Friday, October 2, 2015


Friday is finally here again and I'm ready to enjoy another fall weekend. Here in the Midwest, the corn is beginning to be harvested. Soon huge machines will be going through the fields scooping up the stalks and spitting out the dried kernels that go into so much of the food that we eat. All of this corn around here reminds me of a story James Bender told in his book How to Talk Well.

He told of a farmer who entered his corn in the state fair and won a blue ribbon each year. When a reporter asked him about how he grew it, the reporter discovered something unexpected. The farmer shared his best quality seed with his neighbors. The reporter was surprised and asked how he could afford to share his best seed with the very neighbors he was competing against each year. The farmer responded, "The wind picks up the pollen from the ripening corn and whirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn."

And so it is with technology, in this case, Essbase. If nobody shared their knowledge of Essbase 15 or 20 years ago, the product might have died. But conferences, user groups, and forums encouraged people to share their good Essbase. When our neighbors succeed, we also, in a small way, succeed. The open source movement is the perfect illustration of the power that groups are capable of. This week it was discovered that Microsoft is using Linux to run their cloud services. What once was an April Fool's joke has become reality.

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