Navel Gazing

I just read  Why I Blog by the Agile Elephant (Jordan Haberfield).  I’ve noticed a few other blogs become introspective recently, must be the holiday season.  This week I’ve been looking in the mirror too.

The last few months have been really hard work in my day job and I’ve not had time to do much, other than work.  In particular, my physical exercise has been almost non-existent.  I admit to being a little overweight but throughout my life I have always kept reasonably fit.  Not so in the last 6 months.  I like Steven Covey’s thoughts on this.  Habit 7 – Sharpen the Saw.  It’s really important, so my mid-year resolution is to exercise more and (hopefully) lose a few pounds, and boost my energy levels.

I have also been thinking about blogging.  I started this blog in February of 2007.  I had been running an internal blog at Blue Prism and figured that there was nothing very secretive so why not share my thoughts more widely.

There was also a commercial element since firstly, people who read this blog are more likely to encounter Blue Prism and secondly, I can explore some concepts that are helpful, or interesting to us (e.g. the Rogue IT Survey).  Having said that I absolutely reserve the right to write about what interests me and that frequently has no relation to my employers.

So, for the record, here’s a few things you may or may not want to know about me and why I blog:

I like Dell and I am not a Microsoft basher

  1. I am Alastair Bathgate, the managing director of Blue Prism Limited, a UK based software vendor that specialises in robotic integration.
  2. I am 43 years old with 10 years experience in enterprise software.  Most of my earlier career was spent in financial services but I have also worked in retail fmcg and manufacturing.
  3. I founded Blue Prism in 2001 with Dave Moss, who I respect more than any other technical individual I know.
  4. Unlike many “corporate” blogs I am under no contractual restriction and I therefore discuss what I like.
  5. I do not have any “health warning” or “safe harbor” statement on this blog.  You can take my views as you find them and either relate them to Blue Prism or not, as you wish.  I admit that it helps that Blue Prism is a privately held company.
  6. I am not an IT architect, CIO, CTO, ex-programmer, or IT visionary but I have an outside interest in all those things.  Anorak fact – in 1979-80 I did some programming in BASIC but rarely admit this.
  7. I do have a background in project management in IT, and other disciplines.
  8. I love the complex nature of enterprises but don’t want to work directly for one.
  9. I enjoy blogging and occasionally take the opportunity to rant.
  10. The readership of my blog is not large but it is diverse geographically and disciplinarily (is that the right word?  I mean readers come from many disciplines).
  11. I really appreciate it when someone takes the trouble to leave a comment, even if they disagree with me.
  12. Every day I learn something new about enterprise software, and the rate at which I learn has doubled every year since we started the company (hey that means I learnt 32 times more in the last 12 months than I did in the first year of existence – that sounds about right, actually).
  13. I am sometimes accused of being too honest for my own good.
  14. I drink far too much wine but I really enjoy it.
  15. I think this blog is a bit too dry by comparison to my wine one.  I really do have a sense of humour – honest.
  16. I feel really privileged to be part of a generation that has experienced some of the most exciting technological advances in the history of man.
  17. My music tastes range from opera to punk.  I recently saw the Foo Fighters at Live Earth and they were great.  The Beastie Boys were rubbish.
  18. I don’t like anonymity in the blogosphere.  I think that all contributors should stand up and be counted.  You should be able to get to know a bit about someone by reading their weblog.  I am guilty of being too remote in this blog and hope to put that right in the future.

So in the interests of honesty and openness, I declare that this blog has a commercial purpose.  I have already connected with a number of useful people via the blog, some potentially customers, some potentially suppliers, some potentially employees, some already competitors.  I am also unapologetically enthusiastic about the space Blue Prism is in – things are really exciting right now.

Equally though, I reserve the right for this to be a personal blog.  A place to capture my thoughts for my own purposes.  I don’t see why the two things can’t be combined.

5 Responses to “Navel Gazing”

  1. Ciaran Says:

    Is it really possible to be too honest for your own good? Take such accusations as a compliment. Most of us intuitively detect when there is a discrepancy between someone’s internal thoughts and the external facade they’re trying to project, even if we don’t know quite what it is we’re detecting. It’s been too long since I last read Covey to trot out a suitable quotation, but I’m pretty sure he has something to say on the subject.

    Thus, in the interests of honesty, I feel compelled to tell you the other thought that sprang to mind while reading this post – this is very far from being the first time I’ve heard you ‘admit’ to your BASIC programming exploits. 😉

  2. Ms. Q Says:

    I followed you all the way here based on the comment you left me today! Your “Confessions Of A Wino” blog intrigued me especially since you wrote about Ironstone Vineyards. I also drink far too much wine but also enjoy it (I don’t know if my wineglass “favicon” shows up in your address bar) but based on what I’ve read so far, you are also on the search for the affordable bottle! I probably should be writing this in your other blog but I wanted to address some your points here…

    I had to laugh at #2 since I am 42 and am now in year 11 of working in software consulting using integration as well as enterprise software. Re #9 – I feel the same way as you, I enjoy blogging and have ranted as well! I prepare for ranting with a glass of wine (http://qmusings.com/blog/2006/10/24/airport-restroom-rant/) as well as when I do research (http://qmusings.com/blog/2006/11/22/voice-recognition-software-and-customer-service-oxymoron/)

    For #10 I don’t have a huge readership but it does seem to be from all over the world (South Africa, Korea, UK…). I was in London in May – I haven’t written about it yet but I saw the Roger Waters concert!

    #18 – I disagree! I’m anonymous and plan to stay that way. In many ways I think it works for my readers (the few I have!) for me to be anonymous. I can be whoever they want me to be. Kinda. I mean, I do leave photos of myself. Kinda.

    Regarding your comment in my blog about “sharpening the saw” – I read Covey’s 8th Habit but not his 7th and I read so many personal development books that they all blur together a bit. But this makes sense as a good habit or process should be good across “systems”

    Thanks so much for leaving your comment on my blog because I found a fellow wine-drinking amateur! I’ll try to leave comments on your other blog about what wines I enjoy. Unless you stick with white wines. I only drink reds …

  3. Alastair Bathgate Says:

    Ms Q. You are only semi-anonymous since you have revealed lots about yourself right here.

    Although this is not really the forum, I do write lots about red wine for example check out my Bordeaux section at http://www.alastairbathgate.com/category/bordeaux/ – I think you’ll find some familiar wines there.

    Let me know when next you are in the UK and maybe we can meet up for a glass!

  4. Ms. Q Says:

    Yes, I am only semi-anonymous in that my readers don’t know my name but I share most everything else.

    If I make my way back there maybe the travel restrictions will have eased and I can pack a few bottles! I did carefully bring 2 bottle of wine from South Africa to my wine-loving London friend. Since you’re back on the exercise track, maybe we can go jogging 😉

  5. WorkForceInABox.com » Blog Archive » Software Product Maturity Says:

    […] and that there should be a single author.  However, you may recall me saying that Dave is the “techie” I respect the most of all I have met.  So having read his first effort (below), three comments sprung to […]

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