Tug Boat Metaphor

The small boat guides the big boat forward. Strong and powerful but not showy. Its a powerful metaphor, or an excuse for lack of accomplishment. Who is to say.

July 19, 2017. Looking North over Portland, Orgon, we see in time-lapse a tug boat arrive for a grain barge, turn it in place, and head back north on the Willamette River.

At New Relic we have a window seat not far from the espresso machine. I was sitting there nursing my pull wondering how I could see the activity in the city below. Time lapse. That would do it. I tilted my camera against the glass and tried to think of something else. Colleagues from an all-day meeting started showing up so another 10 minutes passed chatting with them. Then I was off to my own dinner across town unsure of what I'd captured.

I advise colleagues to work on the most important thing at a sustainable pace making all that you do visible to others. Most fall into a defensive posture. Look at how much I've accomplished this week, they say. I have no need to defend my own accomplishments so I look for what they have missed. Post agile, I might say.

My Microsoft boss suggested the tug metaphor. He won me over. But I didn't understand the big ship. It moved too slowly for me to know where to push.

I am excited to watch my company grow into its new market position. I'm not inclined to stand on the bridge barking orders for where to go next. Better to live at water level running the big engines and waiting for the ship to move. And I think, which ship is next.


This video now better served from youtube and offered as a reward after ascending to the Tenth Floor Penthouse in my first gamified introduction to wiki.