Failure – Go out and find it

A Saturday thought on failure…

I’m not kidding in the title. You should be looking for areas to fail in. You can’t succeed without it. If you’re not accustomed to pushing yourself to the limit, you’ll never reach a goal that exists at the limit.

You should put yourself in situations that significantly challenge your ability to persevere as often as possible (without being reckless). Be used to being in this situation. The most successful people are consistently diving in to difficult situations and using the experience to push them to the next level.

It might mean you have to push yourself to the physical limit while running a marathon. It might mean having to cram 14 hours per day of studying to learn a new technology. In the end, the push to overcome potential failure makes you stronger. And in the beginning, you’ve calculated some risk and chosen a course of action to succeed.

Partners, friends, co-workers, and bosses who push your limits are the best kind. They keep you going and stretch your abilities. You’re on the right track with these folks. These people are the ones who will mercilessly help you reinvent yourself and bring you a better career and appreciation for life.

Get out there and find things you could fail at, calculate the risk, and choose the course of action that overcomes.

Scoble and Gary in DC



Last night I headed down to MCCXXIII, a club at 1223 NW. Connecticut, for a DC Social Media meetup. The meetup featured Robert Scoble (@scobleizer) and Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) as guests.

I’ve been following Scoble more than usual this week, as he’s come to DC to interview politicians and government officials with Rocky (@RocmanUSA) and his son Patrick (@pscoble). It’s been a merging of the blogging tech world and the US government (finally!).

The club was jammed, no room to move, great vibe and so packed the A/C was ineffective. It was awesome to see the turnout and feel the energy towards geeks making inroads to Washington.

Scoble described the experience in a single word, “Incredible.” We talked for a while on East Coast vs. West Coast interviews and the whole crew agreed that it’s been a refreshing experience. There’s nothing wrong with it, but the Silicon Valley CEOs are embellishing the value of their company. Here, it was described, instead of an executive power (pun intended), the power is more pure and the answers more honest.

When Robert described the difference in honesty I did a double-take. Seriously? Whoa. He described a few of the interviews, talking about some of his favorite moments and personal opinions. I’ll let you catch those in the coming days at and in video on

A highlight he kept coming back to: His son nailed down the FCC chairman on the topic of porn (it wasn’t on video – wish it was). Robert’s eyes beamed with pride as he described his son having the guts to ask the questions.

Overall, a good meetup and cool to have Scoble out here for a few days, doing something different and interesting.

Existing posts on Scoble’s visit to Washington:

UPDATE: Here’s the link for Gary’s book tour ’08:

Gary Vaynerchuk is continuing his book tour, visiting the Rockville, MD, Barnes & Noble for a signing this morning at 9:00AM.

Why I’m not opposed to rising fuel prices – Philip Greenspun’s electric car post

Pic of Ford Reflex concept car

Image of Ford Reflex, a concept hybrid vehicle with solar panels on the roof


Philip Greenspun, professor of electrical engineering at MIT (and an avid traveler and fellow aviator), has an outstanding post. He explains some simple math behind replacing every passenger vehicle in America for electric cars. The resulting cost: Zero.

Link to Professor Greenspun’s post

We’re already seeing a move towards smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles. Solar panels are being installed on roofs. People are becoming aware of their energy consumption.

I often get in to discussions over why I’m not opposed to rising fuel prices. Philip’s post is a fabulous reason why. As fuel prices rise, people will feel the pinch – this is temporarily bad. But the result of that pinch will be drastically innovative solutions.

How to virtualize Windows on an Ubuntu host for an optimized dev / qa environment


After converting my MacBook Pro in to a Windows developer dream, I wanted to have the same experience on a more portable, commodity hardware unit. Virtualizing Windows within Windows with VMware Server is something I’m familiar with. It’s something many Windows developers may prefer (and I recommend if you’re not comfy with linux as your host OS).

Quick background: Virtualizing a development/qa environment allows one to have an easily cleaned control environment. When a machine gets dirty (too many installs, tests, builds, or other garbage collects), you can simply delete the virtual instance and copy a fresh installation back over. This saves a ton of time. In dev, this allows a safe, clean, environment to test builds in. In a QA environment, this allows a very fast way to return to a known state.

My goal in a virtualized dev/qa environment is to run a host which consumes an absolute minimum amount of resources. I run virtualization software that allows more than one running VM at a time, such as VMware Workstation (PC), VMware Fusion (Mac), or VMware Server (PC or Linux). If you’re running Windows as your host OS, I recommend Windows 2000 Advanced Server because it is tunable to consume less resources than any other flavor of Windows (including Windows 2000 Professional).

Given that Linux runs on wrist-watch sized systems, it’s a safe assumption that one will get better performance from virtual machines than on a virtualized Windows environment. I chose Ubuntu since it’s super simple to install, is fairly reliable, offers similar features to Windows, and is still a smaller footprint my Win2kAS machines.

I started with version 8.04 desktop (hardy). The installation was a piece of cake, but there are no tuning options in the basic .iso. I installed VMware Server, but just while running the OS I could tell I would run in to performance issues later. The desktop flavor of Ubuntu isn’t light enough to pass all the processing power through to the VMs.


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