Herodotus and Thucydides, the odd couple of Greek history

The following is a fictional, anachronistic conversation between Herodotus (regarded as the “Father of History”) and Thucydides (regarded as the “Father of Scientific History) on how history should be recorded and it’s importance to society.


Herodotus: I’m writing this down. There was a great number of battles, a lot of people died or were injured, many more were displaced and moved far from home. Since it was a war with Persia, I’ll call it the Persian wars.


Thucydides: Ok ok, but let’s not talk about all the help the gods gave them or how it was just a silly random group of events that all happened one after another without any semblance of causality. Seriously, that’s not history.

Herodotus: You would say that, although I don’t disagree. Mostly though, I think its good to celebrate the heros and talk about the Persian people as a thoughtful and morally centered civilization. There’s no need to be completely dry and boring about something that truly was not.

Thucydides: The only reason I require facts and dismiss romance is as a means to show how it really doesn’t matter who is fighting. Man is going to conquer, man is going to take things from others, and the demagogue will only work to limit the reach of the statesman. You for some reason, have to find something interesting or entertaining in order for it to be historical.

Herodotus: If history was only the dimensions of the oars on the ships in the harbor, no one would care. I know this may seem weird to you, but 99% of our audience can’t read.  The only way for this information to be passed from one to another is if they tell each other or hear it from an entertainer.

Thucydides: I get it. In fact I too value information about the past to be used in the present and future – with one caveat, that it be used to teach and inspire.  There’s no point in forwarding the story of a hero who slain dozens of enemies if the story doesn’t somehow provide value to the polis. Measurements, tactics, laws, things of intrinsic value are all useful pieces of the past that can help us move forward.  Otherwise, every year we would discover gold.

Herodotus: True, but you’re seriously limiting your audience to people who are able to use that information, and even within that group, to the people who care to look to the past whilst thinking of the future. Not everyone does that.  My point is, if you can tell stories of greatness and examples of high morals, they will be more useful to the polis because they will apply to more of it.  The future is a waste of effort if it is duplicated on the premise that the only things learned from the past is weights and measurements.

Thucydides: It’s not that simple, and we are both saying so. I only wish that my history be devoid of the romance and hyperbole that sacks truth and replaces it with nonsense. We’ve come a long way from Homer, but let’s not go backwards.

Herodotus: I think history will tell us we are both right.

Thucydides: Agreed.

MSP Airport Noise

Metropolitan Airports Commission noise staff monitored airplane noise Aug. 22 through Sept. 4 with temporary Remote Monitoring Towers, each with a noise monitoring radius of two miles. MAC staff worked with city representatives to choose the three sites.

This map shows the study area, the sites of the three temporary noise monitors, each monitor’s two-mile radius for measuring noise and typical departure operations at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

So if you hate plane noise, live in St Paul or Bloomington. Heck, even Richfield right west of the airport is quiet.Microsoft Word - NOC November 2014 Meeting Packet.docx

Credits: http://current.mnsun.com/2014/11/25/study-creates-airplane-noise-baseline-in-edina/

Wanna get better at Agile? Experience what it takes to do the work.

Theres a popular show on CBS called “Undercover Boss” where the owner or manager of a business disguises themselves to be a new employee in a mid-level or lower-level position in the company, where its likely the employees won’t recognize them. The manager then learns the day to day activities and insider tips pertaining to the employees actual work, to learn what its like to walk a mile in their shoes. At the end of the episode, the boss reveals herself and hilarity ensues – especially if these employees had been bad mouthing the boss. Oops! Other times the boss gives the employee a bonus because they feel bad about how hard their job is which seems to be the point of the series.

A couple months ago I decided to quit my job as a Senior Product Manager at GovDelivery and go full time head first into freelance mobile development. What was I thinking?

Continue reading Wanna get better at Agile? Experience what it takes to do the work.

Build your own tools

Starting out my freelance career as a mobile and web developer meant I needed to have the right tools available. Sounds obvious, but its easy to overlook with everything else that you need to consider. What are the right tools for a mobile and web developer these days? Googling yields hundreds of blog sites listing “top 12” or “top 7” editors or sites or tutorials for learning x to become y. Here’s a short list of what I built and maintain.

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My response to an email I received from someone interested in product management

On Nov 19, 2015, at 11:45 PM, xxxx wrote:

Hey Bryce,

I am a Senior at the University of Minnesota who is soon to have B.A. in Computer Science with minors in Interdisciplinary Design, Product Design, and Linguistics this coming spring. Since I am somewhat multifaceted, I have been a little hesitant to apply to “just” software engineer jobs and I have been looking at other roles at agile, tech-focused companies that I may be interested in as well. Product management stood out to me especially because I feel like I have a lot to offer on a team in terms of technical skill and knowledge, but UX is an intense interest for me as well, and I like the idea of working with a team to keep shipping a better product.

However, I realized that I’ve never actually met a product manager before and that it may be ideal to talk with someone who is a product manager before I put stake into it as a career path.  So, I have a few questions for you. What should I know about being a product manager? What does your typical day look like? What makes a good product manager? Is this something that I should be looking at out of college or is it not feasible to become a product manager straight out of college?

These are still things that I’m a little curious about that I am hoping you will be able to answer or at least give me some new insights on. Thank you so much for your time, and I am very excited to hear back from you in the future even though I know you are probably quite busy…

Continue reading My response to an email I received from someone interested in product management

Lincoln Blilie 1999-2013

(originally published Dec. 24th 2013)


Yesterday, December 23rd, we had to put our kitty Lincoln to sleep. Lincoln had been dealing with intestinal cancer for a few to several months, and he had been mostly out of it for the last few days, gazing blankly as we walked by, said his name or shook the treat bag. Normally, anyone of those things would have at least warranted a head turn or a “wha”.

Lincoln was born on the same farm I grew up on, and was believed to be offspring from Gus’s mother, but impossible to really know.

Continue reading Lincoln Blilie 1999-2013

General Mills Incorporated, Minneapolis Minnesota

Editors note: This is a paper I wrote for a business class at Augsburg College. The assignment was to choose a company listed within Fortune magazines “Top 100 best places to work for in 2015”, provide an overview of the company and why you would choose to work there.

General_Mills-512x384General Mills Incorporated is a Fortune 500 corporation headquartered in Golden Valley, Minnesota. General Mills was formed in 1928 under the direction of Washburn-Crosby President, James Ford Bell, merging 26 other flour mills. In 2001, General Mills merged with its arch rival, Pillsbury, one of the original flour milling companies from the 1860’s and 70’s.

Continue reading General Mills Incorporated, Minneapolis Minnesota

The price of oil

This is a paper I wrote for a history class I took at Augsburg College “The Modern Middle East”. The italicized text is the question to be answered, or topic. It’s an excellent class led by an exceptionally knowledgeable professor, Dr. Maheen Zaman (http://www.augsburg.edu/faculty/zamanm/)

To what extent did the Cold War in the Middle East involve the superpowers imposing their will on regional powers, and to what extent did it involve regional powers manipulating the superpowers? Discuss with special reference to different phases of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

According to Khalidi, both the US and USSR had strategic interests in the Middle East for its location in proximity to the USSR, its shipping lanes, and its vital natural resources such as oil and gas. Also, both viewed the other gaining access to these resources as a direct threat to regional economic stability and would pave the way to global military dominance. To the states and countries of the Middle East, the US and USSR were sources of vast wealth and technology, highly advanced weaponry, a means for bringing about a new Arab Nationalism through multilateral control of oil output and pricing, and a means to wage war with Israel.

Continue reading The price of oil