Being successful at complete failure

The Star Trek months were, psychically speaking, a necessary idleness, an uncoiling, not unlike sitting motionless in the woods, waiting for woodland life to reassert itself, one squirrel at a time.


Part of the matter which was taking form was a tendency, on my part, to schizoid retreat. It was a tendency to which, in quitting my job, I gave full rein.

Schizoid has nothing to do with schizophrenic, apart from the etymology. As I understand it, it is characterised by a pronounced preference for your own company.

Carl Jung, psychologist and noted schizoid, allowed himself to fantasise a room in a tower on an island (a fantasy he partly realised in his lakeside tower dwelling at Bollingen, his “confession of faith in stone”); you reached the room through a trapdoor in the floor which could only be locked or opened from the inside. You would go up into your study, shut the trapdoor, and enjoy the silence, for days and weeks and months if you remembered to bring enough tins of pemmican with you.

Original source: Anatomy of Norbiton: Accidental

Not flawed in any special way, just regular

For some reason, this is incredibly vitalising. Here is a woman whose deep flaws don’t result from trauma, or her mother, or her children; she is not reacting against poverty, male betrayal or erasure, or unfulfilled artistic potential. She is at once structured by, and an agent of, social violence. The pleasures of Alma’s maladaptations are not that she is heroic, or courageous, or even particularly rebellious. (Hjorth writes that ‘Alma had never, she realised that now … met any angry women, women who rebelled. Frustrated and mentally crippled yes, but not rebellious.’) The pleasures of this character boil down to the fact that her flaws are the ordinary derangements of many people who live in unjust, casually brutal societies.

Original source: Selfish, grumpy and unkind? That’s my kind of woman | Psyche Ideas

Emoji’s in email subject lines

Overall, emojis seem to be a double-edged sword: they can negatively impact users’ attitudes, but they can also attract some attention and move the focus on the visual aspects of the email (which, in itself could be good or bad). Overusage will wipe out their benefits, likely leaving us only with the drawbacks.

I’m not too sure what the findings are, and it’s a low n (100 or so). But, some there’s some concepts that are fun to read through nonetheless.

I have a feeling it’s like all novel, attention grabbing techniques: it stands out until everyone is doing it.

In theory an emoji can convey a lot of information in a single character too: a movie one can tell you this email is about movies, a party one parties, an exploding head, a rant. This is done over at, and it’s built into search as well.

Demographics might also drive emoji utility. I’m 40 something and I find them childish and frivolous, a sign that the content isn’t serious enough and/or is marketing and The Kids nonsense. But I know that’s “wrong”: it’s just different characters people are using. Getting over that split second sentiment takes multiple seconds of conscious work on my part to backtrack from that unconscious reaction.

(Looming at the subject line of this blog post, I realize that I don’t even take the word separately, I treat it like a made-up bullshit word that has no proper way to be written in the plural. Instead I by add an apostrophe to make it plural.)

Thus far the best use of emojis I have is as a cheap way to acknowledge I’ve gotten a message (that missing “I have received and understood your message and have nothing further to say” word in English, like “roger” and “copy” in radio talk). A simple thumbs up (👍 ) communicates a lot.

Conversely, sending archaic technology (📠 or 💾) is good if replying with absurdism is an understood mode of communication with the person you’re talking with.

These tactics are especially good when I replay people from my Apple Watch. I don’t have to pull out my phone to tap out “sounds good, I’ll bring the lasagna,” I can just tap 👍 and turn around to go back home and get the lasagna.

Original source: Emojis in Email Subject Lines: Advantage or Impediment?

Removing compliance bottlenecks is simple: it’s just a lot of work

“Compliance” is a huge blocker for improving how organization do software. You see it as a top bottleneck in every survey about “digital transformation.”

This McKinsey piece layers out a plan:

Banks looking to transform risk management should, in our view, focus on four mutually reinforcing areas: organization, governance, processes, and digitization and advanced analytics. While enhancements isolated in each area can boost both effectiveness and efficiency, the true potential comes from tackling them in sequential order. Organizational optimization facilitates governance rationalization, which facilitates effective streamlining of processes, which enables digitization and advanced analytics to yield maximal benefit.

Handling compliance is like any other problem. It’s not impossible, you just need to understand what’s actually needed, stop doing wasteful dumb stuff, involve the stakeholders (convert them from chickens to pigs, “bring them onboard”), and keep trying to solve the problem, learning from what didn’t work, until it’s solved.

In other words: it’s a lot of work.

Do more of what you like to get less depressed

The risk then is that people withdraw further. They choose easy but unrewarding behaviours instead, such as staying at home (even as lockdown is lifted or as new social opportunities arise). At first, this makes good sense. ‘This withdrawal is driven by people’s desire to avoid the negative emotions that they’re experiencing when they try to do these activities,’ according to David Richards, a professor of mental health services research at the University of Exeter. McMillan agrees, adding that this behaviour ‘works in the immediate term because it makes you feel better’. The difficulty lies in what this inactivity sets up in the long term. The risk, he says, is that ‘it moves you further from what you need to do to get something out of the world’.

Original source: How to engage with life when you feel down

Language leads to imagination

As they cultivated these habits, mentally stimulating themselves and paying careful attention to the results, humans did something else, too. They created the sense that there was a private world inside them, where their real self lived and thought, a world that sometimes seemed more real to them than the one around them. In a sense, they created their own conscious minds and selves.

Original source: Our greatest invention was the invention of invention itself

The lost money was never there in the first place

From that perspective, it’s easy to see “where the money went:” It never existed in the first place. If my stock had a quoted price of $100 on an exchange, and that price fell to $75 per share, that means the forecast of the present value of future earnings for that company fell. The stock is a claim on the future stream of profits; the estimated value of the stream fell because of new taxes, new regulations, changes in consumer preferences, or the invention of a new competing product.

So: “Wealth is not money, it’s access to things, and to services.”

Original source: Where Did The Wealth Go?

Cloud Foundry moving to kubernetes

The move has been happening for awhile, it keeps going:

“Each project team is using it as an opportunity to re-architect, the way that their component of the system works to include more projects from the broader cloud-native open source community, whether it’s inclusion of Fluentd or Prometheus, whether it’s the deeper integration with Istio, whether it’s re-imagining how our own code can exist as [custom resource definitions] within Kubernetes,” Childers said.

Both of those projects build on CFF’s increased focus on the Kubernetes ecosystem. Childers previously explained to SDxCentral that Kubernetes remains a hard platform to use in production environments and that it was focused on easing that integration. It targets the Cloud Foundry platform as the simplified, nice, and easy-to-use layer on top of Kubernetes to build “the best enterprise developer experience” and avoid “any of the infrastructure conversation.”

Original source: Cloud Foundry Touts Kubernetes Progress, New CLI

Gartner’s container TAMing

the analyst firm predicts swift growth revenue growth for the likes of Red Hat, Rancher and VMware, with this year’s sales of US$465.8 million to become $944 million in 2024…. But that’s less than the annual revenue of $1bn Gartner expects IaaS providers will win from hosting containers by 2022.

And, to the question of how many apps run in production, in kubernetes, not that many at the moment, or in the future:

The analyst firm predicts that before 2024 containers will become “the default choice for 75 percent of new custom enterprise applications”, with the result that 15 percent of all apps use containers by the same year. That’s up from five percent today.

This means that in 2024 they predict that 85% of apps will be in not-container. The number must be in the high 90%’s now.

Meanwhile, neglected tech debt and calcified portfolios is a problem when it comes to innovation:

But Gartner thinks that growth isn’t a great sign of container-mania, because a combination of technical debt, application backlogs and budget constraints mean organisations will prioritise other work. For many, the unavoidable need to do things like migrate SAP HANA to the cloud will simply deserve more attention…. [The report’s author says that] Organisations looking to re-factor apps can do so more easily with virtual machines.

Also, more figures in the press release, including current usage.

Original source: Containers to capture 15 percent of all enterprise apps across 75 percent of business by 2024

Explaining is often waste

When people ask me about my life’s ambitions, I often joke that my goal is to become independently wealthy so that I can afford to get some work done. Mainly that’s about being able to do things without having to explain them first, so that the finished product can be the explanation. I think this will be a major labor saving improvement.

Via Robert. Source: Habitat Chronicles: You can’t tell people anything

VMware Tanzu

From some recent Tanzu content:

Swisscom building out their containers as a service business, case:

But this would have
proved impossible to be built by only a small team. The beauty of VMware Enterprise PKS was that it integrated with our existing VMware ecosystem, making it possible to develop and operate our K8s Service with only a few resources.

Creating new apps, and thus opportunities fast in Korea, case:

KB Insurance began developing the service the moment the API was released; the initial version was created by one developer who spent just six hours coding.

Meetings are the bloodwork of organizational change

Most of the time spent in meetings is spent on information sharing and updates on short-term operational details — sometimes known as “death by PowerPoint” — rather than on confronting and resolving tough strategic and organizational issues.

The easiest way to track how much change an organization is actually going through is to look at how the meetings are changing…or not changing.

Original source: 6 Reasons Your Strategy Isn’t Working

Presentation: Rapidly Deliver the Software That Matters

Check out this recording of a recent talk of mine. Here’s the abstract:

Many Government organizations are getting better at software development, deployment and management by using techniques like DevOps, agile development, and product management. Cloud native technologies are making organizations’ software supply chains more efficient and reliable. Our substantial experience with open-source technology and continuous deployment approaches, offers a powerful accelerator for contact tracing and integrated citizen response solutions. Improvement is fragile, and scaling up in large organizations is difficult. This talk will discuss bottlenecks, challenges, and how Government agencies and organizations are succeeding.

There’s even a transcript!

AI is machine learning, and you need ever updated data sets to match reality

The hope is that all this data-related faff will be a one-off, and that, once trained, a machine-learning model will repay the effort over millions of automated decisions.

There is no AI, just computers that can try to get it right over and over, but quickly. Little wonder: that’s what humans do, just much slower. And humans architect and write that code. All we know how to do is bang our head against the wall until the wall bends to our will.

Also in the package:

Firms in other industries woud love that kind of efficiency. Yet the magic is proving elusive. A survey carried out by Boston Consulting Group and mit polled almost 2,500 bosses and found that seven out of ten said their ai projects had generated little impact so far. Two-fifths of those with “significant investments” in ai had yet to report any benefits at all.


Perhaps as a result, bosses seem to be cooling on the idea more generally. Another survey, this one by pwc, found that the number of bosses planning to deploy ai across their firms was 4% in 2020, down from 20% the year before. The number saying they had already implemented ai in “multiple areas” fell from 27% to 18%. Euan Cameron at pwc says that rushed trials may have been abandoned or rethought, and that the “irrational exuberance” that has dominated boardrooms for the past few years is fading.

Original source: For AI, data are harder to come by than you think