Wednesday, June 02, 2010

But First, A Rant

Ok, so let me get this straight... or let me see if I can... So Google has an operating system called Android that it's giving away free to computer manufacturers, primarily for use on cell phones. Motorola is really lazy and calls their first offering the "Droid"

Verizon picks up and offers the Motorola phone. But then decides to brand their entire line of Android phones with the Droid moniker. So in addition to Droid, there's Droid Eris and Droid Incredible. That's some sloppy branding. Perhaps they should have branded the Motorola device as Droid Moto or Droid Prime or something.

But... and this is what gets me to the point of actually bothering with a rant. I don't usually watch commercials but I turned the TV on and there was one with Hamm from Toy Story schilling for the U.S. Postal Service. To quote my friend Simon, "flipping brilliant." If you don't get why, email me. Or think way back to a place where everybody knows your name.

Anyhow, so, yeah, the commercial ended and one came on for Droid. After learning I might end up with access to a Droid for work, I paid attention to the commercial to the point of noticing the little disclaimer text at the bottom. Apparently people who watch commercials were noticing this last year, but I guess LucasFilm *OWNS* the word "Droid" and appears to be getting a license fee (and copyright nod) in every commercial or promotion for Droid. That is crazy. Like Lucas needs anymore money. Unless he promises to use it to take screenwriting and character development classes at the College of Marin or something.

I'd like to own a word people want to use (and use poorly, I might add, back to my original branding complaint above) so that I could get some money. Seriously. I need some money. Anyone want to send me some?

Anyhow, enough of that.

Today was one of the coolest days of my professional career. I know that as miserable as I was at Lake, I had some great days there, too, because I was pretty much left alone for five years to hopefully do some stuff that had lasting value to that community, and I had some pretty swell days at Warner Bros. and UltimateTV before that, but yeah, today was a pretty nifty day, especially the first part. The second part was nothing to write home about (or since I'm already home, to write from home about), but the first part, well now, that was pretty spectacular.

Last October a major reorg brought together a lot of separate parts of the org that did similar or complementary things into a single large team. It was almost like a startup within the larger org. We had folding tables in an otherwise open corner of the building, power and phone and internet cables strewn as needed. (Though still professionally wired by people who knew what they were doing and in such a way so as to not be a tripping hazard,) We were encouraged to wear jeans on days other than Friday, we were supposed to block our calendars half of the week and just informally gather together as needed to meet. We had artists, writers, designers, project managers, developers, business analysts, producers, usability, you name it, all together under one roof. (I should say "have" instead of "had".) Anyhow, it was a major shift and we altogether began feeling our way forward, maintaining the existing but forging new paths into new areas. And by working together, we were (are) seeing all kinds of benefits, synergies and new opportunities.

But there was one area we knew we needed to get to eventually, but was just a lower priority than all of the other stuff we needed to address. And I guess that's why I used the past tense. Anyhow, we knew that another team was actually looking into that area because everyone knew it needed to get addressed at some level and it couldn't really wait. And there was also the acknowledgement that they would carry the ball until such time as we were ready to accept it and then they'd pass it off. To make sure that we were ready for the hand-off, they had asked for a member of our team to be involved. I was learning all of this yesterday as I was being asked to be that person. The person who had been doing it was leaving the group and so now there was a void. I could hardly contain my excitement. Granted, I was a little apprehensive, but at the same time, I was pretty sure this was a deal, a big deal.

I may have been wrong. This is probably not a big deal, this is probably a massively huge jump-on-the-couch awesome spectacular deal. I went to a three hour meeting today that could have been 10 minutes for how quickly it went by. It started with a historical look back at what they'd done to date, to bring me up to speed, and then transitioned into practical talks about the next few things that need to get done and need to get done quickly. It turns out that the entire group is four people including myself and one of them couldn't be there today. So it was me and two pretty significant people and it was an amazing environment. I felt like I was really clicking with them, that I didn't have to fight to get a word in, that when I had something to offer, it was relevant, quickly understood by the other parties and valued and welcomed. I haven't always felt this in my most current role, that I've had to swim upstream to try to present something that that it's not always welcomed or thought of as credible. But here were these guys asking me for my opinion and in some cases how I might solve or approach this. Not necessarily for any particular subject matter expertise I may or may not have, but just a group of people who were all ready and willing to move quickly in the same direction (or who already were, but were willing to grab me and pull me off the platform and onto the fast moving train). I've always said about this time around that I wasn't going to be overly aggressive as far as my career, that I was going to try to work hard, add value, and see how far up the ladder I could get pulled and today felt like I got pulled up a few rungs really rapidly. Granted, this isn't a title change, promotion or salary change, but that's not important. In a good job, a lot of things are far more important than those things and today, well that was one massive heck of a perk, to be asked to be a part of this team. I cannot wait to see what comes next. Because a lot is coming. And faster than fast.
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