Brainstorm Into The Night

It all started out innocently enough. We woke up casually around 10.. Or rather I woke up and my doing so forced the rest of the poor sleepers into an “early” existance. Matt rolled over in bed, gave me a somewhat strange stare that could have been interpreted as not-so-very-friendly, and then attempted to go back to sleep. Didn’t work ;).

Mandy emerged from her room not long after, looking a bit sleepy and mentioning something about my classical music selections for the morning. Actually she looked quite sleepy.. I found out not long ago that she needs about 9-10 hours to function sanely. Well.. She’s only had that once or twice if at all during her stay here these past 2 weeks.. soo.. by that you can concluuudee.. *innocent smile*.. just kidding ;).

Alright, so its noon now.. and we’re hungry. We hit the road heading towards Paulie and the prize of the dayyy.. The Chinese Buffet!

Once there, our stomachs finally stop singing out of tune and the four of us, Paulie having joined us for lunch, sit down at our spot in front of the restaraunt. Then, it was time for a lesson! One of the cool things that Paulie does is use meal times to teach lessons and concepts.. all sorts of stuff. Paulie busted out a few hundred pennies and used them to illustrate two types of systems.

Using a dice, we started with a stack of pennies at one end of the table that had to make its way through 6 processes (steps) to reach its goal. We had about a hundred pennies to move and each roll of the die represented the movement of a corresponding number of pennies through each of the processes in our assembly line.

Given that its almost 3 in the morning, I’m going to shortcut and skip straight to the result. Paulie used his illustration to show the advantage of parallel processing versus straigth up “one at a time”.. And he also illustrated the affect of bottlenecks on a process, including ways to clear them up.

A particularly strong example is our project here this summer. We’re creating over 400 websites.. If we were to create each one one at a time, that would take an insane amount of time and creates all SORTS of issues and bottlenecks. So instead, we parallel processed. First, we had research done for all the sites. Then, we had templates and banners made for each one.. Finally, we had them assembled and optimized. Any bottlenecks that we had were simply moved to the front of the assembly and we would work around it. This lets us not only work efficiently, but sanely. We were able to isolate many small steps and, in a lot of cases, eliminate them from the final process.

So yeah, it was really cool :). Paulie’s really good at using real life examples and, of course, providing illustrations. He’s got skillz ;).

Next, we headed over to Paulie’s to meet with another partner in the project. We all, with the exception of Matt who’s saving his voice for a solo performance (hehehe), sang Karaoke for a few hours while Paulie was on the phone. Afterwards, we got together for a brainstorm session which lasted 5-7 hours or so till ’bout 1 in the morning.

It actually went VERY well and we all have a much clearer understanding of the project as a whole.

Alright.. with that said.. Tomorrow is a big day and I’m QUITE ready for bed. I’m way behind in the things that I really need to “get done”, but it’ll just have to wait. Tomorrow we are going fishing to celebrate a milestone in the project. I’ve only gone fishing twice in my life so this should be interesting ;).

Alright guys.. I’m off! Have an awesome day!

Goodnight World!

-Jonathan Wold

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