Archives for June 2009

Smile

My Father’s Day

I woke up early, which doesn’t always happen anymore.  I used to be up at 7 am no matter what.  Lately I’ve been staying awake much later than normal.  Call it part of my job.  But I love waking early.  My problem is that I also love staying awake until the wee hours of the morning 🙂

Anyway, this morning I woke to this drawing, emailed to me from my daughter.  She drew it on her Wacom tablet.

Happy Father's Day.

My daughter is always thinking of me.  She will make a great artist (and perhaps even a great wife and mother, should she decide to push her skill-sets) some day. 🙂  Love her to death.

Later my kids did the grocery shopping, and fixed me a wonderful meal, which they insisted we ate at the table together (at 18 and 20, my kids are rarely home for meals, much less eating together!).

My son has recently started cooking – and he has a knack for it.  Love him as well!

It was a wonderful day.

But not for everyone.

This conversation, which my friend Robert Scoble started, explains why.  Hard to enjoy this day when so much of the world is in pain.

If you can stomach it, here is the before and after photos of one father’s daughter on Father’s Day.  Don’t click if you are squeamish.  She was shot and killed while walking in a peaceful protest with her father.

I am proud that I served my country, and am inspired by all of those in Iran who are doing the same.  Sounds like a cliche, but freedom really isn’t free.

Ask Neda’s father.

Because we can’t ask Neda.

The Human Workspace

I work for a company built on people, even though the machines we employ outnumber us humans drastically.

We depend on a network, and so do all of our customers – so we employ multiple redundancies in that network.

But mostly, we are a people company.  That is why it didn’t surprise me a few weeks ago when I went to console a fellow Racker who lost a parent – and recognized several vehicles from coworkers that arrived before I did.  Another network.  A human one.  Again – with a lot of redundancies.

That is why our (now pretty damned frequent) birth announcements are always met with congratulations and words of wisdom, humor, and just plain support.

We are a young company – look out though – we are breeding like crazy!

I’ve worked for companies that pretended to feel this way about employees.  Said the right things.  Sometimes did the right things..  Usually didn’t.

Now I work for one that gets it.  Really.  It isn’t BS for investors, or a ploy for recruiters.  The care, concern and affection that exists here is real.  Nothing about it is fake.  These people look out for each other, and have each others backs.  And know each other.

And it is all about building a great community that makes a great place to work, and eventually a great business.  Many companies haven’t figured that out (yet).  They are trying to build great companies at the expense of employees and often even customers.  They have no legs.

That’s back-asswards.

Take care of your employees and let them build something great.  And they will take care of you, and your customers. And your business will grow, and it will grow stronger over time.

I’ve ridden every color of this pony there is, and I like the horse I am hitched to now.

Build by hiring caring people that are passionate about customers.  And let them show it.

And you will win – and you will have employees blogging about you – using their real names, because they are proud of where they work, and what they do.

Enlist them instead of enslaving them.

Rob

Why I Love What I Do

First, it’s all about the people.  From the Rackspace Chairman (Graham Weston), who I met long before I started working here, to the Racker I met in a fast food joint at lunch – there is an immediate sense of “family”.  We are Rackers.  We speak the same language.  What specific JOB we do isn’t really important.  We know we have the same customers – the same goals.  And we all understand the goals.

That is actually an interesting fact about Rackspace – every employee is treated as a trusted friend.  We see the books.  We know the numbers.  We know how we are doing, and how we depend on each other to get better, and to do better.

And we let people find what they are good at, and where they best fit in.

Think that is bullshit?

In 11 days I will have been at Rackspace for exactly one year.  After one year I’ll feel more comfortable calling myself a Racker.  I feel like one – just don’t feel as if I have “earned it” yet 🙂

I was hired in the Cloud division.  To manage developers.  I now work for Rackspace proper – doing something MUCH different then I was hired to do.  Many companies would not have worked with me to find that “sweet spot” – they would have parted ways with me before they put that effort into the relationship.

Instead, Rackspace let me go try something new (to us).  I took over our Cloud blog, and our Twitter account.  And it worked – pretty well.  They let me build an event for SXSW in Austin – which was amazing, and very well received.

And then they let me do something really out there – I hired Robert Scoble and Rocky Barbanica.  And then we built building43.com, which is yet another experiment.  One I have a lot of passion for.  One I truly believe in, and am passionate about.

And I think that’s the key that Rackspace has figured out – they let people follow their passion.  And they work with those employees to find a way to make that passion make sense.  For the Racker, for Rackspace, and for investors.

So I was hired to manage developers.  Instead I am managing emerging media, building a truly unique web property, and trying to find a completely new way to do both marketing and PR in a public company.

Not bad for the first year.  Wonder what they will let me try in the second?  Guess that depends on how these current projects work out!

But it is pretty damned cool to be able to TRY – to do something totally new.  To have the company see if it fails instead of demanding proof it will succeed before they even try.

If you think hosting companies are boring, you haven’t worked at Rackspace.  We are anything but boring – we are pushing the envelope in ways most companies aren’t.

And that’s why I love it here.

Join us 🙂  We’re hiring.

Always.

Rob

The Youngest Chick Is Leaving The Nest

It’s been 8 years since I got custody of my kids – about.

Recently my daughter graduated, Summa Cum Laude, High School – from a Magnet School. Two years ago my son graduated from the same school. Amazing school: ISA.

I haven’t screwed them up!  Below is a picture of my beautiful daughter on this wonderful day.

DSC00476So soon she heads off to college.  Although she has the choice of several schools, she chose to stay local, at UTSA – for the first year anyway. She doesn’t want to change her life that drastically in one year.  I think that is a mature decision on her part.

So I will soon be child-free.  No dependents, except my faithful border collie, Yoshi, (of course).

That opens a lot of opportunities – for where I want to live, what lifestyle I want vs. what I had to provide to keep the kids (and the courts) happy.

This is what they call a game-changer.

Where to live?  Warm is good.  But it is 102 in San Antonio today,  that isn’t warm.  That is brutally hot.  And you people in Arizona with your “but it’s a dry heat” bullshit, just shut the fuck up.  It’s brutal.  You aren’t fooling us.  Especially when you greet us that way as we melt off of the airplane! 🙂

Anyway – a lot of options. Kinda like when I was 18 – and the choices were all mine.

No clue what I’ll do.  But I know I’ll do what makes me happy.  I am at the point in my life where I refuse to accept anything less.  Wish I thought that way 25 years ago.

Hope my daughter always does.

Lauren – your Daddy loves you.  And always will.  Even after you marry some undeserving guy 🙂

Best of luck, doll.

Always be happy.

Love,

Dad