Thursday, December 08, 2011

A chess set, won

John and I have been playing chess since he was four.  I've made it a point over the years never to take it easy on him.  Ever.  In the early games, he really took losing to heart and Rebecca would shake her head disapprovingly at the heartless... er, competitive... way I played, so I made a deal that the day he wins, he gets my chess set.  

Tonight, at seven years of age, he has caused me to be in the market for a new chess set.  He beat me, and I didn't even see it coming.

I always knew the day would come but, for some reason, I assumed it'd be gradual, perceptible, and, frankly, years away.  I was focused on bringing my Queen to cover the eighth rank while he was seemingly goofing around with some pawns, then, in a swift Qg7->Qa1 it was done, "got you Daddy."  He says that a lot though, so it took a while for it to slowly sink in.  Sadness, pride, happiness, deflation, humility... he won. Fair and square, he won and got himself a pretty decent chess set tonight.  

I'm so happy for him and look forward to many more games on his "new" chess set...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Our last first tooth loss...

When John lost his first tooth, it was pure excitement.  With Grace, there's excitement too, but accompanied by a tinge of sadness that this will be our last first tooth loss in our family.  I suppose it's the same with all the "firsts" but with this coming on the heels of our last first day of kindergarten, I suppose it's sinking in more.  I'm so happy to watch her grow, but I do wish she'd slow down just a bit...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Enlightened corporate leadership

In a world where corporate leadership is dominated by a pursuit of growth and profit, it's encouraging to see some examples of enlightened leadership.  I initially came across this post from Tim O'Reilly saying,
"It was at this time that I formulated an image that I've used many times since: profit in a business is like gas in a car. You don't want to run out of gas, but neither do you want to think that your road trip is a tour of gas stations."
 He references a Huffington Post article in which Steve Jobs has this gem:
"My passion has been to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products," Jobs told Isaacson. "[T]he products, not the profits, were the motivation. Sculley flipped these priorities to where the goal was to make money. It's a subtle difference, but it ends up meaning everything."
And back to Tim O'Reilly,
"What's so great about the Apple story is that Steve ended up making enormous amounts of money without making it a primary goal of the company. (Ditto Larry and Sergey at Google.) ...  Making money through true value creation driven by the desire to make great things that last, and make the world a better place - that's the heart of what is best in capitalism. "
This sort of thinking is also represented clearly in the book Firms of Endearment.  The world would be a better place if more business leaders would focus their corporate energy into something they are deeply passionate about and allow profit and growth to be a nice side effect.  Who knows, maybe Jobs' legacy will be to inspire a generation of leadership that has the courage and confidence to passionately believe in what their doing and stop with the "growth/profit as a primal focus" meme.

Friday, August 05, 2011


If you've been fortunate enough to take a SERE course there's an excellent chance you've had Rudyard Kipling's poem Boots branded on your mind.  It's a special poem to SERE graduates.  But simply reading it's words isn't particularly satisfying, you've likely yearned to hear it in a particular audio form.  I don't know if this is the exact audio but with it's emotion and poor audio quality, it's close enough.

This reading makes the Library of Congress' National Jukebox project worth every penny to me! (actual poem starts at ~34 seconds)