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Archive for July, 2014

An organization’s leader

July 21, 2014 6 comments

I chose the word “organization” very carefully. I did not say pod or company because this goes beyond the scope of the workplace. An organization is a group of people that share a purpose.

In 2013, I met a man that completely changed the way I think about leaders. This man was friendly, but intimidating at the same time. His directions were stern, but everyone followed them without question.

This man led a group of people who were very good at what they did. They participated in an activity that required a lot of teamwork. Each person in this group were already considered extremely strong individuals, but teamwork was the deciding factor for the success of the group.

The way this group operated was much different than anything I’ve experienced and it’s hard to describe how well it worked. The first time I participated, I was completely overwhelmed by how well everything worked while under pressure, just by the singular action of following the leader’s direction. Everyone had immense respect for the leader because he was on the front line along with everyone else. This group moved through obstacles like a rolling ball, everyone stayed close and moved as a single cohesive unit. This was the opposite of divide and conquer. Individual skill contributed to keeping the group as tight as possible, but following the leader’s direction was key.

Does that sound like your cookie cutter leadership article? It probably does. So why was this leader so different than everyone else? His charisma, willingness to stand on the front lines, and long history of success made me trust him completely. I wasn’t close friends with this man. In fact, I rarely spoke to him. In addition to that, the exclusivity of this group allowed me to surround myself with people who were extremely talented.

There’s not really a purpose or message in this blog post. This is just something I needed to get off my chest. I miss being part of a team that was led by that man. Will I ever find a group that operated as well as they did in the professional world? I have my doubts. Granted what we were doing was much different than programming. With all of today’s politics and bureaucratic bullshit, it really shows how inefficient things can get.

Versa Gripps

July 10, 2014 3 comments

My posts are usually technical, but every once in a while I’ll post something here that isn’t related to programming. I don’t usually do product reviews, unless it’s something that I really like.

I’ve always been fairly active, so I’m usually at the gym 4 – 5 times a week. My grip will start to give about 20 minutes into a heavy workout, so I purchased some cheap lifting straps to prevent my grip from being the limiting factor. Unfortunately, these cheap/generic lifting straps don’t have very good wrist support, so my wrists will start to hurt after a while.

About three years ago, I saw a professional use a set of unique looking straps. After some research, I found out he was using a pair of Versa Gripps. They’re much more expensive than your generic lifting straps, but it has been one of the best purchases I’ve made in the last few years.

They do take some getting used to and it may seem a little awkward at first. The neoprene padding provides good support without digging into my wrists. The straps are long enough to assist in gripping power, but short enough to allow me to drop the weights if I fail. Because the straps are short, they easily allow for one handed wrapping. The only real con I have is that the non-slip material isn’t effective when your hands are sweaty.

I’ve worn these straps 4 – 5 times a week, every week, for the past three years. As you can see, they are starting to deteriorate.

The stitching on the non-slip material was the first to go. As the stitching continued to unravel, the non-slip material started to rip, exposing the cloth material between the layers.

Eventually it has gotten to the point where half of the strap is gone.

Durability issues aside, it’s still the best lifting straps I’ve used. I can probably get another six months out of these straps, but I’ve already purchased another pair in anticipation for when these fail.

Do I recommend these straps for everyone? Probably not. I would only recommend these straps if you’ve been lifting regularly and your grip fails before you can finish your workout. For those people that do fall into this category, then these straps are great to have.