Of interest: Jack Palance and the “one thing”

Jack Palance passed away, and that is a real passing on many levels.

Briefly, I’ll mention one anedote that I recall more often to people, one item that I think mention most often.

Yes, it’s the “one thing” from City Slickers. OK, sounds trivial, but stick with me for a second. In the movie, Mr. Palance’s character mentions that there is “One Thing” that really matters in life. It starts with Palance asking Billy Crystal, “Do you know what the secret to life is?”

“No, what?”

Palance answers: “One thing, just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean sh*#.”

Crystal looks puzzled and asks, “That’s great, but what’s the one thing?”

“That’s what you’ve got to figure out.”

That one thing for each of us is to find out is that thing that drives us, our passion. That singular focus is really important, and it’s something that I often see in so many people in our industry, people involved in work outside their office (with our family, kid’s school, charities and friends).

I saw it this week walking through building 26, as we closed on Vista RTM. I saw it in people in the buildings where much of the Office team works last week. I saw it in the Xbox and Zune teams this week as we near the holidays. It’s all over… in MSN/Live, MBS, SQL, Longhorn Server, MS hardware (ooh, I want one of those new mice), online services and devices (I love my jasjar and my wife should enjoy the new Dash). It’s everywhere. I saw it this week with a new bunch of employees going through orientation (our “MS101” program which is so well done), new employees that were excited to be at our company to make a difference.

People are truly passionate about their work and that in itself is exciting. They’re truly interested in getting our products into the hands of customers and partners, to get their feedback and work on improving the products. They’re focused on making sure that we have the most satisfied customers out there. Over the next year we’ll release an incredible number of products, and it is really an exciting time to be not only here at a company that is driving so many different products, but also being one of the consumers at home and at our office (as we eat our own dogfood) looking forward to the new innovations and releases. I know that it won’t be all smooth sailing – we anticipate that there will be both satisfied and… well.. less than satisfied customers. But from what I’ve seen and experienced so far, the products are solid and the new things slated in the months to come are really exciting.

For me, the “one thing” at work is to make sure our product teams have what they need in their effort and focus on improving the customer and partner experience across the board. I work hard on my “one thing” focus at home on my family and friends. Figure that out the “one thing” for yourself and do it.

Have a good weekend.

One reply on “Of interest: Jack Palance and the “one thing””

My email is REDACTED.

I can’t post to the MSDN forums because the site has so many problems.

Can you please explain to me why the program below doesn’t work?

The program compiles fine, but I get “WINVER not defined. Defaulting to 0x0502 (Windows Server 2003)” during the compile.

I am using MS Visual Studio Prof 2005.

Thank you.

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