Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Hanging with the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama has been in Sun Valley for a few days. We felt like it might have been a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear a Nobel Peace Prize winner speak so we went and heard him speak with our daughter yesterday at the event focused on children. His talk was fairly short (see recap below) but the overall event was inspiring as they highlighted what various kids from around the state were doing to demonstrate the main focus of the visit – demonstrating compassion. One of the fun aspects of the event was they asked for kids to volunteer their own ideas of how to demonstrate compassion. As a proud dad I can say she had more poise than most of the high schoolers when speaking in front of 8,000 people. Here’s what she had to say -- "When people are mean, be nice back." I don't remember many people at Microsoft keeping those words in mind when I was there ;-}

The Dalai Lama started speaking in Tibetan (with a translator) but ended up doing most of his speech in English and only needed occasional help from his translator. He has quite a good sense of humor and has very unique, almost child-like mannerisms. One of the quotes from the official website of his visit is interesting to think about in the context of business (go to the website for more quotes). Perhaps that's what Sergey & Larry mean when they say "do no evil".

There are two types of competitive behavior. One is a sense of competition because you want to be at the top. You create obstacles and harm someone. That competition is negative. But there is a positive kind of competition which benefits the individual, the competitors, and the economy. Let your competitors also grow, without any sense of harming them.

The articles below recap the event if you are interested in more details.

One thing I heard a lot when we decided to move from Seattle to Sun Valley was "aren't you going to miss the cultural aspects of being in a city?" The funny thing is I've seen the Dalai Lama, countless symphonies with world-class musicians, jazz groups from all over the world, Olympic podium figure skaters doing their Turin 2006 Olympic programs in seats at a distance that would cost thousands at the Olympics not to mention seeing various Emmy/Oscar winning actors. That doesn't even include what I'm going to miss when I'm attending a Sarbanes-Oxley conference -- e.g., the Hemingway festival. The biggest difference is the hassle-factor in the city (traffic, parking, commute time, lines, etc.) in attending events -- we found it so much higher in Seattle that we weren't able to attend most of what was available.

Meanwhile, the impact on my work has been mostly positive. I'm busier than I've been in a number of years and certainly the most since I left Microsoft. One benefit of being away from a traditional office environment most of the time is I have nearly 2 hours back per day in commute time and I'm able to be super focused. How can you not be inspired when you look out your office window at this in the Fall and this in the Winter?

No comments: