On August 23rd 2016, NASA announced that its DSN (Deep Space Network) had re-established connection with the Stereo-B probe whose joint mission (with its counterpart probe Stereo-A) was to orbit the sun. The purpose of the twin probes managed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland was to use the two probes to see the entire star. Not just the side facing our planet, but the other side as well. The folks lost communication with the probe, but never gave up. Two years later (just a few days ago in fact) they were able to re-connect to the silent space adventurer and the team is hard at work trying to get things back into working order.
How does that have anything to do with the LooseBolts blog you ask? There are some interesting corollaries to our prodigal space mission and my ramblings here on Loosebolts. The obvious one of course is that its been about two years since my last post. I didn’t time it that way but it is kind of spooky. Similarly just as Stereo-B had its counterpart in the Stereo-A mission, its not like I have been really silent as I have been maintaining a blog internally to my work at First Data. That internal blog has been blasting out all kinds of interesting, pithy, technical, optimistic, critical, business-relevant, and some non-business-relevant posts throughout the entirety of the time.
My internal blog is called Random Thoughts. The dual blog system (one focused internally and the other focused externally) is a mechanism I have used for a very long time throughout my career. Like our twin solar satellites, Random Thoughts has been buzzing away on the far side of the sun accomplishing its half of the mission. Loosebolts however, had to take a backseat until I could get some of my house in order.
To be honest my ‘Random Thoughts’ are not really all that random and are almost exclusively focused primarily on the work at hand inside the firm. In my opinion Communication is the number one factor whether you will have an effective organization. This importance is magnified 1000 times if you are actively engaged in the turn-around of the business. Communication defines expectations. Communication defines concerns. Communication defines Priority and Importance. Communication defines direction. Most importantly – Communications defines culture.
This last bit is incredibly important when engaging in re-inventing a company which essentially defined the first and second generations of an industry. A company that has been in operation almost 40 years and whose next evolution maintains as a basic precept that technology will be a defining factor in its paradigm shift. The target of so many disrupters trying to out disrupt itself and everyone else at the same time. A company that has scale beyond any other in the #Fintech space in terms of reach but one that also has to contend with significant legacy technology decisions.
Communications are in full effect. In addition to the internal blog, I also send out a personal note to the entire technology organization summarizing the work accomplished and challenges discovered each week every Friday. We have even deployed our own internal Global Technology TV Station focused around our execution.
On the Technology side, we have been hard at work doing some incredibly cool things. Things you cannot do without scale to start. Problems, opportunities, and a vantage point really unimaginable for most. Of course it will all be about execution. The execution (both looking ahead and looking behind) is well underway.
While I have personally participated in some very large turn-around’s and technology strategy shifts before – the learnings and challenges here have truly changed my perspective across a number of areas. The strange result of dropping an Internet minded technologist in the middle of Financial Services with the executive support required to make the change. I hope to share many of these with you here again on Loosebolts. We are getting ready for some interesting transitions and revelations.
Communication initiated to Loosebolts blog….
Sending queued messages….