Remembering Mac

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Let us for a moment exalt in some formal naval gazing. Looking inward past the scars of time and memories that roll around inside of us like loose bowling balls that we can’t dodge, striking us over and over with things we didn’t do, things we should have done and memories we can no longer place. Rather for a moment let us move past what was unpleasant to that which was pleasant, happy memories linked to long ago.

I remember listening to a record of Scottish stories and from that record becoming enamored with the name Macgregor. In the car heading to pick up our new dog the conversation rolled around in the car for awhile and then my parents asked me to name the dog. “Macgregor” was my response the scotch name rolling off my lips and into the car like a unexploded bomb.

It was a grand name for a dog we all decided. At least that is my memory now rusted and tarnished in the corner of my mind. I don’t often bring out memories of that second dog in my life. I vaguely remember, mostly from pictures and one night as a three year old calling her into my room, our first family dog a Dachshund named Anna Banana. I do recall Anna running down the hallway to my bedroom that night and my mother catching up to her as she made it to the side of my bed. But I have no other memories of her as she passed through the gauze of my childhood to go where unremembered dogs end up. But Macgregor I recall.

He was a grand dog. A collie, and I don’t often drag his memory out of the deep recess in my brain where I store them. It makes me cry. I don’t mean a manly tear in the eye that goes away with a blink. It is full on tears that won’t stop. Mac was a dog of infinite heart who loved my father as much as I did (and still do). I have memories of him that are like movies, complete with sound and fury that play out in my mind sometimes. I remember building a snowman in the field that represented the park our subdivision had. There were tennis courts and basketball courts at one end and a long field at the other. That park would feature over and over again in my childhood but this memory involves my little sister, my dad, Mac and I building a snowman. For whatever reason (as dad’s will do, for I do the same thing to my kids) my dad threw a snowball at me (or perhaps I threw one at my little sister first who knows it was nearly 43 years ago now) I responded to the snowball by launching one of my own and Mac launched himself at my dad defending the honor of the clan and attacking the marauding Dane in our midst. I cannot now 43 years later tell you what happened next, just that moment wrapped around a Collie, my little sister and my dad. It is a memory that has stuck.

My first dog…

From the desk of Sandler Boggs.

If only…

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1 Xbox setup.

1 more box opened.

But now I am 13 boxes behind my goal. I am going to take a 1/2 day Friday to try and catch up. What is the point of setting a goal if you don’t at least try and hit it.

We walked down to the 5 Guys burger joint in the square for dinner last night. Its really kind of fun to be able to safely walk to the movies, dinner or for that matter even shopping. We had a blast last night meandering our way through the neighborhood on the way to dinner. Barb is taking the kids to the pool today (and to get their neighborhood id’s). Their (the kids) stolen days of extra summer are over Monday (and Tuesday) as all three head back to school.

When I was in school I hated school. If I only knew then what I know now, I would have reveled more in school. But as the famous quote goes “youth is wasted on the young.” Hindsight is such a glorious tool to consider.

Time to get rolling and get to work – loving the new job.

(interesting thing – watched a video about the impact of negativity in management – would LOVE TO show it to a large number of people. Let me just say there are many ways to solve problems and frankly negative is never one of them. Perhaps a compliment to start and then well say something nice.

If only I knew then what I know now.


Oh the times they are a changing…

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A 32 gigabyte memory card.

When I started as a computer person which is now roughly 25 years ago, I had a computer that I loved (an Apple IIc). It was perfect, somewhat portable (ok not portable at all – but the allure was there). It had a memory expansion slot and I filled that with 640k of memory. It was expensive (I think nearly 300 dollars almost the cost of the computer). I also upgraded my computer to the new 3.5 inch floppy. I already had a 5.25 drive so it seemed like a good way to go.

I had a word processor on a 3.5 inch floppy and other than swapping drives all the time (load the OS then load the programs)it was my first computing experience. I had a great game, Dr J vs Larry Bird that I loved. Playmaker football was a later addition (when  I got my first Macintosh). I wrote poems and started a couple of different books on that computer.

Like all things it became obsolete (probably a week after I bought it). I ended up replacing the IIc with a IIgs. Eventually the IIgs became a Macintosh SE. Then a Macintosh SE-30. I moved headlong into the computer world and never looked back.

Full circle to yesterday as I grabbed one of my cameras to move pictures to a hard drive. I realized that I had more memory (in my camera at 32 gigs) than I had in my first 6 computers combined. It wasn’t until I bought my Macintosh II that I actually had a 100 meg hard drive. I didn’t have more than a gig of storage in my house until 1995. Now you can buy a terabyte drive for just over $100 bucks. A drive that is faster and more flexible than the 100 megabyte drive in my Macintosh in 1993.

I have a computer with a 256 gig SSD drive that boots before I even turn it on (just kidding). Storage, computing power and the things you can do with your computer have changed. A device that was supposed to help us reduce time has in fact done so. We’ve just found so many things we couldn’t do before that we can now do at home. Things that once were domain of the vast computer systems no one could use.

It has been an amazing ride. The cloud revolution will make even more changes.


Cloud-Crowd-Sourcing the future is near…

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The cloud as a vision of what could be.

In my blog series (and maybe someday book) on the Syncverse I talked about a lot of concepts that the internet could help humanity as an entity improve. Freedom, communication, structure and information processing are all things that will continue to improve the further into the cloud age we head.

It is the future but it is also a view of what could have been better in the past. We began the computer age in the mainframe era, centralized computing that allowed multiple people to have the same view of data. The data was far more limited then than now so of course what you could do with that information was also therefore limited. And if you ever spent more than an hour on a green screen you will understand the eye strain concept created out of the initial era.

The problem now is the reality of crowd sourcing. That is the single thing about cloud computing that I think will change the world. In the time of Edison you had one really smart guy (and quite a few helpers) working on a core set of problems in a specific geography. They were limited by what they knew, where they lived and the very cultural experience that led them on the path. Yes they eventually succeeded, but what if they were able to crowd-source that idea?

What if they were able to throw the idea out to the ether and have hundreds, thousands even millions of people look at the idea? Some of them not bound by the rules and strictures and that may enable a solution faster. A crowd-sourced solution becoming more and more flexible over time. It is the inherent promise of cloud computing.


The technology detox thing still bugs me…

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Technology detox redux Winking smile

So I am still thinking about the Parade magazine article (Technology Detox) from a couple of weeks ago and it still bothers me. It bothers me from the perspective of three things:

  • What is technology
  • Why is it bad
  • What does a detox really mean?

When I started my professional career I was a school teacher. People always said to me (summer’s off – that is pretty cool, but the reality was I never got a single summer off. I had education and other requirements that forced me into working most of the summer. Companies, when you work for them, pay you time off in many cases. Is that an organizational detox?

Then I started wandering even further afield wondering what exactly we meant by technology. So I decided to create the great technology detox list. The top ten things that poison our minds that we should in the end stop using for our detox. Let’s go for 24 hours on this first run of technology detox.

Top offenders for detox

  • Stop lights – give me a break people. When roads come together we should decide on a case by case basis who gets through the intersection we don’t need this technology gizmo
  • Doctors and all their technology – let’s stop using them right now. 24 hours no doctors. You are never sick until the doctor tells you after putting you through a bunch of machines, right?
  • Television – the great babble box – unplug it for 24 hours
  • Radios in the car – sit in a traffic jam like your forefathers did in the horse and buggy days, staring blindly off into space. Put the car in park first thought.
  • Oh for that matter, you shouldn’t be in a car you should be in a horse and buggy so get out of that car and find your horse.

Yes the sarcasm is dripping and it is intentional. At what point do we reduce below a functional level. Technology is all about moderation. If you can’t go more than an hour without checking your email – there is something else wrong and it isn’t technology.


Architects and what they talk about…

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The concept of Human Dynamics and architects. or the intersection of thinking about it, and talking about it with others! It is the secret sauce that architects learn very early, influence and lead versus manage and persuade.

The interesting problem is the way architects often pursue the persuasion (I saw Mr. Popper’s Penguins over the weekend so I had to use the p words in honor of Polly).

Some of the architects I know pursue arguments like a bull in a china shop expecting people to cave to their arguments because they are loud or sometimes because they are in the room or have a specific title. That makes me sad. But it is a problem in many more proffesions than architecture. I remember feeling that way when I was a school teacher as well – “the way things are, is the way things are.”

I am planning on a blog series around the broader concepts and ideas incorporated in the overall concept of Human Dynamics and architects, as well as the overall impact of that on the profession architecture.

Comment away if you have thoughts…

Do you listen or talk when you are on a call or in a meeting?

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The smartest man in the room syndrome.

Recently I’ve sat on a few conference calls where the speaker started talking about a topic and people interrupted with those own thoughts. There is nothing wrong with asking a question. There is nothing wrong with clarifying a point made. But when your set of questions derails what the speaker was trying to present, you’ve violated a rule of conduct.  I call that the smartest man in the room syndrome. It has to do with an inability to have “empathy” for anyone else in the room.  If you don’t feel like they are worthy of speaking its ok to derail the conversation, you after all, know what is best.

It seems sad to be in a world where communication is so much easier than it ever has been before. When I lived in Thailand as a child we spoke to my grandparents twice via phone the entire time, most of the time recording tapes and sending them back and forth. Communication was such a pleasure (I loved my grandparents very much). Now you can speak 1/2 across the world anytime you want. Using voip you can even talk to someone in Thailand for free. The change has been incredible and yet the problems of and with communication have continued to grow. In my book “transitional services” I talk about some communication anti-patterns and frankly this is one. The concept of, I am the smartest man in the room therefore I should be the only one speaking.

Not sure what anyone can do about this problem, simply pointing it out for all to see. I guess as a reformed “smartest man in the room” I probably notice it more than other people do.  It really seems to bother me…



How do you set the bar…

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Setting the bar…

Its very hard to set a bar in space that people then attempt to hurdle over. While you can build a “strawperson” of what that looks like it remains somewhat open to interpretation when you have more than 2 or 3 people engaged.

I’ve been thinking about setting that bar all week. The first thought I had was to explain the concept of where I thought the bar was. But that is open to other people interpreting the bar so it really doesn’t work as well as I would like. The other thought is to use the Pole Vault analogy. The concept there being you want to clear the bar. It’s a democratic concept as well, Pole Vaulters don’t really want to blow over the bar by a foot or more. They want to clear the bar by inches. They launch themselves into a visualized point in space to clear a bar that is 17 or 18 feet above them.

Does that concept work with a  bar? We are trying to “clear the bar” not hurdle the bar.

Well the thing that is missing is the visualization of where the bar is in space. Launching towards something that you can’t “visualize” before hand is risky. What do you need to visualize a bar? The pole vaulter doesn’t go out and stand in the pit looking up at the bar (well some of them do – but not during a meet they do that before they actually have to jump). They sit by themselves (or with a bunch of people it doesn’t matter) and they visualize the pole they are holding bending and then shooting them into the air.

But they know where the bar is…

How do you set the bar?



What is it that we think we know?

Understanding the things that we are taught is something that we are trained for from an early age. Breaking free from the confines of what someone else sees as a component of what should happen next is the next step in evolutionary learning.

That is the concept – evolutionary learning. Going beyond simply understanding what you are taught to evolving that concept to a new level or idea.

So why don’t we focus our schools on building evolutionary thinking?

  1. Its risky – you have to be able to focus both the thinking and the processes around the thinking in order to “maintain order” in a classroom.
  2. Evolutionary thinking by its very definition takes concepts in a net new direction. This means the teacher has to be able to leverage evolutionary thinking.
  3. Its harder to critique a net new idea then the repetition of the same stuff everyone else has.

It is a concept that I’ve worked on for years – it was a major reason for the founding of the Society of Dead teachers nearly 20 years ago now. It is the core concept behind my quest for architectural lighthouses (


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What is it you hear?

Thinking about architecture and guidance a bit on my “other blog” and of course transitional services on my podcast Even came up with a new nickname for the Society of Dead Architects (SODA) and you can find them at

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of “intent.” When we talk to other people there is an intent that we are conveying, a message that is wrapped in the meaning of the words we are using. A path that rises clearly in front of us and shows us the way we wish to go.

But other people often miss our path and take their own. Why is that? The easy answer is “People are motivated by their needs, not yours.” But the reality is that your intent, message/delivery was not as clear as it could have been which meant they, your audience, didn’t end u following you.

How do you get to a clear message that conveys your intent and yet still maintains your overall vision? Simple messages are easier to convey but there has to be a passion behind the message. President Kennedy’s famous speech (Land a man on the moon – return him safely) was a simple message (we will not be beaten) with a passion (we are going to do this in less than 7 years – no matter what it costs).



Bringing those together can make your messaging process difficult. Creating a resonance with your message, your meaning and your vision produces a longer term vision.