This is my personal blog and does not represent the views of my employer.
In the early
I try to read as much as I can on the Internet. When I do so, I find that perception and reality can differ a lot. But that’s because we’re all people making sense of what we feel around us — and we all interpret events differently. And we will all express those events a little differently, too. So inevitably “the telephone game” phenomenon occurs when the information travels from one person’s interpretation that is expressed and
The ability to publish on one’s own has the ability to have one’s own words serve as a strong source of truth. There’s a problem when an interaction between two or more parties are expressed in different terms on their individual and separate single sources of truth (or “blogs”). Which blog should you believe?
Post-posting footnote: I’m a fan of passionate people who seek change. Because underlying the passion is usually a fundamental problem that absolutely needs to get addressed. Sometimes I’m better at fielding that passion in an open forum when I’m in a physical/mental condition to address it; and sometimes I’m not. The latter instance of this case happened yesterday where I was way, way underwater. But in hindsight that might have been the best thing because it reveals the extremes of how one’s actions can be perceived — especially
I’ve found in life that if you’re lucky to catch your breath later, you get the gift of being able to be reflective afterwards.
Today I arrived in Seattle a little past midnight. I didn’t sleep well, and I had a variety of matters to tend to for work. My presentation wasn’t complete and I wasn’t sure if it would work out technically (I was going to screencast from an iPad) so I was in a rush to head out the door as the first speaker of the morning. I had four goals as I went to the lobby which needed to get done in the span of 70 minutes: 1/ meet with someone who I’d never met before, 2/ check out of the hotel and leave my bag, 3/ get to the venue to figure out whether my presentation would really work, 4/ grab some calories to eat as I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet.
As I was headed to the lobby from the 24th floor, a person got on around the 16th floor. They stepped closer to me and said they had come to the conference to talk with me as I had not been responsive to them online. For the record, I don’t engage people online because that can get quite unpredictable — so I’m generally a passive user. But they went on and said they wanted to talk with me at that moment, and they would walk with me to the venue. I shared that I was meeting someone in the
I eventually got to the venue, and while there I felt lucky that my presentation would technically work out by directly tethering my iPad to my laptop via Quicktime Player — I was happy that the technical dimensions were resolved.
My next goal was to get some calories as the presentation time was upon me, and then I turned around at the podium and found the person from the elevator wanting to get me on video agreeing to something they desired from me. I noticed that their camera was already turned on — I reacted cordially and explained how there were only a few minutes before the presentation was going to start, and that I hadn’t coordinate with the event folks yet to get
I was grabbing a quick bite to eat, embarrassingly scarfing my food down, and then this person came up to me again. Their passion was unequivocal, but their demands were not logical to me because I didn’t want to misrepresent what my company or role means — meanwhile I hadn’t fully figured out what I would present that morning. The presentation was about to start, and they had to leave. I turned my attention to the program at hand.
I gave my presentation, and then afterward I went to finish getting calories into myself, and this person appeared again while I was eating. I did my best to be polite and to learn what they wanted — but I found that their expectations did not meet what I could really provide. And I knew that would not be a satisfactory response. I also noticed their camera was turned on while they talked with me. They eventually gave up and walked off, and I tried to finish getting my blood sugar up — but it was frankly a little down because I knew that I’d let that person down, and intuited that something unexpected was about to happen.
Later I learned that they had published the video of me online (that was taken without my permission), and that my actions were grossly mischaracterized. For example, if I had the energy to run from this person (as they chose to describe my actions), I wouldn’t have needed any calories — because I’m not all too spry on a few hours of sleep and no breakfast. Sorry. I’m not superhuman (smile). And as a seasoned leader at scale, I’m not unfamiliar with letting people down all the time — and I work to not forget that feeling
What lesson can I take away from all of this? That there are passionate people in the world, and that’s a good thing. And thanks to their impassioned actions (all for the best and right reasons), I’m accelerating my attention to the area that they point out needs to be addressed. Moving things forward takes time — and some things are more important than others. It takes impassioned people to remind you to wake up. It’s so easy to forget — and I’m glad to be reminded. Next week is a new week, and I’m determined to see if the weeks and months forward will be different. I send my special thanks to the person who texted me this morning.
What lesson can I take away from how information disseminates? All truths are hard to get to the bottom of — especially because there’s some form of interpretation that happens with everything we feel and experience. That includes how I describe my own actions here — are they a perfect representation? Probably not. But they are how I remember things, and that has meaning to me as I get ready to go to sleep.
And what will I do with this blog post? I likely won’t share it broadly and just leave it on my site here. It was a useful form of therapy for me to write for myself. It certainly helped me get my thoughts to electronic-paper. I’m particularly grateful for a system like WordPress today — it’s quite freeing to express oneself this way.
Edit history: I drafted this post last night. And then woke up this morning with new resolve and added in a few new thoughts about what I learned. Reflection is a good thing. And FYI when I give public talks I display a temporary telephone number to which the audience can ask me questions in