FishingI often run into parallels between what I do in my day job, and what happens on the farm. The topics of sustaining, capacity and slack time, have been on my mind lately.

In the software world, sustaining work is effort applied to keep existing customers happy, or to maintain the existing code base in general. This may mean fixing bugs in released product, adding features to keep an existing product competitive and selling, or making changes to infrastructure to either keep a product line alive, or improve it so that more sellable features can be added to it. Sustaining work doesn’t generate revenue or increase market share. But, it often helps maintain a revenue stream, or prevent losing existing customers to competitors, in hopes they may eventually upgrade or buy new product in the future. In software, many companies dedicate about 30% of their labor spend to sustaining work; and this is always considered a very painful budgetary reality, since there is no direct ROI on sustaining work.



FiveBabyDucksThis is a problem of which I’ve been becoming increasingly aware: people who take your time. They come in a variety of breeds. They might request your time on the phone or over email because they are seeking your help while learning about farming. They may be interested in buying a farm product and ask a lot of questions or want to see everything you’ve got. They may come to look at animals, then change their minds. Some of them don’t show up at the agreed-upon time. And some of them just take more time than you can really afford to give them.



I’m subjecting myself to a lab-rat-like experiment by commuting to Seattle. When I was job hunting, I purposely avoided applying for jobs in the big city, since there were enough on the Eastside to choose from. I don’t consider myself a city person, at all. This job I took was slated to be in Seattle for one more month before switching to the Bothell campus.

So, I figured this would be an interesting experiment. The outcome would be to confirm or deny that I indeed dislike Seattle, and don’t like commuting there, working there or being there, pretty much at all. 🙂