Global Learning Opportunity

I’m about to embark on a global journey.

Allow me start with a call to action.  If you are enrolled in an MBA program, or any program that offers a global learning component, go for it! I’m told that the opportunity to study in another country and immerse yourself in another culture is unparalleled.  I’ve spoken with several prior participants who unanimously suggest is that it is a must have in order to round out your educational experience.

I didn’t have the means to study abroad when I was pursuing my undergraduate degree. The reasons were numerous, and I won’t attend to them in this post, but suffice to say that it wasn’t a possibility for me at the time.  Now, I’m pleased to announce that, after completion of my MBA program this last month, I’m just one month away from a Global Learning Opportunity in Hong Kong.

A Word About Millennials

First, let me explain that I am a Gen Xer in a Gen Y world. I’ve sat side-by-side with and marveled at the tenacity and determination of millennials.  Often, they get an undeserved reputation from my vantage point. They are some of the most talented and determined people I have ever met.  The truth is that they are unafraid of asking. They are unafraid of doing. As a result, they acquire experience more quickly than any generation since.  As I sat in my classes, I became inspired.

I dodged suggestions to do a GLO during the first half of my program, instead substituting Global Business Strategy to satisfy the global business component of the program.  That substitution created a problem for me.

What Changed for Me

I discovered that, for me, sitting in a classroom and talking about a hypothetical strategy is much different than immersing myself in an experience and seeing first hand what business in another country looks like.  I decided that I wanted to see first hand how others lived.  I spoke to other students who seized the opportunity and remarked at how much their perspective on the world had changed as a result:  Simply from a short class abroad.

The GLO trip in the University of Iowa MBA Program is just that.  It is a weeklong international travel class. Online information about the experience suggests that “You’ll gain a deeper understanding of how companies adapt to local business conditions and experience international business firsthand through economic, political, and cultural immersion.”

Data compiled from the State Department seems to suggest that the percentage of Americans who have a valid passport, according to the most recent statistics as tabulated by the State Department, is still well under 50%.

There is no substitute for first hand experience.  Over half of us can’t even go to Canada, let alone China.  We are perfectly comfortable listening to foreign policy decisions being made by our elected representatives on the news, but over half of us can’t even travel overseas.

Even if you aren’t associated with a higher education program, it isn’t too late to plan a trip overseas.  There are a number of group expeditions available from private companies that would provide a wonderful travel experience.


Back in the City

Iowa City

I was back at my alma mater in Iowa City yesterday. 20 years ago I was completing my studies at the University of Iowa. It seems like just yesterday that I stepped foot on campus as an unprepared undergraduate. When you spend a considerable amount of time in a place and don’t go back very often, memories of how the place was back then seem stickier. It is easy to remember it just as it was. There is both familiarity and newness at the same time. Memories flood back of things that happened at Daum, Burge Hall, or Pappajohn. Some of those memories are good. Other memories are nearly forgotten. Whole buildings are in place now that were not there when I last took a course on campus. Old buildings have been destroyed.  Old making way for new.

Somewhere out on that horizon
Faraway from the neon sky
I know there must be somethin’ better
And I can’t stay another night

In the City
-Joe Walsh, The Warriors

We were there for the Global Learning trip to Hong Kong next month. This is also the reason for the blog reboot. I want to record this experience on which I am about to embark. More importantly, more than just taking pictures, I want to record and share what I thought about on this trip. These are the things that you can’t take pictures of. Not yet, at least.

Mind Reading

Did you know that, by using mind-reading algorithms scientists can reconstruct what you are seeing using brain-scan data? By using a functional magnetic resonance image of the brain, it turns out that it is possible to statistically represent what the brain is seeing. Think of it like a fax machine, only your brain is the fax, your eyes are the scanner and all you have to do is scan the image and allow your brain to process it. Using a brain scan a scientist can recreate that image. Of course, the image is just a representation of what is seen.

I am forced to use words on this journey. Perhaps someday someone will develop a way to interface with our brains directly. Could thoughts to text be a thing in the next 20 years? Perhaps.

The Classroom

I was surrounded by brilliance today. It was energizing. It is difficult to not be intimidated by some of the most amazing MBA students in the country. My peers in the PMBA program, working professionals, are some of the finest and most motivated employees in the city of Des Moines. Just incredible people.

The plan for the session was to cover some of the things that businesses must consider when employing a global strategy for expanding their business. I’ve already taken Global Business Strategy, but exposure to some of the ideas was refreshing and challenging at the same time. Topics like Ethnocentrism, Expatriate, Exit Strategy came flooding back to me. It is such a challenge to give each of these the attention they deserve.

The Core

What struck me about today were two core concepts. The first was the role distance plays in business. I’m sure that I have considered that at some point in my business degree pursuit. But this is such a foreign concept in financial or IT software sales and service because there is often no product to ship. Ones and Zeros fly as little datagrams across the internet, now.

The other was this concept of how there is different priority on different components of a Global Business Strategy depending on where your expansion is taking place. There is a fingerprint for each motion. What is good for one expansion may not be optimal for another. I hadn’t thought about something so obvious.




VMware Horizon 7.3.2

Just over a month after the 7.3.1 release, VMware has released a minor version update, Horizon 7.3.2, which appears to primarily fix a 7.3.1 issue related to Instant Clones where the operations were failing in 7.3.x versions. Operations are now handled gracefully, according to the release notes. VMware appears to strongly recommend that customers running 7.3.x upgrade to 7.3.2.

What’s New

Only the updates to Instant Clones and references to version 7.3.2 have changed. The rest of the updates appear to be identical to 7.3.1.

Resolved Issues

Just the clones. If you haven’t already updated to the 7.3 release, 7.3 also upgrades 7-Zip version incorporated into the Horizon Agent and Horizon Connection Server to 16.04 to resolve a security issue in 16.02 and earlier, CVE-2016-7804. The issue was an untrusted search path vulnerability in 7 Zip for Windows 16.02 and earlier allows remote attackers to gain privileges via a Trojan horse DLL in an unspecified directory.

It is also worth noting that if you plan on installing VMware View Composer you must upgrade the Microsoft .NET framework to version 4.6.1, otherwise the installation will fail. Also, VMware Tools interoperability Matrix should be referenced when installing a version other than the default provided with vSphere.

Known Issues

If upgrading from a prior release to 7.3.2, there are several issues and workarounds for 7.3 related to the following components: Horizon Persona Management, View Composer, Horizon Connection Server, Horizon Agent for Linux, Horizon Agent, Horizon GPO Bundle, Horizon Client. The list is environment dependent and too lengthy to summarize. It is advisable to refer to the release notes linked below.

Of the items to note, if you plan on migrating directly to 7.3.2, with the updates to Global Policy Objects, Computer-based  Global Policy Objects that require a reboot to take effect are not applied on instant clones. If you are attempting to use computer-based policy settings on instant clones, you will want to make note of this shift and move to user-based GPO settings or follow the guidance in VMware KB article 2150495.

Relevant Links

Horizon 7.3.2 Download Page
Horizon 7.3.2 Release Notes

Things I’m Thankful for Today

I am thankful that life matters—that we have the freedom, in this country, to acknowledge our own lives in any way we choose.

I am thankful that real freedom comes from elevating others, and–as my 8 year old son said just last week– putting yourself in another’s shoes.

I am thankful that we don’t have to agree with one another to defend one another’s right to believe in what could be.

for the right to stand up, or sit down, or kneel

for the warriors who sacrifice on soil and on the sideline

that it is the responsibility of all to create a place where we are compelled to stand for one another.

to sometimes sit and yield our own needs to the disenfranchised

to kneel and ask ourselves, “What can I do to change the world?”

that building up is better than tearing down.

I am thankful for the continued freedom to invent, and reinvent. Myself.

for the brisk morning air, the sun that comes up each morning like a promise

the spring rain that brings life

for the faith that, with all the bad that comes in the world, the hope that good will prevail

for children laughing, and playing

for dancing

for joy

that I weep uncontrollably for those we have lost to death

but can, with joy, pass the good that I have learned to my children

that I feel sadness from not being heard

and joy at hearing others

that I am compelled when I hear the cries of others

and joy at their satisfaction

that I am afraid of what is to come

but I embrace my fear with anticipation

because it is better

with You

NSX 6.3.5 Release

VMware recently made NSX 6.3.5 (Build 7119875) available for download. This is a full maintenance release including a number of fixes.

There are numerous fixes in this release that will be of interest. Most notably, are the fixes related to Guest Introspection – a feature leveraged by several third party AV and security products and the NSX Identity Firewall.  There are several enhancements to GI: Deployment naming, network event filtering, and CPU utilization fixes in the form of threshold modifications via API.   There is also a fix for issue number 1897878, outlined in VMware KB 2151235 that sometimes caused a “Lost communication with ESX module” message.

What’s New in 6.3.5

Anyone using Guest Introspection should definitely consider upgrading

“For vCenter 6.5 and later, Guest Introspection VM’s, on deployment, will be named Guest Introspection (XX.XX.XX.XX), where XX.XX.XX.XX is the IPv4 address of the host on which the GI machine resides.”
In larger NSX deployments using GI, the associated guest configuration should be easier to identify.

“Guest Introspection service VM will now ignore network events sent by guest VMs unless Identify Firewall or Endpoint Monitoring is enabled”
According to some reports, this is a feature that was occasionally disabled in very large deployments to improve 3rd party A/V scalability. The vast majority don’t use ‘Network Introspection’ services, so it’s good to see that it’s now off by default.  It will more readily allow for adoption of these services and can be implemented if needed.

Also, it is worth noting, under serviceability enhancements for L2VPN, that changing or enabling logging no longer requires a process restart.  There is some additional log detail available also.

Resolved Issues

In short, Lots.

In addition to the Guest Introspection memory consumption issue, several migration and upgrade problems were also addressed.  The controller disconnect issue and password expiry issues are also resolved in this release.  Of the logical networking and edge components, fixes to the Edge IPsec VPN and failures related to service certificates are most notable.  For the Manager and Controller issues related to reliability, accessibility, and CPU utilization were addressed.  Also, in prior editions, upgrading the VIB retained the password file of the vShield firewall causing delays and occasional packet loss related to the time it takes to update the password by connecting to the NSX manager in an automated DRS cluster.

Known Issues

Should you deploy 6.3.5? I don’t see a  reason why you would not jump to 6.3.5 in a new deployment, but paying close attention to known issues and workarounds in an upgrade is key.   I only see one issue related to sslvpn service using a local authentication server which doesn’t post a workaround.  The issue may generate support calls from end users or administrators logging in during a password change.

Relevant Links

NSX 6.3.5 Download Page
NSX 6.3.5 Release Notes

Customer Service Lesson

Cleanup in Aisle 3I have had a job since I was in 6th grade, but when I turned 15 I got my first hourly position with the grocery store up the street. It was a right of passage. I got the job by being persistent. When I accompanied my grandmother on her weekly grocery run I simply asked the store manager if I could work there. I stood at the customer service counter and asked who I needed to talk to about a job.

Soon, the manager would pop out of the back room, and after a couple of questions, the inevitable response.  “Naw, kid, you are only 15. You have to be 16 to work here part time.” I finally got the job by wearing him down, I think. It was after a couple of months, and several eye rolls,  that I remember him saying, “You must really want to work here. You will have to sign some forms and you can’t work past 8:00 p.m. until you are sixteen.  Fill out this application. You start the day after school is out for the summer.”

I’d like you to know at four in the morning
Things are coming mine
All I’ve seen, all I’ve done
And those I hope to find

Blue Collar
C.F. Turner, Bachman–Turner Overdrive

Until this time I delivered papers twice a week for the local newspaper. I used to love the six to twelve bucks a week I would get for delivering the weekly paper and the shopper. It was enough that I could usually buy something at the gas station or at the local Ben Franklin. Now, I was going to move up to the big leagues. Minimum wage. In four hours, I could make as much as it took me a whole week to make at my previous job.

That was my first life lesson regarding pay and an early economics lesson. It was a fixed pay rate at the newspaper. You were paid on the number of papers you delivered.  The only way to make more money was to deliver more papers. I quickly learned that one could only deliver so many papers on foot, and you could only handle so many newspapers on a bike. My wage had been capped, so I knew it was time to try something else. The grocery store seemed as good a choice as any. There was no shortage of work to be done.  If you worked harder than your peers, there was some degree of stability.  Once you left the store, you were ‘off’.  Well, aside from the occasional mandatory break room meeting,

I learned many work and life lessons in the break room of the grocery store, but one lesson about customer service stuck with me.  If someone asks you for the location of a product, it is your job to take them to it. That means: Stop what you are doing, let the customer know that you can help them find the item, and take them to it. It was your job to take up the search on behalf of the customer. The search ended when the customer was satisfied that you had done everything you possibly could to assist them– If that meant searching for it yourself, all the better.

Some of my coworkers at the store failed at this task. They would tell the customer that the item was in aisle 3, then glance back down at what they were doing. The customer would continue their search, only occasionally locating what they were searching for.  The odds of making that sale were slim.  Our boss understood that if that customer can’t find it, they can’t buy it.

He also understood that, for the part-timers, customer service was just as important as knowing the products in the store.  It was our job to know where things were. Fortunately, I had a good memory. If I didn’t know where something was, I was going to spend time stocking shelves until I did. I loved the gratitude people showed when you quickly found something that they had spent ten minutes looking for.

My boss considered the customer first because he knew that caring for the customer would help his business.  He would say. “We aren’t in the grocery business. We are in the people business. People just happen to eat.”  He cared enough for his employees to convey that message and did everything he could to help his team emulate it.

I revisit this lesson often. There are successes and failures. Every situation is different. If I could sit with him now, I would share the relevance of that philosophy today.

Sewing Day Camp

It was the summer before 4th grade that I went to a day camp in which I was forced to learn how to cross-stitch.  From what I could remember, I didn’t really want to cross-stitch.  Actually, I though that knitting or crochet would be much more practical.  Also, I couldn’t think of a single time in my life I would ever need the skill of cross-stitching.  Cross-stitch is a thankless endeavor.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have seen beautiful heirloom quality creations with cross-stitch.  I just wasn’t planning on making something colorful to hang on the wall, or some fancy pillow for one of my siblings.  My younger brother was much too smelly for that, and as luck would have it contracted head lice at the beginning of that school year, anyway.  I am pretty sure that my mom burned all of his bedding and shaved off most of his hair as a result.

But there we were, my campmates and I forced to take up needle and thread and all follow the same pattern each day for the 5 days of our day camp.  There were groans each afternoon.  Needle pokes.  Unintended knots.  Bleeding.  Muttering.

All that pressure got you down
Has your head spinning all around
Feel the rhythm, check the rhyme
Come on along and have a real good time

Le Freak
Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, Chic

Each day, I carefully followed the pattern in which we were to spell out the words “Empowered to Love”.  By the end of Wednesday, I was on the ‘w’ thinking that I would never be able to finish by the end of the camp.  I had done the math.  5 letters in 3 days.  So I asked to stay a few minutes extra to finish a couple more letters.  It was the first time I remember setting goals and rationing my work as to finish before a certain time.

I remember my grandmother being there that Wednesday waiting for me and talking to the teacher.  I can’t remember what she said exactly, probably something to the effect of “He is quite a stitcher.”  My grandmother just smiled at me.

When we got in the car I asked her if I could ask her a question.   “What does ’empowered’ mean?”, I asked.  She told me that it means that you are “able to”.  That you are “filled with power” and she gave me this analogy.  The car we were riding in.  The tank of this car is filled with gas and the gasoline gives the car the power to move us from place to place.

On Thursday, a few more.  On Friday, I completed the whole word ‘Love’, much to the needling and prodding of my other campmates.  Pun intended.   They were saying stuff like “You are a girl.”  or “Sandy Seamstress” or some other needless adolescent chiding.  Little punks.

Anyway.  On Friday, I looked around and none of my other campmates had finished.  There were probably 25 of them.  I was the only one.  The teacher trimmed the edges of my creation and stuck it in a little frame and I got to take my framed creation home intact.  The other kids got to take home pieces and a pattern and the urging to finish what they started.

It was years later when we cleaned out my grandmother’s apartment after she passed away and I found this little framed cross-stitch.  I started thinking about one of the final days that we sat in that apartment together and I sewed a button back on her nightshirt.

I believe that we are all empowered to do great things.  Many never realize this.  They sit in the shadows and fail to embrace what they could become.  For some, empowerment is a little flower waiting to blossom.  For others, it is a raging fire that cannot be extinguished.

Only you can decide where you are along that road and if you are going to let old habits die.  But I will tell you this.  I see you come in and work hard every day.  There is fire in the elite.  You are the elite.