Entries from May 2008 ↓

Casual Friday: Viva Las Vegas!

had a different Casual Friday post all ready to go, but decided at the last minute that I should keep with the EMC World theme and do something Vegas-themed instead.

So, for today’s Casual Friday, I’m going to put you in the mood for a trip to Las Vegas with my five favorite Vegas movies. I know there are “better” Vegas movies out there than these, but these are my favorite five (in no particular order). Feel free to throw your two cents worth in the comments!
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EMC World 2008: Perk or work?

Today marks our final dry-run of the “Getting the Value out of your ControlCenter 6.x Implementation” hands-on session. Problems are ironed out (hopefully!), handouts are completed, and we’re as practiced as we’re going to be. Sunday, I’m sure there will be some last-minute chaos, and then over the next four days we’ll deliver five sessions, each 2.5 hours in length, each with up to 100 attendees sharing 50 laptops. I’ve never been involved in anything quite like it.

Everyone I talk to outside the company about my “free trip to Vegas” regards it as a perk. And clearly it is. But like every other perk, it has plenty of baggage associated with it.

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Are you hyperconnected?

Quick post this morning as I struggle to get my handouts down for EMC World (I said they’d be done yesterday, remember?  No such luck!).

Ars Technica is running a story today, talking about a recent study commissioned by Nortel.  The study talks about how a growing percentage of people, worldwide, are connected for both work and play, and are comfortable being in contact with work while eating, on vacation, or even at places of worship.  They are using the same devices and networks for social and business reasons, and don’t find this odd.

Pretty timely stuff considering my recent post about my own work/personal boundary blurring, considering many of these hyperconnected individuals still claim to feel a healthy work/life balance.  My comments on age seem spot-on too … most of the hyperconnected were under the age of 35.  I look forward to seeing the comments on this out in the wild.

A Day in the Life

“But what do you actually do?” I hear this a lot, usually from family or friends who aren’t in the high-tech industry. It’s hard enough to explain what Storage Resource Management Software does, but explaining what I actually do relative to that is even tougher.

I thought I’d take a nice busy Monday and try and find time throughout the day to scribble in notes about what I’m actually doing with that time, and post it here for people to see.

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One week before EMC World

The ramping up for EMC World is shifting gears now — the final week is upon us, and there’s no room for further delay.  There’s a sense of urgency among the attendees, as they finalize their presentations, attend dry-runs, iron out last-minute details, and double-check their travel plans.

This is my first year attending EMC World, and I plan to blog it in as close to real time as I can.  That probably means daily blog posts summing things up, and frequent twitter updates.  I have to do the EMC ControlCenter hands-on 5 times in 4 days, each time 2.5 hours plus setup/teardown.  Not sure how much time I’ll have for attending other sessions or wandering the floor.  We’ll see.  I really want to check out the Innovation Showcase.

Some folks are talking about off hours plans, which I’ve made zero of.  No tickets for shows or anything like that.  We’ll have to play it by ear.  I do have one unofficial after-hours plan – get someone else to expense my dinner every night.  I hate filling out expense forms :).

Some other unofficial after-hours goals for EMC World?

  • Find a fellow blogger and realize I have nothing in common with them beyond blogging, resulting in awkward silence and much fidgeting
  • Buy Steve Todd a drink.  Milk or beer, his choice (sorry, old in-joke).
  • Witness my manager doing something I can blackmail him with, without being incriminated myself.
  • Visibly cringe whenever anyone says “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” after doing something like ordering a beer with dinner or dropping a quarter into a slot machine.

More updates later in the week as the prep gets finalized!

Casual Friday: Vacation Daydreaming

Lots of people dress down on Fridays, and while I tend to be pretty dressed-down at work every day, I dress down my blog on Friday instead. Today, I want to talk about vacation!

Sunset Palm
Creative Commons License photo credit: Christina Welsh (Rin)

Remember yesterday’s post, about the blurring line between my “work” and “home” selves? Well, nowhere is that line more concrete than when on vacation. Vacation is my time (or, more fairly, my family time). I’m a bit extreme in this regard in that not only won’t I check my email, I generally won’t even watch the news or read the paper.

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Good fences make good neighbors


Work-life balance is a tricky thing. I’ve always maintained that I keep a clean separation between my personal life and my work life, and that it has done wonders for keeping me sane through some insane stretches at work. But I’m finding things beginning to blur these boundaries, and I’m really curious as to where it’s going to take me.

Creative Commons License photo credit: speakeasy(X)

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The Inertial Dampeners of Cultural Change

One of the common themes expressed when talking about EMC’s internal online community is people collaborating and taking ownership of a task, making things happen without any corporate structures. The other day, I ran into a real-world application of why this takes time to gather momentum.

Creative Commons License photo credit: .Page.

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Kompany Kool-Aid

Before I became a manager, I took an excellent class offered internally at EMC called Exploring a Career in Management. The high point wasn’t the content, but rather the frank discussions that took place between the attendees and the instructor (I’ve found this to be true of most “soft skills” classes).

One topic was that as a manager, you are the face of the company (in this case, EMC) to the people on your team. And that requires, if you’re going to have any sort of personal integrity, some amount of buy-in on your part of what the company stands for.

Well into my second year as a manager, I tell you this comes up all the time: at review time, during compensation discussions, during conversations about product strategy, and more.

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No pom-pons here

Playing possum

I’ve always been a bit suspicious about corporate cheerleaders (this phrase brings up some interesting search results; I linked one of the safer ones here). It’s easy to be proud of where you work and excited about what you’re doing when new to the work force, but after a few years of watching the system in action it’s natural to be a bit jaded. I’ve always tried to avoid outright cynicism but I would be lying if I said I had never dipped into that realm. So when someone never stops talking about how excited they are to work at a certain company, I wonder who they are trying to convince.

So I was a bit surprised at myself when I told a friend in a recent email that I was excited to be working where I am.

In this case, it isn’t about a specific technology, or a set of tools, or even my co-workers. Instead, I’m excited because of what I’m seeing in the corporate culture.

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