Would You Just Make a Stinkin’ Decision Already?

I thought this was a great post from Todd Rhoades this morning in Monday Morning Insight.

Seth Godin: Make a decision. It doesn’t have to be a wise or perfect one. Just make one.
Here’s what Seth writes:

It doesn’t have to be a wise decision or a perfect one. Just make one. In fact, make several. Make more decisions could be your three word mantra.

No decision is a decision as well, the decision not to decide. Not deciding is usually the wrong decision. If you are the go-to person, the one who can decide, you’ll make more of a difference. It doesn’t matter so much that you’re right, it matters that you decided.

Of course it’s risky and painful. That’s why it’s a rare and valuable skill.

Seriously, Pastor. Make a decision. Don’t be stupid, but do make a decision. Stop your teetering. Pick a side. Be decisive. Seriously, Church leader. Make a call. The facts will never ALL be in. The situation will never be perfect to make the perfect decision.  And most decisions have some inherent risk involved. That’s ok. Risk is a good thing.

So… you’ve got five minutes. Just make the decision.

And you know exactly which decision I’m talking about. The one that’s been dogging you for days, even weeks or months. Should I do this, or should I do that? Most decisions do not take weeks or months. If you need to… start out slow. Small decision. Any decision. Just make one.

I see this happen all of the time in churches, especially in the area of IT or Web… we get analysis paralysis… there are too many good choices, what if I pick wrong, what if the technology I choose is out of date by next year?  Well, here is the rub.  Whatever you choose, it may be out of date before you implement it.  That doesn’t make it a wrong decision.  The absolute wrong decision is sitting by, doing nothing because you fear that you will be wrong or outpaced by the technology.  Just make a decision, move your church forward.  Even if you are wrong 50% of the time, it is better than being wrong 100% of the time by doing nothing.  You CAN learn from your failures.  Now granted, it is better to learn from your successes, but doing SOMETHING is always valuable because even if you fail you have learned what NOT to do next time.

Most church leaders wouldn’t survive a week in a fast-paced corporate culture.  Why?  We aren’t agile enough.  We hold on too long to things we need to let go of.  We don’t think enough about the opportunities we are missing by not innovating.  It is one thing to say you are innovating… it is something else to actually take enough risks to actually innovate.

How are you doing?

Why Open Source Matters

Open source matters. I really believe that to be true. Now before you starting thinking that I’m one of those guys who only uses open source software because I never want to pay for licensing… well, that’s simply not true. At Watermark we do use a lot of open source software such as WordPress, Typo3, and countless others. At the same time, we license a lot of software. Fair enough? Ok, moving on.

Watermark is currently in the middle of a new open source project called Shadetree. Essentially this is a tool that is customized to our needs as a church and encapsulates targeted communications, spiritual formation, group formation, volunteer management, online learning, social connection, and other items important to the intersection of life and church. Understand that we aren’t trying to replace the church management systems of today, but rather fill the gaps that exist by integrating with them and other tools in use already.

With Shadetree, we feel that it will be a great product in the end. So why not bundle it up and sell it to other churches? Because Christ never called his disciples to sell things.

Ok did I hit a hot button? Maybe, but keep reading. Over the last decade I have noticed a trend to “build and sell to the church.” In addition, I’ve noticed a trend that products that are “built and sold” are dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. In other words, these products contain the base functionality that works for most churches, but at the same time really doesn’t meet the specific needs of anyone.

Isn’t it about time that churches came together and stopped spending money on solutions that don’t really work, don’t integrate with other tools, and leave ministries sitting in silos that restrict their growth? Wouldn’t it be powerful if churches collaborated together on tools and shared openly their learnings to help the Church at large?

Maybe the term open source scares you, or maybe you don’t really know what that means… Think for a minute about WordPress. It’s arguably the most popular blogging software on the planet. And it’s free. It’s open source and it has a HUGE community of developers around it. If you want certain functionality, just go look, because it’s probably already been written. There is POWER in community.

So why not the church? Why are we settling for buying tools from other churches and vendors when we have the talent to build and redeploy tools “by the church and for the church”? If you think about the early church in Acts, this was normal for them.

“All who believed were together and held everything in common, and they began selling their property and possessions and distributing the proceeds to everyone, as anyone had need. Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts, praising God and having the good will of all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number every day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:44-47

So why does open source matter? Because it’s our chance to live out our gathering together with a common goal, distributing our proceeds together, sharing with glad and humble hearts and trusting God to use us today by adding to our number daily those who are being saved.

Lockup problems with Snow Leopard and ADmit Mac

Since upgrading to Snow Leopard on my MacBook Pro, and installing ADmit Mac 5, I have been experiencing lots of system lockups. Not sure exactly what the culprit is at this point, but seems to be some integration issues between the two pieces of software. The symptoms include lost of administrative privileges, crashing of Finder, and random system hangs. What seems to be more strange is that the behavior goes away when logged in to a “non-network” account (a local admin account.

I’ve talked to the folks over at Thursby software, the makers of ADmitMac, but they don’t seem to have a solution. I suppose I could be experiencing a hardware issue, but that seems like a less likely candidate.

Anyone else experienced issues with Snow Leopard lockups when using this piece of software?

EqualLogic User Conference – Day Two Recap

I could have titled this post “Why my brain is full”, or “My experiences drinking from a firehose”. That’s how I feel after yesterday. Day two of the EqualLogic user conference was wall-to-wall information overload.
As I have said before, I am usually underwhelmed by conferences. All smoke and no fire. But this was NOT the case here.
We started the day hearing from Dell’s leader in enterprise strategy, followed by sessions on networking, VMware integration, Dell’s HIT kit, ASM for Windows, ASM/VMware edition, MPIO, solid state drives, and many others.
The only complaint I heard from attendees was that the sessions were so back-to-back that we didn’t have time for a deep breath (or brain reboot) before running to the next topic. Crazy good stuff.
A highlight for me was my final session covering the top 10 questions that come up in EqualLogic support and how to solve them, led by Vernon Miller. He’s a great teacher in my opinion and it reminded me of sitting in a college classroom. We covered a lot of ground on what might seem like basic topics, but things we’re all likely to encounter at some point.
The only area for improvement could have been the lunch session led by an outside storage consulting firm. Really good, brilliant guys, but the topic of iscsi trends was too heavy for a lunch session and was telling most of us what we already know to be true… that is “iSCSI can be fraught with pitfalls if you make bad choices.” But most of us haven’t experienced that BECAUSE we are already on EqualLogic.
To conclude, day two was a big success. Dell has done a great job and continues to confirm what we already know to be true, that we made the right choice on storage. So now my brain is still full and we still have another day to go. Time to get off this Dart train and get educated. Wish me luck.

Dell Strategic Focus in a New Era

A few notes from Praveen Asthana’s Keynote…

Dell is focused on Open, Capable, and Affordable solutions.  Many vendors try to do one or two of these, but very few if any are able to do all three.  In the 2010s Dell hopes to lead in the Virtual Era.  Dell wants to have a holistic approach that creates efficiency across the spectrum of devices (from handhelds to clients), be open, and create a world class customer-tailored solution… meaning specialized sales people who have deep knowledge of products.  Also working towards not changing account representatives every six months.  (This is huge in my book!)

EqualLogic is currently up to 14,000 customers.  Dell claims 50& less time to manage, is 50% less expensive, and has a longer than expected useful life greater than 5 years.  EqualLogic is at the heart of Dell’s transformation. 

1) Own intellectual property
2) Software is important
3) Great channel partners
4) Virtualization changes everything
5) Continue a holistic solution focus

Dell still remains customer focused.  They want to be a solutions company but not lose focus on the customer.