Swimming to end of my yard

With apologies to Sterling Gray.

I find myself thinking about my yard as a lake. From mowing to other tasks I spend a lot of time going from one end of my yard to another. It’s not something I do because I want to, it’s just something I have to do..

So why does my yard go from being a yard to becoming a lake?

First it’s the effort. Every time I go into the back yard I am reminded that I have so many more things to do out there. So one it is a lake because I sink into the muddy bottom of things I am not getting done.

Second like a lake its a single color (green) flowing and rippling with the wind. Kinda cool when you think about it, but then I am probably the only person on earth who does think about it.

Last it is a lake because well it’s the only thing I could think of the first time I thought about it.

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Where did customer service go

When did customer service stop being  critical path for a business? My wife says it’s because people are being asked to do more with less. But there are so many more tools today to simply send an email, a twitter or a text to say “Thanks for your business.”

I’ve had two recent experiences that really cause me to think about this. I have tried to talk to my mortgage company more than 34 times in the past 30 days. I’ve gotten no response other than two form letters asking me to submit the same information that they have asked for now 11 times. I have sent it to them 11 times as well – its just annoying.

The second experience was with my travel company. The person involved in the process of getting my new passport went so far above and beyond the call of duty I was overjoyed with the service provided.

Why is that? The company I am most dependent on is my mortgage company and they are, and have been the least responsive.



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A story of travel and the daily blog

I’ve been trying to update my blog daily since January (it was a new years resolution to blog more). Keeping two different blogs – really trying to separate my person thoughts (here) and my professional thoughts (http://docandersen.wordpress.com ) and adding a podcast (http://docandersen.podbean.com). But as is tradition, the 4th quarter brings more sales and therefore more travel.

So I slipped on Thursday and Friday of this week posting no personal blog. So what do I do? Do I accept that (yes).

So you get this blog instead of something quirky and funny – you instead get something self indulgent and boring.

Anyway – travel makes it really hard to blog. It’s easy to work out when you are traveling (hotels now have great facilities) but it’s not always as easy to blog. The reason for me is that I work more hours when I am on the road – versus when I am working at home (and tend to have to end the day around 6 pm to make dinner for the kids).

My apologies if you were looking for something new the past three days (including today).



Customer service, a lost passport and the final straw

Who do you trust with your important documents?

Recently I waited until the last minute to get my passport renewed. Of course that meant that the company shipping my package had to lose it. They had to, its almost a law of the universe.

Anyway – today I get to run around and recreate a ton of documents that I wasn’t going to have to do before.

and now I have to go to the federal government offices to get a new passport, in person in a major city (by the way Indianapolis is not a major city).



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flying fish and children’s concerts

For the first time in ages my travel schedule will allow me to attend one of my children’s school performances.

For those of you who don’t know I was a school teacher for 7 years and went to many of these events. It was part of the job I was doing at the time so I didn’t “appreciate” the impact of the performance.

Now, when it is my children performing its a very different experience. As one of the teachers there I was concerned about perfection, now I spend my time video taping my children so I can watch it again over and over.

To me it is such a difference. Not sure why i hadn’t thought about it before, but it is such a huge difference that I am wondering why I didn’t think of it before.

I guess its another joy of parenting!


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Measure your understanding, twice

Carpenters always say measure twice, cut once. Why don’t we do that with communication?  why don’t we listen twice, and talk once?

So how do you listen twice? Over the years I’ve been exposed to a number of models for communication all of which propose a method to arrive at “listening twice” but the thing is there are to many variables in the equation.

People communicate the way they are taught to. For example, I frequently work in APAC and LATAM and I have to remind myself to speak at a slower pace.

It’s a thought…and a problem. I have been thinking about the solution for a long time…




its the hardest job you will ever love. Why do we marry? Love is a reason but not the only reason we marry someone. We marry someone because they have in them, things that we find missing in ourselves, be it compassion or humor something that we wish we could encompass in ourselves but are just not able to.

In the movie Jerry McGuire there is the great line “You complete me.” which isn’t really relevant to marriage – its a great line but no human should look for another to complete them. Marriage is the merging of two strong people into one strong unit. It is not a completion rather an addition. Each partner can stand on their own, battle their own dragons, but can fall back to other for support and love, consideration and caring.

Marriage is a friendship wrapped in a romantic ideal. It is without a doubt the hardest job you will ever love.


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A funny thing happened on the way to get a new passport

Life, is a coincidence.

In May 1999 I found out I was going to go to Holland for a week to teach a class. I didn’t have a valid passport (previous passport had expired in 1982). So, I had to go get a new passport. I rushed around and ended up paying the extra fee to have it expedited.

Ten years later, with an expiring passport (which means you can only go to Mexico, Canada or the U.K.) I find out I have to go to Holland again. So I rush around to go renew my passport. Einstein said God doesn’t play dice with the universe. But God certainly has a sense of humor. Anyway, a wonderful person at American Express helped me out, and got me through the process. So, six days from now I have a new passport.

But the coincidence is that 10 years ago it was a trip to Holland that made me run around. Ten years later my 2nd trip to Holland makes me rush around again. You see, in the 10 years I’ve had this passport I have been around the world – every single page has at least one stamp or more. But I haven’t been back to Holland.


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Twitter #FF Friday

if you are on twitter my alias there is DocAndersen.

Http://docandersen.wordpress.com for my blog that is less rambles – more focused on architects, architecture and communication.

Http://docandersen.podbean.com for my podcast – which is all about Fred and Ed (with the occasional architecture topic to keep things lively!)

I came late to the twitter game – heavy Facebook user but really late to twitter. So I apologize if I get the twiiter speak wrong here.

But this concept of social media and social applications are interesting. It’s something that seems to change the way we work and interact with other people.

So it’s kind of game changing, but on the other hand it is not as game changing as I originally thought. While it’s a cool thing, the “concept” of social networking reminds me of many things that have happened in the past – AOL forums come to mind first. I also think of bitnet where you can have 20 or so replies to an original thread that spawn 20 or more separate conversations that may never come together.

It’s cool – to spawn various threads that take off on a life of their own. But the thing about making communication more complex is that in the end you have the same problem that you did before. No one knows what started the thread and no one is sure how the thread ended. You lose the continuity of communication that is the essence of interaction.

But you do gain lots of new friends.


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When do software migrations payoff?

I’ve been doing software migrations for a long time. Frankly I’ve seen them fail as many times as I’ve seen them succeed.

My contention has long been that migrations, like the Great Oklahoma land grab are destined to have a percentage of failure. The question that comes up is can you in fact have a percentage of failure and still have a successful migration?

The answer to that is the traditional consulting answer “it depends.” It depends on the maturity of the actual IT org. If we consider the IO scale of MIT/Gartner a dynamic org can have a rate of failure in a migration and still be successful with the overall migration. It’s sort of a six sigma thing – failures per million don’t impact you as much as failures per 100’s.

The question then becomes how mature is your org?



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