Today, first I have to share a few things I saw this week
I was intrigued by this video displaying future possibilities with coding IDEs
Sure, some of these features can be accomplished in similiar ways with split panes and windows, and certainly today’s refactoring tools give us much of the demoed functionality as far as finding related methods, references to methods, etc. But the intriguing thing for me is how actual useable and intuitive this demo seemed. Now that VS 2010 is written in WPF – I can definitely imagine IDEs adopting some of these ideas…some very compelling ideas in here and not just for IDEs either – of course as a mind mapping tool user (for me my favorite is the simple FreeMind tool), this demo really got my attention
Next – I have known people who really get into game theory but while interesting, nothing I wanted to spend my limited free time looking into further, but then this article came along and I really enjoyed reading it…..especially how so many complex algorithms were defeated by a simple 4-lines of code program called Tit-for-Tat that in its own simple way proclaimed that “do-onto-others…” was a rule with an inherent truth to it.
Its a short story and worth spending 2 minutes to read…..check it out here.
And finally, this story really appealed to me regarding corporate culture. The story is based on a core group of individuals at Netscape. Now if you know me, as I have blogged about before – I love stories like this. I still think the IBM Black Shirts story is one every developer should know about.
Now cultivating a corporate culture is one of those grey areas as its not something a company can just create – they can sure foster an environment that allows a corporate culture to grow and evolve but in the end, like all other corporate accomplishments, it takes a core group of like-minded driven people to make things happen. At Innovative Systems here in Mitchell, SD, I have been privileged to work with many catalyst-people like this who decide periodically and impromptu-like we need a Grilled-Cheese-Day and an quick signup to make sure someone brings griddles, Velveeta, and the bread. These people also declare on a periodic-basis days such as Chili-Day, Taco-Day, Burger&Brat-Day (here the company supplied us with a gas grill in our quad just outside our break room to facilitate)…one set of catalysts declared March-14 a few years back to be Pi_Day which was celebrated with many kinds of pie and Pi-trivia (since then we seem to keep forgetting PiDay but we want to bring it back). Other catalysts (seeing the need for more donuts in the work place) decided that every Friday we should take turns getting donuts for the group – only those that like donuts need participate….others who liked donuts on Monday morning formed a NASCAR-donut club where the participant whose favorite NASCAR-driver came in the lowest over the weekend bought donuts for that group (Go Jeff Gordon – haven’t bought donuts yet this year). We also have the charity minded catalysts among us who like to have cooking contests where the employees that want to partake (and with the quality of cooks among us – you’d be crazy not to) vote with dollars as to the winners and the money going to a charity such as the Salvation Army Food Bank……..
Corporate cultures are created on interactions like this – employees form bonds and relationships with other employees thru activities like this. The company also does much with its annual summer company Golf Tourney/Picnic & Christmas Party but in the end, its usually a small group of dedicated like-minded people who make things like “culture” happen and grow.
Corporate cultures take root in social ways at first and then evolve into professional changes once a Team mentality sets in but until you feel part of a Team, its hard to care about putting in the extra effort to polish off that feature you are working on, or to put a few more hours into writing tests for the new feature. But a Team member not wanting the team to look bad, or better yet, wanting to hit that sacrifice bunt to advance the teams goals, will do these things. I have been privileged to work with some real Teams and experience the success that comes with real, unselfish teamwork.
So stories about company culture always appeal to me because I know that they are the basis for a solid functioning Team. Mother Teresa had an interesting quote one time when someone asked her what was wrong with the Catholic Church – she responded “I am”…she was referring to how everyone in a group is responsible for change and being an example of that change. Here at our company we are lead by a CEO with a vision and a history of success but its up to all of us to live up to our job and be moving our company forward. One of my coworkers was quoted in some recruiting materials with this “Developers at Innovative Systems are given the unique opportunity to use their own initiative to decide their status in the company…………. All you have to do is express interest and rise to the challenge”. That was well put and very accurate. Corporate cultures are built with attitudes like that, and it makes you do a little self-reflection to ask what am I doing to advance our corporate culture?
Time to go – son & I have a Pine Wood Derby car to get painted. Have a good weekend.