What I'm pondering or thinking about at this time....

Saturday Musings - There and Back Again...

Once again I find myself at Melbourne airport waiting for my flight…..but this time there’s a big difference. This time I’m heading to New Zealand to hike for five days with Roselyn and a couple of friends…..it’s going to be awesome!

While “walking” through the airport Roselyn constantly admonished me to slow down. I don’t know what it about airports but my legs seem to operate faster than normal as I weave my way past families and travellers that view walking to the gate as a part of their holiday.

I should say that traveling with other people is an educational experience for me. I’m used to doing whatever I can to speed my way through security and immigration but with others who are in holiday mode it can be a little bit of a challenge.

For example, my wonderful wife (whom I deeply love) forgot she had a bottle of water in her bag so she experienced the joys of a security officer rifling through her personals. The officer then forgot to return her boarding pass and so she had to go to the gate early to get another one.

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Saturday Musings - Cubs, Scouts and Life

Lord Baden Powell - founder of the scouts

When I was a young strapping lad, (I sound so old!) I attended cubs and loved it. As well as learning about bush craft and how to be a better person I had the motto of “Be Prepared” drummed into my head. Some people mistakenly believe that this motto only related to the outdoors, but they would be completely wrong.

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“Being Prepared” was meant to be for all aspects of life. It was all about being prepared to do your best in every situation. For the past eighteen months, my wife Roselyn and I have been preparing for a five-day hike in the South Island of New Zealand. As well purchasing a whole lot of gear we instituted a regular exercise regime. Although it’s hard work it’s going to be well worth the effort.

Could you imagine embarking on a hike by just rocking up? You’d get to lunch and regret the food you left in the cupboard. This is how many people approach business meetings. They turn up without having prepared and expect a great outcome…..sadly, they will be mistaken.

I have a motto when it comes to business and that’s I always try and be more prepared than anyone else in the room. Given circumstances, this isn’t always possible but it’s an aspiration that I’m sure my cub leader would be proud.

The scout motto didn’t just finish with “Be Prepared” it continued on with, “Do our best!” Having a “best” mentality raises the standard not only for yourself but for all those around you. If you are leading a team and only put in your second best, then don’t expect those whom you lead to excel. They will look to you as their leader for inspiration and finding it lacking.

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Saturday Musings - Business Training...

Training for a hike is just like business.

The other day I was out training with my wife and a couple of friends as we hiked through the Silvan forest in the Dandenong ranges. It's all a part of the training for a 5-day hike of the Milford Track on the South Island of New Zealand at the end of February.

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Our friends had selected this day’s hike, and all was going well. Sure, we had some gentle ups and downs but even with a 5Kg pack on my back I thought it was more like a walk in the park. After about an hour of tramping through the wilderness we came to the base of a hill where the track effectively went straight up…..gulp!

When I say straight up, I mean at about a 50% angle. After about 100 meters I thought I was going to die. I couldn’t seem to get enough oxygen into my lungs and I would have been quite happy to sit down and “look at the view” for about ten minutes or so.

Up until this point I’d been going to the gym on a regular basis and Roselyn and I had been doing regular walks on relatively level ground. Being tested with the hill was quite a shock to the system as I realised that there was a new level of fitness that I needed to achieve. It was at this point that it started drizzling.

There was only one thing to it…..put up with the drizzle and just press on. But like they say, what goes up must come down. The other side of the hill was the equivalent downward stretch that tested my knees and proved to me that the tear in the meniscus in my left knee was either healed or about to rip again. I decided it was better to find out on this walk then on the one in New Zealand.

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Saturday Musings - Putting the Christ Back into Christmas

Christmas - love, compassion and sacrifice.

I do apologise if I offend anyone in this post….it is not my intention. Over the years I’ve noticed that Christmas has become more about commercialism and political correctness than it is about the true spirit of Christmas and the reason for it’s being.

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Christmas is a derivation of two words, “Christ’s mass”. According to etymology, Christmas is derived from the Middle English Cristemasse, which is from Old English Crīstesmæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038 followed by the word Cristes-messe in 1131.

Christmas is all about Christ and the spirit of love, compassion and the ultimate sacrificial gift that he brought to the world. When I say, “Merry Christmas” to someone I’m wishing all of these Christ-like blessings upon them.

Whether you are a Christian, of some other faith or of no faith at all, you would have to acknowledge the fact that there was an extremely influential man about 2,000 years ago that walked the earth. Our whole dating system has been based upon him. BC is Before Christ and AD anno-domini or “in the year of our Lord”. In fact, many historians now acknowledge there is more historical evidence for Christ than there is for Julius Caesar.

If someone wishes you “Merry Christmas” they aren’t trying to force their faith upon you but rather wish you rich blessings. Likewise, if a person of Islamic faith says, “The peace of the prophet be upon you,” then I wouldn’t get upset either. They are wishing blessings upon you from their perspective and we should respect the giver and the gift appropriately.

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Saturday Musings – Achieving a Breakthrough

Achieve your breakthrough - attend Namescon!

I had a really good night last night. At 3am in the morning I was doing some development (yes….I am one of those founders that still does programming) and I’d finally wrangled a report to display exactly what I wanted it to show. Sounds pretty boring but trust me when I say that it was nothing short of euphoric!

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Programming is one of those strange disciplines where often a huge amount of work goes into something with nothing to show for the effort. Suddenly, at the end of it all a real breakthrough is achieved as the myriad of bits and pieces suddenly come together to make something beautiful.

It’s like an artist that starts painting a masterpiece from the edges and slowly works towards the centre. No one knows what he has in his mind until the finished result is hung on the wall but once it’s up everyone smiles and sees the brilliance of it.....so I thought!

So the next day I proudly showed my wife and daughters my programming Picasso. “Hey look at this report and what these buttons can do,” I proudly announced.

I don’t even think the ongoing conversation missed a beat as they glanced at my phone, smiled politely and continued on. That’s the thing about brilliance…..not many people see it as amazing, let alone as a monumental breakthrough.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to transport the current generation back in time to using DOS and a pager. None of this “user interface” stuff that takes forever to develop….let them feel the power that comes from remembering that “format c:” is probably a bad idea.

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