Individuals Matter

The blog has been quiet for awhile; I just got back about a week ago from my summer break --- a trip to Paris and Rome with my family. We spent incredible days exploring the cities, connecting with history, eating a ton of gelato, and sharing some great (and some not so great but just as enjoyable) bottles of wine. It was one of those milestone trips that will be hard to top.

When I left for Europe, the NHIN Direct project was just starting to pep up again after a few weeks of low energy. Getting to agreement on the consensus proposal was pretty tough and took a lot out of the team. Arien was working hard to kick things back into gear with the new workgroups. Here at Microsoft, my friend Umesh was just starting to get moving on "Agent 2.0" --- the transformation of his demonstration code into the real reference implementation that will support the pilots we'll be spinning up come November. I wrote a brief overview document trying to break up the work, and hoped that when I got back the agent would be in good shape so we could move on to the SMTP sinks and other pieces.

When I walked back into the office last week, Umesh looked up at me with bleary and slightly crazed eyes and said, "I don't think I can get it done."

I wasn't really sure what he meant. Get what done? Was there some new technical problem that meant our approach wasn't feasible? Or was the agent going to take another couple of weeks, or what?

Well, here's the thing. It turns out that what he meant was that he wasn't sure he could get THE ENTIRE REFERENCE IMPLEMENTATION CODE COMPLETE BY THE FACE TO FACE MEETINGS ON THE 17TH OF AUGUST --- he'd need a couple of extra days. What nerve.

Step back for a second here. I get that this isn't a totally fair comparison, but after years of people talking about healthcare interoperability, in the fifteen days that I was on vacation, Umesh wrote virtually all of the code that will be required to start securely sharing health information across the Internet. Holy crap!

There really are special individuals in the world --- and those individuals do amazing things that the rest of us benefit from.

When I met Umesh on our first day of college in 1987, it wasn't obvious that this skinny Indian kid obsessing over Jean Michel Jarre had that in him. But having watched him knock down challenge after challenge for more than twenty years now (as long as I've known my wife) ... I can say that he is one truly remarkable guy. The kind of guy who explores and questions and makes things happen, whether it's creating code, 80's funk, essays on history or reveling in his adopted country by texting me that "America is cool!" from the Smithsonian.

We are all lucky he's directed some of that talent at healthcare --- thanks, dude.

Comments (4)
  1. lara says:

    did he see kermit?

  2. David McCallie says:

    Awesome work, Umesh.  Thank you!

  3. Brett Peterson says:

    What a great tribute. Well deserved!

  4. Sam Adams says:

    Awesome work Umesh; goes to show just what CAN be done, the impossible just takes a couple days more 🙂

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