This Is A Warning

One day I noticed a piece of black electrical tape over one of the warning lights on the dashboard of Dad’s old Bronco. He explained that the problem could not be diagnosed by himself, nor the dealer, and he was sick of looking at it. Confident that the light did not indicate an actual problem, he blacked it out with a piece of tape. Dashboard lights are like people’s opinions. Don’t let them distract you. If the experts, gurus, doctors, pundits, or anyone else is telling you how you should live your life, listen to them with full awareness of their agenda. Better yet, notice how you feel when you listen to them. This is a warning.


The First Question You Ask In A Crisis


Things move quickly in high tech. The competitors never sleep, the clients need it yesterday, and the platform you’re working on is often shifting. We hired a new salesman who used to be a firefighter. He watched us running around, super stressed out and offered a piece of wisdom from his former job. “When we arrived at the site of a call, the first thing we asked was, ‘Will there be a loss of life here?’”

It gave us perspective. What we were doing was important to us and our clients, but likely no one would die if we didn’t deliver ASAP. Besides, if you ratchet back the tension, people work better and creativity flows more easily. We hung our salesman’s old fire helmet in the hall to remind us that when things get hot, it’s good to keep a cool head.