This is a page from my book, Functional Programming, Simplified

“Excuse me, you’re in the way”

“A man of knowledge lives by acting,
not by thinking about acting.”

Carlos Castaneda

By now you know that I think a lot about attitude, and if there are any major secrets to my success, one of them is that at some point I learned that I was smart enough, and aggressive enough, to know when I was right about something. Once I gained confidence in myself, if I was clearly right about something and someone didn’t agree with me, I didn’t hesitate to say, or at least think, “Excuse me, you’re in my way.”

Port covers

Just a few months out of college, I was assigned to a missile project that had to do with something known as “port covers.” In short, port covers are like little doors on the sides of air-breathing rockets. If you’ve seen a little model rocket, or perhaps a firework that shoots up into the sky, you know that a rocket is basically a tube, like the cardboard tube that’s inside a roll of toilet paper. A normal solid rocket motor like this is filled with solid rocket fuel, which is something like a solid version of gasoline.

Recommended Reading alvin August 1, 2017 - 12:45pm

After I sold Mission Data in 2007, I also sold most of my belongings and drove to Alaska, a state I fell in love with during several vacations many years ago. As a result of that moving process, I sold over 400 books, keeping only the 100 or so “best” books that would fit in my car.

Forced to think about keeping only ~100 books, I learned that my favorite business books are:

This is a page from my book, Functional Programming, Simplified

The karma of a pessimist

“You will not be punished for your anger.
You will be punished by your anger.”


As you can tell from this book, when I was young, I was a pessimistic person, but as I grew older, I worked hard to change my attitude into a positive, can-do person. If you think you can’t change your attitude, I’m living proof that you can.

This is a page from my book, “A Survival Guide for New Consultants”

Career lessons from “Project Runway”

“It takes a wise man to learn from his mistakes,
and an even wiser man to learn from others.”

Zen proverb

When I returned from Alaska in 2008, I lived with a friend for a little while, and she made me watch a TV show named Project Runway. She didn’t really have to try too hard; I watched one episode with her, and I was hooked.

This is a page from my book, “A Survival Guide for New Consultants”

The two things I learned in college

“The discipline of Zen consists in upsetting this groundwork once and for all, and reconstructing the old frame on an entirely new basis.”

D.T. Suzuki

I was talking to a friend the other day about what I learned in college, and I came to the conclusion that I learned two major things.

This is a page from my book, “A Survival Guide for New Consultants”

What an employer looks for in an employee

“There is no ‘try’”


As a small business owner, I classify employees in three categories:

  1. If employees have basic good qualities, I’d try to keep them through good times and bad.
  2. If they were “problem” employees I got rid of them very quickly.
  3. If employees had exceptional performance, they got the big raises, and I considered them as potential business partners.

Here’s a quick look at those three categories.

Section 5: Your Consulting Career alvin August 1, 2017 - 12:11pm

At this point the pure “consulting” portion of this book has ended. As a bonus section to this book, I’ve included a collection of short stories that are related to your “career” in general.

Because I worked at least ten different jobs before graduating college, then started my career as an aerospace engineer, then switched to being a Unix Administrator, then a Programmer, and then a Programming Consultant, I’ve had the opportunity to see hundreds of work situations, and I’ve thought a lot about what I wanted in my career.