Art Night

Every so often we do family art night. It’s fun, the kids enjoy it, and we get free drawings to decorate our house with. Winning all around!

I will say painting is hard without practice. Just like this one I created tonight that was supposed to be black panther eyes. I knew how I wanted it to end up, but couldn’t get the paint to do what I wanted. Just makes one realize how good the professionals are.

Buying the Kids a Book a Month

I think reading is essential, and I want to pass on the love of it to my kids. Last year I had the idea of a new program in our household, every first day of the month I would buy them a new book, and it could be 100% their choice. I didn’t care if it’s the Very Hungry Caterpillar or an autobiography of Gandhi. Any book they want, I’ll buy it for them.

It gives us something to look forward to every month, and I think it’s pretty exciting seeing their choices. Right now, one is loving illustrated books, and the other is into fiction.

This month my oldest wanted the Hunger Games, so I got her the box set. I’m pretty sure that she is attempting to beat the system, but I’m not going to complain that it’s three instead of one.

The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger

The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger is about his business life. How he got his start, how he became CEO of Disney, and some of his thinking behind the purchases he made at Disney. During his tenure that was Pixar, Marvel, LucasFilm, and Fox.

The book is sort of a memoir, yet in the opening sentence he says its not. It’s a chronological narrative of his life. From early childhood and his family that is a catalyst for his beliefs all the way through being one of the most powerful CEO’s in the world. But beyond that the book is really a management and leadership book.

He covers some of the challenges he’s faced over the years, and how sticking to a few basic principles like honesty, integrity, and humbleness you can make it far.

What I find great about the book is Disney is a creative company and he gives specific differences on how to manage creative people which transitions well into software. Here is one paragraph on giving critiques that works for designers, developers, and pull requests:

“I never start out negatively, and unless we’re in the late stages of production, I never start small. I’ve found that often people will focus on little details as a way of masking a lack of any clear, coherent, big thoughts. If you start petty, you seem petty. And if the big picture is a mess, then the small things don’t matter anyway, and you shouldn’t spend time focusing on them.”

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and if you are in any management role, even if you manage open source software, it’s worth reading and seeing how you can take what works in one of the largest companies to managing a small project. No matter the size the same core values are the same.

If you’d like to get a copy it’s on Amazon for around $15 depending on what version (kindle, hardcover, paperback) you prefer.

If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel

1pixelmoon

We’ve all seen models of the solar system and they do a good job of representing the sun and the planets, but it’s hard to get a representation of the sheer vastness of space. If the moon were only 1 pixel by Josh Worth he creates a scale model using the moon as 1 pixel. It’s crazy how much scrolling is involved to reach the first planet, and be sure and click the light speed button in the bottom corner.

earth-moon.png

“Most space charts leave out the most significant part – all the space”, and now I’m tired of scrolling.

Salary Negotiation

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss is excellent. One of the best books I read in the past year and it has tons of advice on negotiation that is applicable in many areas of your life. Everything from buying a new vehicle, to working with companies, to even negotiating salary.

One tip he shares related to salary is to never go first, but if you are cornered then only offer a range. Never share what you are making today. For example:

Interviewer: What are your salary expectations?
You: At top places like X Corp., people in this job get between $130,000 and $170,000.

When doing a range like this the low number is more than likely what they will gravitate toward so be sure it’s a value you actually want.

This is just the surface of the book but I believe it’s one you should own and read. I’ve picked up so many tips for negotiating in life from it. Even persuading my kids to do want I want.