How Will You (Really) Measure Your Life?

David Powell

It was supposed to be a conversation about infrastructure management and monetizing cloud workloads. Instead, new LogicMonitor GM David Powell and I got sidetracked on family talk. His kids. My kids. Their approaching leap to college.

Powell appears to have the best of both worlds with his new job. After a successful run at TekLinks -- the well-known MSP and CSP -- he'll now build out LogicMonitor's service provider business. The twist? When he's not traveling for business, Powell will be working from home in Birmingham, Alabama. He and his wife have two teenagers, one of whom is on the brink of college. My wife and I are in a similar boat -- with two sons heading to college in the next couple of years, and a third one not so far behind...

Sure, Powell has chased -- and achieved -- many technology dreams. But if you listen to him, you'll discover that work is an enabler for his true passion: His family. During Autotask Community Live 2016 today, we grabbed a Coke Zero and Diet Coke, then we compared notes on work, life and the journey so far.

You Gotta Read This...

That's when Powell mentioned "How Will You Measure Your Life?" -- a book from best-selling author Clayton M. Christensen. You may remember another hit from Christensen -- "The Innovator's Dilemma." The seeds for "How Will You Measure Your Life?" were planted around 2010, when Christensen wrote this article for Harvard Business Review. In it, Christensen posed some quick questions -- and answers:

"How can I be happy in my career? How can I be sure that my relationship with my family is an enduring source of happiness? And how can I live my life with integrity?

The answer to the first question comes from Frederick Herzberg’s assertion that the most powerful motivator isn’t money; it’s the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute, and be recognized. That’s why management, if practiced well, can be the noblest of occupations; no others offer as many ways to help people find those opportunities. It isn’t about buying, selling, and investing in companies, as many think.

The principles of resource allocation can help people attain happiness at home. If not managed masterfully, what emerges from a firm’s resource allocation process can be very different from the strategy management intended to follow. That’s true in life too: If you’re not guided by a clear sense of purpose, you’re likely to fritter away your time and energy on obtaining the most tangible, short-term signs of achievement, not what’s really important to you."

Familiar Themes

I gotta concede. I only started reading the book about 15 minutes ago. There are some parallels to Start With Why -- and my own quest to find my 'why'. For the most part, I've had a clear sense of purpose for about the past five years or so. But as my own kids age, my purpose grows clearer... and stronger.

Close your laptop. Turn off the smartphone. Take a walk around your house. Chances are, your purpose lives under the same roof as you. How will I measure my own life? That will require some more contemplation. In the meantime, at least my purpose is clear.

Thanks for the Diet Coke, David. And the conversation...

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.