I am a free electron

Or so I’ve been told. I was unaware of the meaning behind this term, having never read the book Managing Humans, by Michael (Rands) Lopp, but ive been prodded quite a few times by some interesting people in interesting positions in interesting companies, like quite possibly the most influential and asserting manager I ran into over at Yahoo, Howard Jaffe, to continue with my education, and one of the books that were recommended to me was this one. Jaffe clearly saw the spark in me, having pulled a string or two to get me moved over to Yahoo in mid/late ’06. He didn’t actually coach me but more provided me with a beacon, like a light house on the shore to a passing freighter, I took his advice and avoided beaching myself quite a few times.

Managing people is a great book, and here’s why.

The primary reason – it tells a story. Or rather, a series of stories. Instead of being filled with technical nonsense or jargon that would just turn a developer off to the concepts of being a software development manager, Lopp opens the door into experience and writes things in clear and concise language that you would expect from sitting at a bar, after a long days work. I feel a bit facetious in saying this, but It’s refreshing when I read a book about IT or development that has the words shit and screwed and fucked numerous times. It gives me a connection to the writer that is just unattainable without knowing that he has been down that road. Reading him getting frustrated about micromanagement instills feelings in me that I have not felt since I left Dystrick and its chaotic strain of micromanagement.

On the next level is Rands experiences have run a parallel to my dreams. I have no intention of staying a QA or Internal application developer, I used to be a release developer and I loved it. My current status is really quite depressing, but it comes down to the economics of it all right now. I am not terribly excited to go into my job the next day, but I know they wont be tossing a million things on my plate the week before finals and expecting to have it done, post-haste. Oh wait, I know the exact opposite. What I do know about this job is that it takes little to no brain interaction. It is all zombie bob and I think that’s whats been taking the largest toll on my mind and productivity.

A few years ago I was tapped on the shoulder by an instructor who explained how I was the first free electron he had seen passing through his classes in eons. He didn’t think it was worth discussing but mentioned this book and told me that I should get into the book when I was finally ready for management. I was again given this prompt when I was interviewing at Yahoo. The interview wasn’t all that amazing but I remember Howard calling me afterwards and describing his intention to have me work along side him and his team. It was quite invigorating to me. This man that I had no choice but to look up to was taking a stake in my abilities and has obviously seen some form of fire in my eyes and he took to me and inspired my motion at that time.

This is a formal thank you and acknowledgement to my friends at Yahoo, and every where else for that matter, who have pulled strings and hoped to work with me in a professional capacity.

My works are all dedicated to you, thank you for your kind words.