Matajuro’s Mad Dash…

A few days ago, I started this blog with the lesson of Matajuro. A student learns…


In the account, we see a student who wants to be come a great swordsman, but anxious to how long it will take. Through time he eventually learns that not only is the journey shorter than he ever imagined; but that it was his ardent desire to reach the finish line quickly that stood in his way. Once he accepted the truth from his teacher and submitted to the process totally, was he able to actually become the master swordsman he desired.

Why does this story resound with me? How many times have we run into people who wish for a change in their personal situations? Perhaps it is their weight, maybe it is their personal finances, or maybe it is the mastery of some task or skill set. What do we see these ones often do? We see them hit the internet, bookstores, reach out to consultants, trainers, and gurus; often asking the same question that Matajuro asked: “How long will it take to….” We then see them try to do everything possible, except submitting to the actual journey, in an attempt to get to the end quickly.

If they are lucky, they will run into a master that will tell them the truth; that the time to the end point is dependent upon the mental and emotional attitude of the student and not inherent in the path itself. It is the journey that conveys the title of master, not the speed at which you traverse it.

This is a lesson that is often lost in many of the conference and board rooms I have had the opportunity to work in. In these settings, vendors promise the latest technology, governance practices, or personnel structures. These become the golden dreams that CEOs and Presidents too often solely focus on. All of which may do exactly what the vendors and consultants claim. These ephemeral dreams  inevitably spawn work teams who will frantically push organizations into implementing the “Golden Solution of the Month”. And once the project tracking sheets have been closed out; the final checks signed and disbursed; the agency looks, feels, and operates exactly the same way.

But a Warrior CIO knows this and will always speak the truth to his CEO and colleagues; that a maddening desire to quickly reach the finish line without regards to the original motivations of the journey, never results in a quick finish. And more often then not, will bring you right back to your starting line.


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Why the name Warrior?

Someone asked me the other day “Where did the nickname Warrior CIO come from?” In all actuality, it was given to me by a close associate that works as an executive recruiter. Apparently while interviewing a potential candidate for me to hire, the candidate asked him what kind of CIO I was. My friend’s response was “He’s a Warrior CIO. This guy still codes, trains, and gets in the trenches. So don’t try to BS him.”

Later when I got the story from the candidate, who I hired by the way, I asked my friend what he meant by the term “Warrior CIO”. He told me that in his line of work he runs into many “Spreadsheet CIOs”, his term not mine. “You know, guys that know how to manipulate an Excel spreadsheet and run the numbers, but disconnected from the tech.” Apparently he wasn’t the only one that had this viewpoint. In an article on ZDNet, the late Steve Jobs places the blame for Microsoft’s current faltering business strategy on the “Salesman CEO”, Steve Ballmer. ZDNet Article

Until my friend mentioned it, I never really thought much about it. So I reached out to my circle of friends and colleagues about it, and they agreed. Some even commented they didn’t know how I could do all that I do, and still find time to tune SQL, design applications, etc. So the name has kinda stuck.

So now I have decided to create a blog to share my experiences, stories, tools, and perspectives about managing Enterprise IT to the world at large.

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A student learns…

A young man named Matajuro wanted to become a great swordsman, but his father said he wasn’t quick enough and would never learn. So Matajuro went to the famous swordsman Banzo and asked to become his pupil.

“How long will it take me to become a master?”, he asked. “Suppose I become your servant, to be with you every minute. How long will it take?”

“Ten years.”, said Banzo.

“But my father is getting old. I’ll have to leave before ten years to return home to take care of him. Suppose I work twice as hard, then how long will it take me?”

“Thirty years.”, said Banzo.

“How is it that first you say it will take ten years. But when I offer to work twice as hard, you say it will take me three times as long?”, Matajuro continued. “Let me make myself clear. I will work unceasingly. No hardship will be too much. How long will it take me then?”

“Seventy years.”, said Banzo. “For a pupil in such a hurry learns slowly.”

Matajuro understood. Without asking for any promises in terms of time, he became Banzo’s servant. He cooked, cleaned, washed, and gardened. He was ordered never to speak of fencing or to touch a sword. Matajuro was very sad at this but had given his promise to the master and resolved to keep his word.

Three years passed for Matajuro as a servant. One day, while he was gardening, Banzo came up quietly behind him and gave him a terrible blow with a wooden sword. The next day in the kitchen, the same terrible blow fell again. Thereafter, day in and day out, from every corner and at any moment; he was attacked by Banzo’s wooden sword. Matajuro learned to live on the balls of his feet; ready to dodge at any moment. He became a body with no desires, no thoughts; only eternal readiness.

Banzo smiled, and began the lessons. And soon Matajuro was the greatest swordsman in Japan.

— Source unknown

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