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They have better beds on the A ward.


San Francisco Presidio

June 29th, 2000

We Understood One Another
I'm a little up tight tonight as my manager announced today that he'd quit. The people whom I first met and worked with and then came to consider friends when I joined the company have been leaving now one after another over these last six years and my manager is not only one of those few remaining friends, but he is even closer to many of the others, and his leaving makes us realize not so much that our own time may be coming - and it may, of course - but that our lives will be that much more solitary as the original group diminishes.

The new management broom (of doom) not only sweeps in the new as it sweeps out the old, but it causes a lot of collateral damage, good people doing a good job who finally just say the hell with it. Some people need to go. They need to go for their own mental health, to reinvent themselves and their lives and their jobs and getting forced out the door can be the best thing that ever happened to them. Brooms can be useful and in a job market like this, few are inconvenienced let alone hurt. (As someone who's bounced himself out the door when the job market was crappy, I'm an expert with the bruises to prove it.) It's just, well, a little colder today in this month of July at the office.

I was thinking, as my entry for yesterday piddled away around my bedtime, that I was describing SF Gay Pride Parade two modes of thinking and behavior, one that I think of as being linear, a step one, to two, to three description of reality that works well for people who manage "processes" and "work flows" and "underwritings" and all the other buzz word stuff so used by managers and accountants and people who provide structure, and the others, that catch all group of "others" whom I think of as being rather scattered, but inventive. The non linear pull it out of the air thinker who tends to juggle and approach a solution through a circuitous back door or a trap door or a skylight approach as opposed to walking right up, knocking and entering. These people don't make good managers, but I think they make good artists and writers and scientists and hackers. The hack it out and get it done crowd who never document their work, the ones who invent and build, but never hang around to manage the project when it's finished.

So, I guess, procrastination comes with the territory. I'm the guy at the management meeting who makes SF Gay Pride Parade free association off the wall remarks (Carefully, mind you, with judgement. I understand the boundaries and when I've inadvertently crossed them.) when I should be making sober analytical statements suitable for framing. I am not making judgements here. People will say, well, "he's a bean counter" as if this were some fatal error in judgement. The world needs bean counters, my friends, at least for those of us who are into living in a world that provides regular meals and shelter. None of that happens without "bean counters". It's just I turned out to be one of the non linear souls, one of the people who attempt to put two and two together while looking for five and occasionally make it.

Entrepreneurs come from similar stock. They can build companies, but they usually can't manage them. Takes a different kind of person to manage a company and make it prosper which is why so many new company success stories eventually sour. They forgot to fire the founder. The amazing thing about a Bill Gates isn't that he built a Microsoft, but that he didn't mismanage it into the ground when it went over about a hundred employees. Knew Balmer at school, I've heard. Smart enough to trust him.

So back to the procrastination I was moaning about. I think I focus on one or two things and mostly forget everything else because that's what non linear people do. I don't live in squalor, but I don't vacuum the rugs every day either. When I've lived with other people, I have. Vacuumed the rugs. Unless they themselves frowned on it. Vacuuming. Regularly. In which case I've lived with a little dust. They were OK. Those friends. We understood each other.

The night photograph was taken at the Presidio last week. The others were taken Sunday at the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade. The quote under The Sole Proprietor title is by Oscar Wilde.