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Duffbert's Random Musings is a blog where I talk about whatever happens to be running through my head at any given moment... I'm Thomas Duff, and you can find out more about me here...

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Chris Miller is my hero! (or, it's not WHAT you know, but WHO you know...)

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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...  
A picture named M2


Gravatar Image1 - Tom,
I had no idea that things were getting so bad that you had to send clients to other people. I know that you have been "helping out" here at the arena for a while now, but I thought you were kidding when you asked for "regular hours" the other day. If things are going down the tubes enough that your're giving up clients to friends, I'm sure I can work out some shifts for you here. I know that Ian's therapy for his obsessive destructive behavior costs a lot. No one knows better than me what he's capable of... Although I don't know for sure, Cam must also have some sort of therapy, I mean come on, he's goalie, they're all nuts. I just want you to know that your family here at the rink can take care of you in this tough time.

Don't forget that you have a lot to offer. I haven't seen anyone wrap a pair of skates that fast in a long time. I know that working the skate counter has been a challenge for you but don't get discouraged, you can do it.

If there is anything I can do, please phone me. It wouldn't be the first time you were stuck and needed me to clean up a mess you'd gotten in to. I can't even count the times that you've called to ask me about something lotus related. You should never have bribed the powers that be to pass the cert. Now they expect you to know what you're talking about.

I could go on for hours about the situation, but I'll just end by saying that if it wasn't for me, you'd probably have time to read when the boys are on the ice. :-)

see you at the rink :-O

Gravatar Image2 - I am wiping the tears away. ALways glad to be of help, Tom has done the same for me in a dev pinch!! Now take that damn pic down. LOL

Gravatar Image3 - I like Chris too ;-)

Gravatar Image4 - of course...i can only pick on Jen so many times... :-)

Gravatar Image5 - You know, Alex... I'm starting to regret the day I ever told you about this blog! :-) And you're gonna miss me for the next two weeks, aren't you?

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Thomas "Duffbert" Duff

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