Now I can finally tell everyone what’s been going on… what all those cryptic status messages I’ve posted on Facebook & Twitter over the past several weeks have meant:
I’ve taken a position with Facebook in their Technical Operations group as the Lead Datacenter Technician at their new Prineville, Oregon facility, working for Ken Patchett. I’ve talked often about the migration of the datacenter industry into rural areas, and now I’m living up to that conclusion. Facebook is a rapidly growing company and performs technical operations on a scale I never could have experienced at digital.forest, so I’m very excited about this opportunity. In the decade I’ve worked at d.f I was immersed in every facet of the datacenter business except scale, as our largest project ever topped out at ~2MW/10,000sq’. Day One at Facebook for me will exceed that scale by a wide margin. I can’t wait to meet my new colleagues and be a vital part of building and operating the best facility on the Internet. I start at Facebook on Monday, August 2nd.
Sue has found a position as a Public Defender in Crook & Jefferson counties. This move will something of a homecoming for Sue as she was born in Prineville and grew up in various small towns in central and eastern Oregon – her dad worked for the USFS. We’ll be close to family now too, as Sue’s dad and two sisters still live there. When I first heard about Facebook’s choice of Prineville for their new facility I joked to Sue about her birthplace being suddenly thrust into the limelight… then a few months later they called me! It was like fate or something. She’s very excited about being able to move back to Oregon. Due to the Oregon State Bar process she can’t start practicing law until early October, but we hope to be all moved down there by early September at the latest to have Nick ready for school.
Nick is mildly apprehensive about all this, as he’s really settled into a good spot in life here in Arlington. He has all those things teens need: great friends, good grades, and a passion (running X-C.) As much as we tell him that he’ll be able to find all that in Oregon, he doesn’t know that … yet. We hope to find a place where he can fit in, so we’ve been emailing the coaches of the various X-C teams in the area.
We’re currently shopping for a home down there (dictated by Nick’s terms above, and of course with some good shop or barn space to build my “Garage Mahal”) and will update everyone with our new address as soon as that process comes to a close.
It is of course tough to say goodbye to our home of the past eleven years here in Arlington, and our friends, family, and colleagues. But we’ll still be in the region. Come visit us at hit the slopes!
This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the Goolsbee’s life. As always stay tuned to follow along!
Welcome to the new server!
OK, that took a little longer than I thought. Things SHOULD be working OK. If you have any problems logging in, please let me know.
My 30-day Apple Aperture trial expired. I ended up deciding not to buy the software though. Why?
$199 seems steep for an application that runs like molasses on my fairly well-spec’ed machine; a MacBook Pro 2.53GHz with 4 GB of RAM. I like Aperture’s RAW editing features. Once I got the hang of them that is. Butâ€¦ damn this application is slow. This was with a library of less than 100 photos. I note that iPhoto bogs down once its library exceeds 5000 images. Aperture was dog slow right from the very first image.
Every once in a while I would see some moment of brilliance, and think I was falling in love with the software. Then it would smack me with a spinning cursor and drive me away. I would hope that a trial period would show you all the reasons to love a new product, but in this case it just drove me back to using iPhoto + Photoshop.
I’m open to being convinced otherwise, so feel free to chime in if you have a differing opinion.
To some this sign may be a warning. To others it is an invitation. A temptation. A true desire.
I’ve driven this particular road many times and always pause at that famous sign. It is one of those landmarks and moments where you step out of the car, relax a bit, stretch your legs, gather your thoughts, take a deep breath… and then dive in. As the road coils and contorts before you the senses heighten and sharpen, and your focus becomes laser-like. Right now I’ve metaphorically pulled over at that sign and am shaking the thoughts of the long straightway that lies behind me out of my mind, preparing for the focus required of the next challenge.
After ten years in my position at digital.forest, I’m looking to move on to something new.
If digital.forest were a road it would be a well-maintained six-lane freeway todayâ€¦ but I knew it when it was a dirt track alongside a cow pasture. Founded by a close friend in 1994 it was essentially a one-man operation for several years. My friend brought me on-board in the spring of 2000. In the decade since it has grown and prospered. The road did indeed have many treacherous grades and diminishing radius curves, but we navigated them all with aplomb and daring. Our industry boomed, and while we managed to raise some very modest capital, we watched in awe as competitors pulled in millions of dollars, and built amazing facilities. Then, very soon thereafter our industry busted. Those very same competitors had over-built, over-extended themselves, and died off at an astonishing rate not seen on earth since the K-T Extinction Event. We used our revenues wisely, not spending on luxury offices or standard “dotcom datacenter” frivolous eye candy, but instead focused on finding, serving, and retaining what we had: Great Clients. We did this through conservative spending on what was really important to our clients, namely buying critical infrastructure to ensure their uptime. This allowed us to grow and thrive when others were shrinking or dying. Of all the things we’ve done before or since, those worst days of our industry were truly digital.forest’s finest hour, and I look back at what we did, and how we did it, with pride.
We filled our original facility to capacity, and in 2004 went looking for a new one. We found one of those amazing facilities built in the exuberant boom days that had never been completed. It was perfect for us. Not too big, but with room to grow. Over several months in 2004/2005 we completed the long-dormant construction and moved in. It was the craziest half-year of my professional life. My team worked around the clock, seven days a week, for four months straight to build, equip, and then move a live datacenter twenty-nine miles across a major metropolitan area. Operationally it was a flawless migration. Our Account Management team did an amazing job working with our clients, letting them know what was going on and why, and scheduling their move times weeks in advance, often down to the minute. My Technical Operations team executed the move with speed and precision. Most importantly, we did not lose a single client in the process.
What amazing clients they are! I’ve met truly wonderful people during my time at digital.forest. It has been a privilege to serve them, and a joy to watch many of them succeed and grow. Most of all though, the greatest benefit for me has been to make many of them my friends. Our clients are in very good hands, as my other privilege has been to work with some of the most competent and capable people I’ve ever known in my twenty-five years in business.
That move to a new facility is what transformed digital.forest from a rural two-lane blacktop into a super-highway. We expected that “room to grow” would last us a few years, but within months we were expanding again, metaphorically going from two lanes to four, and then six. Curves were smoothed out, bridges built, grades reduced, and guardrails erected. What was once a winding road was now a superslab, on a straight and fast course over the horizon.
Personally, I prefer the winding road to the wide freeway. The challenges are more vivid, and the work keeps me alert and feeling alive. It has nothing to do with the size of the company, as even large organizations can have immediate challenges. I joined one of the larger companies in the Fortune 500, Federated Department Stores (now Macy’s Inc.) in 1990 when they committed to completely transforming their advertising processes from analog to digital. What an amazing ride that was! I left Macy’s to join a small, but international publishing company in 1995 to create an entire IT operation from scratch, then volunteered to transfer to their UK headquarters to successfully reorganize their IT department. From there I went to digital.forest and helped it grow eightfold during my tenure. It is on these sorts of courses I prefer to grab the wheel and shifter to carve up the corners. No freeway driving for me.
I have some projects to complete and/or hand off to others at digital.forest, but mostly I’ll be focussed on finding that next great road. Something that will get my engine roaring in tune with gear changes and sweeping curves.
Let me know if you hear of one.
Saw these seven nuggets of wisdom from Bob Reselman via Twitter and my friend (and fellow speaker @ Macworld Expo) Dan O’Donnell.
Writing a technical document is hard. Reading a poorly written technical document is harder, and probably more painful than writing one. It takes a lot of work to create a clear, accurate, engaging piece of technical writing. Thus, in order to make life a little easier for all parties involved, I am going to share with you the 7 Rules that I follow when creating a piece of technical documentation.
The 7 Rules are:
1. Dry sucks
2. Before you start, be clear about what you want your reader to do after you end
3. Write to a well formed outline, always
4. Avoid ambiguous pronouns
5. clarity = illustrations + words
6. When dealing with concepts… logical illustration and example
7. Embrace revision
Wish I could attend the session in question.