Butter Chicken’ish

I made some killer butter chicken tonight, without the chicken. Still cutting back a bit on meat–not quitting, just more aware and thoughtful about how often and what kinds of meat to indulge in. Anyway, a nice challenge. I just followed the recipe but added roasted cauliflower and a little tofu. And it was fucking amazing. And I am seriously ‘crack-like’ addicted to the spicy green pickle relish from India. I fucking love that shit. So I had all that with Naan and basmati rice. Nice Monday evening meal and some in the freezer for another day.

As expected, this was a weekend with a lot of working. I had to compile a ton of data for the Deloitte consultants doing their audit.

But I did manage a very nice 7-mile walk downtown–via MLK drive and through University Circle area. A couple of photos on that experience. Passed a very timely statue of an immigrant woman with her children.

It’s interesting to me that the execs assigned to run our program don’t seem to fully understand this audit. When your boss has to bring in some heavy hitters from outside to understand what’s going on, it’s not viewed generally as a sign of confidence. And yet they continue to eschew advice from the very people they hired to give them advice. So, the dysfunction continues, fueled by the arrogance of the uninformed.

Very interesting ongoing discussion at work today. After Friday’s decision to delay the go-live, one might think some of the leads in this business-led transformation might be a little subdued and sheepish. But in fact, it’s the opposite.

Some of them, not all, mostly the usual suspects, truly believe they are in a position to direct next steps. They are almost emboldened, which makes no sense because it is very clearly their deficiencies that have brought us to this point. Not a single one of these leads has gone through an ERP implementation before—yet they are organizationally structured to have a disproportionate amount of influence to the program and this sentiment is reinforced by the business sponsors. So we are choosing to continue on with organizational structures that are inefficient and have brought us to a difficult spot in the program. And now, when you would normally take the moment to have an honest appraisal of our challenges as a team, we seem committed to continuing on with the same behaviors that have put us behind and disorganized.

c’est la vie I guess. My best move is to keep quiet and go with the flow because the times I have tried to do what I am paid to do, which is offer advice on these matters, I am assertively told to stand down because they have this figured out.

So, I will continue to look for another place to ply my trade. But history suggests that another large organization is unlikely to behave differently than this one or the ones before. So best to moderate my expectations and become more comfortable with mediocrity. Unless, that is, I can ever get in a position where I can control more of the input levers. I am not overconfident about my skills—I bring along the right expertise that I trust to guide and advise. It’s just that these large programs get handicapped when you have overly confident leadership who are incompetent and not taking advice from the right people.

This is an organization that freaked the fuck out when I tried to leave just 8 weeks ago. They threw a ton of money at me and begged me to stay. I was naïve enough to think that was a turning point and they might start listening to me. As one of the leaders of our vendor partners told me the other day ‘it’s cute that  you believed they were going to change their behavior’. She was correct. They ignore the advice of Oracle leadership as well as the other key vendors we have and of course me and the crew I brought along. All the people that have gone through this a few dozen times.

Anyway….nothing new here. Just depressing to watch it play out.

Thursday night I will have dinner in Santa Monica with Zeinab, my brilliant and beautiful friend from Lebanon. Or that is the current plan. We both are getting in a little late on that evening so need to make sure our schedules align.

I am reminded of a brief but intense time I spent in Santa Monica many years ago. Around 2004 and 2005. In the early days of MYO, I happened to meet a Hollywood producer who had some moderate success and she briefly joined the board of MYO. She had produced ‘Leaving Las Vegas‘ and a few other movies including one with Angelina Jolie. This was near the time Brad and Angelina were holed up just a few miles south of MYO on the Namibian coast. I think I’ve written about that weirdness before.

Anyway, I flew to Santa Monica several times to attend fundraisers. I would pay for my flight and hotel and some appetizers and drinks. 25 or 30 people would turn up and I would give a short talk and show some photos and talk about MYO. At the end, the total donations were always less than what I spent to be there. These were not stars, just people mostly grinding out a living in a very strange industry. They were nice, but checks were not written in any significant volume. Paige eventually found other interests and drifted and I made no attempt to stay connected to that community because it was ineffective.

I did meet Ross Kettle, who was very nice and is a superb writer and director. He was born in South Africa and wrote and directed a fabulous movie called ‘After the Rain’. We briefly talked about him shooting a promotional short for MYO, but the budget was going to be around $50K and of course no one was willing to front the cost.

Hollywood is such a fucking crazy scene. I’ve never understood the fascination people have with movie actors. Why they are so revered for doing so little. This is an industry, that on every movie gives credit to every single person or entity that happens to walk by the movie set. This is equivalent to me, every time I submit a status report or major deliverable, listing out the names of all 200 people on the bottom of the report as ‘contributors’. Including the guy who delivered Panera at lunch. The Oscars and all that bullshit. I like a good movie as much as the next guy, but just don’t understand the adoration or money involved. Great gig if you can get it—$10M or so for 6 months of work, but I find it all part of the strange culture that has evolved in our society. We overpay massively for jobs that contribute little to society, and undervalue contributors who we entrust to educate our children, researchers who we need to figure out this climate change mess, and a thousand other jobs that are more productive.

Good walk this morning. Need to re-think some of the operating model of Pyramid. Maybe scale back and ease into it a bit.

Closing in on final chapters of ‘Warmth of Other Suns‘. Really a brilliant book and I am deliberately savoring these last few pages of these 3 amazing individuals’ lives. But finish I will and continue on with the other two I’ve already started.

No other news of note.


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