re: engineering management
notes on software development, leading teams and changing the way we work

Seven Things

Damn you, Brian! for tagging me with this meme. But, since it is currently snowing (again?!?!) here in the Seattle area, I figured I needed a diversion. So here goes…


I was born left-handed. My parents are from the West Indies and apparently, being left-handed was considered BAD. So, at a very young age whenever my Mom saw me doing something with my left hand, she would say “Use your right hand!”. My wife told me she thought I was left-handed when she met me because I tended to do things with that hand. Ironically, both my son and our new President are left-handed. I’ve also learned that lefties tend to be more creative and possibly smarter. See what you’ve done to me, Mom?


I met my wife on a blind date. I was at a party where I met up with some mutual friends. After hours of drinking and talking, one of the girls remarked, “I can’t believe you don’t have a girlfriend. You have to meet our friend, Donna.” Oh great. Since she wasn’t there and all the girls that were were…hot, then this must be the ugly one. :-) A few weeks pass by and a friend of mine calls me up one night, saying “Hey, remember that girl that those girls wanted you to meet?” Me: “Yeah…?” Friend: “Here she is.” (click)

One tentative conversation led to a first date. It could have been disastrous since I was late driving out to the boondocks of Long Island after spending the day helping a friend move. She was annoyed and I was tired. However, a good Italian meal and a bad movie made things better. A couple of more dates led to a vacation in Jamaica and the rest, as they say, is history.


I used to be very good at math. I was an honors student all through grade school and most of high school. My math skills declined (and my social skills improved) by the time I hit college and took my first calculus course. I suspect the cause of the change may have been either:

  • My mostly Japanese-speaking professor
  • My complete disinterest in anything other than my Computer Science courses
  • Girls

Now, my math skills seem to be stuck at intermediate algebra.


I love comic books and comic book movies. While I no longer collect them, I do have a pretty big collection in my garage. Batman and Iron Man are my all-time favorites. Superman is a punk (he turned down Wonder Woman’s advances in one issue!! What?!?!) So, when the live action Iron Man movie came out in 2008 as well as Dark Knight, I could have died happy and complete.


I am technology agnostic. I’ve tried lots of different computing platforms. The first computer I ever used was an Apple II and the first one I owned was an Apple IIc. I’ve had and developed for PCs running DOS, Windows (3.1 – XP, including NT and 2000). I have worked on numerous workstations running SunOS, AIX, HP/UX and Irix. I tried owning a Linux workstation running Red Hat, but it frustrated me no end as a desktop. I might try again soon, as Ubuntu looks promising. Now, I am primarily a Mac user as it hits all the right notes for me.

Note to all Microsoft-bashers: Stop it! It’s not necessary. And the people that work there are not all bad; in fact, they’re mostly good people trying to do the right thing in a large corporation. If you don’t like Microsoft’s products or behavior, just vote with your dollars! That’s what really sends the message.


My perfect vacation involves a week on an island (generally in the Caribbean) at some sort of all-inclusive resort. My days should consist of deciding whether to swim in the pool or the ocean first, enjoying great meals and getting to catch up on a ton of reading. One day can be allocated to some sort of touristy activity. But, just ONE day.


It is better to work for me than with me. At least, that’s what my co-workers say. I fiercely protect my team so that they can focus on doing great things. And, I have trouble managing up but I am trying to get better at that. However, at the end of the day I am an engineer and logic rules my world. My measure of success is building (or helping people build) great products.

Tag! You’re it!