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cdent A Retrospective

20140301154739 cdent  

This was written while at Socialtext and seeking input on what to write in a retrospective of the proceeding year.

{now} strikes me as a difficult time to make a retrospective, or at least one that is a true reflection of my feelings on the matter. We have spent the better part of the last year instrumenting ways to filter the truth or water it down to something that is acceptable to some denominator.

I do not say common because I do not believe there is a any consensus for these changes. A vocal minority, with a certain verbal style and set of communication desires, has compromised effective argumentation and the pursuit of excellence in exchange for some modicum of comfort and a pandering pursuit of diffuse mediocrity (fear not we're making good headway, despite it all).

The above communication hindrances, combined with the understanding that we are in a nodal place in the company's history make it hard to know how best to look back and through that historical lens look forward.

I could easily lay my critical eye on all we've done wrong in the past and offer up some ways I would have done it differently, but that would only reinforce the mistaken impression some have that I'm a blamer. But keep in mind that in order for us to learn from our mistakes, we must first determine where they were and acknowledge they exist.

I could just as easily say nothing, timeout on the openness now because we are in the crux of the problem, and no one needs a guy shouting, "you're doing it all wrong" when crimping down hard. But when is the right time for reflection when tail chasing is the rule of the day and priorities change with each passing day?

So you tell me. Where should part two of this reflection go? Should there be a part two? Shall I look back on what I liked best? Should I tell the things I wish we had done differently? My hopes and dreams for the future? The things that need to change to get there? Shall I give an exegesis of our headway despite our diffusion? Would you like me to toot my own horn for a few paragraphs about all the fun things I've done to change the app? Or the many more things others have done of which I'm proud?

Shall I be honest or shall I pander to you?

I can tell you that in the small world that is Socialtext everything within can seem larger than it is. A disagreement may warrant a battle royale in this small world but it is meaningless outside. Our health as a company, from inside, could at any instant seem in a grim and mortal disease, but outside this is all a game: whether we win or lose, we all go home at the end of the match.

I'm playing this game to win.