Silicon Valley State of Mind, a blog by John Weathington, "The Science of Success"
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    Welcome to a Silicon Valley State of Mind, thoughts tips and advice based on the consulting work of John Weathington, "Silicon Valley's Top Information Strategist."

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Silicon Valley State of Mind

Tips, thoughts, and advice based on the consulting work of John Weathington, "The Science of Success."

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Posted by on in Personal Development

It's a very peaceful morning in Silicon Valley this morning. I just grabbed a mocha from my Keurig machine, and I'm heading out to my deck to reflect, connect, and jot a few notes to share with you. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s important to slow down once in a while and smell the redwoods. Of course it helps when you’re in a Silicon Valley on a perfect day like this, but regardless of where you’re physically located, you can always adopt a Silicon Valley state-of-mind.

It’s shaping up to be another awesome day here. This is a perfect day to drive into San Francisco, and take a stroll along Fisherman’s Wharf; maybe do some shopping at Pier 39. Another great idea on a day like this is to take Highway 92 across the San Mateo Bridge, and all the way down the windy path to Half Moon Bay for a few clams and the freshest vegetables you’ve tasted in your life. I’m keeping my options open today; I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out, but it’s guessing it will be good.

As I’m writing this, it’s about 7am. It's a bit chilly outside, but not too cold--a comfortable breeze rolls by once in a while, and the sun is starting to make its presence which puts a nice warm touch on things. The Sammy lays quietly next to me in anticipation for Dad to stand up so she can shepherd me into the kitchen for breakfast. Kim has yet to awake. I can hear the sounds of several different species of birds at different distances, and the squirrels are playing tag as the run a circuit around the fence, palm tree, and solar panels. One squirrel just took a break to get a drink of water from the pool. He looked up at me in a rush, as if to say, “thanks, gotta go, I'm it.

We have a lot of stereotypes to deal with out here in Silicon Valley, most of which are true. Many people think we simply bliss out from time to time--they're right. This environment is conducive to a spiritual mood, whatever spirit happens to move you.

Different people have their beliefs, and I'm certainly not one to impose my religious beliefs on anyone. What I can tell you is that periods of calm reflection and a connection to a higher power made me a better person. You should use your quiet time to put your life into perspective. The biggest problem with extended myopic execution is it creates an over-inflated sense of self-importance. Trust me, the fate of humanity does not rest in your hands.

Take some time to spend with your partner and family. If you're a leader, take some time with your management team away from the office to reflect and improve. But most of all take some time for yourself: quiet, uninterrupted time to just rest and think about where you fit in the grand scheme of things. I promise, it will make you a better partner, parent, leader, and a decent human being. And wouldn't you agree that we need more decent human beings on this planet?

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Posted by on in General Comments

It’s opening day for my new blog, and we're off to the races! Are you ready? I am.

After talking with my wife Kim for a while, we came up with the perfect title: “A Silicon Valley State of Mind,” and it couldn’t be more appropriate for how I’m feeling today.

It is awesome in Silicon Valley today; this is truly God’s country. As I’m writing this seminal blog entry from my cozy abode in San Ramon, California (a little east from all the action, but close enough feel the energy from both Silicon Valley and San Francisco), The Weather Channel on my iPad tells me it’s a sunny 91 degrees with no chance of precipitation, and a soothing, gentle breeze of 13 mph cooling things down to a “feels like” temperature of an amazing 88 degrees.

We’re going to have great fun on this blog. Unlike the previous blogs that I’ve written which carried more of a vertical focus of compliance or information strategy, this blog will be applicable to a wider audience. This blog will truly give you the perspective of a Silicon Valley insider, on topics ranging from high-level strategy to cooking the perfect meal.

To kick things off, I want to share with you what I’ve been up to for the past few months. I wrapped up my third major project with Visa back in February, where I worked with the head of Global Loyalty to strategize, prioritize, and launch their major initiatives for the fiscal year. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to focus on renewal—everything from my internal branding to my website to well, this blog! It’s been an absolutely terrific exercise in revisiting my priorities, making necessary adjustments, and reinvigorating my approach.

So, here’s the first takeaway for my new blog. You absolutely, undoubtedly, unequivocally must pause once in a while to refactor your business and your life. Refactoring comes from the world of agile software development, where you take some time to improve the codebase, without adding functionality. Coders know what happens when you don’t take time to do this—spaghetti code. Sure, the program works, but nobody (including the original programmer sometimes) can understand how!

It’s critical to reset like this, not only for your own sanity (i.e. you have to take a break sometimes), but also for the objective at hand. Staying myopic in execution phase precludes you from seeing the bigger picture. That’s the whole point of the second half of Deming’s famous PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) model.

In deference to the recently departed Dr. Stephen R. Covey, it’s vital that we take heed to his seventh habit of highly effective people—sharpen the saw. I was listening to an interview this morning between Tony Robbins and Dr. Covey, where he was talking about this and the other habits. In the interview, Dr. Covey uses a great metaphor—sometimes people are too busy driving to get gas.

I’m an execution nut like the rest of us, so I know how hard it is to pull away from what’s staring you in the face. When I was leading a critical data migration project for Visa (my first intervention there), it was non-stop, pedal-to-the-metal—sometimes for many days in a row. During the actual cutover, I was running calls with the team at 3 and 4 in the morning. It was brutal; but you do what’s necessary to get the job done. At some point though, you need to pull away. If you’re too busy driving to get gas, you’ll eventually run out. Fortunately for me, I get to refill with a Silicon Valley state of mind.

Hope you enjoy the blog—stay in touch!

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