Sunday, December 8, 2013

TheHackerCIO's Top Professional Values

What are TheHackerCIOs Top Professional Values? 

Making a list of your values is a fantastic way to focus your mind and follow the adage of the Delphic Oracle: "know thyself." With the new year approaching, and with a lot of potential business partners needing this information, I've put together this brief first "essay," or "attempt." These are not ordered. The numbering is purely for separation.

1. Learning new technologies has to be at the top of the list. There is absolutely nothing more fascinating than figuring out how to use new technologies in the spirit with which they have been created --  to deliver more efficient, faster, better, and more innovative solutions. Part of the reason why Codojo was brought into existence was to foster the kind of environment where people who loved to learn could come together, collegially, and work together. The Geeky Book Club I attend is full of people who feel this way as well. And that's the kind of people I enjoy spending time with!

2. Having fun through work: life is too short to hate what you do for a living! I've never understood the mentality that says "just give me a paycheck." Why would you want to spend the majority of your day, "just getting a paycheck?" I think this is what Steve Jobs meant when he said, "don't settle":
"You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."
I haven't yet watched this film about Jiro Ono -- but several people have pointed me to it as an interesting parallel to my ideas about loving your work. And this article quotes him from the documentary:
"Once you decide on your occupation," says Jiro, "you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That's the secret of success and is the key to being regarded honorably."
I think that the notion of striving to fall in love with your work is something that needs a lot further exploration in our culture.

3. Achieving values in work: what's the point of pointless work? Why would anyone want to work on something they thought pointless, silly, needless, or improper, when they could work on something important, useful, helpful, and wonderful. That's the kind of work I look for. And that's the attitude toward work I look for in colleagues.

4. Brutal honesty & full transparency: this is where "the edge" comes forth. It's been said, that TheHackerCIO "has an edge," which I've remarked on before. I'm not one for evading the truth. It never helps. Full honesty is really the only way. And it makes everything so much better. And I hesitate to use the term "transparency," since the politicians have recently ruined it. But that's an important concept too. Far to important to let scum like politicians ruin.

5. The J. Paul Getty Principle: Being in charge of your business. This rules outsourcing out-of-bounds. You can read the other FAQ answers for further details, but this is one of the principles that makes it impossible for me to work with outsourcers. To quote J. Paul Getty, from How to Be Rich:
"If you have a business, make sure that you’re the one who’s running it."
And he explains why:
"A businessman must run his own business. He cannot expect his employees to think or do as well as he can. If they could, they would not be his employees."
You can't outsource your core business concern. And my core business concern is technology. Ergo, I can't work with offshore technology outsourcers. It's really pretty simple.

6. Work with people who also love what they do. And not with Pointy Haired Bosses. Because Dilbert isn't just a cartoon. It's an unfortunate and hideous reality for far too many.

7. Work with integrity, so that you are proud of what you produce. Not "just doing what you're told", but actually doing a good thing, something that works really well, something that, consequently, people want to use, and consequently, that you are proud you produced. TheHackerCIO wants to go home at night -- perhaps tired -- but proud of the code he crafted, happy with the technology solution he designed.

I'm sure there are more, but this is a good start. I'll add others as they come up.

I Remain,


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