I Resolve – 2010

I Resolve

To do what I want,
and to make a living,
To enjoy myself
for a long time.

To have priorities,
and to stay on task,
To keep in touch
with friends and colleagues.

To learn my craft,
and to teach what I know,
To help when available,
and reach those I can.

To be safe and secure,
and to remain aware,
To have clean surroundings
for a simpler life.

To take care of myself,
and to watch over my family,
To find the energy and integrity
to be true to me.

40 Years of Earth Day (Observed)

Earth Day celebrated its 40th Anniversary on Thursday.

In honor of Earth Day, which was first held on April 22, 1970, I thought that it would be fitting to note that the manner in which we (much of our industry) do business is one of the most ecologically responsible methods of commerce.

Everybody in our company currently works from a home office, which means that the commute involves no burning of fossil fuels.  Additionally, only one location needs to be heated (or cooled, on those rare occasions in Michigan), so less natural gas (or LP, fuel oil, or electricity, as appropriate) is used.  As important to us, though, is that we are not contributing to the gratuitous development sprawl that was taking place here entirely unabated, even by massive oversupply, until the financial crisis finally slowed it down just a bit.

Occasionally, I have considered that the 15 year old van I drive could be replaced with a more fuel efficient vehicle, but I have not taken action yet because, first, it is already quite efficient overall because of its limited use and, second, despite much blather, current fuel consumption (MPG) ratings are ostensibly worse than when this van was built.  I sometimes go for days without driving, so it would take a long while to make up for the manufacturing cost of a new car, and when I do drive, this old 3.8 liter V-6 engine still gets within a few miles per gallon of most new “hybrid” vehicles I checked.  Sad.  (The expense of a new vehicle, weighed against the current lack of car payments, has also been a significant factor.)

The one area in which online software sales and virtual stores falls behind is in consumption of electricity, which can be seen to be elevated due to extensive use of computers, and especially the constant, 24 hour/day, operation of various servers.  In our case, for several years we voluntarily purchased, from our municipal provider, a couple of “blocks” of electricity generated from renewable sources, which was enough to cover all of our company computer usage (including servers) each month.  This was an investment in keeping and building these renewable sources of electricity, which has since been mandated for all public utilities in Michigan.

Of course, there is always more that one can do, so it is a good idea to take a little time every once in a while to consider ways to improve fuel efficiency, whether your goal is to save money or just save the planet.  (Our project for this summer involves insulating the floor under the front part of my office, which was never done at all by previous owners, including the idiots who built the addition.)

The Hubble Space Telescope is 20 years old today.

On April 24, 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit from the Space Shuttle Discovery.  Those readers who were alive and conscious at the time will remember the initial problem with the main mirror led to criticism and ridicule, but that problem was fixed, and that resulted in great leaps forward in the field of astronomy (and a million beautiful desktops).  Last year, the “last” fix has made the orbiting telescope more powerful than originally imagined, and it could continue its successful run for many years to come.  Like a piece of software, version 1.0 had its share of bugs and detractors, but it became really useful at version 2.0, and by version 3.0 has already outlasted and outperformed all predictions.

Happy Birthday, Hubble!


Separating business matters from personal issues

Recently, I received the first newsletter of the year from (friend and former colleague) Steve Pavlina.  For those of you who do not already know about Steve Pavlina, he founded Dexterity Games (now defunct) and published Dweep, an award-winning puzzle game.  He was also the President of the Association of Shareware Professionals and was inducted into the ASP Hall of Fame in 2005.  After this success, he left the game industry to pursue a career in motivational speaking and personal development, writing the book, Personal Development for Smart People.

Anyway, the meat of the newsletter, nestled in between the various sales pitches and recommendations from which he earns his living, was a section entitled, “Living by Your Own Rules“.  This intrigued me, as it seemed to correspond nicely with my personal plans for 2010, so I read on.  However, I quickly discovered that his ideas did not mesh with my own in this case.  It had little to do with the actual content of his writings, but his radical ideas of sharing his personal life (specifically, his sexual preferences and desires) in the place in which he does his business.

Specifically, Steve made a blog post with his 2010 goals in which he reveals his personal goal of pursuing “Alternative Relationship Styles” and goes into detail (for which you will need to read his post).  I have no problem whatsoever with his choice to pursue this lifestyle, but I do question the wisdom of presenting this in a forum in which he currently (by his own numbers) sells six figures a month; it seems risky to the point of potential self-destruction.  More to the point, I wonder what benefit to his business (not to mention personal reputation) he seeks to gain from this pursuit.  (I do see a great benefit in finding compatible sexual partners, though.)

Steve is good at taking things to the extreme, completing college in only three semesters, ramping up his healthy eating through vegetarianism to a vegan diet and finally raw foods, and now personal openness to a radical degree.  He calls this last part “courage”, which it certainly takes, but I am not sure that courage is always the best choice.  Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean suggests that the opposite of cowardice is rashness, and this might apply here.  The more common idiom is, “All things in moderation, and moderation in all things.

Personally, I think that it is still wise to compartmentalize to some degree, especially keeping business issues separate from (potentially) controversial personal issues, such as politics, religion, and sexuality.  Discussing the particulars of these in a business context has the potential of alienating people with little chance of significant gain.  I do not have a problem seasoning my business posts with personal items, and I definitely have business friends with whom I share more, but any proclivities I may (or may not :)) have should remain discrete.

Ultimately, I guess that I am intrigued at Steve’s attempt to alter societal norms, and I wish him the best of luck, but I am also glad that it is he, rather than I, who is taking the risk of falling flat on his face.  (Ridicule I could handle; starvation, not so much.)

What do you think?