Anna has kittens up to here! Their names are “James” and “Princess” and they are both extremely cute. “Princess” does not mind being held constantly, which is a good thing given that Anna treats her like a handbag. Posted by Hello

New Job!

On Monday I accepted a position with a software company in California called Guidewire. My role will be similar to my previous position at PeopleSoft and I will continue to work from home and travel a bit during my work week. It is an exciting opportunity with a growing company – they supply claims processing systems to the insurance industry (I know, it does not sound that exciting, but it the solution, and the growth in the market that is cool). They have over 100 people at the company and have been in business for four years.

The thing that convinced me to join Guidewire was the attitude of the people that I interacted with there. They clearly value having an open culture and have gathered together some very talented people. They are also targeting a market with a ton of potential growth – most claims processing systems are quite old and in need of replacement. Guidewire is well positioned to take advantage of the market.

I will start the last week of June and will be in training in San Mateo for the first few weeks of July.

Here is another shot of Mark and his dog in their training, this time hanging from a helocopter. I should probably edit this thing in photoshop and having him hanging over the Empire State or something. Posted by Hello

My buddy, Mark Herrick, with his dog Pele, working on part of their search and rescue training. I told Mark that he has quite the Batman utility belt on and wondered why Pele was not carrying his weight. Posted by Hello

PeopleSoft Alumni

I have been a member of the PeopleSoft Alumni group since I left PeopleSoft in February. I have to say that they have done a fantastic job of delivering a great service for no charge. Every day there are between 10 and 30 new job listings that they send out (I would say the average is around 100 job listings per week) to every member. The jobs cover a wide range but most are posted by former PeoplePeople or are jobs which require PeopleSoft/ERP type skills. Kudos to Steve Tennant for setting the site up in the first place. I would be curious to know how many jobs they facilitated – it has to be quite a few.

I have been reading “Lessons from the Art of Juggling” by Michael J. Gelb. Gelb wrote the popular “How to think like Leonardo Da Vinci” and he is an interesting think and a modern renaissance man. He is an accomplished juggler, aikido master, corporate motivational speaker and Alexander Technique teacher. I enjoy his perspective on juggling because it brings form to many of the things I have felt are important about learning to juggle.

One of the lessons that really rings true to me now that I have done a few months of Alexander Technique training is the idea of efficient learning or “appropriate effort” as Gelb describes it:

“As you learn to juggle you will soon discover that the best results are achieved by using the right amount of effort in the right place at the right time. And this right amount is usually less than we think we need.
Most of us are used to getting results by trying harder, but with some things trying harder does not work.
Greater effort can exacerbate faulty patterns of action. Doing the wrong thing with more intensity rarely improves the situation. Learning something new often requires us to unlearn something old.”

I actually don’t think that juggling inherently teaches balance or poise it certainly did not have that effect on me. But these ideas are fundamental to the practice of the Alexander Technique and I am beginning to see how I much effort I have wasted in my juggling as well as in other parts of my life. Finding the patterns that make you inefficient, whether in movement, decision making or spirituality is the key to living in the flow. The Buddhist principle of Non-Doing is related; the concept of taking out what does not work leads to economy of action.

Although I have learned a ton about how to learn through my juggling practice, it really is only through Alexander Technique that I have been able to consciously examine this process of non-doing. I am truly a devotee of this principle now I don’t believe that you can truly give 110% – or if you attempt to you are simply wasting (at least) 10%. Finding and eliminating that wasted effort is surprisingly difficult to do I have taken 30 Alexander Technique lessons and I feel I am only just beginning to apply the basic principles of the techniqueto anything beyond sitting, standing and walking. Fortunately I have a lifetime to practice (perhaps several if I ascribe to Buddhist philosophies).