Dedication, Drive, Excellence and Passion

For the past few years my wife and I decided to stop wasting time watching TV. It seems like the content of programs is quite weak and depending on the time the show is aired, the number of commercials increases to the point that a half hour program is aired in one hour. We used to make fun of commercials from cable networks that boasted the feature of being able to watch a program while simultaneously recording other three shows. For us, most days there was not a single show that we would enjoy watching, much less recording it. Finally, about two months ago we returned the two cable boxes, one of them with a DVDR. We now only have Internet so we can access YouTube and Netflix. We probably watch about one Netflix documentary or movie a week. During the evenings we prefer to sit down and chat about our day, our families, our dreams and what we would like to get accomplished next day.

In order to get an idea of what is happening in the city and world, we spend a few minutes each morning reading news from different sources. In many cases just by reading the title we get an idea of what is going on.

We have also developed a taste for Ted Talks. They provide different perspectives about events and approaches to lives. We like to hear presenters that have good ideas some of which we may or may not align with.

YouTube has the feature of allowing one to organize videos to watch later. I have a dozen or so categories. My wife and I enjoy the things to see and taste mostly in Italy (my parents were born in Italy) and Spain (my wife’s grandparents moved from Spain). Our sons and grandsons were born and raised in the USA. Last week I ran into a one hour BBC program “Italy Unpacked. Placed it in the Italy category and watched it last Friday evening. After watching it, I went back to YouTube and collected all the related videos from the following list:

Year Title
2012 Sicily Unpacked. Three-part series presented with Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli.
2013 Italy Unpacked series 1. Three-part series presented with Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli.
2014 Italy Unpacked series 2. Three-part series presented with Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli.
2015 Italy Unpacked series 3. Three-part series presented with Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli.

On multiple occasions when I was growing up, my dad would mention that in Italy people in different town would dedicate their life to produce one and only one thing. Whatever that thing was, had to become the best in the world. During my life I have always kept such words in my mind, while I was playing or working. For example, if a town produced mechanical gears, then they would be very strong, designed and implemented with very high tolerances, and very light in weight. That would entice companies to purchase your part to be integrated into larger components (e.g., engines, gear boxes) or into complete products (e.g., BMW, Ferrari, and Lamborghini). That is the way some of the best cars is the world are produced in Italy and Germany.

So far we have watched a couple videos hosted by Andrew Graham-Dixon and Giorgio Locatelli. In a few minutes one can realize the passion and excellence on what the hosts do for a living (and it is not making documentaries for BBC). Andrew has a doctoral degree in Art and Giorgio is a well known chef. Among other things, they both enjoy the arts and foods of different regions in Italy.

Their documentaries are educational and inspiring. When you watch most cooking shows you tend to get ideas on restaurants or to some degree on how to prepare a dish. In this show one has the opportunity to watch how a key dish from a specific location is prepared, its history and the art in the town they visit. They both seem to speak English and Italian. The photography is quite good and they seem to integrate very well with all the people they meet during each show. On a separate note, they seem to like nice cars and they both dress elegant yet simple.

On one of the programs, they visit a family that for several generations they have been making ham. You can see the artisans know what to do and continue to improve so they produce the best hams in the world. The hams that need to cure for some years have tags with the names of the people that ordered them. Watch the show and you can tell that their clients are very well known in their own ways of life. Excellence calls for excellence. Another example was a producer of wine balsamic vinegar. For several generations they have been producing the best vinegar and it shows in the price of some small bottles. They produce one and only one thing but that thing is the best in the world.

I do not make hams or vinegar. I architect, design and implement computer software. I personally like software with a hardware component. I define a hardware component, when the software system interacts with a piece of hardware. Of course all software runs on hardware, but storing data objects on plain disks, controlling an automated library, a printer to produce navigational maps, or any other hardware interaction is where my passion resides.

I took the time and visited OneLook and collected from the Oxford dictionaries the following definitions:

Word Definition
Dedicated A person devoted to a task or purpose; having single-minded loyalty or integrity.
Drive Urge or force (animals or people) to move in a specified direction.
Excellence The quality of being outstanding or extremely good.
Passion An intense desire or enthusiasm for something.

After watching some of the documentaries it is easy to relate to the hosts and many of the business owners the definitions listed in the previous table.

Like I said; I architect, design and implement software applications and systems. I have worked for about a handful companies in my career. On occasions I ran into people that work developing software who change jobs every other year. Most of them talk about passion, dedication, drive and excellence regarding their jobs and the people they work with. It makes me think about the saying: You must walk the talk.

One last thought regarding BBC; please produce more videos with Andrew Graham-Dixon and Giorgio Locatelli!!!



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