999 to 1 = tie

I’m here at the Apple store in San Francisco. Tom Conrad, CTO of Pandora, and I have been walking around town sharing stories and having lots of fun. The line to the concert is about a mile long so we’re not going to go. Too many people makes for not a fun experience.

Anyway, he used to work at Apple “BJ2” (Before Jobs 2.0) on the finder team and he told me about a joke that Apple engineers used to tell:

If it’s 999 engineers who say “yes” to an idea vs. one who says “no” they’d score it as a tie and kill the idea. It wasn’t a funny joke. Apple before Jobs came back was paralysed and couldn’t get stuff done. I told him it sounded a lot like many groups at Microsoft. He explained why the joke was true. After all, the one engineer who said no was freaking smart. Probably had some degree from MIT and probably had invented something really killer.

He explained why Apple is so good now that Jobs is back. He was the tie breaker. All votes went his way. Heheh.

Does your company call 999 to 1 a tie? How do you break those kinds of ties and get things done?


Next weekend: Maker Faire

Become part of Internet history. We’re doing a photowalking at Maker Faire. This is the second Maker Faire. The first was my favorite event of 2006 that I attended. It’s going to be a big crowd. Last year they had 15,000 on a weekend. This year they are expecting somewhere around 50,000.

We’ll meet at the front gate at 11 a.m. next Saturday. Everyone is invited. Bring your camera. There’s a TON of stuff here to take photos of. Oh, and bring your kids. They’ll LOVE Maker Faire.

Am I getting “blog fatigue?”

Louis Gray asks if leading bloggers are getting “blog fatigue?”

It’s worse than that. I’m just really tired — I’ve spread myself too thin in too many different directions. A new kid on the way is staring me in the face, too. So is my email. Everytime I sit down to do an email two more come in. It’s really amazing. The other day I answered a ton of email on the plane (I’m far more productive on the plane, no Twitter is there to interrupt me) and when I reconnected about 1.5x as many as I answered came back! Hint: the answer to email overload is not to answer any email. Yikes.

Tim Ferriss’ book, the 4-hour Workweek, is getting me to look at my life differently. I already do some of what he suggests but the book really is a great way to evaluate what you’re doing. Even if the book is full of stuff you’ll never use, it does get you to sit down and look at life differently. The book is great, I’ve already recommended it to several people and it sure does challenge you to make sure you’re moving your life in a direction that’s good for you, not just for everyone else.

Anyway, might explain why I’m leaving shortly to go to San Francisco to attend the KFOG Kaboom concert and Fireworks show. I’m meeting Pandora’s CTO, Tom Conrad, at the Apple store at 3 p.m. then we’re headed over to the concert after that. Meet you at the front gate at 5 p.m. if you wanna do a photowalking kind of thing. Bring your tripod and a cable release if you want to take photos of the fireworks.

The other thing is that my link blog, my video show, and my Twitter account have taken up a lot of slack. Instead of linking to a ton of stuff here, I just link to it over on my link blog. And Twitter is more fun. More interactive. I get answers back immediately. There’s not the pressure to be erudite there (no trolls).

Some other things going on? My back has been hurting for a long time, and it’s getting harder to sit still to blog and I haven’t been exercising lately, I’ve been traveling too much, and I haven’t been paying enough attention to my friends. So, something in my life has gotta give, especially with a kid on the way.

UPDATE: Maryam has some friends over for lunch and they didn’t know any of the KFOG Kaboom musicians so off to YouTube we went. Here’s who we’ll be listening to: Kenny Wayne ShepherdOzomatli; and Guster.