patkua@work

The intersection of technology and leadership

Category: Website News

The Next Experiment? Starting My Own Venture

My last post shared some of my reflections about some of the highlights and lessons learned from my last role. In this post, I want to share with you what’s next for me.

What’s most important for you?

During many of my coaching/mentoring sessions, I often start by asking this hard question. It’s hard for a lot of people to answer because it requires looking deep into yourself. It’s a question that no one else but you can answer.

For some people, it’s about having new experiences or growing new skills. For others, it’s about being able to apply their strengths in a way that has a positive outcome. For others, it’s being able to bring their whole self to work collaborating in an environment with people they trust.

To dogfood my own question, I spent a lot of time last year thinking deeply about what this meant for me. Although I know the answers to this question change over time, I believe what is most important to me right now is:

  • Having more time flexibility – I have a goal of spending my time with writing and working on a couple of different projects. Having a full-time role would constrain that more than what I would like right now.
  • Helping others grow – Feedback from participants from my Tech Lead Skills for Developers workshop has been personally very fulfilling. Many come away with the realisation that the Tech Lead role is a role change, not a promotion. Others told me how their personal lives have benefited from the training. Hearing how others have grown, and knowing I’ve had a part in that has been very fulfilling.
  • Having a broader impact – All good leaders continue to review the impact they have had. I’ve had a lot of success growing others leaders within a single company and want to do more.

Got some Ikigai?

The Japanese have a word, Ikigai, that is roughly translated to “the thing you live for” or “reason for being.” It was propelled into the Twittersphere when Marc Winn published this article, “What is your Ikigai?”

Ikigai Venn Diagram
A visualisation of the meaning of Ikigai

Today’s world talks a lot more about mission-driven or purpose-driven companies. Paloma Medina talks about people’s core needs using the BICEPS acronym where two key elements are both seeing Improvement/Progress (e.g. “Progress towards purpose”) and Significance (e.g. “Your work is recognised and appreciated in ways that feel good”).

All of these models resonate with my own personal values of having an impact with the skills and experiences I’ve built over time. I’m grateful I work in an industry (tech) where we have more options to find our Ikigai.

The next experiment?

Now that I understand what is most important for me right now, my next experiment is starting my own venture. I don’t want to label myself as a “founder” and I’m not necessarily interested in starting a product company. Although I’ve learned to “never say never!

Instead my venture is best summarised by the following mission statement: “Accelerating the growth of technical leaders, software delivery and organisations”.

Personal mission statement: Accelerating the growth of technical leaders, software delivery and organisations

Rather than defining everything upfront, I have a couple of ideas and initiatives to fulfill this mission right now.

Offering Tech Lead Development Workshops more widely

My previous role significantly limited how and when I could offer my “Tech Lead Skills for Developers” workshop. I’ve had many requests for running this workshop – both internally for other companies and externally as public workshops as well.

I will be initially offering this to companies who would like to host this internally for their staff. If you’re interested in organising a workshop for your company, then read more here.

If you’re interested in joining a public workshop, I’m in discussions with a couple of training companies and conferences to offer this. Follow me on twitter (@patkua) or connect to me on LinkedIn to watch for updates.

Offering Keynotes and Talks

I’ve had great feedback about the presentations I hold. It’s also an important part of sharing and distributing knowledge more widely and something I enjoy. You’ll still, therefore, see me at various tech conferences (mostly around Europe).

If you’re interested in having me speak at your own internal conference or event, then take a look at some of the talks I offer and you can also get in touch if you’re interested in hiring me for that.

Advising and mentoring

During my own leadership journey, I’ve had a number of people I’ve mentored and advised. I’ve found that many senior leaders (e.g. CTOs, VP Engineering, Directors of Engineering) benefit from having an external perspective who has “been there before.”

I’ll be offering this through a traditional consulting/advisory model so get in touch if you’re interested in that.

Projects in the Pipeline

Offering the services above also gives me significant flexibility to work on a number of projects I haven’t had time for. My newsletter, Level Up is one such project that has had a good reception and I have a number of others I’d like to focus on as well.

Moving to http://patkua.com

As part of this new venture, you’ll see fewer (maybe zero?) updates on this site going forward. Thank you to all those long term RSS subscribers who’ve shared my journey over this website. I plan on keeping http://thekua.com/atwork around as there are many useful resources on it.

You can now follow me on http://patkua.com (same as my twitter handle) and the writing will continue at http://patkua.com/blog.

TheKua@Work on Wordle

An interesting visualisation of this blog thanks to Wordle.

Wordle: TheKua @ Work

Created by Wordle under the Creative Commons licence.

WordPress 2.6.2 interoperability with Apache 2 Mod Proxy

I’ve had some issues upgrading to WordPress 2.6.2. Until recently I had been running 2.5 because I continuously received the error message, “Firefox has detected that the server is redirecting the request for this address in a way that will never complete.” I tried all the suggestions on the forums, yet nothing seemed to help with that. Both WordPress 2.6 and 2.6.1 exhibited this behaviour. Fortunately 2.6.2 never gave me this problem, instead giving me other problems. Looking at the source code, I was suspicious when the install.php had references to localhost:11008 when I viewed the source.

<link rel="stylesheet" 
href="http://localhost/trial/wp-admin/css/install.css?ver=20080708" 
type="text/css" media="all"/>

When I ran the installer, it also put that value in for the siteurl option. I looked at the source code and became suspicious of the code putting it in there, specifically in the function wp_guess_url():

$_SERVER["HTTP_HOST"]

I ran a test php page, and found that it was returning the localhost reference. I did some more searching, and found the following comments,

  • Be careful with HTTP_HOST behind a proxy server

I believe my server is running Apache Mod Proxy, where my virtual host is forwarded on from the main apache server. I asked my system administrator to play around with the ProxyPreserveHost configuration described here but unfortunately it didn’t seem to have much effect on the $_SERVER['HTT_HOST'] value.

I did a little bit more reading, and tried using a total wide fix described here, effectively executing some code to reset the HTTP_HOST to the HTTP_X_FORWARDED_HOST value yet that also didn’t seem to work.

In my .htaccess file, I had added a line:

php_value auto_prepend_file wordpress_fixes.php

and in a wordpress_fixes.php file, I had:

<?php
if(isset($_SERVER["HTTP_X_FORWARDED_HOST"]))
        $_SERVER["HTTP_HOST"] = $_SERVER["HTTP_X_FORWARDED_HOST"];
?>

yet it didn’t seem to do anything. Instead, I reverted back to changing all the $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'] values into $_SERVER['HTTP_X_FORWARDED_HOST']

For everyone’s reference, here are all the files and the line numbers I had to change:

  • wp-includes/canonical.php (line 48)
  • wp-includes/cron.php (line 103)
  • wp-includes/feed.php (line 500)
  • wp-includes/functions.php (line 2327)
  • wp-includes/pluggable.php (line 669, line 685)
  • wp-login.php (line 20, line 274, line 275)

It also looks like it fixed the cron issue of publishing future posts, and trackbacks, so apologies if anyone got flooded with those recently.

New Site

I’ve decided that it’s about high time that I split my work and my life blog. Although the feeds from work related categories had been fed into various things, you really can’t stop the power of search engines from stumbling across content. Rather than confuse people with the two different sets of content, I’m splitting them out. Here’s my first post.

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