Tag Archives: heroes

On People, Process, and Passion and Persistence

My boss back at Bell Atlantic, who became my friend and mentor, Pat Trongo, had the following quote from Peter Senge’s “The Fifth Discipline” on his cube wall in big bold letters.

I found it inspirational back then. But now I am blessed to see evidence of this pattern in life daily – Great teams committed to a purpose accomplish great things.

The committed person brings an energy, passion,
and excitement that cannot be generated if you
are only compliant, even genuinely compliant.

The committed person doesn’t play by the rules
of the game. He is responsible for the game.

If the rules of the game stand in the way of
achieving the vision, he will find ways to change
the rules.

A group of people truly committed to a common
vision is an awesome force.

They can accomplish the seemingly impossible.

I am as blown away by this as I am with the OccupyPhilly protest teamwork I saw today, as I am with my co-workers who are one of the greatest teams I’ve seen in my career.

Great teams are everything. They don’t just ‘happen’ and require investments in trust, empathy, accountability, honesty, and crazy foolishness to grow. And when you see them you can’t help but be in awe.

Steve Jobs, one of computing’s icons, rest in peace

There are many, many tributes being shared over the Web these past 12 hours or so and I’d hate to just add to it, considering I am not among those who think Apple can do no wrong, or that Steve Jobs alone saved Apple. But I need to mark it here because his work affected all of us in so many dimensions. From his realization that the liberal arts played as much a role in technology as engineering, from his personal story of perseverance and his capacity to create his own 2nd acts, each one built on lessons from his past, to his push to create tools that… well… he’s going to be remembered for Apple, for NeXT, for Pixar, what they made, and folks will say he was a genius.

Me? I’m going to remember that he helped empower people to dream and create.

People compare Steve Jobs to his peers, but I think of him like Jim Henson, someone who was driven to make, to help others make, who brought teams together and found ways to instill it in them. Tools to help you to make, and to share what you make. To dream, and to share what you dream.

Thank you Steve Jobs and for the teams he was part of.

Related:

Steven Levy: Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011

Metafilter: Steven Jobs, RIP

Folklore.org

Wall Street Journal: Steve Jobs’s Best Quotes

And 15 minutes to take that will, I hope, inspire you:

YouTube: Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

Elisabeth Sladen, “Sarah Jane Smith”, Rest In Peace

Elisabeth Sladen, the actress who was Sarah Jane Smith on “Doctor Who” and the spin off children’s show, “The Sarah Jane Adventures”, passed away on Wednesday the 20th, at 63 from cancer.

I could probably write quite a bit about the effect that Doctor Who had on me as a kid, on late night public television, and her role in that was substantial. Back then, and growing up into my twenties, other than my brother and a few friends, it seemed like such a cult thing. You either knew about Doctor Who, and Sarah Jane Smith, or you didn’t. And the numbers of those who knew were few and far between.

These days, with the debut of the latest series happening same day with London, well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The news of her passing was talked about from many corners of the web, resulting in tributes, shared stories, and more. Here are some that caught my eye.

BBC: original announcement

Metafilter conversation

Twitter: search: Elisabeth Sladen

Reddit conversation

Slashdot.org: conversation

Tom Baker’s tribute to her

Talis Kimberley wrote a great song, from her perspective talking to her daughter, about her passing, named Goodnight, Sarah-Jane

NPR.org: story about her

Boing Boing: Doctor Who actress Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) dies

BBC: Tributes paid to Elisabeth Sladen

BBC: Children share their thoughts and memories

Tor.com: My Sarah Jane: Remembering Elisabeth Sladen

Leanne Hannah:Elisabeth Sladen

YouTube: Doctor Who – The Time Warrior – Meet Sarah Jane

YouTube: The Third Doctor regenerates

YouTube: Doctor Who Farewells – Sarah Jane

YouTube: Best of School Reunion

YouTube: The return of Sarah Jane – Dr Who Confidential – BBC sci-fi

YouTube: Sarah Jane and Davros in “Journey’s End”

YouTube: Say goodbye

YouTube: Sarah Jane Says Goodbye to The Doctor on Sarah Jane’s Adventures

“‎The universe has to move forward. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love. Whether it’s a world, or a relationship… Everything has its time. And everything ends.” – Sarah Jane Smith

I’m not sure anything ends Sarah Jane. In many ways, you’re going to live forever.

How a handful of operators averted a nuclear meltdown

There will be songs, books, poems, and movies written about them in coming years, all deserved: Nature: “The meltdown that wasn’t”:

It will probably be years before anyone knows exactly what happened inside the three reactors at Fukushima Daiichi that seem to have partially melted down in the wake of the tsunami. But from press reports, public statements and interviews with experts, it is possible to work out the most likely scenario. And already it is clear that decisions made in the initial 24 hours by the handful of operators in the control room probably averted a much greater nuclear catastrophe than the one that now faces Japan.

“Master of Puppets” turns 25

“Master of Puppets” was the among the first three Metallica cassettes I owned. I bought “…And Justice for All” and “Garage Days” at a music shop in Kensington during 1988 and worked my way back through their releases shortly thereafter. My brother and his friends were Metallica fans and “Master of Puppets”, along with “Ride the Lightning”, with a mix of other terrific bands of that era, were the soundtrack to some heady years.

Metallica, from “..And Justice for All” and back, were extraordinary. Push aside the musical changes they went through after the “Black Album” and what you will notice is the lyrics. Prior to the “Black Album” they tackled heavy subject matter head on. It was thinking-person’s metal. Geek metal. There were other bands; Megadeth, Anthrax and especially Iron Maiden and Queensryche, who could match early Metallica for thought provoking music, but few looked *just like you*. Metallica had no videos. They were not on the radio. Had no singles. They wore t-shirts, jeans, and looked like you and your friends. They had a sneaker-net of fans who traded in stories and bootlegs. And with that they sold millions of albums and sold out stadiums. If you’re in a band today, you would probably want to emulate Metallica’s early rise to fame, swapping the sneaker-net for the Web and social media.

I could go on about the reasons why I’m not much of fan anymore. It isn’t about growing out of anything. The band changed how it looked, how it sounded, and in its overreaction to Napster and its lyrical content (“Don’t Tread on Me” versus “Disposable Heroes” or “One” for example), what it stood for. They seem to, just recently, be coming around to what they lost. We’ll see. They were always authentic. And that has carried them through. Anyways, enough of that, 25 is a milestone. Thank you Metallica.

Invisible Oranges: Cosmo Lee: “Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’ turns 25″

Wikipedia: “Master of Puppets”

Adrien Begrand: “Great moments in Rock N’ Roll”

NYTimes: 1988: “HEAVY METAL, WEIGHTY WORDS”

Our greatest freedom exists in the space between

Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl wrote in his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

I originally read of this from Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, a book I highly recommend. “Man’s Search for Meaning” is on my soon-to-read list.

A continuing inspiration

There are some who would label Sister Mary Scullion’s belief system as ‘liberal’ because it has a vision for helping people reach their fullest potential, or, because it comes from a faith-based foundation, ‘religious’ or ‘conservative’. There are some would call this the polar opposite of say, ‘libertarianism’.

Whatever. Label it what you will with your thin-slicing marketing terms. There is a mission statement, right here, for a better world. Listen to Sister Mary Scullion’s “This I Believe” essay at WHYY.org: :

I envision and work for a society in which each person is given the opportunity and resources to achieve their fullest potential and to contribute to the common good.

I also believe that our greatest power is unleashed when people come together across social boundaries to form a community united by a common vision. It is through “the power of we” as our friend and partner, Jon Bon Jovi reminds us, that we come to know the deepest truth of our humanity.

At the end of the day, this is what I truly believe: “None of us are truly home until all of us are home.”

I know, at the end of the day, my Mom and my family benefited from the efforts of those who believed in such things. I am forever thankful for their efforts and hope I can somehow contribute the same along the way.