Best Reply of the Month Winner

By Brian Lucas

There have been so many great replies to the posts that I thought some form of recognition would be in order. So we have created this special post to record and honor the best reply of the month. I will post the winner of the previous month, on the first day of the current month.  In this post, I will reproduce the winning comment and any of the replies that I feel are appropriate.  Your comments will help people you will probably never meet.  They leave a legacy of your thoughts that can have effects you never dreamed. Congratulations to all the winners.

Inaugural Launch May 2012

And the winner is John Blasdale!  John wrote and beautifully worded primer on how to properly introduce a new idea, technology, concept to a potentially skeptical or resistant audience.  His wonderful analogy could apply to almost any situation.

John’s Comment on 5/25/2012

This article reminded me of a recent episode of PBS’s, Downton Abbey, which is set in the early 20th century. Witnessing the installation of the first telephone into the house, the skeptical middle-aged butler, who would be tasked with answering incoming taking calls, said he couldn’t see what use it would be!

Perhaps someone should have said to the butler, “Don’t worry, you will be fully assimilated, and resistance is futile in any case.” It was clear by the next episode that the butler had indeed become assimilated as he discovered what he could now do with the marvelous new device — and became an advocate.

But the butler was right to be concerned. At first, he didn’t understand the new device and its implications. He was afraid of change. His job was to keep everything running smoothly. Many of us are perhaps in the same situation with respect to Agile. We’ve all heard about it, but we’re not quite sure exactly what it means. And we don’t want things to go wrong if we start using it. Nevertheless, like the butler’s telephone, perhaps it’s time to give it a try. After all, some of the best families in the country are already using it!

When the butler received his new telephone, the installer didn’t just say, “Now you are with telephone!” In fact a senior representative of the telephone company spent time with the butler and his staff explaining what the new device could do, how exactly to use it, what the limitations were, the normal etiquette during usage and, importantly, when not to use it. The lesson is that change needs to be done with some care — we don’t become agile simply by declaring ourselves to be so. We all need to approach an eventual change to Agile with the care, commitment and seriousness that it deserves.

My Reply on 5/29/2012

What a wonderful analogy John! You point out that when introducing Agile like any other new idea, failure is often not due to the idea or concept being lacking; but the implementation. We who are champions of Agile should all take time to reflect on how we can introduce Agile (or improve a current agile implementation) in a non-threatening manner. There are interesting parallels and differences between John’s PBS series reference and my personal recollection in my response to Dave. In John’s case, the user was disquieted by ignorance which was averted by a well thought out and sensitive implementation. In my recollection, the person was an obstructionist who at some level realized a threat and chose not to reinvent themselves (and their position) to turn it into an advantage. The former situation is readily addressable through communication and education and can turn potential enemies into allies. The latter is a difficult situation which requires organizational pruning before the obstructionist can damage the implementation. It is important to recognize the difference between obstructionists and crusaders. Obstructionists are very Machiavellian will block a new “good” idea because it represents change and threatens them or their way of thinking. Crusaders will often “constructively criticize” a new idea and suggest logical alternatives that represent improvements. These are people who think outside the nine dots. They are often thought leaders. Any good agile implementation can withstand and respond to the suggestions of people in this camp and improve in the process.

June 2012

And the winner is James Stoves!  James is a skeptic who isn’t convinced that Agile is very different from waterfall.  To summarize his view he feels they are both processes that follow similar thought patterns, only agile is done in shorter iterations.  Jim did something I always admire he researched before he spoke and thought about it and is questioning both assumption and hype.  That is a Socratic principle and as a blatantly amateur philosopher, I can hardly fault him for following the principles of someone who is reputed to be the greatest philosopher of all time.  It is true that he quotes a source from IBM’s web site that Agile is really Waterfall 2.0 and that is a reference that I would never use to prove a point.  Looking on an IBM website for agile information and expertise is rather like going to a lecture about peaceful coexistence from Timur the Lame(I was asked to introduce more controversy).  I was especially gratified to award Jim the status of winner because you write a blog not just for those who agree with you, but for those who don’t (yet).  Hopefully Jim won’t run out of energy or time until I convince him to become a believer and espouses agile’s benefits.

Jim’s Comment on 6/29/2012

Both Agile and Waterfall, to me, seem to have a large number of small implementations vice one big one.  Both establish a time box and ask “what can you do within this constraint?” I think that Agile compresses the time box and addresses one of the main problems with waterfall — when you are ready to deliver, the business or marketplace could have changed so much that it is no longer relevant.  Waterfall puts the emphasis on documentation up front under the basis that it costs more to redesign and fix a solution than it does to build it correctly in the first place.  Agile says it costs more to build an outdated solution.  I think it also de-emphasizes (but does not eliminate) documentation – always a popular notion.  (Whenever I get the urge to document, I lie down until it goes away…) Interestingly enough, when you Google “similarities between agile and waterfall methodologies” you find an article on the IBM website that describes Agile as “Waterfall 2.0”…  As with all methodologies, neither is correct for every project and both will probably continue to have their place alongside the other myriad of methodologies.

My Reply on 6/30/2012

Jim, I am sure you are aware that all-that-is-written-is-not-gold!  Actually waterfall and agile are not similar in the way you might think.  Waterfall does not normally embrace the concept of a time box except for gross purposes.  Estimation techniques like function point analysis are based on having a detailed requirements document completed.  Estimates are often not made before then.

Another big difference is that who is doing what and when changes dramatically between waterfall and agile.  In waterfall methods, analysts create requirements up front, followed by designers who transmogrify that output into more documentation, followed by developers who further interpret that documentation into code and then add more documentation to the code, followed by testers that interpret all the previous documentation and create more documentation, followed by help writers who guess what and last but not least the implementers.  This is a massive amount of documentation that is virtually never kept in sync and up-to-date and interpreting the written word always leads to confusion.

Putting that aside for now, in agile, a team does most of the activity together – not an individual.  The team directly shares knowledge and gains a common understanding, first hand, rather than through documentation interpretation.  The team, usually an analyst, a user, a developer, a tester and a UI designer, work together on user stories, acceptance criteria, UI design (usually wireframes) and test cases.  When the developer actually starts coding, the need and the proposed solution are so well understood in a common contextual framework that miscues are rare.  Even if they occur they are limited in scope to the duration of at most a single iteration and usually are caught in the daily scrums.

Furthermore, agile really concentrates effort on a single unit of work-in-process.  This focus increases the efficiency of the effort and generally the quality of the results.  But let’s move right on to methodology coexistence.  The fact is waterfall is dying a not-so-slow-death.  Agile beats waterfall by almost a 3 to 1 margin.  Enterprises have abandoned waterfall in favor of agile according to a Forrester Global Developer Survey in 2009 and the disproportionality of the numbers is increasing all the time.

My last argument (for now) is that knowing you as I do, I believe you actually always operate and operated in an agile fashion and really don’t think in any other way.  I have observed that some people, who are natural agilists, just like some people who are naturally object-oriented, can’t really conceive of another way of thinking.   So I suspect that your view of waterfall is skewed by your own natural agile tendencies.

July 2012

And the winner is Dave Francavilla!  Dave is a natural agilist who has thought in an agile fashion as long as he can remember.  One of the many fascinating things about Dave is that he is able to apply his agile thinking to any subject whether he was previously familiar with it or not.  This came out when I interviewed him for my post section “Interviews with a Natural Agilist”.  He views agile as simple common sense because that it how he thinks –  “naturally”…  Unfortunately for all of us, Dave’s “common sense” is all but common today.  Dave commented about my post “HCM, HIM and Agile are Perfect Together“.  His reply got me thinking (which is why I love comments) and lead to a new post “Is Agile a Return to Common Sense“.  I have to triply thank Dave for his thoughtful response, his bringing a new post to life and the contribution he makes to the world everyday as a natural agilist.  Congratulations Dave on all three accounts.  Please keep commenting.

Dave’s Comment on 7/25/2012

Brian,

Very comprehensive! What I love is that the basic common theme is derived from simple common sense. The entire world seems to have taken the focus off basic common sense and basic principles of business.

I see Agile as coming to our senses…

Just look at the general State of the Union. We are a mess because there is absolutely no common sense. Many of today’s businesses suffer from the same lack of basic understanding.

Thanks for your clarity.

David Francavilla

My Reply on 7/25/2012

Dave,
Thank you for the comment and perception on agile as basic common sense. Since you are a natural agilist I am not at all surprised that you view agile in that fashion. In fact, I agree with you completely. We live in time of business insanity with self destructive actions taken by seemingly highly intelligent people. Unfortunately as Voltaire says, “Common sense is not so common.” and Will Rogers quips, “Common sense ain’t common.” René Descartes tells us “Common sense is the most widely shared commodity in the world, for every man is convinced that he is well supplied with it.”, he must have been having lunch with Will Rogers that day. Victor Hugo takes a stab at all the academics with, “Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.” My favorite quote on common sense however, comes from Harriet Beecher Stowe; and it is something I try to live by, “Common sense is seeing things as they are; and doing things as they ought to be.” In many ways that describes how you have approached life as well. I believe it should be our Mantra or Manifesto for “Natural” Agilists. -Brian

August 2012

Wow this was a tough month to decide there were so many good comments. And the winner is Nancy “last name withheld”!  Some people might find my choice here self serving since Nancy made a positive comment.  I assure you it was not so.  Nancy clearly read a number of posts and put so much time and effort into her comment and analysis it was almost a post in itself.  I could not demure in good conscience and not select her comment.  Nancy commented about a number of my posts but chose to place her comment in my first post “So What is Agile?” which I felt was instinctively appropriate since she was new to agile. Her reply affected me deeply and made me realize once again the profound reach of the internet and the influence what we publish can have on people, most of whom we will never meet.  In a fortunate few cases, an author receives acknowledgement and appreciation from a reader.  That is the greatest reward of all.  Congratulations Nancy!  I wish you all the best in your agile efforts and whatever life brings your way!  – Brian

Nancy’s Comment on 8/21/2012

Thank God, I found this blog! I am a senior manager in a large shipping firm. I have been with this company for over twenty two years. We started an agile I/S initiative two years ago. I initially supported this effort. The budget for this was significant. It has changed, at least to some extent, our relationship with software development. This change has not always been for the better. They put a great deal of emphasis on getting immediate answers from us to their questions about what the application should do. They do not return the favor.
Frankly, my view of agile has been negative. This is despite the fact that we are receiving new application releases somewhat faster. The whole focus of our agile initiative has been the computer. The CIO brought in outside consultants and people called scrum masters. There was a whole new set of terminology that we had to learn. Terms like scrums, product back logs, retrospectives, and so forth. They were explained to us briefly in instructor led classes. We were also provided colorful handouts of the definitions and processes.
The first three releases of software were difficult experiences. It is now running smoother. This has been a very expensive process for us. I for one am not satisfied with the ROI. Being dissatisfied, I started to do my own research about agile. It was a bewildering experience. I was just about ready to give up when I touched on this article – So what is agile?. It was not as glossy as most of the other sites and it was buried far down in my search results. The quote from Confucius caught my eye. My experience certainly bordered on being bitter. I was now trying to gain wisdom by the noblest method which is reflection. I was struck by the very first paragraph. I have always been made to feel dumb whenever I asked questions about this agile concept. Here was a person in the computer field asking the same question. To his credit, Mr. Lucas apparently bit back a flippant remark and gave a thoughtful response.
I then got down to his definition of agile. “Agile is, in its deepest and most profound sense, a philosophy of intelligent adaptation to constantly acquired knowledge and changing circumstances. Agile is solely driven and measured by business success. Agile is NOT simply a development methodology. Ultimately, all aspects of the enterprise from strategic planning to the most atomic level tasks must embrace agile for optimal effect.”
At first I thought this was a bit academic and highbrow. As I reread it several times, I realized that Mr. Lucas was being careful with his wording. His definition conveyed worlds of meaning in a few sentences. The last sentence was the most important to me, however. That all aspects of the enterprise must embrace agile. I read the next paragraph. It reminded me somewhat of my own experience with agile. Unfortunately, the rest of the article went in a more technical software development process direction. If Mr. Lucas will forgive me the RAT idea seemed immature. I was lost again.
However, that single definition intrigued me enough to read Mr. Lucas’s other posts. I read – What do you do with an entrenched skeptic – where Mr. Lucas continued his conversation with his friend Jim, the skeptic. I frankly could not follow it all, but it made me feel better about my own lack of understanding. Then I read – Why CEOs fail in today’s agile business environment. It was a very clear, profound and authoritative work. I understood it completely. It was an unbelievable departure from everything else I had read about agile. To me, it was a return to his definition of agile applying to the whole enterprise. I then read his series – A tale of two companies and Employee suggestions. As an organization, we certainly acted like the fictitious Pyramid Computer Software company. The dialog and the story seemed so real. I wonder if Mr. Lucas is really describing a situation in which he has firsthand knowledge. Then I read – Is agile a return to common sense? I was never so impressed with writing in a post before. Mr. Lucas is a very imaginative and colorful writer. He must do a great deal of research on what he writes about. The realism of his descriptions was intense. I was so drawn into the time of ancient Greece and colonial America; I feel I have actually been there. I was so disappointed when the article came to a rather abrupt end.
The last articles I read were the series – Interviews with a natural agilist. This truly opened the door for me to understanding what agile really was about. Agile is how we think and act together and focus on the most important things. It is ignoring the trivial. It is also by passing any process that is done for the sake of business politics. Most of all as Mr. Francavilla would put it, agile is about success. Thanks you again Mr. Lucas for your articles. I hope you keep writing and follow through on your promises of future articles in your series – A tale of two companies, Interviews with a natural agilist and Is agile a return to common sense. You are a talented writer. If you don’t mind a bit of criticism, you are hiding your light under a bushel basket.

My Reply on 8/22/2012

Nancy, I am deeply appreciative of your comment; it thoroughness, its thoughtfulness and its positive and encouraging message. I can’t speak for other authors, but I am writing this blog for you and others like you, that want to, and are making a difference in businesses and peoples’ lives every day. You took it upon yourself to gain a better understanding about what was going on around you. That is something for which have a tremendous amount of respect. I will always treasure your comment and use it to help me become a better writer. -Brian

September 2012

If I thought last month it was tough to decide a winner; this month was so difficult I had to resort to a lottery amongst a handful of finalists; there were so many great comments. And the winner is Edward Smith! Edward has made a number of well-articulated comments, which made his selection a rewarding one for me. His insight as a business consultant echoes what I have been receiving from many quarters.  The readership gets it!  They are informed, understand the significance of and are making the new agile economy a part of their lives.  I can find nothing more gratifying than to realize that my work is being recognized by a broad selection of people, who are applying these concepts in their daily lives.  Congratulations Edward! I wish you all the best in your agile efforts and you consulting business! – Brian

Edward’s Comment on 9/18/2012

Brian,

You have written a very intelligent and valuable post here. I am surprised that I cannot find any other works of yours on the internet. Your writing style is direct, informative and entertaining. This post is a superb expression of Toffler’s predictions and the actual developments that we are now experiencing. The concept of a hybrid organization is very valid and I would go so far as to say a necessity. While you can form a small organization around a team concept the operation of a larger organization of at least 100 persons needs some formality. You have created two branches as I see it in your structure; one that provides operational support for the organization itself and one the services work requests. I have not seen it articulated quite the way you have expressed it before. This is a time of opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs. It is also a time that will mark the death of many more fortune 500 companies. The efforts of these large organizations to move to a matrix management structure are essentially doomed to failure. This is mostly due to the fact that their overall company concept is flawed. You don’t quite say this in your post, but in reading between the lines I believe you think the same way. A large organization simply has too many people involved in fulfillment for everyone to be an actual contributor in the value added chain. I hope you become a more active poster. I would read your blog every day.

Edward Smith

Business Consultant

My Reply on 10/2/2012

Edward – I in turn am very impressed with your ability to ready between the lines.  You are correct in my opinion that the matrix management effort in large companies is doomed to fail with very few exceptions.  There basic premise and even the accounting concepts they run on are flawed for the new economy.  I am also very gratified that you find my blog informative enough to read every day.  Unfortunately I have been allocated only 2 hours a week to blog and that is far from sufficient time to write the quality of articles that I wish to communicate.  Otherwise I would love to post every day.  Thank you for your comment and support!

October 2012

I have reached an impossible situation this month! There are so many wonderful, fantastic, thoughtful, and moving comments this month I cannot choose a winner.  I will simple list the names of those of my readers that cared enough to share something of their hearts and minds with all of us.  There words have meant everything to me.  They mean that early in the life of this blog, my work is being recognized.  That is such a rare and precious reward.  I will always appreciate you my readers who have taken the time to make this blog such a fulfilling experience for me. This month I want to thank in order that their comments appeared:

Sally,
Crowley,
The Baron,
Jack,
Fran C. Zabrinski,
David Francavilla,
Bradley,
Haley,
Jessica,
Lou,
Maryann,
Anthony Indelicato,
Bonnie,
Dinesh,
Elizabeth Lyndy,
M.Carlton,
CharlieZ,
M.Hunt,
GreenbergMI,
T.DiMarcio

You have given myself and all the readers here a gift that is priceless!  – Brian

November 2012

And the winner is Timothy O’Donnel!  Timothy wrote a most moving comment based on the interview I did with Dave Francavilla.  In his comment Timothy recounted his life experience with people like Dave who have special gifts.  Timothy has given all of us sage advice on how to deal with ideas that are different from the commonplace.  I personally hope Dave’s management team reads Timothy’s comment and takes it to heart, as we all should.

Timothy’s Comment on 11/09/2012

This is a remarkable story of a person who has made a difference whatever he did and wherever he worked. I understand this story for it brings back bittersweet memories to me. It has been my remarkably good fortune to have worked with in my long career several persons like Mr. Francavilla. It was my misfortune to be foolish enough not to take advantage of all their knowledge and capabilities. The first time I came up against a person who had this level of capability I was jealous and would not listen to all they had to teach; so I wasted years of effort in my career. The second time, I was an executive, and too proud and fearful to listen to someone smarter than myself. The third time as a business owner, I was mature and wise enough to cherish a resource that had so much to give. This profited me and my company greatly. It was a sad day when this person, who had become a great friend as well as an employee, passed away. In my experience people like Dave and my friend Richard have complex personalities. They can be both coldly logical in analyzing incredibly complex situations and emotionally angry at seeing missed opportunity or frustrated with those of us with less intellect. When they cannot make themselves understood especially when they see the subject of their explanation as simple they often withdraw. They find solutions with a rapidity we find insulting and are always not just a page ahead, but sometimes chapters and even books. It is our loss that we don’t take more advantage of people like this; if we did it would be a better world. As I am in the twilight of my life now, I am glad that I can say I found the emotional maturity to do so once in my life. As a very old man, I offer Jack this piece of advice. Cherish Dave, listen to him, meet with him regularly, place no limits upon him that are not fiscal in nature, forgive him his unintentional abrasiveness and protect him from the jealousy of others. You will be rewarded a thousand fold.
Deepest Regards,
Timothy O’Donnel

David’s Reply on 11/13/2012

Tim, thank you for the kind comments.  It is interesting that you picked right up on the fact that Agile business thinking is not immediately accepted in the general corporate environment.  It has taken me 30 years to be able to get my thoughts across without putting myself in harms way.  The fact that our economy is in such turmoil, actually helped me in this area.  When Owners and CEO’s are faced with providing immediate answers/solutions, all of a sudden they are looking for the person who thinks outside the box.  Still, depending on the environment, you have to pace yourself for introducing new ideas.  Each organization has it’s own timeline on which the senior staff become ready to accept new Agile ideas.  That lesson came hard for me.  I have been working in business for 35 years (since age 15 at AIG in NYC), and along the way found myself being dismissed from my position when I pushed too hard.  I am looking forward to doing another interview with Brian to discuss “Managing Your Career”.  This will cover choosing the right organization, and how to be Agile and still survive.  Thanks again.

David Francavilla

My Reply on 11/29/2012

Mr. O’Donnel, you are a person I would have loved to meet during your working career.  Your words are well chosen and filled with considerable wisdom.  You speak with an honesty we are unaccustomed to hearing from people nowadays.  Your advice to Jack is profound, heartfelt and gently given.  I hope he takes it!  I am proud to have met you even in this limited way through this blog.  I hope you will continue to correspond!

December 2012

And the winners are Janet Davies and WilmaB!  Both wrote comments on the post Being Agile in the Face of Hurricane Sandy.  While there were a number of great comments to choose from on other posts; the comments on this post touched my heart the most.  So please forgive me for making this emotional choice. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my readers!

Janet Davies’s Comment on 12/03/2012

I was emailed this link by a friend. I was not going to read it–at first. My family suffered no damage from Sandy since we don’t live on the east coast. That is why I was not going to read this. I am glad I finally did. The quote from Stainback caught my eye. I don’t often see him quoted in business blogs, or elsewhere for that matter, so I decided to read your post. Struggling to get ahead in business where executive teams are often cut-throat has made us forget our compassion. As an executive, I believe it is our responsibility to set the tone for our businesses as a part of our vision. What is our moral compass? What kind of member will we actually be in the community our organization resides in? Do we just want to spin-doctor trivial donations or lip service to charities while in reality harming our community?   How do we wish to be remembered by posterity? Our vision should be a profitable one, of course, but there is no reason it cannot be benevolent as well. Compassion breeds loyalty. Loyalty breeds commitment. Commitment breeds success.  I believe the message that Doreen referred to centers around this. Your vision was to survive the hurricane, but you did not do it selfishly. Of course you achieved your vision of survival, along the way you benefited others and built friendship and brand loyalty for Brian Lucas. I don’t mean to focus on the selfish motives of success here for having compassion can mean sacrificing at times when there is no FINANCIAL payback. An intelligent vision should though include strategic compassion in it for our workers, our community and our customers if we wish to build a lasting legacy. –Janet Davies

My Reply on 12/03/2012

Thank you Janet! You are exactly right that was the hidden/not so hidden message.  Thank you for summarizing it so well.

WilmaB’s Comment on 12/08/2012

At first I was annoyed by the title I experienced loss and fear from Sandy. Then I read the quote, was touched by your empathy and I felt ashamed at my snap judgement. Then I read the beginning and I thought it was going to be rather dry. Then I read the actual hurricane part and I laughed so hard I almost cried. Then I read the end and I felt healed. Then I read the footnotes and felt wiser. Thank You!

My Reply on 1/18/2013

Wilma, thank you for sharing your feelings and impressions in such a wonderfully succinct and expressive manner; I treasure your comment!

January 2013

And the winners are Joseph Lawrence for his comment on “Life in the C – Lane will surely make you lose your mind” and James Patterson for his comment on “The Night of the Deadly Micromanager“!  Once again my readers astound and reward me at the same time with the most detailed and well thought out comments!

Joseph Lawrence’s Comment on 1/4/2013

This is an important article. I would even say a vital one. During my career I held positions as a CEO, COO and CFO along with a number of middle management roles. Though I am retired, I am very concerned about the direction companies are taking in filling, rewards and executing their executive management. To me it has become immoral. It has diminished the integrity of business and damaged our country. We need to regain both our moral compass and integrity. Life in the C Lane is the best expression of the problems with executive management that I have read. It deserves to be explored in a book as I believe others have suggested. I have only one recommendation I would make to its improvement. I believe the ethical questions of outrageous compensation for poor performance and ruination of employees’ lives and careers be explored. The temporary improvement of a bottom line or a stock price to take a windfall profit is no justification.

My Reply on 3/22/2013

Thank you Joseph! You speak from the heart and I feel much as you do. Many companies have lost their way by losing their faith in what they were doing. They need to find it again. Your suggestion to include ethics is a good one. Let me see what I can do on this subject.

James Patterson’s Comment on 1/30/2013

For those of you that chose to read this I’ll apologize ahead of time for its length. I surf, subscribe and read a large number of blogs as a technology consultant. I just picked up on this blog and I am STUNNED at the comments on it and the diversity of the readers. I have flipped through a number of the posts scanning them and they are all interesting. The title of this one caught my eye since I once had a very bad experience with a micromanager. The post was impressive. It used a great analogy, was informative and had the right touch of humor. What struck me most is just how many comments Brian is getting and how meaningful and intelligent they are. A number are obviously from regular readers who comment, but there are also many onetime commenters. I even saw some lurkers (people who never comment) say they were commenting for the first time. Usually when there are these many comments, it is driven by controversy. That is not the case here. All the comments are positive (at least about the article content I saw a few complaints about their jobs or companies). I realize that this is a moderated blog (thank God! I just hate shifting through spam), but with the number of comments here it certainly doesn’t seem as if Brian is suppressing any opposition. In fact, he deals with it head on as he demonstrates in his post about entrenched skeptics and his friend Jim. So what is going on here? Well there are insights into the MAGIC of this blog in the comments about Brian from his friends. Everyone who seems to know Brian personally paints a picture of him as a brilliant, witty and insightful person, who seems to have a tremendous amount of knowledge on many diverse subjects. It’s hard to find someone that gives detailed technical advice about software like TFS, defines new organizational structures, makes business economic predictions, covers hurricanes, writes script like stories and apparently dabbles in physics dealing with something he calls multidimensional time. My past experience of dealing with brains like this is that they are difficult to talk to if not condescending. This is not true apparently of Brian. His friends speak of him as being very open and warm. Anthony’s view of Brian is particularly interesting since their friendship is recent. Usually only people who have been friends for years speak of one another in terms of this amount of respect and deference. The Magic here is that these traits Brian has (fortunately for us readers) come through in his writing. Anthony writes about Brian always having an open door for his friends. That’s rare today. Intelligent conversation has been seriously lacking in our society. We watch too much TV, complain too much about politics and just don’t reason and discuss issues in an intelligent manner as much as we should. Every issue of the day weather it is politics, immigration, guns, the economy or even more delicate subjects seems to result in hate monging. In wrapping this tirade up I have also have a question for Anthony. You say you and Brian get together for drinks and cigars I assume it is a public place. Where the heck did you find a bar that serves good single malt Scotch (I read in a post that Brian drinks SMS) and allows cigar smoking and was quite enough so you could actually have a conversation??? This inquiring mind wants to know!!!!!

My Reply on 1/31/2013

A very fine analysis James, thank you for your insight. There are 3 full time cigar bars in the Lehigh Valley that I know of: The Leaf, The Cigars International Megastore and the Wooden Match.

Febuary 2013

It is almost beyond me to write and post this months comment winner.  I am so moved by the recitation of Elizabeth’s experience reading Keeping Agile that I feel anything I say is totally inadequate.  Elizabeth posted her comment on “So What is Agile“, but her comment really addresses the entire blog.  It is very life-giving to meet with people like Elizabeth even if it is only through their written word.  She puts so much thought and description into her comment that it has the musicality of conversation.  It reaffirms my faith in the reason I started this blog.  Thank you Elizabeth, I will remember your comment always.

Elizabeth Hartley’s Comment on 2/24/2013

There has been a lot of speculation about who this author really is and what he is like. I too became enamored by this blog and its author and finally decided to recount my journey of discovery. I decided to post this comment here on the first article Mr. Lucas wrote. I have followed this blog since late last year when he posted the Era of Agile Management has finally arrived. I liked it, so I bookmarked the site and checked the feed. Nothing came the following week. I quite frankly forgot all about it until he posted his 13 Keeping Agile Predictions for 2013. The quote by Yogi Berra had me laughing and thought the author must be a humorist. However, the introductory write-up to the predictions read like it was written by an Ivy League professor. The predictions themselves read like they were the work of a practical economist who was also a down-to-Earth business man. Then I read the last three and asked myself who is this guy and how does he know this. When I go to the 13th prediction I read it 5 times and I still didn’t understand it. I tried looking it up on the internet and found nothing, but dry science beyond my head. I became interested enough to check Mr. Lucas’s bio and I was floored. He sounds like a Renaissance man reborn. His statement that he was an amateur physicist made some sense. My cousin is a physicist and he is way smart. I often have no idea what he is talking about and he does not write at all with Mr. Lucas’s clarity. He is actually awfully like Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory. I looked up some things up on the internet like who the heck Louis de Broglie was and found stuff about quantum physics. I finally got smart and sent the physics prediction and the lines in the Bio that talked about the physics Brian was working on to my cousin. He told me that while controversial, it did make sense and was in fact a part of a considerable revolution in physics. Ok, so having spent that much effort I finally went back to the first post and began reading them all through. It took a while, but what a journey it was. I will admit to really only lightly skimming the ones like epics, and agile projects because I am not in information technology. When I got to A Tale of Two Companies with its first feature Employee Suggestions – it just floored me. I had to ask myself again – who is this guy? I then ran across the post The Best Reply of the Month and thought what a great way to tell your readers you actually value their comments. When I read the comments, I was stunned. I never read such intense and intelligent comments anywhere. I had to go back again and read all the comments from the articles I had already read. They were incredible. So many people were moved to comment. Some were obviously very deeply moved. I had never read anything like them anywhere. I picked up again with the article Why CEO Fail in Today’s Agile Business Environment and again my mind was blown. This was written by a physicist? It couldn’t be! It looked like a piece that should be in the Wall Street Journal or Forbs. The next 6 or so posts were not as interesting to me because they were more computer oriented though I thought the agile diagram was cute. Then I got to the post, What to do with an Entrenched Skeptic and I was surprised by the inclusion of it. I didn’t necessarily follow the argument, but it expanded the dimension of the blog in new ways. That is when I realized Brian was on a journey with us. He was walking a path of exploration and we were walking behind him guided by his words. His style was changing. He was trying out new things. He was thinking new thoughts about old things. Then I read Is Agile a Return to Common Sense and my jaw hit the floor. I felt I was in an ancient Greek market place. The sights, the sounds, the smells all were so real – in the blink of an eye it changed and I was in colonial America. When the article was over my first reaction was curious, I was infuriated it was over. I wanted it to go on. Then I read the footnotes and I was half convinced that the author was a time-traveling alien who was observing our culture. I took a moment to go through and read all the introductory quotes in all the articles. They were telling me something about Mr. Lucas’s likes. They spanned a huge gamut from the wise and the profound to sentimental and empathetic to humorous. It was obvious to me that Mr. Lucas did read a book a night though how he does I can’t guess. I read the Interviews with a Natural Agilist series in the proper order and really enjoyed them a great deal. What a way to celebrate the success of the common man instead of the business mogul who is a leach upon the world. Once again my view of Brian changed slightly he is no egghead with his mind in the clouds. He is right here down on Earth with the rest of us. The next two the Night of the Deadly Micromanager and Mission Impossible really was Agile were two of my most favorite. I admit that the former was mainly because I was getting an intriguing glimpse into Mr. Lucas’s childhood and social life which proved he was not an alien from another planet. Well scratch one theory. I also found out that for as incredibly outgoing as Mr. Lucas is, he is a remarkably private person. Then I read Being Agile in the Face of Hurricane Sandy. The quote by Stainback set the tone “The value of compassion cannot be over-emphasized. Anyone can criticize. It takes a true believer to be compassionate. No greater burden can be borne by an individual than to know no one cares or understands.” Clearly, Mr. Lucas was a very compassionate man. I laughed and I cried sometimes at the same time while reading this one. Strange as it seemed in reading the footnotes, I realized I was getting an education in being agile without my knowing it. I continued past the next three articles which I had already read and saw the title An Agile Memorial. I did not know what to expect. My eyes were tearing and when I got to the inscription I actually broke down and cried I felt for both Vern and Brian. When I got to the end, I felt strangely uplifted. Mr. Lucas reminded me that there was still some decency and sensitivity left in the world. I felt closer to him and started to call him Brian. I read the final post, Sailing on an Agile Ship with Vision and Knowledge to Guide You. I was saddened to see that Brian lost another friend. It was obvious to me that he felt the loss deeply. I resolved to try to do a good deed every day in Joe’s name if I could. All this brought me back to where I began who is this person Brian Lucas. He is obviously incredibly intelligent with a seemingly endless breath of knowledge, yet I didn’t run across one boast in this blog. He is outgoing and likes very physical things like hiking and sailing and martial arts, yet is very private. He can be very serious and yet has a great deal of humor about him. He is very business oriented, but is compassionate and very sensitive. He is a writer of impressive talent and phenomenal creativity. He is man with so many sides to him I doubt I could ever understand him. I would like to try though; it seems to me to be worth the effort. Brian obviously has many readers some across the world. If he affects his readers this way, I can only guess what it is like to know him personally. He does appear to have a number of friends who are close and loyal. I wish I was one of them. :Beth

My Reply on 3/12/2013

My Dear Beth – If it is said that I have some talent for writing then I am not the only one. Your record of your journey through this blog is lyrical and expressive. Humility precludes me from proclaiming it to be insightful. I cannot express my gratitude sufficiently for you taking so much time and expressing yourself so fully and thoughtfully. People like yourself are a constant reminder that we live in a world with people who think and feel and learn and communicate the good things about living and why life and work are worthwhile. Thank you for reminding me once again why I put a little extra effort into my blog when I am tired from a long day. -Brian

March 2013

And the winners is Bernice Gaylord for her comment on “An Agile Memorial”!  I was so moved by her comment it took me a month to formulate a reply.

Bernice Gaylord’s Comment on 3/7/2013

I was very moved by this article. I know how Vern feels. I lost my Bill recently after 27 years of the happiest marriage. The emptiness is more than I can take. Even with my children it is unbearable. Reading this made me cry I’ll admit. It also gave me an unexplained hope. I wish my Bill and I had friends as intelligent and thoughtful and sensitive as Mr. Lucas must be. But I take comfort knowing that someone like him is out there. I think it would be a rare privilege to know him. We have friends and good ones and my children are very dear to me even though they are grown and have children of their own. But it would have meant so much to me to have something like Mr. Lucas and his friends did for Vern. I know why Vern said that he couldn’t have been given a greater gift. I guess it was the whole idea of the memorial, simple as it was, and how it became a reality, that touched me so much. I also learned something. I work in purchasing at a Fortune 500 and never understood what I thought were these silly agile projects that the IT department was always running. They were never explained to me in terms I understood and seemed more confusing than the normal process we always followed. I now understand something about what the author calls agile thinking and realize it is a good thing. Mr. Lucas clearly practices what he preaches and I thank him for sharing this very personal story with us.

My Reply on 4/8/2013

Bernice I feel for your loss and wish it were not so or that there was something that I could say or do to make your pain go away. I too have experienced loss; though it occurred before our dreams could be realized.  So many in life never achieve the little bit of heaven on earth that you and Bill made for each other for 27 years. You have both children and grand children that need your love and your wisdom.  Every day you have with them is something special and needs to be cherished. While your pain is deep now and will not go away entirely, I promise is will lessen and become more bearable as you spend time with your family and friends. I envy the happiness you have known and my thoughts go with you.  To leave you with a lighter thought, I thank you for the kind words about my practicing agile thinking and I am very gratified that this post has helped you gain a better understanding about agile. Now that you understand it, you can explain it to your IT department!  I am sure Bill will be smiling as you do!

April 2013

And the winners is Ted for his comment on “Sailing in an Agile Ship with Vision and Knowledge to Guide You”!  It was one of the most honest and forthright comments I have ever read.

Ted’s Comment on 4/6/2013

Simply a wonderful exploration of where we executives need to place our focus in this changing era. Congratulations Mr. Lucas I have never seen a more colorful and better thumb nail sketch of the changing times we live in. I hope everyone understands if I am a little vague in my comment. As a company, we had lost some of the ideals that the founder envisioned. We simply lost our way a bit. On the verge of bankruptcy 7 years ago, we had a consultant come in and give us a plan for reorganization. We all thought it would result in downsizing and waste cutting. We were prepared for that. What the proposal actually contained was a recommendation that we reorganize ourselves completely and rediscover the quality proposition that started our manufacturing business over 59 years ago. I will admit that as an operations manager I was slow to accept the concepts in the proposal. They centered on a flat organization and team empowerment. Because I and several others at the executive level just didn’t get it, we had a slow and tumultuous adoption of our restructuring. It took a key team producing what were better results in a little over a week from what previously took them almost 2 months, to convince me. Still all our teams didn’t get these stellar results. I have to honestly admit that many times management was getting in the way of the team. It has taken us almost 6 years to reorganize. It was worth it though and we are much leaner and have a healthy bottom line. What is the most surprising benefit is the we have much greater employee satisfaction. Now that we are not dictating to employees, but are tapping them not only for their work expertise, but also knowledge, ideas and judgement; our operations are far smoother and turnover has almost disappeared. Had I read this article 7 years ago, I wouldn’t have agreed. Now I not only agree, but appreciate it as well. I highly recommend that all managers take this seriously. Deal with the dramatic change that the modern business environment requires sooner than later and become a willing part of that change. The dedication here is something that I think this gentleman would have appreciated and I will make a charitable donation in his name.

My Reply on 5/8/2013

Ted – What a tremendously frank and salient analysis of your situation. I applaud you for your honesty, your ability to recognize and admit an error and your willingness to help others learn. That’s the mark of a truly worthwhile executive! I am sure Joe would have been proud to know you!

May 2013

And the winners is Ron Duval for his comment on “A Natural Agilist Proves the Value of the Theater”!  It was a great analysis and summation and had a number of positive and creative suggestions.  My reply on 6/10/2013 was admittedly light, because I am not in a position to speak for APT.

Ron’s Comment on 5/29/2013

Prehistoric Scandinavian rock art as the beginning of theater! Comparing excellence in theater craftsmanship to the pride of manufactures in colonial America! Seeing the business agility in theater operations! What astounding depths this interview has! If I may, I would like to offer you both some advice. If awareness is one of the Allentown Public Theatre’s problems, you absolutely should make this into a YouTube video –at least! Josh and Brian, you are so evidently unusually well read, superior communicators and incredibly intelligent – you need to make more of this argument on the validity of theater. Why not use some of the ideas in this article for a short one act play on the origins and value of theater. Start with the emergence of ritualism depicted in the Northern Scandinavian rock art (I followed the link and it was fascinating) through to the advent of Greek theater under Thespis to Shakespeare and the works of Ibsen and O’Neil, etc. that Josh apparently favors. You can interleave how theater was used to air questions of serious import in the public forum and how it helped change society as you contend in the interview. You can finish up with what the Allentown Public Theater is doing today to make that happen. Keep it short 20 minutes or so. Brian as a blogger might have the writing skills to create a script for something like that. If not or he doesn’t have the time there must be a local playwright that you can find. Make a YouTube video of the play! You can also perform it at various local events and schools in your area as educational awareness. You might even be able to get continuing education credits for it. By all means don’t let this opportunity pass by without taking advantage of it. Seize the moment!

Simply a wonderful exploration of where we executives need to place our focus in this changing era. Congratulations Mr. Lucas I have never seen a more colorful and better thumb nail sketch of the changing times we live in. I hope everyone understands if I am a little vague in my comment. As a company, we had lost some of the ideals that the founder envisioned. We simply lost our way a bit. On the verge of bankruptcy 7 years ago, we had a consultant come in and give us a plan for reorganization. We all thought it would result in downsizing and waste cutting. We were prepared for that. What the proposal actually contained was a recommendation that we reorganize ourselves completely and rediscover the quality proposition that started our manufacturing business over 59 years ago. I will admit that as an operations manager I was slow to accept the concepts in the proposal. They centered on a flat organization and team empowerment. Because I and several others at the executive level just didn’t get it, we had a slow and tumultuous adoption of our restructuring. It took a key team producing what were better results in a little over a week from what previously took them almost 2 months, to convince me. Still all our teams didn’t get these stellar results. I have to honestly admit that many times management was getting in the way of the team. It has taken us almost 6 years to reorganize. It was worth it though and we are much leaner and have a healthy bottom line. What is the most surprising benefit is the we have much greater employee satisfaction. Now that we are not dictating to employees, but are tapping them not only for their work expertise, but also knowledge, ideas and judgement; our operations are far smoother and turnover has almost disappeared. Had I read this article 7 years ago, I wouldn’t have agreed. Now I not only agree, but appreciate it as well. I highly recommend that all managers take this seriously. Deal with the dramatic change that the modern business environment requires sooner than later and become a willing part of that change. The dedication here is something that I think this gentleman would have appreciated and I will make a charitable donation in his name.

My Reply on 6/10/2013

Sounds like an interesting idea we will have to see what APT members think of this though.

June 2013

And the winners is my staunch supporter Jack, who is one of the reasons I keep coming back to write, for his comment on “A Natural Agilist Proves the Value of the Theater”!  It was a wonderful clearing of the air which shows Jack’s wide management experience and ability to focus on what is important.  This is the first time that I am posting a reply from another person.  Marcie Schlener APT’s beautiful and talented Youth Program Director replied on 6/14/2013 and showed that she is a talented correspondent as well.

Jack’s Comment on 6/05/2013

Nathan, Honor, Lynette and the others bring up valid points. I don’t think that we should get too negative here though so I would like to balance things out a little. This article’s intention was to promote the Allentown Public Theater. My God, the way Brian wrote the intro it could have been a press release! Brian does do enough in the interview with some clever deft handling to keep the interview sufficiently about agility to pass the acid test for a business blog. It is the lightest, in technical content, of his agile interviews however. Where I am going with this is that something about the APT moved Brian to do the interview and put them on a world stage. This means he sees value in what they are doing and must think they are not a “lost cause”. I for one have a great deal of respect for Brian’s opinion. I read his blog regularly and have always been impressed with his ability to explain complex subjects and cut through all the nonsense. Brian must know more about the APT than the rest of us and if he is willing to give them this venue then I will give them the benefit of the doubt. My personal feeling is that any mistakes that APT has made or is making in their operations or self promotion is made through ignorance and not bad attitude. Otherwise I can’t imagine why a person of Brian’s accomplishments would get involved with them. So lets try to keep the tone here positive. My last words are for everyone on the APT and I do hope they all read this. It is important for you to realize that you have a great opportunity here to learn how to be successful from a person who is successful and has clearly helped many others be successful. Brian’s blog reads like a master playbook on modern organization agility and adaptive thinking for success. It is the best blog on these subjects that I have ever read. Swallow any pride that you have and learn from a master while he is available.

Marcie’s Reply on 6/14/2013

On behalf of Allentown Public Theatre I would like to thank each and every one of you for commenting and giving your feedback. I am the Youth Program Director for APT. I can tell you that it has been a wonderful journey so far. I star;ted as a volunteer since their first production and have watched this company grow over the past few years.
Working and volunteering for a theatre is very rewarding. But I must say it takes a lot of work and patience. We are putting hundreds of hours (yes hundreds) of our FREE time into these productions and fundraisers. We don’t get an hourly wage. If we aren’t rehearsing, we are working on production design. If we aren’t in a board meeting, we are working on press releases and grants late into the night in our homes. We put 110% into our performances whether we have a large audience or small. Many of us are working 2 or 3 jobs on top of working for the theatre. Why do we do it? Many reasons. But mostly it’s because of our profound love and pride for the arts and what it provides for our individual minds and hearts. There is a special satisfaction that comes with sharing an artful experience with a community who is in need of inspiration.
Like any company or business it takes time to find a place within a community and build a following. APT found a niche within the theatre community but still needs to get more word out there to find more audience members. APT is aware of this. We are slowly but surely building more connections and working super hard to bring relevant theatre that reflects our art community as well as our society as a whole.
Allentown is in a state of great change. And like anything you read in history books, art and theatre are the foundation of any Renaissance in a city. I ask you all near (and far) to be a part of that change. All of the larger cities have their theatres and are basically settled in their ways. Why be a part of something that is already fixed and established, when you can be at the beginning of an art renaissance that adds something unique and special to society?
Of course, more money and a home for our theatre would be FANTASTIC and it would provide a huge increase in productions and art that people want to see. That our community NEEDS to see.
Tonight, we opened for our Actors in Action Festival. This festival will be 3 spectacular weekends of performances featuring local talent of all kinds. And I can tell you that this weekend’s performance of “The Atheist” is phenomenal. I can’t wait to see “Sensitivity Training” and “The Un-named body project”.
We invite you to come and see what we are about and what we aspire to be in the future. If you can’t come to these performances, I encourage you to volunteer with us for our upcoming Flapjack Fundraiser, sign up for workshops, consider joining our board, or come to our production of Pinocchio that I will be directing this August! I could go on and on about how important Theatre Youth Programming is but I fear that my comment is rather lengthy already.
And of course, a donation to our cause would be greatly, greatly appreciated. Even if its just a small amount. That is money that could go towards a performance that helps to positively change the outlook of an audience member. Possibilities are endless when wonderful people like you are willing to donate!
I believe strongly in the prosperous future of Allentown Public Theatre. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be a part of any of it. Every great oak was once a tiny acorn that held its ground. Help us grow… and become a part of a beautiful metamorphoses!

With hope,
Marcie Schlener
Youth Program Director
Allentown Public Theatre

About Brian Lucas

In his life, Brian Lucas has been a coach, farm worker, forester, health care advocate, life guard, general contractor, mechanic, mixologist, musician/singer (in a rock group), salesman and teacher. Brian has worked as a project manager, technical marketer, methodologist, manager, software architect, systems designer, data modeler, business analyst, systems programmer, software developer and creative writer. These efforts include over a hundred hi-tech initiatives in almost every business and industrial sector as well as government and military projects. Among them, he designed and developed a quality assurance system for the first transatlantic fiber optic communications network, a manufacturing system for a large computer manufacture’s seven manufacturing centers, a data mining system for steel production, an instrumentation system for cable systems, defined requirements for government’s information systems and designed and developed human performance management systems. Brian has educated and mentored many over the years, designing programs to discover and develop talent. He has also lectured extensively to a variety of audiences. Brian is currently devoting as much time as possible to the innovation of business agility and human capital management along with the next generation of agile software development. As an amateur theoretical physicist he is working on joining general relativity and quantum mechanics through a multidimensional time corollary on string theory and negating the uncertainty principle with Louis de Broglie’s wave/particle hypothesis. He is also an avid blue-water sailor and wilderness backpacker. He enjoys billiards, boxing, chess, cooking, famous battle reenactments and war gaming, fencing, flying, gardening, horseback riding, martial arts (particularly Ninjutsu), philosophy and psychology, playing musical instruments (7 so far), poker, rapid-fire target shooting, reading (he tries to read a new book every night), painting with oils, scuba diving, skiing and recently writing novels.
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27 Responses to Best Reply of the Month Winner

  1. charles says:

    thanks for the article…very nice and interesting keep posting more…

  2. Bob says:

    What a testimonial!!!! I wish my blog got these kind of comments. I went and read the same posts Nancy commented on and I agree with her. You are a great writer. It is a shame you are not posting more content!!! Also to be frank you don’t seem to be doing anything to move your blog up in the search engines. That just doesn’t make sense. You need to promote this better.

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Thank YOU Bob for the testimonial. I have not done much with search engine optimization as of yet I am concentrating on content. To be honest with you the amount of comments and email correspondence I am currently receiving is almost more than I can keep up with and since I am not selling advertising here I am not concerned. This blog is read in over 700 companies currently and that is a good number considering I just started it.

  3. Wendy says:

    Nice to see you take the time to recognize your audience. Not many do! You are an unusual blogger.

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Wendy, nothing could be so boring as to write just like everybody else does about what everybody else is writing. Thanks!

  4. Alistair says:

    Rather a nice touch to encourage comments and quality ones at that. It also shows you take comments seriously and not only read them, but think about them. Well done sir! -AC

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Thank you Alistair! Nice to see my friends across the sea reading the blog and not divided by a common language as GBS once quipped!

  5. Tom says:

    It is a nice change to see a blogger appreciate and thank his audience in this creative way! Good idea! That is one of the reasons you get so many comments that are positive.

  6. Foxworthy says:

    This thread is a welcome one even though it is only a repost of comments it shows concern and demonstrates interaction with the customer, that is to say we readers and that is a fundamental agile principle.

  7. Pierre says:

    This concept, of selecting the best comment each month, shows that you are concerned with your readers and that you actually read all the comments. This is an unusual amount of commitment for a blogger. It is one of the reasons that you have so many profound comments on your blog posts. Another is that you have such great content. You post an amazing wide variety of content about the single theme of Being Agile. My colleagues and I find much enjoyment in your site. More importantly we find much wisdom in your universal perspective on agile in our business and our lives. Our sincerest compliments!

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Pierre – Thank you for being a reader and especially for commenting. It means a lot to me to hear from my readers all over the world. -Brian

  8. Bonnie-Jean says:

    Brian so many detailed, intelligent and touching comments I don’t no how you choose though I can’t fault your choice. Super blog and a great idea to post monthly comment selections. You are very creative.

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Bonnie-Jean – I hope that is your real name since it is wonderfully lyric!. The most satisfying aspect of the winner of the comment of the month is that my talented and intelligent readership makes it hard for me to choose!

  9. Carmine Nunzio says:

    Nice touch Brian to include this post where you select the best comments of the month. Wish I had thought of it myself, but I am going to borrow the idea.

  10. Quintin says:

    Jolly good way to show you care about your readers sport!

  11. Summer says:

    What a nifty idea to get more comments and show that you actually read them. I think I will borrow it if you don’t mind.

    • Brian Lucas says:

      As I said just a few comments ago borrow away with my blessing Summer! By the way you are my favorite season!

  12. Karen says:

    It’s nice that you take the time to recognize your readership, particularly those who comment.

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Readers and in particular commenters are why I am blogging. I find it distressing that more bloggers don’t take the time to reply to their commenters.

  13. Shaekea says:

    Hey Brian! [edited section] Great idea to get more comments! Can I PLEASE email you with some questions about my blog?

  14. Fiona McCoy says:

    Wow Brian!!!! I cam e across your blog post by accident. That last comment for February, just blew me away completely!!! You have some unbelievably loyal readers!!! I have to go and read all your posts if you have fans like this. Where there’s smoke there must be fire!!!

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