Archive for the ‘Alan Rimm Kaufman’ tag
I’ve been going through some old stuff that got thrown into a big cardboard box during my move in September. In particular there are a lot of papers from my desk — old notes I’d scratched down, legal pads full of notes taken during phone conversations, and so on.
Reading through these old conversations brings them back to me. There are notes from my first “non-interview” with Alan Rimm-Kaufman of The Rimm-Kaufman Group. (That non-interview led to me leave my previous job and join his company.) And lots and lots of notes on conversations I’ve had with others at the Rimm-Kaufman Group. And there’s a napkin with scribblings from when Peter and Vadim and I were riding in a car last April — the first time we’d gotten to talk alone together since I joined Percona, although I’d gotten to know them somewhat during an intense writing project that spanned a year.
One of the things that’s really neat about reading through notes from the past 3.5 years is seeing what changes over that time. For example, I’m seeing things I was working on that I’m not even involved in anymore. But even more striking is what doesn’t change at all.
To put it briefly, their focus on values is completely consistent over time — I see refinements, but the deepest core is constant. Their values come from who they fundamentally are, and they don’t change. Reading these notes from our conversations is just like reading notes I might have written a few days ago. This is a real source of inspiration and gratitude to me.
Here are some samples, slightly paraphrased because I’m expanding my shorthand back into real sentences:
- I believe that people are best at what they enjoy doing. Employees having fun and making money provide a unique value to customers.
- The best way to deliver value is to match your pay to the benefits of what you deliver, so there is only one motive and it’s aligned to the customer’s interests.
- Your career should be what you love.
- Open communications. There should never be a punishment for speaking what you feel.
- Non-experts have a lot to teach us.
- You should have a stake in the outcome.
I won’t say which quote came from whom. It doesn’t matter — any of them could have said these things. And a lot of people say such things, but the fruits of their labors bear witness to their true belief in these principles. This just supports me in my own convictions. I hope I provide good support in return.
From these conversations I have turned down many paths I might not have otherwise taken: reading Let My People Go Surfing and countless other books, for example. One of the things I love about this cycle of reinforcement is seeing the businesses follow this leadership, both internally and externally. And when I feel like I’m not aligned with my own values, I can have a conversation with one of the people whom I know share my values, and they help me find where the disconnect is and get back on track again.
Here’s an example: a a recent post on pricing from Peter, and one from Alan from a while ago. They both understand that the pricing model drives the behavior towards the customer, and they’ve both aligned with the customer’s benefit. It’s completely consistent because it’s truly who they are.
One of the other neat things about working with such people is their intense practicality. I am sometimes motivated so much towards what I feel is right, that I need their help to see a clear answer to the question “how much does this matter? What’s a good balance?” They help me to stay more centered.
These people have been and continue to be sources of inspiration and strength for me. Thanks!
Effective April 1, I will join Percona full-time as a consultant. I’ll be helping people build high-performance applications with MySQL, but I’ll also be continuing to develop and improve tools such as Maatkit.
This career change has been a long time in progress. I’m really looking forward to it, but at the same time it’s hard to leave my current employer, The Rimm-Kaufman Group (RKG). Working with them has been the best job I’ve ever had. But ultimately, my dream job is to help as many people as I can, and consulting will be a better way to do that.
At a time like this, I like to reflect on the trail that has led here. It’s a good opportunity to realize how fortunate I really am and fill up my gratitude tank. So I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me reach this point. All the people who have encouraged me, sponsored me, suggested new options… all kinds of help. A special thanks to my wife Lynn, to Alan Rimm-Kaufman and all my colleagues at RKG, to the many fine people at MySQL, and to the MySQL community as a whole. My deep gratitude to all of you. I look forward to working with you even more in the future.
A while ago I asked for people and/or organizations to sponsor development on Maatkit (formerly MySQL Toolkit) so I could take a week off work and improve the Table Sync tool. I asked for $2500 USD, but several companies have graciously offered to cover that and then some.
I’m very happy about this, as it will allow me to dedicate a solid week to fixing bugs and adding features. There’s a lot of demand for the tools, and there are a dozen or so bug reports unresolved for the table-sync tool, which I personally want to fix as much as anyone. So I’m very grateful for the support.
Here are the companies who have promised their financial support:
MySQL AB have offered $3000 USD in support. I had an email conversation with MÃ¥rten Mickos, MySQL’s CEO, and he expressed his happiness about the project’s success, and his pleasure in supporting the project:
We have seen you operate in the community and you always have constructive and good ideas. That’s why we want to support you. Our goal with this is to stimulate innovation in the MySQL ecosystem.
I don’t know how the idea to support the project started at MySQL AB, but that quote really tells me “we get it: we have a symbiotic relationship with our community of users.” In a follow-up email, Jay Pipes wrote,
… MySQL wants to make it clear that we very much support and appreciate the work you’ve done on the toolkit. It has proven to be one of, if not the, most popular and successful open source ecosystem projects surrounding MySQL and for good reason. So, for your work and commitment to the project, a big thank you from MySQL. :)
Secondly, we would like to encourage you to be open and public about our support of you. The community team is always looking for opportunities such as the one which presented itself with your toolkit, and we want the outside community to know about our support and encouragement. Therefore, you have our blessing and encouragement to blog about the sponsorship of your development work. Please do let us know if and when you decide to blog about it. Remember also that this sponsorship is no strings attached. There is no expectation of specific work on our end.
Blue Ridge Internetworks
Blue Ridge Internetworks have offered $1000 USD in support. BRIworks, as they’re known locally, is headquartered in the town where I live, Charlottesville, Virginia. They offer networking consulting and services. Jeff Cornejo, who offered the support to me, is a friend and used to work where I used to work, and several other highly respected friends and ex-co-workers work at BRIworks too. BRIworks provides Internet service and hosting for my employer.
Percona have offered $500 USD in support. Percona does high-performance website consulting, and are perhaps best known for having some of the world’s top MySQL experts, including Peter Zaitsev and Vadim Tkachenko, two of the co-authors on High Performance MySQL, second edition.
The Rimm-Kaufman Group
Last, but absolutely not least, my employer, The Rimm-Kaufman Group, who do paid search marketing and website effectiveness consulting. They have let me spend a significant amount of time writing these tools for use on our own systems, and instead of keeping them in our own Subversion repository, allowed the code to be released as Free Software. The time I’ve spent on the tools has gone well above and beyond what we needed to get our work done. Finally, RKG has blessed my unpaid week off to work on the tools.
A big thanks is due to all of these companies and individuals, as well as other people who have contributed financially and otherwise.
I’m grateful for the sponsorship, but I think the real winners are the MySQL community, who have benefited a lot from Maatkit. It has made a lot of hard things easier and impossible things possible. If you’re one of those who benefits from Free Software, I encourage you to patronize the businesses that believe in and support it. Four fine examples are listed above! Not coincidentally, all of them are the creme de la creme in their respective fields.
Finally, a quick journalistic note: I pre-approved this post with representatives from the companies I mentioned, because I respect their right to represent themselves as they wish, but the words are mine, not theirs.