Beautiful ride this afternoon on the T. Sunny and 60’s. Perfect. I took Lakeshore to MLK and then down to Chester past all the Cleveland Clinic royal campus. Chester all the way downtown, passed through Ohio City and then backstreets over to Edgewater and through the park. The lake was stunning today. People were out en masse. I rode down Detroit and back to Ohio City and stopped for coffee at my favorite little place there. I wrote a bit; read a bit; people-watched. Daydreamed. Reflected on my good fortune in this life. I am blessed with a sane and smart and loving family. Enough close friends to not feel alone in the world. And plenty of acquaintances that can be flexed up or down depending on time and circumstances.
It felt remarkably civilized, sitting at an outside table at a coffee shop on crisp sunny morning on the 1st day of Spring.
The Triumph is a vastly different riding experience than the BMW. It is a truly laid back vibe. The seat sits low and the handlebars are longer and sweep back so I am much more upright. It is geared low, so easy to slide along a city street at 10mph and it has no issue; no sense of urgency. If I want to pick it up, there’s power at the top end, but it’s not the core spirit of this bike. It’s such a looker that people stare as I go by. When I park on the street, people stop in front of it. One guy took a picture while I was sitting at the coffee shop. The engine sound is somewhere between the slow deep cough of Harley and higher whine of BMW.
The Beemer is clearly a sprinter. On that bike, I am laid out with center of gravity more forward—chest over the tank and feet on rear-set pegs. It wants to run and is impatient in the city. I can lay the BMW down into a corner almost horizontal with the pavement and it smiles right through the turn. The Triumph is so low, that the pegs will drag if you try to go through a turn too aggressively.
The Triumph is just what I was looking for. A terrific bike for around town and short trips out to wine country or long lazy rides around the lake. A fitting ride for a greying sailor and rugby player. But I will keep the BMW as well. It is perfect for weekend get aways and has a reasonable comfortable passenger seat and some pannier storage.
Busy week ahead. Time is compressing on us now. We seem well positioned, but there are a couple of things going on that I am concerned about. Some of our metrics feel at odds with my instincts. While we have a good team, managers are sometimes inclined to be hesitant to report issues within their area of responsibility. This is wrong and dangerous, but not uncommon. Especially with junior managers who feel they must achieve perfection and so may attempt to shape analytics to conform to the story they want to tell rather than the story that is unfolding. I can’t prove it yet, but I know things are not as rosy as they seem on paper. So high alert. As a consultant, I have to be careful about calling managers out. I have to be doubly-sure of my facts.
Overall things are not bad, but we have some difficult times ahead. No question. These programs are complex and the final stages always require some compromise; some calculated risks. There is always some anxiety about shutting down a fully functioning integrated suite of applications that is running a multi-billion dollar company and flipping the switch on a whole new set of applications and integrations, interfaces, years of converted and transformed data, reports and workflows. No matter how much we test (and our timeline allowed a VERY narrow test window), there will be issues. How effectively we react and resolve those issues will be the final test of this temporary team.
We few. We happy few. We band of brothers.
One of our implementation partners is weak. Very weak. And it is threatening now to become an issue. We had plenty of time, but they have burned it up through inefficiency and a shortage of leadership. So work to do there. Will be some drama this week and next I think.
Eric will visit next weekend. We have not hung out for a while, so will be good to see my young brother-friend.
Alex Honnold is the greatest free solo climber in the world. And, I believe, holds the distinction of the greatest individual human achievement in sport of all time. He free-soloed Yosemite’s half-dome; the first person and only person ever to do so without ropes. 4,800 feet straight up a wall of granite, with no safety net. And he is fast. Virtually sprinting vertically up the sheer wall. Anyway, Eric, also a climber, has a great picture with Alex Honnold from a gym in NYC when Eric was living there.
I called mom and dad tonight. Mom answered. I could tell she was busy. It was 5:45 on a beautiful sunny afternoon. As I guessed, she had just come inside from working in the yard and was making dinner quickly so she could get back outside. I could sense the urgency for her to get the phone over to dad so she could bang out dinner and get back to her beloved yard work. And, she also still had to make her requisite two pies for the restaurant. And this I love about mom. We talk often and we talk dearly and deeply at times. But we both are people of movement. And at 84 years, her health is integrally tied to her movement. Her hobbies and her volunteer work and her card nights and her reading and most of all, her perpetual improvement of house and home. She is constantly building; repairing; innovating. New flower beds. Lime in the soil. Paint the garage. Stain the deck. Till and then plant the garden. Can and freeze food like the end is near. Volunteering all over the damn place. She never sits. Dad mostly stays out of the way. His job is to drive and nothing more. Well, I need mom healthy. So when she is impatient to get off the phone to get to work, it makes me happy. It extends our time in the future.
What a small world we live in. I got a text tonight from an old friend I used to work with in San Francisco. Interesting, smart and good guy. Work hard and play hard kind of guy. He is interviewing for a senior VP role with Oracle and the guys he will be interviewing with are my old colleague and old boss from Sydney. One is a good guy and one is a complete asshole and the reason I left Oracle Australia when I did. A cheap, petty, dim, predictably arrogant and insecure guy who represents the qualities I most dislike in certain people. He and I had similar roles when Oracle acquired PeopleSoft, which meant I was destined to work for him. To impress me, after our first day of integration planning meetings, he took me and a few others to a strip club where he spent so much time that everyone there knew him. He even had a reserved parking space. Just a douche bag and I say that as a guy who doesn’t even like using that type of language. So I could not get away from there fast enough. But Bruce, my friend from CA, is far more tolerant of corporate hacks than me. He is better at playing the game and getting what he wants out of it. He can separate himself that way. I struggle with that. To work for people I don’t respect.
The other guy is basically a good guy. Bruce and he would be peers under the new role—Bruce running North America and Lawrence running Asia-Pac (Lawrence took my old role when I told Damien to fuck off and caught a plane back to America). Lawrence and I had very different styles and did not always see eye-to-eye, but he is a smart and earnest guy. A little prim and proper for my taste, but definitely a sincere and thoughtful man.
So interesting to hear some of those old names. I had dinner with a couple of guys from that our old Siebel crew in Sydney a few years ago while finishing up some work for Cardinal. We had us some times back in the day.
Some throwback photos from 3 years ago in Amsterdam for King’s Day with Carlita and my sisters. Great time of course. And one embarrassing video, but WTF. Who cares. King’s Day appears to be out this year again due to COVID. So, will have to prioritize 2022.
Beautiful dinner of seared tuna–so beautiful I had to take a photo.
No other news of note.