Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Interesting speakers from Davos I: Benjamin Zander

I have to leave some notes somewhere - in a chronological order...

Some of the new-to-me-this-year interesting folks. ( yeah, you previously met facinating people you I'll have to catch up with! :P The obnixous type-A multi gazillionares who elbow and foot-stomp into buffet lines I won't document for you. )

Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. He lead a very exciting session titled "Managing Complexity: A Different Approach." Mitchell and I sorta kinda stumbled into this one, and were immediately entranced. He was leading an accomplished quartet through an interpretation of Mozart with a great deal of humor, jumping up and down, leading astray and back, and fun.

As he was doing this he dashed back and forth across the Congress Center's main hall scribbling madly on various large notepads.

I think his message, that a simple and difficult attitude shift from "what must I do to kill these goals off" to "what can I contribute?" has got to me one I pick up. The programmer psychology is so much "goal.goal.goal" with a tied in reward system for those little stinky goals that one spends a lot of time down in the pit. The trick has to be to have the second outlook - "what can I contribute" utilize the skills of the first - and step back up when done. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak don't miss it.

Mitchell and I are still practicing his gesture for acknowldeging mistakes: you must stand up, raise your hands over your head and yell "How Marvelous!" It shakes off the stigma and the laughter wipes some of the slate clean.

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