Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Applying Tarot in a Business Setting

I used to work for a large software company as an "international technical specialist".  Sounds cool -- but all it meant was that I promised not to grumble when they'd tell me late Tuesday afternoon that I needed to be in Canada Wednesday morning!

My job was to go in to problem clients -- places where our software just wasn't working, tech support couldn't figure it out, and all our technical people were stumped.  Didn't mean that I was super-smart -- just meant that I tend to look at problems differently from most folks.

I enjoy the "thinking-outside-the-box" process -- but sometimes it became difficult to find new perspectives to a problem.  Remember, all the ordinary and obvious approaches had already been tried and failed.  Wouldn't do me any good to go there and try the normal stuff!

I had dabbled with Tarot for a while, but began to try and apply Tarot to my professional self.  Tarot helps you look at things in a new way, right?  Well the, that's exactly what I needed to be effective as a technical specialist!

I was surprised at how well Tarot and IT (Information Technology -- or computer stuff, if you prefer!) melded together.  Here's an example of what I mean:

One of my first gigs as a technical "firefighter" was for a client in England.  Their problem was that the software we sold them would crash every few days.  No one knew why and our tech support people were day-time only and in California.  That meant when the software crashed, our tech people were asleep.  When the tech folks were at work, the England customer was asleep.

I was sent to try and trouble-shoot the problem.  I didn't know much about the deep technical details of our product -- but what we wanted was a fresh pair of eyes looking at the problem in a different way.

I wanted to think of different ways of looking at the problem (again, all our tech folks had already approached the problem in the normal way -- and failed), so I drew several cards while on the plane to help me think.  One of them was the Four of Pentacles.

Tarot - Four of Pentacles

The Four of Pentacles (someone made me promise to always call him Mr. Grumpyhead whenever he appears!) suggests someone who has latched tightly onto a resource and keeps it tightly controlled.  He tends not to notice all the additional resources around him because he's focused inwards.

Hmmm -- how to apply this to IT?  Well, at the risk of getting technical, let me tell you about reserved memory.

It's quite common for software applications to reserve a small amount of memory that ONLY they can use.  The idea is that you'll have better performance if you rely on this reserved cache of memory than if you had to go and compete for available memory with all the other programs that are running.

Our application did reserve a small amount of memory -- usually, increasing this amount improved performance; decreasing it reduced performance.

I got to thinking about this reserved memory and the Four of Pentacles.  The Four of Pentacles thinks he's doing right by reserving his resources for himself -- but misses out on the big picture. 

Okay, so the first thing I did when I arrived at the client was to reconfigure the application to not reserve ANY memory at all.  I reduced the memory cache size to zero.

Guess what ... the application began working again -- and didn't fail!

Now, I have no idea why technically this should be the case (although I believe they eventually pinned it to a bug in IBM's operating system software)-- but the techical reasons didn't really matter.  Thinking "outside the box" -- looking at the problem in a new light courtesy of Mr. Grumpyhead -- led to a solution.

There are several books available that discuss using Tarot in professional (non-Tarot) settings -- like accounting, management, engineering, etc.  If you're interested, you might give them a look.

You can always benefit from looking at problems from a different perspective -- and that's something Tarot does very well!


voyance gratuite en ligne par mail said...

Helpful info. Lucky me I discovered your website by chance, and I’m shocked why this twist of fate didn’t took place earlier! I bookmarked it.

voyance sérieuse gratuite par mail said...

This is a really good read for me. Must agree that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.