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BASIC Leadership January 14, 2008

Posted by Chuck Musciano in Leadership.
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One of goals when I started this blog was to capture my thoughts on leadership, motivation, and coaching, which are crucial to my day job. I also wanted to capture my various random thoughts, some of which surround my endless fascination with old computers.

As these themes have been simmering in the back of my mind, I suddenly recalled an event from my high school years that serves both.

I first touched a computer in 1975, when I was a student at West Windsor Plainsboro High School. We punched in BASIC programs and watched the results chunk-chunk-chunk out on rolls of yellow paper. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen, and I was hooked for the rest of my life.

I was so enamored of computer programming that my math teacher, Mrs. Horvath, let me teach BASIC programming to the rest of the class. I took on this task with a vengeance, particularly on the grading of tests and programming assignments, where I ruled with an iron fist. I thought things were going along really well, until two of my “students” (Jeanne Haws and Carol Ryan) shared this sample program with me:

10 READ 20, N$
20 DATA "CHUCK MUSCIANO"
30 END

RUN

LINE 20: OUT OF FRIENDS

Ouch! Clearly there was more to this teaching stuff than I had first thought.

I’ve since learned that teaching and coaching is an art. One of the most important aspects of leadership, it also one of the most satisfying. I long ago left the predictable world of programming computers for the unpredictable world of managing and leading people. There are few things more innately satisfying than helping someone learn, seeing them absorb something new, and watching them apply it to their world.

Leaders must have a vision, a plan, a goal in mind. Their ability to explain that vision, convey it to others, and get them to absorb and embrace it is key to their success. Their is a vast difference between those who manage and those who lead. That gap is readily defined by a leader’s vision and his or her ability to communicate that vision.

Welcome! December 28, 2007

Posted by Chuck Musciano in Random Musings.
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Well, this should be interesting…

(Or not…)

I find myself in the position of being among the very first to the party that is the web, and perhaps the last person on earth who isn’t writing some sort of blog.

I was fortunate enough to be in R&D back in the early 80s, when this whole internet idea seemed to be getting some traction.  Of course, back then it was ARPAnet, and the number of hosts on earth numbered in the hundreds.  There was no DNS, just a file of host names and IP addresses that we FTPed among ourselves.  Email was a confusing collection of @ and % and !, with special tools that figured out the uucp routing to reach a site, and messages sometimes took days to arrive, since some hosts only dialed out at night, when long distance rates were cheaper.  I worked at Harris Corporation, in Melbourne, Florida, and we were really lucky to have a dedicated 9600 baud leased line to MIT, which gave us a premium connection to the world.  The whole web community was maybe a few thousand people, and we kept up with each other using newsfeeds and FTP.

Now there are more sites than you can count, we’re pushing gigabit connectivity, billions of people are on the web, and there are people who have never paid for long distance by the minute.  I am astounded by the change and amazed at the penetration.

So, now a blog.  I don’t know that I have too much to say that would interest large swaths of readers, but I do have a compulsion to say something, every now and then.  We’ll see how this goes, and if the interest and effort seem to balance out.