I write this in Essen, Germany, a day before DNUG 2019, jet-lagged and somewhat dazed. The hotel cocoon that wraps one in a room does breed some good thought and reflection. So, I wanted to write a bit driven by the sentimentality that well-fed dreariness alone can engender.
I’m grateful. If I was to tell Facebook how I’m feeling, that would be it.
There’s a warm companionship in the air from people who’ve been in my work life and that of many colleagues for decades. I know that’s rare in business. Obviously, the ability to make money and grow an enterprise – of any size – is required to survive commercially. But once that is accomplished – and that over years and releases and industry trends and defects, emergencies and the fallout – there’s can be a delightful blurring of the line between those building a product and those using it for fun and profit (well, the fun part can be relative).
The stubborn faithfulness of Domino’s business partners and corporate users is not just a feel-good phenomenon. If value wasn’t achieved multiple times for years there would be no faithfulness, nor should there be. Nonetheless, there is faithfulness and zärtliche Güte (“tender kindness” to hack German a little in honor of the current venue). It turns out that matters quite a bit and I believe we’ll see how in the short and medium term.
Of course, the erosion of the business is a reality no one can ignore. I really don’t want what I write to dwell on past squanders and shifty investments because it doesn’t matter. People are free to cop attitudes, give up on products and certainly some have. The competition is hardly passive in this as well, but I’m grateful that despite all that, a lot is left. It’s important to look at what remains and figure out how to repair, rebuild and where to most wisely invest. I hope to write about that as I return from this trip.
My employer HCL has seen something in Domino that has inspired deep investment. I believe HCL has seen the same proven value that our partners have seen all along. But mark this – the last time investment like this happened, there was an explosion of functionality that produced an inimitable bundle of capability. And though the industry has changed – it always will – I can see that start to happen again. Developers have greyed (or “whited” if that can be coined) but new talent is being recruited to move things forward.
The human taxing this season of months when the second, $1.8B deal was being finalized has been something most don’t know about and won’t talk about because it can be interpreted as a time of neglecting other priorities. But that interpretation is a gross mistake because the end of that time signals a renewed focus on all that matters for customers and business partners. There will still be a prioritized timeline of deliverables for several reasons. And that invariably causes frustration.
Challenges of what to do and when are always part of the mix. That will remain true going forward. But given what we’ve all been through with its enormous pressure to grow cynical and quit and the caliber of people we all have with all wisdom (which trumps knowledge), I definitely like our chances.
There are many reasons to do one’s work. Gratitude and faithfulness are among the finest.