Monthly Archives: August 2015

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The First Date with Silicon Valley.

Category : Tools

I’m writing this on thsilicon-valley-sign-lge plane on my way to San Francisco. Am I excited? Sure I am – this is my first visit to the US! It may seem pretty strange – I’ve been working in software for the last 15 years – most of the time on projects involving the American market. And still I never traveled for work. I even had a planned trip once, got a visa issued, but the project then fell through… On the other hand – this makes enough sense as I’ve spent most of my career working on infrastructure. And in this field (as in many others) there’s increasingly less need to be in a specifi place to do your work. As an example – I just spent 4 very productive hours in Frankfurt airport – sending mails, fixing bugs, talking to a customer and preparing a talk proposal for the upcoming DevOps Days TLV (BTW – the call for papers is still open until September 1st). And I could’ve done this anywhere else provided there’s WiFi or mobile data connection. I could actually continue working on the plane, but it turns out United are charging 17$ for the WiFi and I decided I’d rather finish the book I’m reading and write this blog post. By the way – when I flew Norwegian Air to Stockholm last year – they provided WiFi free of charge. And they’re a budget carrier!

So, what am I expecting from my trip to the States? I’m trying to go easy on expectations, but I do feel positive about America. Nowadays it seems like the whole world (outside of US that is) is pretty much separated into 2 camps – those who like it and those who hate it. For example – I just spent a magic vacation in the Baltic states (Latvia and Lithuania) – and the majority of the locals I talked to are quite angry at and even scared of “Americans”. They feel like the US are trying to influence their countries’ politics and economy and are wary of a possible military conflict with Russia breaking out on their lands. They could be right for all I know – after the Ukrainian situation nothing will surprise me.

So when I say ‘I like America’ – I don’t mean to say I’m justifying the US international politics or military interventions. What I like is the fact that it’s a multinational state ( and this is very much felt already on the plane – with both the crew and the travellers coming from the widest possible range of origins). I like the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that’s so much a part of American culture. And I’m happy that I’m visiting the Silicon Valley on this first trip – as it’s the symbol of all these things that I like. At least that’s how I imagine this. Still need to see it with my own eyes.

Let’s see how I feel after I come back.


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On change and jellyfish.

Category : Tools

I’m on vacation with my family at the Curonian Spit in Lithuania. This is a breathtakingly beautiful place – a thin stripe of sand dunes and pine woods washed by the Baltic Sea on one side and the Curonian Bay on the other.
There are bike routes running through the whole length of the spit, an endless sandy beach, and plenty of wild birds and animals. The food is cheap and the Lihuanians are friendly. We all had a lot of fun biking, walking and bathing in the cold waters of the Baltic.
For me this is also a nostalgic experience – I’ve spent most of my childhood summers on the Baltic Sea. But it’s been more than 20 years since I last tasted its lightly-salted waters (compared to the intense saltiness of the Mediterranean). So the first plunge really brought back memories.The taste didn’t change.

But other things did. In fact there was a surprise. When we first approached the sea my kids shouted : ‘медузы!’ ( jellyfish in Russian). I laughed and said that it’s impossible – there are no jellyfish in this sea. But the kids were right – the waves were full of transparent-pinkish jellyfish, small and large. They are harmless – they don’t burn you like their Mediterranean sisters, but the sheer fact of their presence got me shocked. I’ve never seen one jellyfish in my whole childhood!
I asked around and Lithuanians confirmed – this is a new phenomena – the sea became warmer and the jellyfish started  arriving in hordes a few years ago.

This got me thinking about change. I love change – I embrace it, and frankly – I see no other way. And the case of jellyfish in the Baltic is how the world shows us once again that change is the only constant thing there is. What we believe to be true today will be proven wrong tomorrow. Jellyfish will inhabit northern seas. New technologies will disrupt our industries. Experience will mean nothing without mental flexibility and willingness to learn.
There is no use complaining about ‘nothing being the same’. We need to accept the new conditions and make the best use of them. Whoever fails to adapt – withers and dies. The other day I saw small kids playing with the jellyfish – piling them up in the sand. For them it’s the most natural thing to do.
I want to always remember to do the same – be it in business, technology  art or personal life – accept the changing conditions and play with them to achieve maximum fun and value – for myself and for those around me – be it customers, co- workers, audience or family.