Sunday, November 24, 2013

Week 7

During Week 7, I drafted plans for my team for 2014-5. That helped me get everything in perspective, and I felt really useful as I put it together. I noticed significant overlap among the projects in my area and found ways to combine efforts to set up what I consider a good portfolio. I'll refine it over the next few weeks, but the most important thing it showed is that we need more people! We have a lot of investment projects that would be extremely beneficial for the entire business, but without the capacity, we'll be very slow getting there. That requires us to be extremely judicious as we plan iterative development so that we can show nearly continuous value. Of course, I'd rather we had sufficient capacity so we could apply more effort and get bigger wins sooner.

I took myself to a movie this week, which was the first time I had watched a movie alone. There was a preview for "The Hobbit 2" (or whatever it's called), which made me reminiscent, as "The Hobbit" (in 3D!) was the last movie I saw in the theater. It was with my previous team at Google and after a terrific meal.

This weekend I went shopping. Initially I was doing it to look for a gift (which I got), but of course looking at all the nice stuff made me want to buy things for myself as well. When I first moved to New York, I promised myself that I would postpone it until I made sufficient improvements in my health. It turned out that jeans that fit were smaller than my current pairs, so I took that as a sign that I had satisfied my self-set requirement. The Soho neighborhood (around where I live) is famous for its boutiques, though it seems a boutique is "a clothes store where the close cost enough to call it a boutique." Fortunately I was able to avoid the siren song of the $400 shirts.

Later I attended a wine tasting entitled "Bordeaux vs. Napa". I came in with a pretty strong bias towards preferring new-world wines. There were five pairs presented, with the final two pairs blind. Four pairs showcased a prototypical Bordeaux and Napa example (the fifth included a South African and a Chilean). But I picked the Bordeaux as my favorite in three of the four. The biggest personal surprise was that I strongly preferred the $20 Chateau Greysac blend to a similarly-priced Napa cabernet.

Last night I saw the fourth of a four-play series [NY Times Review], the past three of which I have seen over the past month. I hear this is also playing in DC and Portland, so if you're in one of those areas, go! I enjoyed all of them, though I found the fourth the most intimate and emotional. That may be due to the way the characters have been built up in my mind over the past month, like in a miniseries. And then I stayed out with some friends until 4am, something I haven't done in a long, long time. Even Saturday night board games never went that late (maybe one time for a particular game). It was great to do it. I hope that we can make the right child-care arrangements so my wife and I can do that next year.

Of course I paid the price today. I scheduled breakfast in Brooklyn with a friend from college at 10:30, and I was regretting it when I rolled out of bed at 9:30. It got worse when I found that the trains were not running across the East River due to some fire, so I took a taxi. Of course, it turned out to be really fun, and I'm glad I met up with her. Then I helped some friends rearrange furniture in their apartment so they could optimize their living spaces. One of them had helped me move and rearrange furniture so many times that I lost count, so I owed him. Then after I came home, I fell asleep on the couch at about 5pm.

Here's my picture from this week, looking south from the office. You can see three flying saucers as well as the lights from the mother ship in the sky! (At bottom right is this odd thing).