my change of pace
I visited Texas to accompany our newest noobie while he was doing his Vista and Office launch events. Launch has been 'interesting' - there's a lot of press going around regarding the launch of our products (here's our press release). I think sometimes people don't realize the consequence of the harshness or their words. Granted, I've been guilty of this myself, but telling you you suck, or that what you do sucks, can really take a lot out of you. Especially when you're as sensitive as I am. So with an average of over 1000 attendees per launch event, it was inevitable that a few people wouldn't exactly appreciate everything Vista or Office 12 would have to offer. Or so I was told...
So with that looming, and the piss poor start I've had to this year with a range of personal issues marring my life, I wasn't exactly thrilled about everything. But Texas, was different. Texas was fun. Texas was good. Things just work slower in Texas. Maybe its because of all the extra distance that people have to cover (you know, because Texas = big). But the one thing that occurred to me was how much slower the pace at which people do things in Texas was, compared to SF. Texans are so relaxed and laid back. I remember how odd It felt driving only 5mph over the speed limit. But it was a good change. People are generally nicer in Texas. I liked Texas. Texas was good.
my world of hurt
While that change was definitely welcome, I've noticed I typically like to add to my misery of hurting myself by hurting myself further. For example, a few years ago, I twisted my left ankle real bad. Working the clutch on my stick shift became impossible and so I was stuck at home for a few weeks. I remember telling myself, since I'm already hurting, why not make the most of it. I remember likening the whole incident to something like carpooling - taking two people on a ride as opposed to taking just one. And so, I got my wisdom teeth extracted a few days later. I was on crutches because of the sprained ankle, but it looked like a kumquat had been permanently lodged in my cheek. And the extraction was one of the worst experiences I'd had in my life. So bad, I haven't been to a dentist's office in 3 years. Anyhow, coming back to the point of "beating myself while I'm down" - I decided to add to my recent misery by getting back to the gym and getting myself a trainer. A trainer, who'd recently broken up with his girlfriend and plays defensive end for a semi-pro football over the weekends. And I told my trainer that I wanted him to push me.
Now my friend Sharran will tell you that I have the habit of occasionally "provoking dangerous animals with sticks". Sharran can you tell you a story about how him and I visited this one bar a long long time ago, and we had a wide array of drinks named after 80s pop songs to choose from. While drinking "like a virgin" was fun, it wasn't quite cutting it as an alcoholic drink. And so, I told the bartender to make us a "stronger" drink. And she did. And about 30 minutes later, neither Sharran nor I could recognize each other. I remember wanting to lie down, albeit for just a few minutes, over here at around 3am.
Anyhow, so the trainer "pushed" me. And now I'm hurting. I can barely stand, sit (on my famous barcalounger or the john for that matter), walk, run or lie down (on my stomach, on my back or on the sides, coz they all hurt so bad). I can't lift things. I went to a friend's place the other night, and passed out while the kids were pillow-fighting me. Yeah, I fell asleep while two of the most hyperactive children on the planet were both treating me like a human piñata. I think I also provoked the rotator cuff that I thought had healed from a snowboarding accident.
It's bad enough when you're feeling like crap mentally, it's worse when you're feeling like crap physically as well. I think physical crapness can lead to mental crapness, which can lead to physical crapness, and so on. It was starting to show, because I was starting to piss people off. I started to write about what was annoying me, and wanted to blog about it. But after sharing the post with some friends, I decided against it.
I was starting to get concerned about Microsoft's direction. How it feels like there's been a lot of negative press recently, and in spite of how much I try, or what I do, I wasn't able to make a difference. In my job, as an evangelist, I deal with customers a LOT more than I deal with 'softies. In fact, I think I spend something like 99% of my time with customers, 1% with 'sofites. And when you deal with people from outside the company that much, you tend to forget who you're representing some times.
I had my realization after I sat down for lunch and had a discussion with one of the most intelligent people I've ever met - Daryll McDade (that's his old blog, I'm not sure if he has a newer one). Daryll is a senior marketing manager for Windows Live. And talking to him, and hearing him think, made me realize how smart some of the smartest people in this company are. All this 'downness' suddenly went away after speaking with Daryll. So much so that, I didn't want to stop talking to him. The guy's a visionary no doubt, but listening to him really reassured me that I don't have to stress myself with the pressure of the universe. There're some extremely sharp people working up in Redmond, and I need to trust them to do the right thing at the right time.
I feel better now. I'm still hurting physically, but you will not guess what I did this afternoon - I visited the dentist's office.
Now playing in my head : "Into the ocean", "Blue October"
PS: Stay tuned for "Evangelism in Academia"