What we do for our dogs..

This time we drove..  not an hour or two, but 17.  All in one day.  Granted there was a nasty snow storm we had to navigate, but even with dry roads it would’ve been 14 or 15 hours round trip to far southwest Colorado and back to Boulder.

We just picked up a new puppy, Hazel.  She’s 8 weeks and full of spastic puppy energy.  Not sure our other dog, Moots, thinks she’s all that yet.  I’m sure he’ll come around as soon as he figures out she’s a captive playmate.  The dirt level in our house will quadruple and we’ll have the occasional broken something-or-other from too much rough-housing.  Aren’t dogs awesome?

Hazel: Hazel first day 3    Moots:  Pictures June 2006 a020

How cool is blue?

I had a thought after my last post..  There are a lot of things I liked about going to college in Boston.  It’s a great college town – and the summers living and working on Nantucket were pretty hard to beat.

I came across this video which seems to sort of sum up the funny downsides of the east coast "blue" image.  This is some seriously funny shit!

Back East

I got an email the other day from a really good college friend.  The email included a picture from a beach party that was once an annual tradition on Nantucket.  It was the last year the party ever took place (the island 5-0 shut it down for good that year).  Coincidentally, he noticed that I was in the picture.. 

Madeket_3

The Internet is a fantastic storage mechanism.  Goes to show you that "stuff" from well before digital cameras, cell phones, etc., can still surface in random ways and places.  Its inescapable.

Whitespace matters

Over the course of my career I’ve been fortunate to work for a number of really interesting companies.  What I’ve found to particularly interesting is the degree to which the "whitespace" in each of the businesses contributes to or takes away from the ability of that particular business to innovate, compete, or generally just to get the right shit done.

I define "whitespace" as the freedom during the normal course of business that is not otherwise dominated by responsibilities, activities, reports, meetings, or other formal business requirements.

I first really recognized the whitespace phenomenon when I was with Cambridge Technology Partners.  I joined in 1998 as a Client Partner.  We were swamped with business and most days were 12 to 17 hours of fixed time/fixed price consulting and systems integration.  The culture fostered at CTP was one that encouraged people to collaborate, try out ideas, and not get your hand slapped if it didn’t work out.  The company gave us a good "end point" goals and then said get there however YOU see the best way to get there..  We were absolutely held accountable for delivery and we worked our asses off, BUT we found plenty of whitespace to try out creative new solutions.  We wrote up new business ideas, figured out new ways to solve thorny problems, and we had a great time – all while still achieving the "end point" goals. 

CTP was a huge success and spawned a number of incredibly successful firms, the latest being Optaros, a really interesting OpenSource Systems Integration and Consulting firm founded and led by Bob Gett.  CTP eventually crashed and burned, with a fire-sale to Novell in 2001.  It had everything to do with the culture change and people brought in to "fix" it.

I’ve seen the lack of whitespace, and the corporate culture that goes with it, choke off exactly the kind of innovation, attitude, and enthusiasm that companies depend on to succeed.  When companies begin to fall behind the market and pressure to succeed gets in the executives’ heads, too often the response is a cultural "clamp-down" that squeezes out the whitespace.  When this happens, the smart people leave first. 

The key to effective whitespace, I think, is in the balance between setting the goal and then establishing a culture that allows for the people to achieve that goal, without prescription.

Cyclocross State Championships

Holy crap was it freekin COLD.  Had to be at least 8 or 10 inches of fresh snow on the ground, and at start time it was like 12 degrees out. 

Great course.  Lots of bundled-up fans.  Sun was out.  It was awesome.  Kudos to Boulder Racing and American Cycling Association for putting together a great season of events.

I, as usual, finished somewhere in the middle of the pack, 27th I think..  Not too bad for starting in the last row with ~60 people in front of me.  My buddy Jon finished about 15th, even with 8 or 10 crashes during the race.  I think he’ll still finish top 10 in the state points series.

The CX season is over for 2007.  That wraps up my first year, and it was great to ride for the Boulder Cycle Sport grass-roots club.  Time to take a few weeks off and get fired up for Road and Mtn Bike seasons in the spring.

First Cyclocross season

I started a new sport this year…at least new for me.  It’s closely related to stuff I’ve done in the past (road racing, mountain bike racing, and running) but with even MORE anaerobic pain and suffering. 

If you don’t know what Cyclocross is, think of it as a fast combination of road cycling, mountain biking, and running.  Its held on a very spectator-friendly course, with all kinds of obstacles to dismount then run over, through, and up, then re-mount the bike and keep cranking.

My first race I had no idea what to expect.  My strategy was to go super fast out the gates and hopefully the field would settle down its pace after a lap or two and I could remain in the front group. Right.  My plan worked for the first 3/4 of a lap.  I passed in front of the announcer booth and he said something like: "… folks, if you’ve ever wondered how painful the first 5 minutes of a cyclocross race are, look at #117 Walter Knapp as he comes through the start/finish…"

In Boulder the cycling/running/triathlon fitness scene is like nowhere else I’ve been.  Out of a field of 50 or 100 guys, I still place in the middle or back of the field.  When I look around its not like there are a bunch of slow, out of shape guys, instead its a group of very fit, competitive cyclists/runners.  And, to top it off, I assume as I got older the older age categories would slow down, but they actually go the opposite direction and get faster..

Punchline: its a ton of fun.  I get to ride and run and ride some more with a great group of folks.  The fans are loud.  Everyone’s in a great mood.  Who could ask for more?

first

First off, I’m new to this. 

Sure, I read blogs and I follow a few people that I think have something interesting / informative / funny to say.  I just never gave much thought that I’d be one doing some of the writing.

Anyway…  I joined Lijit Networks about 48hours ago.  Diving into the blogging world in a much more tacit way, I decided that the only real way to truly understand the medium would be to become an active part of it.

I’ve been told by more than just a few that I should stick to what I know (or at least have a strong opinion about) and keep to a theme that ties things together.

The opinion part shouldn’t be too hard.. 😉