interestingly, the VERY NEXT DAY, a friend pinged me looking for a prior Mac video adapter which likely was outside in my trash can.

Today, I went to my closet and started purging clothes (again).  It is SO HARD to part with clothes that are great clothes but you never wear. It is nearly an intractable problem. One almost needs to force oneself to keep one and purge one. Even that is hard. Not sure how to best do this. Certainly, I don’t need any new clothes for a while. (Those of you who see me regularly please be ok with this).

Next week I’m going through suits, slacks, and sports coats. After that, I’m going through old software CDs, etc. I just want to trim back. Purge. Reduce.

Related, I’ve tried to wait to order from Amazon until I had multiple things I wanted/needed/desired and when I’ve had 4 or 5 or more items, I’ve placed the order. I’ve noticed that Amazon still ships them in multiple boxes! I guess things are coming from different warehouses, but it is so frustrating. I try to reduce my ‘carbon footprint’ and still can’t with Amazon. Argh……..

Stop buying things…

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Broken

I find myself moving more and more towards the perspective that aspects of capitalism are broken. Pushing stock prices up no matter what the cost, the huge gap in compensation between the highest and lowest paid workers in an organization, the slanting of financial laws towards the rich, and the increasing fraction of our economy that is based on businesses that make nothing (Financial, Legal, etc.).

Three books that are worth a read about how this happens on a day-to-day basis in corporations and how people are quickly or slowly corrupted, or how their decisions slip down a very dark path.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by Carreyrou is the latest about the fall of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes which is in the current news. I saw her speak once at a conference to a small group of IT CIOs. She was being interviewed by Meg Whitman who was running HP at the time. I’m not quite done with this book, but I can already highly recommend it. It is absolutely captivating in how morally bankrupt some people can be.

Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue by Holiday which is the story of Gawker and its business model and the work done to take it down.

And no such list would be complete without The Smartest Guys in the Room by McLean and Elkind about Enron and how that model worked. I lived through part of that story where the company I worked and friends in California lived through rolling power outages one summer that Enron employees were causing to happen.

I don’t know the answers (or probably some of the right questions) here. It just seems that aspects of our model and way of doing things are breaking down. Broken.

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The Workplace and Simplification

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A friend shared a great TEDx Talk with me recently about the workplace and simplification and about asking the right questions.

I quit my job as CIO over a year for several reasons that I won’t go into here. Since then, I’ve thought about lessons learned and perhaps, things I might have done differently at different times in the role.

I think this talk gets to the heart of it. An organization must prioritize simplification, removing bureaucracy, be nimble and fast and create a culture where asking and answering hard questions is the way things are done. Seems like more could have been done on this front.

I really did love the people I worked with there and recently had a chance to see some of my colleagues for a visit. It was a great time.

 

Life is Damn Hard

Facebook is a weird, surreal place. There are posts about people having babies right next to friends who are battling cancer right next to people who have lost their job right next to announcements about new grandbabies. It is surreal.

I’ve reached a point where I’m mostly scared to post anything because there are so many different perspectives or experiences that people are living through and I’m worried about saying the wrong thing to someone at the wrong time.

I have friends in life and death battles with cancer. Loved ones who’ve lost jobs and because they are over 50 can’t seem to find a new one. Friends whose kids are going into drug counseling centers.

Life is hard.

I will tell you that I believe there is a story unfolding. That there is a purpose and a direction and that life if meaningful. I believe that there is an author. I believe that the Christian message is fundamentally true. This world is broken and there is a redeemer.

Christians over the years and centuries have completely messed up the message with crusades, political campaigns, and endorsements of the absurd yet I still believe the underlying Christian message is true. 2000 years ago God stepped into the world and showed us a different way. A light is shown into the darkness. There is hope.

Nothing else seems to make sense to me.

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Tonight is a night of darkness where I’m grieving for several. However, I believe there is hope and a light. If you are in a dark place, there is light. Look for it. Seek it.

 

Hard Things

I ran a marathon last weekend. I was better prepared for this marathon than any of the others I’ve run.

My 1st marathon was hard and I struggled but I was naive and didn’t know what to expect so I get a hall pass for that one. My dear and fierce running partner had to get me through that one. The second one happened on a hotter day than expected with a lot of wind and a lot of allergens in the air. That one didn’t go well either. Both of those were in OKC. My next one was at Disney and everything is magical there and, of course, it went well. My fourth was in Dallas and it was our fastest one with a PR that was 37 minutes faster than any of my prior marathons.

This spring we had our best training runs ever. We were running nearly a minute per mile faster than our PR pace in Dallas. So far this year I’ve run 586 miles when last year all year long I ran 794 miles. My partner and I have a goal this year of running 1400 miles and we are ahead of that target.

My expectation for the OKC Memorial Marathon where high. Our target was 14 minutes faster than our PR in Dallas with a stretch goal 8 minutes faster. We were confident and ready.

I’m a very analytical person who uses spreadsheets and plans and writes up 4 pages of notes prior the marathon to discuss and consider with my partner. Yes, I do that. We had strategies and tactics and computers and Garmin watches.

636608467845604642Unfortunately, the temperatures on race day started higher and then rose a lot higher than expected. We started in shorts and tanks and were glad to be wearing them and when we finished, the temp was over 80 degrees. My watch said 81 degrees. We had not done any long runs at those temps this year.

Probably the back 40% of the run I was struggling due to the heat and we had to slow way down. It was difficult and hard, but we kept going. We ended up finishing about 14 minutes slower than Dallas and about 27-28 minutes slower than our target.

My reactions on race day were of disappointment because I wanted to do better. My expectations were different than what we were able to achieve.

However, as I thought more about this, I’ve completely changed my view. Just being out there, healthy and running, is an amazing gift and I’ve realized just how wonderful it is to be out there and doing these hard things.

I learned in the final, official results that I finished in the top half of my age group. I’ll take that. I realized the day after the marathon that I finished this one about 30 minutes faster than my prior best in OKC. I’ll take that. And I finished on a hot day and I’ll take that too.

And I was out there running with my dear and fierce running partner being cheered and supported by three others who traveled around the course to help and cheer for us. One of the three supporting and cheering us is battling cancer and she is a dear and fierce person herself. Just to be out there with her was a delight. Having her giving me orange slices and bottles of water and a wet towel and sending us confidence was a wonderful experience and part of a wonderful day. It turns out my biggest regret is not getting a picture of them and us together at some point in the race. The five of us getting a selfie. Note for future marathons, make sure that happens.

Go find some dear friends. Do hard things. Enjoy the experience. Cheer for someone else.  Get out there.

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Can’t Seem To Work Together

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I wrote a piece on Facebook a few days ago about the teacher strike in Oklahoma and its conclusion and results.

My compliments and thanks to all the teachers in Oklahoma, and the associated supported staff and leadership, who stood up to the Oklahoma legislature and governor and called for change. You’ve made a difference.

Mary Fallon, you were AWOL. You weren’t there on the ground trying to help find a solution. You were elsewhere. You should be embarrassed.

Now it is time to hold the legislature and our candidates for the next governor accountable for what they said and what they didn’t say.

The real issue in Oklahoma is that our legislature can’t solve problems, can’t work together, can’t collaborate, can’t compromise. Some are ideologues who can’t work with others. Some only want victory for ‘their party’ and some are just plain idiotic. I say vote them all out. Let’s put new people in our government offices and see if the new legislature can work together to solve our problems and move us into the future.

Probably we need to revise taxation on companies and industries, probably we need to consolidate school districts, probably we need to change tax structures, probably we need to reconsider what has been done in the past and find a better path to the future. Let’s elect people who can get us there.

Teachers, thank you for starting this process.

I keep reflecting on how hard it is for our elected officials at the state (and of course the Federal level) to work together. We’ve become polarized and we’ve elected people into offices who are ideologues and simply can not compromise or collaborate.

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There are times when you need to get together and figure out how to fix or improve something and it might require new thinking, a fresh approach, a break from the past, or heaven forbid, a reversal on a previous position. It just seems to me, that the number of ideas that one should cast into concrete and never reconsider or reevaluate is very small.

Perhaps, just be uncompromising and dogmatic on the side of Kindness. Maybe that is the rule to keep at all times. Make the decisions, judgments, rules, and laws that err on the side of Kindness.

Elections are circling around soon. Let’s find some people at the state and federal levels who can solve problems, move us forward and move us more in the direction of tolerance and kindness.

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