What Women Tell Me

Someday I’ll write a companion blog post about what men tell me, but today I want to write about what I’ve learned by listening to women over the last few years.

Why do I care? It’s because women tell me things that men rarely, sometimes never tell me. I failed to notice this for the longest time, but when I started to, I decided to sit up and listen, hard.

Disclaimer: I’m not saying that men don’t care or talk about these types of things. In fact, many of these episodes of sexism came to me through a man’s Twitter post. BUT WOMEN RETWEETED IT TO ME.

Gramophone

I will now present things I have heard only or mostly from women, in many cases without attribution to the original author or the woman who drew this to my attention (because I think that’s the safest thing to do).

» Continue Reading (about 2800 words)

Cursive Writing

When I was a child, I learned to write in cursive using the A Beka Books homeschooling curriculum. I resumed journaling in cursive a couple years ago, after decades of writing with block letters (printing).

Cursive

Although my motivation to relearn cursive was to make my daily journaling more special by setting it apart, I didn’t simply regain what I had forgotten. I found something entirely new, and learned a great deal I’d never known before.

» Continue Reading (about 3200 words)

Just Enough Better

What makes a product, project, or application become popular? People talk a lot about attributes such as stickiness, virality, addictive qualities, and gamification.

I don’t pretend to have a universal answer, but many of the successful things I’ve been involved with worked well because they were just enough better for people to care a lot.

mousetrap

» Continue Reading (about 900 words)

Intent

One of the core teachings of Drucker’s classic “Managing Oneself” is to form hypotheses about what you’ll do well or poorly, and then observe the outcomes. By repeatedly practicing this, you learn what you’re good and bad at.

Compass

At some point I noticed that I sometimes wasn’t certain why I failed or succeeded. As I’ve explored this more deeply in the last few years, I’ve come to see that the biggest factor in my success or failure is often the clarity of my purpose itself.

» Continue Reading (about 3300 words)

Why I'm Not Waiting To Prioritize Diversity

I have a vacant board seat at VividCortex, and I’m making diversity one of my priorities as I begin to search. I’ve discussed this with a range of people over the last several months. Nearly everyone has asked me to clarify what I’m trying to achieve, and why. Some have challenged me to defend why I believe diversity is a must-have at this stage of VividCortex’s growth. In the end, it’s my job to make the call. I’ve decided that diversity is a priority (not the sole priority, but a priority) now, not later. Here’s why—and here’s how I’m following through on that decision.

Board

» Continue Reading (about 3400 words)

The Hartman Values Profile Assessment

A few months ago I wrote about the personality assessments I’ve been using for the last couple of years to help me be more intentional about my team interactions and hiring. At the time, I was becoming fairly confident in my ability to apply the DISC and Motivations models. This post is about another model I use too, plus a little more nuance about the DISC and other models.

Justice

As Michael Gorsuch tweeted, “healthy and effective teams are composed of individuals actively seeking to understand each other’s needs.” I couldn’t have said it better. I find personality assessments helpful in several ways, including assessing candidates and coaching team members. They give people a concrete and consistent language for expressing and understanding themselves and each other.

» Continue Reading (about 2200 words)

Meditation

I’ve been telling more people about the benefits I’ve received from meditation. Meditation has greatly influenced the way I think, behave, and relate to others.

Ripples

» Continue Reading (about 1700 words)

The Best Lossy Music Compression

I noticed recently that Google Play Music has a set of features I wasn’t aware of before, and decided to give it a try. Through various kinds of yak shaving, I ended up tackling a project I’d wanted to look into for a while: which formats and settings are really the best for lossy music compression?

What I learned was both fun and surprising, and ultimately highly practical. If you’re in a hurry, the summary is that high-quality variable-bitrate MP3 produced with the LAME encoder is probably the best all-around choice if you want broad compatibility.

But before I get to that, let’s sharpen some yak razors, shall we?

Cymatics

» Continue Reading (about 2500 words)

My Daily Inspiration Experiment

About 18 months ago I began an experiment on social media.

snowflake

» Continue Reading (about 1000 words)

Feelings and Behaviors

It’s a new year and I drew a diagram.

Feelings and Behaviors

» Continue Reading (about 500 words)

Why Outlook is the best iOS GMail App

I switched to an iPhone about 6 months ago and have found it superior to the Android phones I’ve used, except for one baffling thing. The GMail app on iOS is awful compared to the Android version. Unusably awful, actually. Fortunately, Outlook is very good. Better than the alternatives. Here’s why.

Mailboxes

» Continue Reading (about 700 words)

Minimal Social Meta Tags for a Blog

When someone shares your blog article on a social network, odds are it will appear with some descriptive text, images, and so on. If your blog lacks explicit instructions, in many cases these properties are just guessed-at and won’t be great.

I’ve seen a lot of blog authors and template creators go too far the other direction and add tons of redundant meta tags, which will make the page larger, heavier, and slower.

What’s the minimal necessary set of tags?

Sharing

» Continue Reading (about 400 words)

How to Extract Data Points From a Chart

I often see benchmark reports that show charts but don’t provide tables of numeric results. Some people will make the actual measurements available if asked, but I’ve been interested in analyzing many systems for which I can’t get numbers. Fortunately, it’s usually possible to get approximate results without too much trouble. In this blog post I’ll show several ways to extract estimates of values from a chart image.

Extracting

» Continue Reading (about 1000 words)

Help Me Make This Blog More Accessible

Dear Reader,

Hi! I probably don’t know you, but I’d like to make this blog better for you. If you’re disabled—for example, perhaps you use a screen reader, a special device, or have other needs that I might not anticipate, I’d really love your feedback on what I can do to make my content easier for you to read and enjoy.

Wilderness

» Continue Reading (about 300 words)

What Does The Universal Scalability Law Reveal About MySQL?

In the last couple of weeks, there have been a few blog posts about benchmarks comparing the performance of various versions of MySQL and variants such as MariaDB. There’s also been some analysis of the results using formal models such as Neil Gunther’s Universal Scalability Law.

What can the Universal Scalability Law (USL) teach us about the performance characteristics of these systems, as revealed by the benchmarks? To find out, I’ll examine one particular benchmark, MariaDB 10.1 and MySQL 5.7 performance on commodity hardware.

chicken

» Continue Reading (about 800 words)

What it's Like

At Velocity/OSCON 2015 in Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago, the conference committee approached me to ask if I’d be up for doing an Ignite talk. It was rather last-minute and I had only hours to prepare. I said yes and then tried to think of a topic. I turned to Twitter and asked, if you could have me talk for 5 minutes on any topic, what would it be? A couple of people responded that they wanted to know what founding a company was like, so I sat down in the speaker lounge at the RAI and started trying to figure out what it’s like to be a founder/CEO.

You’d think I’d know after three years, but truthfully, it’s still hard to really know what I feel.

Ignite

» Continue Reading (about 1500 words)

Setting Thresholds With Quantiles

I was talking with someone the other day about a visualization I remembered seeing some years ago, that could help set a reasonable value for a threshold on a metric. As I’ve written, thresholds are basically a broken way to monitor systems, but if you’re going to use them, I think there are simple things you can do to avoid making threshold values completely arbitrary.

I couldn’t find the place I’d seen the visualization (if you know prior art for the below, please comment!) so I decided to just blog about it. Suppose you start off with a time series:

time series

» Continue Reading (about 800 words)

Don't Miss PGConfSV, Silicon Valley's Newest PostgreSQL Conference

If you haven’t heard about PGConfSV yet, it’s a conference for the Silicon Valley PostgreSQL community and beyond, featuring leading PostgreSQL performance and scalability experts. It’s happening November 17-18 at the South San Francisco Conference Center. I encourage everyone in the area to attend, since this is likely to be the best Postgres conference held thus far in the Silicon Valley.

I also urge you to buy your tickets before they sell out! Of course, the earlier you buy, the more you save, too. (Use SeeMeSpeak for a 20% discount).

Convention Center

I’ll be at the conference along with some of my colleagues. I’m pretty excited about this for a few reasons. Allow me to ‘splain why?

» Continue Reading (about 400 words)

The Case For Tagging In Time Series Data

A while ago I wrote a blog post about time series database requirements that has been amazingly popular. Somewhere close to a dozen companies have told me they’ve built custom in-house time series databases, and that blog post was the first draft of a design document for it.

One of the things I said in the post was that I had no use for the “tagging” functionality I’ve seen in time series databases such as OpenTSDB. I’ve since reconsidered, although I think the functionality I now want is a bit different.

tagged

» Continue Reading (about 700 words)

Personality Assessments

Over the last couple of years I have increasingly studied and used personality tests for personal and professional uses, both for myself and for others. I’ve seen a variety of benefits, but these assessments are not without drawbacks, and not all assessments are created equal.

different

» Continue Reading (about 3000 words)