#urbannomad or an #urbanwanderer? #agile #scrum

Yesterday Tim participated at our Agile meetup.  He was there to wish goodbye. He and his wife have been on a path of becoming urban nomads and the time is here now.

We discussed taxes, weather, addresses, letting go of stuff, being creative with space, the freedom of movement and the restriction that it brings with it.

Many urban travelers call themselves Nomads. Coaches like me assume we fall into the same category. We romanticize the notion of not being in the same place constantly. The idea of constant movement gives us the sense of being nomads. But we forget that we always go back to some place called home during the weekends. A home where we spend our holidays. Sometime not every weekend. Some of us travel for longer. But a home still awaits. A place  for  familiarity, hugs, for love, for romance and relaxation. A place where we bring our dirty laundry week after week, a place we  barbeque with friends, a place where there is space for us and where we get comfortable, a place where we catchup on gossip, have our own doctors, check postal mail, and catch up with old friends.

We plan our trips, book our hotels, eat in restaurants. But that is all planned. Yes there is the stress of getting these bookings done within time and budget. Keeping our reward points in check. Holding on to the upgraded seat, or the upgraded spacious hotel suite, because only we know the value of an extra leg room space or an early glass of wine. We know the value of reaching home on time. That two hours means a lot to us. Being home at 9:00 pm matters, than being home at midnight. But we are still not urban nomads.

IMG_3860Tim is not plannig such a life. He wants to experience the nomadic life (and we are busy coining a term for his chosen life – ‘Nomadic techie’ seems a good start, but his creative wife will give it a better form perhaps!). He is not going to be using points to book his travel and hotel. Like so many other nomadic tribes, he will just know where he is going to be probably two months in advance. Maybe three. In this short period of time he has to establish a life style, learn the city, its culture and be ready to move. He is planning on uprooting his comfort zone; leaving his business, social and family networks. Downsizing it all to barely minimum. Enough stuff that will fit in his RV

Here are some pros and cons:

Pros:  New way of experiencing his own self. Forming a new relationship with his wife and family. There will be never a boring moment. Freedom to attend as many conferences, go to as many cities due to low cost of travel. Check off on bucket lists as a WIP item along the way. Cost of doing business will be low. Factor the experience learnt and take it to the next gig. Always be around the customer.  Quoting his words, he will never carry ‘ technical debt’ (he meant baggage. But then when a techie talks, their metaphors must quote the source code don’t they?)

Cons:  Possible long bench time. Some projects might not materialize due to inconvenient location. Always start from scratch. He has to be on high alert-learning and knowing mode constantly.  Sometimes life is in the mercy of mother nature.

What he has to learn new:

Network, network, network: Network in new cities for new clients, new businesses . Always learn the culture of a new city. He will learn patience. Sometimes there wont be a second chance.

What he is giving up:  A stable community. A comfort zone. He is giving up boundaries.

I wish Tim and his family great adventures, learning, and tons of joy in their new un-comfort , self-awareness life style


Receiving a #highfive from a techie

I have a compelling desire to share this:

I knew that the Verizon store was in and around that area. I just couldn’t find it. GPS was not helping. Thus I  called their customer service, and they connected me to the store.  Ugh! it was tucked away in the only corner that I didn’t look, and a 1 minute drive from where I placed the distress call.  Feeling quite miserable that I was about to ‘appear in person’ to a group of techie folks, who may have felt sorry about my lack of direction savvyness and were probably expecting me to discuss an  iPhone error that I could have fixed at home..

I walked into the store quite bravely with my head held high (above normal heights probably!)

After the necessary introductions and getting the issue resolved (thankfully it was not me. It was an hardware error!),  I decided to buy a bluetooth. I just couldn’t use the tiny one that I had bought a couple of weeks ago. It lacked elegance, even though it was mostly for connecting to a couple of handhelds that will read through the BT onto my iPhone

I chose TonePro, fell in love with it.  Then, a thought occured to me.

“Can I be online with two phone lines at the same time?” I asked

“Do you want to speak on two lines at the same time?” was the response.

“No no. no. no.” I said.  (Possibly animated vigorously by a stereotypical Indian nod?)

“I am just wondering if this can be detected by both my phones at the same time, or should I turn off one BT , to use the other phone?

“We have never tried” he said.

So we decided to check. We got the blue tooth detected on two iPhones. Yes it worked on both phones. We could receive incoming on both.

YAY!  exclaimed all of us.  “High five to you”, they said. “We discovered a feature that we never checked before”

I walked out the store with my head still held high. Higher perhaps.

Why my first #accus #accuswest will always be special to me

As I browsed the article “The second coming of the the second city” in the southwest flight towards LA for my first ever #accus #accuswest,


little did I know that the musketeers had arranged for an Improv session with @bonifer.   2 hours with Mike Bonifer, and his team ,activating the mind / body connection  around a campfire and S’mores as the sunset over the sprawling hills of the Irvine ranch was more than enough for me to declare this camp a success!

What else was a success factor for me at the camp:

Nature and camp settings:  An ideal setting to take the stress of a camp away. I wonder how would it be to go back to hotel rooms and conferences?

Casual and low key atmosphere: What I really cared about was that no one carried an air of importance. Everyone was accessible to the other.

Discussions around technology, process and business: Well can we ever live without these conversations?

City culture:  Having spent the past few weeks in Chicago, learning about the city and its culture – and then being in Orange county and meeting local Agilists helped me revalidate my thought process of how much the culture of a city shapes its Agile adoption. Oh really yes.

New friendships and renewed old ones:  New promises and generating opportunities for learning, contributing and collaboration is what makes such camps precious.

Thankyou to the organizers and attendees. See you soon.