Chris Miller is my hero! (or, it's not WHAT you know, but WHO you know...)
Today was one of those days where you realize it's not always WHAT you know, but WHO you know (and who will help you when you need it!)
The person pictured here is Chris Miller of Connectria host fame. You've probably also read his articles in e-Pro magazine or seen him as a speaker at various conferences. While he can't code his way out of a wet paper bag, he can administer and troubleshoot mail domains like nobody's business. I also understand he's a terror on the soccer pitch, but I can't speak to that...
Anyway... I fielded a call from a client today involving a problem with SMTP mail routing. The person who would normally take a call like this was out. While I might HAVE a certification in Domino administration, it's become more of a paper cert as time has passed. To borrow a phrase from Star Trek, "Dammit, Jim... I'm a simple country developer, not an administrator!" I had no clue as to what was causing the problem, nor was there much chance I'd stumble into the answer either. I posted a question in a Business Partner Forum, but more importantly I sent an instant message to Chris. He responded (after getting back from lunch!) quickly and offered to be part of a call with the client to help out. Due to a strange phone connection, I ended up getting off the line to let these two hash out the issues. Bottom line is that in a very short period of time, Chris had found the problem, suggested a solution, and left me with a VERY happy client.
I 'fessed up to the client when I first called him back that I probably couldn't answer the question but would try to find a solution. Because I've developed a friendship and business relationship with Chris, I knew someone outside my office who might have answers. And due to that relationship, he was willing to help out. He didn't have to do that, nor did I absolutely HAVE to come up with an answer myself. But because we both went beyond the normal boundaries of our areas of responsibility, a client is back to business as normal.
As I've made the transition into the consulting world, I've become more aware of developing those personal and business relationships that will expand your abilities to get things done. I've been traditionally "not very good" at networking. This year at Lotusphere I had two goals. The first was to learn as much as possible about Websphere Portal. The second was to network. I was very happy with both results. I met Ed Brill, and now he's coming to speak to our user group in June. I met Libby Schwarz and Bruce Elgort. Chris got me invited to an e-Pro dinner where I met more people. I feel so much more tuned in to the world of Domino professionals out there. And it's those relationships that allow you to do more than you ever thought possible.
To Chris specifically, I say "thanks so much" for your help today. And to those I IM and email on a daily basis since Lotusphere, I say "thanks" for helping me be more effective. And to the LG&T (you know who you are), thanks for keeping my humble for the last six years...