The Platinum Rule

A few months prior to being married, my then-future-wife and I spent some quality time together looking for a new apartment. We had already discussed the specifics about what we wanted: a two bedroom apartment, on the top floor, equidistant from our workplaces, in a nice neighborhood. Simple, right?

The first three apartments we looked at weren't all that great, and usually violated one of the four criteria we had defined before our search began. Then, we found it. A classy apartment complex which backs right up to the 18th hole of a golf course. There was one 3rd floor apartment available with a wonderful view of the fairway, bay windows, two bedrooms, and no crime (according to our tour guide). It was perfect!

After the tour, I was ready to put down a deposit immediately on the apartment to ensure it was ours if we wanted it. After all, it was Saturday and I couldn't have another almost-married couple coming in and snatching it away from us. Plus, if we found something better, we could cancel our application and just be out the deposit money. Win-win. I hope they have FiOS.

My fiancée on the other hand, was not so easily convinced. In her mind, we hadn't finished looking at all of the apartments on the list she compiled a couple of nights prior. "What if we find something better?" We hadn't pulled the crime report for the area yet. "What if we live in a complex full of miscreants?" Even though we found something which fitted our criteria, how was she supposed to make a decision in such a short period of time without having all of the facts?

At the end of the day, we were both operating our apartment search with behaviors which came natural to us. I have more of a driving personality. I like setting and achieving goals, juggling more than I can typically handle, making decisions quickly, competing over everything, and moving at a faster than normal pace - regardless of how the others around me feel. I'm the type that is prone to take big risks and fail spectacularly.

My wife, on the other hand, is conscientious by nature. She is much more methodical and deliberate and doesn't mind working at a slower pace. She values quality and accuracy. She doesn't like making decisions until all of the facts are present - and would probably prefer to have someone else decide, and simply point out flaws in their plan. My wife is the type who will keep people like me from going off the rails.

We've all heard the Golden Rule, in some variation, at some point in our lives: "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you". By this point in the story, it's clear this strategy would have been the wrong move. If I behaved according to my preferences, I would have strong-armed my fiancé into doing what I wanted to do with little regard to her thoughts or feelings - remember, I want someone to be direct with me and make decisions quickly. If I went down this path, we would have likely started the rest of our lives together on the wrong foot - and in an apartment that she hated. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to take a step back and explain my reasoning on how putting a deposit down would actually give us more options and that nothing was set in stone.

What I practiced here, although I didn't know it at the time, is what Dr. Tony Alessandra calls the Platinum Rule.

Do unto others as they want done unto them.

Whether we are apartment hunting with our significant other, working with a peer on a budget, or communicating status to our boss, we are much better served if we stop to think about their communication preferences and adjust ours accordingly. Accomplishments in all areas of life are predicated on our relationships. There is very little we can accomplish on our own, regardless of how smart we are.

In People Smart Dr. Alessandra covers the four behavioral types into which all humans fit - based on decades of research. Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. You will find out which quadrant you fit into and learn how to effectively interact with others, regardless of your individual preferences.

  • Dominance - Assertive, task-focused. Interested in accomplishing goals and taking charge. Not afraid to make decisions. Can be viewed as pushy.
  • Influence - Assertive, people-focused. "Salesey". Optimistic and likes to collaborate. Accomplishes things through others. Can be viewed as disingenuous.
  • Steadiness - Passive, people-focused. Cooperative and dependable. Focuses on the feelings of others, low drama, humble, stable. Can be viewed as indecisive.
  • Conscientiousness - Passive, task-focused. Expert. Emphasizes correctness and quality. Works at a slower pace than the more dominant type. Introverted. Can be viewed as apathetic.

DiSC Behavioral Graph

Understanding your behavioral tendencies and how you react in various situations will go a long way to ensure you remain effective in your relationships, even when you have to work with people who are your behavioral opposite. I spent a large portion of my career dealing with interpersonal issues the wrong way, focusing on what I wanted instead of how I could adapt my style to be more accommodating to those around me.

Positive relationships are built out of practice and hard work. This is a skill which can be learned and improved upon. A little bit of personal investment now will pay you large dividends in the future. People Smart and DiSC are two great resources to get you started.

Cloud Price Wars

A few weeks ago, during Google Cloud Platform Live, Google introduced a re-branded suite of cloud services at reduced prices - re-entering the cloud space as a major player. This was the first domino that ushered in an industry-wide reduction in cloud computing costs.

We think cloud pricing should track Moore’s Law, so we’re simplifying and reducing prices for our various on-demand, pay-as-you-go services by 30-85% - Google Cloud Platform Blog

Shortly after Google Cloud Platform Live, Amazon Web Services announced a significant reduction in pricing as well. EC2 prices dropped by close to 30% across the board and S3 storage costs were cut as deep as 65%. The graph below is part of a 2010 AWS blog post outlining the decrease in cloud computing costs over time.

EC2 prices are shrinking over time

AWS will even assign a Trusted Advisor to your account to go over your entire solution and recommend ways to re-provision AWS services to save you even more money.

If you've been reading this blog for an extended period of time you know that we reduce prices on our services from time to time, and today’s announcement serves as the 42nd price reduction since 2008. - AWS Blog

Finally, Azure entered the price slashing fray and announced their own reductions (and a shiny new management portal) in response to AWS - something Microsoft explicitly cites as a primary driver for the newest round of discounts.

Consistent with our previously announced commitment to match Amazon on prices for commodity services, we are cutting prices on compute by up to 35% and storage by up to 65%. We recognize that economics are a primary driver for some customers adopting cloud, and stand by our commitment to match prices and be best-in-class on price performance. - MSDN Blog

I've never seen a service offering before, in any industry, that not only slashes prices regularly, but automatically updates your account to reflect the cheapest possible pricing without you asking them. I wish my U-verse service worked the same way.

Cloud pricing is in a constant move downward resulting in an ever-increasing incentive to move to the cloud. It is becoming harder and harder to justify purchasing new servers, real-estate, and security just to add additional computing power to a data center - not to mention waiting weeks or months for the hardware to arrive. Companies entrenched in an on-premises way of thinking are going to find themselves at a disadvantage as the cloud continues to evolve.

LinkedIn + Your Network = New Job

I was helping a close friend look for a new job the other day and came across a pretty interesting LinkedIn feature that matches a job posting with people in your network. LinkedIn will even show you second-degree connections - people connected to people you are connected with - that already work at the company you are researching, further improving your chances of landing an awesome job.

I'm going to outline the step-by-step process I used to ultimately match my friend with a position. And, to make things a bit more challenging, I will search for a job outside of my current field (software development). Let's go with Marketing Analyst.

Using your network to find a new job on LinkedIn in 7 easy steps

  1. Go to linkedin.com and select Jobs from the dropdown list next to the search box.
  2. Search for anything that closely resembles the job you want. LinkedIn will do its best to bring in all of the jobs you might be interested in, even if they aren't an exact word-match. Search for your next job on LinkedIn
  3. Scan the list of jobs and pick one out that looks interesting.
  4. View the people in your network that already have jobs where you are looking.
  5. Click "View" to learn more about the position. Use your network to land that new job
  6. If you're a good fit, apply!
  7. Reach out to your network to get an inside track. Here's a sample message that I would type if I were looking to make a move. Get an introduction

I hope this helps you in your quest to find your next job. While you are hanging out on LinkedIn, feel free to connect with me.