All those Q4 deals

McKay relayed an anecdote about an executive who waited until midnight on vendor’s year-end sales cycles to secure discounts. While this approach to pressuring vendors worked in many cases, it also gave the company a "nasty" reputation. If a salesperson brands a company as "difficult to work with … it can backfire on you," said McKay. Midnight deadlines should only be used in emergency scenarios.

Nice way for everyone to spend New Year’s Eve…

Original source: How to negotiate software costs as IT budgets are slashed

Anti-intellectual times

AF: How much is toxicity on this issue a function of culture wars playing out online?

JB: I think we are living in anti-intellectual times, and that this is evident across the political spectrum. The quickness of social media allows for forms of vitriol that do not exactly support thoughtful debate. We need to cherish the longer forms.

Original source: Judith Butler on the culture wars, JK Rowling and living in “anti-intellectual times”

You have to teach people to collaborate

When I analyzed sustained collaborations in a wide range of industries, I found that they were marked by common mental attitudes: widespread respect for colleagues’ contributions, openness to experimenting with others’ ideas, and sensitivity to how one’s actions may affect both colleagues’ work and the mission’s outcome. Yet these attitudes are rare. Instead, most people display the opposite mentality, distrusting others and obsessing about their own status. The task for leaders is to encourage an outward focus in everyone, challenging the tendency we all have to fixate on ourselves—what we’d like to say and achieve—instead of what we can learn from others.

Traditional corporate culture is not good fit collaboration.

Original source: Cracking the Code of Sustained Collaboration

Overview of VMware’s kubernetes distros/packagings, and integration with vSphere

“The customers will be able to get completely integrated Kubernetes, the same value proposition. IT administrators can deploy this drop-in Kubernetes infrastructure right into their environment. Most enterprises have vSphere today. You can drop it right in and you can administer Kubernetes from the same platform, the tools and even the same skill sets that they already have. But the developer or the application owner can consume the infrastructure the way they’re used to doing it, the way they want to do it, through the Kubernetes interface, [which] is an API. With vSphere with Tanzu, customers can bring their own networking, they can bring their own storage. That’s a key difference from VMware Cloud Foundation with Tanzu. vSphere with Tanzu will really, really open up the floodgates for application modernization initiatives and the simple reason for that is it’s by far the leading hypervisor.”

Also, screenshots of lots of the marketectures and such.

Original source: VMware Bets On Enterprises Wanting Kubernetes And Virtualization Mashup

iPad growth over its ten years, analyzing the difference between the iPad and iPhone

As a result, iPads stay in use longer, get passed on to new users and serve for many years. Their average life span is likely well over 4 years and 9 year old iPads are not uncommon. It’s therefore very likely that the vast majority of all iPads sold are still in use.

So the true measure of success is not units sold but number of active (and satisfied) users. The iPad user base is probably around 400 million (about 27% of total active Apple devices.) The degree of activity is also telling and is reflected in the million apps built specifically for the platform.

And, taking over the traditional PC space is a big task:

It has not done that so far, much to the delight of naysayers. But this is not as big a failure as it might seem.

First note that the Mac user base itself is not nearly as big (110 million +/-10%). iPad could be 4x bigger in user base. The Windows base is larger at 1.2 to 1.4 billion but that resists frontal assault as it is deeply entrenched around enterprise workflows. It’s also bereft of profit.

Original source: [The iPad at 10](

20 years of mainframe Linux

By the spring of 1999. Frye recalls, "Enterprise Systems Group General Manager William Zeitler had enough information for a final chart of his presentation to then-CEO Lou Gerstner: ‘We also have Linux on s/390,’ Zeitler said." Gerstner was not impressed at first. In fact, "’That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard,’ said Gerstner, who then paused for reflection and added ‘Or maybe not?’"

Original source: 20 years of Linux on Big Iron

The missing context from that new Woodward book

In their self-hagiographys, people involved in the Trump presidency suddenly become astonished by the incompetency of the adminstration.

And then, Woodward’s conclusion:

But now, I’ve come to the conclusion that the ‘dynamite behind the door’ was in plain sight. It was Trump himself. The oversized personality. The failure to organize. The lack of discipline. The lack of trust in others he had picked, in experts. The undermining or attempted undermining of so many American institutions. The failure to be a calming, healing voice. The unwillingness to acknowledge error. The failure to do his homework. To extend the olive branch. To listen carefully to others. To craft a plan.

Also, the review writer:

Most of this Administration’s greatest disasters have been policy-related—but policy of this sort was inevitable with a person like Trump. What his racism did not infect, his corruption most certainly did; we are left with nothing except Trump himself and the political party that was broken enough to nominate such a man.

Such a weird time in American civics.

Original source: Bob Woodward’s Bad Characters

New VMware kubernetes distro packages

The new kubernetes distro packages/products from @VmwareTanzu. There’s four bundles of the distro, associated management tools, and integrated developer stuff.


the vSphere-Tanzu combo does not need to run the complete stack. “They can bring their own networking, they can bring their own storage,” D’Paiva explained, adding that it should also accelerate modern workload transformations because it ties directly into the vSphere platform that many enterprises are already running today.

“With this drop-in infrastructure it takes about an hour for an existing IT administrator to simply get started with Kubernetes and go,” D’Paiva said.

Original source: Simplify Your Approach to Application Modernization with 4 Simple Editions for the Tanzu Portfolio

Be more productive by saving up your excitement for when you’re actually doing the work

The longer you think about a task without doing it, the less novel it becomes to do. Writing things in your to-do list and coming back to them later helps you focus, but it comes at the cost: you’ve now converted an interesting idea into work. Since you’ve thought about it a little bit, it’s less interesting to work on.

It’s like chewing on a fresh piece of gum, immediately sticking it somewhere, then trying to convince yourself to rehydrate the dry, bland, task of chewed-up gum. Oh. That thing. Do you really want to go back to that? “We’ve already gone through all the interesting aspects of that problem, and established that there’s only work left”, the mind says.

Original source: Improvisational Productivity

Changing how you do things is important if you want to change your outcomes

The experiences at Boeing, DICK’S, and Merrill align closely with what Gartner found as part of its 2017 Enterprise DevOps Survey, in which respondents overwhelmingly pointed to culture and leadership buy-in as the two most people-centric aspects of scaling a DevOps initiative.

Us thought lords & ladies can get tedious with the “containers won’t fix your broken culture” line. But, you need to first fix your out of date tech & then change how you work to benefit from the tech’s new capabilities. It’s like buying a car & then trying to ride it like a horse.

Also, chart:

Things needed for DevOps, Gartner survey

Original source: Containers Aren’t the Cure: Why Tech is Just the Seed for Digital Transformation

Male managers bias promotions based on hanging out

Our evidence suggests that, unlike the male managers, female managers treated male and female employees similarly.

I’m not sure if I’m reading this right.

Also, this is based on a bank in Asia:

To study the effects of socialization at work, we partnered with a large commercial bank in Asia. We used their administrative records to track the assignments between the employees and managers, as well as the evolution of the employee’s pay grade, effort, and performance. We also conducted a series of surveys to measure other aspects of the employees’ lives, such as whether they take breaks with their managers, or whether they know the manager’s favorite sports team.

The social dynamics of Asia, versus Europe, versus America, versus LATAM etc. could have huge effects. Or not!

As one small thing: smoke breaks were used as some kinds of social encounter. In the States, that’s not a thing.

The finding that males promote males they’re friendly with more isn’t too shocking. What’s heartening is that female managers are wiser, one assumes from the lack of that bias in promoting. Women managers (in this Asian bank, at least) aren’t fooled by friendliness.

Original source: Study: How Schmoozing Helps Men Get Ahead

Argue for change by appealing to things people understand, not bigger picture goods

There’s some general tips on rhetoric here, when it comes to convincing people to do things they don’t want to or that don’t have a clear benefit for them. My summary:

  • Discuss how it benefits the individual you’re talking with, not all of humanity.
  • Use analogous examples instead of raw numbers, e.g., “We have reduced our waste by 50%. That’s the equivalent of X garbage trucks of waste per year.”
  • Avoid arguing with people who disagree, they’re a lot of work. If you have to, try to find “solutions that they don’t see as a threat because they carry positive benefits and/or are good for their bottom line.” The problem here, I think, is that they may not even believe there’s a problem in the first place. Perhaps just ignore and isolate them. Or, “don’t sell to people who ain’t buyin.'”

Original source: A Better Way to Talk About the Climate Crisis

Netherlands government IT

Rijsenbrij wants the government to develop a Dutch cloud to give the government a safe and reliable way to interact with citizens and businesses. “And then it would be perfectly possible to give those citizens and businesses access to that cloud as well,” he said.

Janssen added: “You want a secure and reliable infrastructure for the government on which you can exchange data and run various applications. With such an infrastructure, you don’t have to think about the basics over and over again, but you can focus directly on the real problems in society, such as debt relief.

“Then you don’t have to think about how to identify citizens or how to communicate safely with them, because that is guaranteed in the infrastructure. As a possible second step, you can then make this infrastructure available to citizens and businesses.”

At first I thought this mean, like, IaaS. But I think more of what’s be valuable are services like ID checks. In The Netherlands, there are already some cross-company systems like iDeal (payments) and Tikkie (also payments). I’ve used something called DigiID for logging into government sites.

The government is the de facto identity authentication (this person is who they claim to be) and, sort of through licensing and certifications, authorization: this person is authorized to cut hair or drive a car.

Centralizing that would be incredibly handy and eliminate a lot of duplication, spend, and security worrying in other organizations. I mean, assuming it would work.

In the US, the last requirement would kill the idea before it was born: by default, American assume the government doesn’t work. However, that doesn’t seem as strong a sentiment in The Netherlands.

Related: I think maybe The Netherlands is small enough (~17m people) but representative enough (whatever that means?) to be a test market for technologies. It has good infrastructure (fast Internet), people who are curious about new things, isn’t too expensive (except for rent and electricity) and, well, lots of English speaking (meaning, there’s a common language for business involving outsiders, the companies that would want to come in and test things). I don’t know about the ease or difficult of ripping up the streets and installing IoT doo-dads, but for pure software it seems…good?

Original source: Sorting out the Dutch government’s IT mess

Agility is a defense against ignorance

Agility is mainly a defensive strategy against your own ignorance. It’s about dealing with the costs of previous decisions by either failing fast and thereby learning quickly, and/or by lowering the costs of adjustments and re-working them when you learn that what you had built or deployed at first is not quite right. This includes creating an environment and office culture where that is OK and expected, as long as you also learn quickly. In contrast, to maximise efficiency, a more offensive strategy would need to be used when you are confident you have enough information to act quickly in order to maximise your advantage over competitors. These defensive and offensive strategies can look similar in practice, but in reality, the rationale is quite different.

That’s something to ponder.

Original source: Simulating Agile Strategies with the Lazy Stopping Model

Concise kubernetes description

Kelsey Hightower, coauthor of Kubernetes Up & Running, says:

“Kubernetes does the things that the very best system administrator would do: automation, failover, centralized logging, monitoring. It takes what we’ve learned in the DevOps community and makes it the default, out of the box.”

For dev teams, when Kubernetes steps in to manage the dev and deployment lifecycle, from automating feature rollouts with zero downtime to performing node and container health checks (even self-heal), they can focus more on features and functions and less on tedious tasks. And because Kubernetes is largely used with Docker software packages, it allows software engineers and developers to push products to production even faster and more reliably than when using Docker alone

Original source: Kubernetes in 2020 (and how it’s shaking up tech careers) | Seen by Indeed

Ideas for you to remember, not art

The point being that your sketchnotes are intended for an audience of one. The point of the sketchnote is to help you retain the information, not be put on display in a museum or shared via social media. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your notes with others. The goal is not to make something beautiful — the goal is to capture the ideas as they come to you.

Yeah. Linked to from this related production methods piece. Also, more productivity meditating.

Original source: A Guide to Sketchnoting on iPad (using GoodNotes)

The differences between working at home and in an office

Working from the office, the environment itself sends clear signals: This is where I work. I get home — this is where I play and take care of personal stuff. Without this separation and clear indicators, it was harder to keep things apart. Now, when I reach home, it’s easier to leave work behind and focus on the other part of my life. Yes, remotees can employ certain tricks and techniques to manage “modes”, but one’s surroundings are hard to beat as natural cues.

It’s impossible to train work and family to draw that line, so use buildings.

Original source: Back in the Office