Archives for January 2009

Random Images

Some random pictures I just wanted to stick up here.

IMG_0077 My New Hobby: I wasn’t really looking for another motorcycle but a co-worker pinged me about a bike he was selling.  It reminded me so much of the first bike I ever owned that I just had to buy it.

This is a 1978 Honda CX500.  Unlike my 900 pound BWM R1200CLC, this is a light little bike weighing in at just under 500 pounds (dry). It needs some work to make it road-worthy, but it is mechanically pretty sound!

Geoff Livingston, author, blogger and really nice guy.  He came to a Tweetup I organized.  This is on the San Antonio Riverwalk, not far from my office. DSC00182
DSC00246 Rocky Barbanica is a  Senior Producer at Fast Company.  He is also the camera genius behind Robert Scoble’s work at Fast Company TV

I’ve had the pleasure to meet Rocky on 4-5 occasions now, and he’s a great guy to hang out with!
Also, in the background you can see John Engates, CTO of Rackspace.  The pictures were taken at the Austin City Limits during the Rackspace Cloud Event

Backstage at Austin City Limits you can find some interesting stuff – including a few cans of Bud Light! DSC00254
DSC00151 Bob and Esther Cole with their daughter Melissa/  Melissa had just graduated from Texas Tech University.

I’ve known “Mo” almost her whole life, and she’s like another of my own children, so I was very proud of her!

A couple weeks ago we went to New Orleans.  We took a trolley out to the cemeteries.  On the way there a car crashed blocking the tracks for about 15 minutes.  As we boarded the trolley to return I joked, “I wonder what happens on the way back”.

Well, this is what happens – this car cut in front of the trolley and we nailed it.  We decided to leave before the police showed up as we were sitting in the back of the trolley and didn’t really see what happened anyway.  We walked the mile or two back to our hotel 🙂


The American Form of Government

No embed for this, so I got to send you over here.  Worth the ten minutes.

My New Job – Questions Answered

OK, a lot of you have wondered just exactly what I am doing now.

I’ll try to explain, but that will take a lot of words – if you want the abbreviated version, “I take care of customers. Future and present”.

OK. If that’s all you want to know, you are free to leave. We validate parking.

Still here? Well, you must be someone in the same type position I am (or you are one of my bosses!)

So let’s start with my title, “Director of Customer Development”. It is VERY similar to my last title, “Director of Software Development”.

So what’s the big difference between those two things? Mostly, it is that I am just better at building relationships with people that I am at building software. Sure, I CAN build software – it takes a lot of effort on my part, because it isn’t what comes naturally to me.

Building relationships DOES come naturally to me though. Talking to people is easy for me. I love people, and always have. I have a wide variety of friends from every background you could imagine. I credit my entry into the Navy at an early age for this. I saw the world, met the people, and generally liked them.

I’m also fairly technical. Just how technical depends on the company I am with. I’ve been lucky to work with so many people that were so amazingly bright that a lot of that must have just rubbed off on me. But I can talk to customers on a fairly technical level, and what I don’t know, I admit (and then learn and share with my customer).

Nobody expects anyone to know everything – and I realize this – so saying “I don’t know” is easier for me than it is for a lot of people I know. Don’t make the mistake of trying to make shit up – if you don’t know, your customer WILL know you don’t know. Just be honest with your customer. That way you don’t have to remember lies, and you can sleep comfortably with both eyes closed.

Also, never talk poorly about your customer – not in public, or in private. I promise you that talking poorly about your customer is a path to failure. Even if the customer is demanding – they are still a customer. But don’t get me wrong – I’ve fired customers before. If they cross the line from being a pain to being abusive, or if they cost you more than the value they offer you – you need to be willing to cut them lose. Don’t cheat your customer, or allow them to cheat you. Be fair to one another – always. And demand that fairness.

Don;t promise your customer things you can’t deliver. For the relationship to work, you need to both share the same set of expectations.

So – what do I do?

I talk to customers. In a lot of ways. Twitter, our corporate blog, the phone, email and probably 6 different “touch points”.

I’m not is sales, or marketing. I don’t consider myself in “social media”. I just consider myself the “guy who talks to customers”. When that communication isn’t happening with your customer, you have a problem, and your relationship with them probably won’t last.

And if you’ve read this whole thing, it IS what I do. But it is also how you should treat the people you care for most in life. Your kids, your wife, and your parents.

Life is too short not to treat people well. And to demand the same from them.

An Honor I Respect

I was asked some time ago to name an application, since I had something to do with it being created.

I had never had anyone ask me to name a software program before, so I was taken aback.

In the end it was called “Goodfather” – and now it is still being used, and used in an interesting way.

So that is just cool – because if there is a one word description of who I was, “goodfather” would suit me just fine, thank you very much!

Thanks, Yuvi. We’ve been friends for a while now… and it pleased me 🙂

I’m back, but where did I go?

I lost ownership of my domain name, for several weeks.  I won’t go into the ugly details, but I could certainly have prevented this.  Now I have the domain locked, set to auto-renew, and the email address I have the domain registered under is NOT an email address hosted on the domain.

It took a LOT longer to get my domain back because of (I assume) the Holidays.

What really sucked is my entire family has email on the domain – so I wasn’t the only one affected.  Bummer, family – and sorry about that!

So, the blog is back, the email is back, and I won’t make that mistake again 🙂

And that is all (for now) 🙂