Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Time To Be Thankful

I really enjoy this Thanksgiving / Christmas / New Year's time of year, as it provides some time off from work to appreciate some of the smaller stuff and take your bearings.

So, I'd like to take a moment and thank the folks who work diligently, without much credit or fanfare, helping make this thing we call "society" work.

1.  Car safety engineers.  A while ago, I got in a car accident.  This was my car:

This picture was taken from the junkyard, well after the accident.  Multiple airbags deployed, two cars totalled (including mine), a third was seriously dented, and everyone walked away from it.  I think that's pretty amazing, and would like to extend a heartfelt "thank you" to all the engineers out there who carefully consider accident scenarios in the design of their cars.  Wow.

2.  All the folks at Amazon's Fulfillment Centers who dutifully take our orders.
Amazon fulfillment center.  Click for YouTube video of how it all works.

Amazon does crazy, crazy amounts of business: on the Monday after Thanksgiving, Amazon sold more than 158 items per second.  Actually selling that much stuff is one impressive feat; I think an even more impressive feat (logistically) is shipping and tracking all that stuff.  So, my hat is off to the folks who set that up, and my hat is off doubly so for the people who worked hard to fulfill all our orders.  They don't get enough credit.

3.  The software engineers and hardware techs who were able to successfully absorb the impact of 6.8 million devices being activated on Christmas Day.  Happily, I can count myself among those 6.8 million, but you don't survive that kind of hit on your network without a lot of forethought and intelligence.   

About a quarter of a billion apps were downloaded on Christmas, which is twice the normal load in December and three times what was downloaded last year.  So, a profound thank you to the network administrators and people who kept the servers humming, even under a crushing load like that on Christmas.

The list could go on and on: police officers, radio and TV engineers, security guards at important places, mail delivery folks (UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL, etc.) ... The fact is, there are a tremendous number of unsung heroes who quietly but determinedly go about their business, ensuring that the rest of us can have safe and happy holidays.  Society doesn't just run automatically; it works through the hard work and dedication of millions of folks.

Thanks to all of you for making our society work.  Here's to best wishes for a safe and prosperous 2012.

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