Andre Durand

Discovering life, one mistake at a time.

Archive for January, 2008

We’re not just smart, we’re buff too!

January 26, 2008 By: Andre Category: Identity

Sun threw down the gauntlet the other day with a pretty funny video describing the epic battle between our companies.

The new Mac’s we bought for engineering came in handy in preparing a response. Let the games begin!

View the Epic Battle!

Paradox of Giving

January 26, 2008 By: Andre Category: Identity

I’m in the process of discovering, I suspect somewhat by accident and perhaps somewhat by divine intervention (who knows), something that I know many others know or have discovered before, but it’s just so counter-intuitive and powerful to not share.

Call it the paradox of giving (in all its various forms). The more I give, the more I get back. I think from the time we’re little, there’s a certain zero sum game mentality that gets ingrained in our thinking. I can see it with my two little girls. There’s always that one doll both wants to play with, or sitting in the car seats, both want to sit behind mom, or both behind dad, and there’s only one seat so they fight about it.

The breakthrough thinking is to give without the expectation of return, even when you know there is a limited supply of what you’re giving. This is easier said than done, and the justification for not doing it is most definitely the normative mindset which must be overcome.

Now, I suspect this phenomenon isn’t perfectly in balance all the time, such that giving in one circumstance instantly and visibly begets a return, such that you can connect the dots to reinforce the behavior, and in fact, the point of true selfless giving is to not expect a return, but in my observation, that return does happen, and it happens in greater quantities than the original giving.

To apply the metaphor to a business context, I noticed this paradox at work at Jabber. The more we gave to the community at large through open source, the more we (the commercial company) benefited through not just good will, but actual sales. This was not a zero sum game we were playing. We were creating energy and real commercial value from our good will.

At the recommendation of Bill Dedrick, I’m attending the Sedona Method this weekend. I won’t spoil the power of the insights shared in this class by attempting to boil it down here. If you’d like to live a more fulfilled life, sign up. Suffice it to say, there are elements of this class which explain elements of this paradox.

Sun discovers Ping’s Foo

January 25, 2008 By: Andre Category: Identity

We may be small (by comparison), but we’ve got game. Our magic’s just warming up.

Find your foo

January 24, 2008 By: Andre Category: Identity

The other day I was talking with Quinn, a friend, about talent and passion. His observations and insights reflected something I’ve been thinking about for a few weeks,  and it prompted me to share.

All of us have some unique talent, our special foo. Not all of us find it. Some of us find it, but don’t exploit it (what a pity). For those that find it, and get the opportunity to exercise it in their daily lives, here’s something to think about.

Stop listening to others – your averaging yourself to the mean! It’s not that input is bad, in fact, its statistically been proven that seeking expert input in decisions where you don’t know the answer will significantly improve your outcomes. The key to this sentence is, “...where you don’t know the answer.” There’s a piece to every decision and every outcome which has the opportunity to be truly unique, special, in a way that only you can contribute to, following your talent and passion can get you there.

When you take too much input, in an area where you are uniquely qualified to make an  atypical decision, whatever magic you might have brought to the table will inevitably be muted, averaged, some of the specialness stripped out. Most of the truly unique things that people accomplish are done with singular clarity (group triumphs and epiphanies exist too by the way, we’re not talking about those here). Not everyone may like what you choose to do, so what. Some people will love it!

I call this phenomenon being ‘averaged to the mean‘. If you want a run of the mill outcome, where risk has been statistically driven out of your formula, go ahead, ask others their opinion, average those opinion’s into your thinking, and average yourself and your decision to the mean. But if you want to be extraordinary, and have an extraordinary outcome, find that intersection where your talent, passion and ability to decide uniquely intersect, and then hold your ground! Great leaders will recognize talent, and they will encourage and reward you for making a stand. Following your passion is the road less traveled. It won’t necessarily lead to fame and riches, but it might lead you to happiness. If you play it right, I’ll bet it will lead you to fame and riches too, and it will most certainly lead you to happiness.

As a side note, I believe the trick to all of this is maneuvering yourself into a place where your talent, passion and ability to make decisions all intersect. You may or may not be in that place today. If you’re not, then following this advice blatantly could have an undesirable outcome. It’s possible that you actually have no foo (life’s not fair, some people are tall, small smart, some beautiful, some born rich). But I doubt it, I actually believe that everyone has some special foo, whether or not it’s marketable, or people value it, is another question. It’s possible that you are not in a position to exert your special foo within the organization, or it’s possible your boss is simply a moron and doesn’t recognize your talent. Whatever the reasons, identify where you’re off, and build a plan to move yourself into the sweet zone, the intersection where your foo (as also recognized by others), your passion, and your ability to exert influence all intersect.

As a person in a position to assist, my mission is to help people find their foo, and then move them into a role that allows them to exert it, that’s easier said than done, but it’s what I strive to do.

PingFederate 5.0 with Auto-Connect Released

January 15, 2008 By: Andre Category: Identity

Ping Identity today released the largest and most significant upgrade to PingFederate in our history. PingFederate 5.0
with Auto-Connect eliminates the need for manual configuration of SAML
connections when establishing secure Internet Single Sign-On. The new
version of PingFederate also has advanced clustering and data-center
features, making it really scalable, yet really fast to deploy. 

But don’t take my word for it. Download it today, check it out, scan the manuals and judge for yourself. 

Steve “mess with the bull you get the horns” Adams

January 14, 2008 By: Andre Category: Identity

My history with Steve goes back nearly 9 years now. He was founder/CEO of Webb Interactive (parent of Jabber, Inc.), which acquired my first company Durand Communications back in March of 1998. I married his assistant, Kim Gunning, and Steve is now the God parent of our first born, Parker.

Our families are close, and our daughters consider Keenan (Steve’s son) their brother. We have a tradition that when it blizzards in Denver, we jump in the car and head to Steve’s house, to camp out and play Xbox, Rock Band and basically screw around with our many and varied hobbies.

Steve is a tremendous entrepreneur, a world-class chef, a serious fly fisherman and pretty much goes full bore into any hobby he chooses to pursue.

I caught this picture of Steve while visiting this weekend. He’s got a pretty intimidating stare, which I think I captured.

Oh yea, and how serious can he really be, sitting there with his little plastic Rock Band guitar?

Shibbmaster Nate was in the house

January 08, 2008 By: Andre Category: Identity

Shibbmaster Nate Klingenstein was in the house today, training Ping engineers on how to install and support Shibb. Paparazzi Dre was in the house too, and able to catch this picture of the master at work.


January 05, 2008 By: Andre Category: Identity

I met an amazing boy and his father on my recent trip to Buzios Brazil. It was during a day cruise aboard a party boat, and he was the cousin of one of the gentlemen staying at our  house. I am not sure of what he suffered, but the shear bravery of the boy, and love of the father was really moving. The pair reminded me of a the father / son relationship between Team Hoyt. Anyways, I just happened to catch some cool photos of this boy as he jumped off the boat and was carried up the ladder by his father, and later carried home by a helper for the family. Likely the most amazing photo I took the entire day was of him sitting at the back of the boat, at the end of the day as the sunset hit his face.


I’m in love with photography

January 02, 2008 By: Andre Category: Identity

I’ve found a new passion in photography. The bonus is my wife’s happy with the new hobby too, a double win in my book.

I aggregated some of the more interesting shots here. Seeing these photos allows me to relive the memories, bringing a real smile to my face.