The Truth was unexpected at this time

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2012/02/24 09:11 -05:00, original URI:

I remember talking to Mark Zbikowski a couple of times when he was still at Microsoft.

Once was to get his opinion on updating the casing table, which had by that point grown to over 200 letter pairs missing from it that were assigned in Unicode.

And the other time was to report a bug (previously described in Ā was unexpected at this time).

Afterwards, I asked him how he dealt with a problem I was starting to have more and more often which he seemed to be dealing with quite deftly....

The problem with people who consider you to be "the guy" in an area, who will use whatever answer you give as the one true gospel.

His answer is one I have kept with me, one of the greatest lessons I've learned during all of my time at Microsoft.

Is it that the person asking the question often has the information they need (or are very close to having it), and the most important thing you can do is help bring them to the answer they already have (or are very close to having).

Bold pronouncements or admonitions, eveb when they are needed, should be based on limited statements that are basically always true -- and that it is just the situational application of those truths becomes the big content of the mail. Of narly every mail.

I remember I felt some doubt about whether that would necessarily work for me, as I was still searching for my "always true" truths.

Though I feel much less of that now, just a few years later.

So these days, I pay much more attention to what he was trying to tell me then.

I mean, here will always be questions, always be new situations that people are looking to fit into the grand tapestry that we all think of as

The Truth™

I'm probably as smart as I always was, though I think of myself as being a little bit wiser now....

By the way, if I ever did write a book again, you just got the advance notice of what the title would be, didn't you?

It would be the title of this very blog you are reading, ;published two hours and ten minutes after even the regular readers expected it....

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