Monthly Archives: August 2012


Since 2010, I’ve been working for a small, privately held company located in Redwood City named “Silver Spring Networks”.  I was drawn to the company because of its compelling use of networking technology to address one of mankind’s greatest challenges – making energy utilization more efficient. These are the folks behind what are now known as “smart meters” and the “smart grid.” And this is a company that clearly punches above its weight. With only about 650 employees, Silver Spring has already successfully deployed over 12 million networked endpoints (or meters) around the globe.

For me, the last two years have been a wonderful ride as I learned about the complexity of the global energy market and supported Silver Spring’s growth and new product releases. And, along the way, I met some truly brilliant people and made some very good friends.

But, a few months ago, I received a call from a very persuasive recruiter about a role at Adobe Systems located in San Jose.  Adobe is one of Silicon Valley’s legendary companies with a history of  strong innovation, spawning products like Postscript, PDF, Flash, Photoshop, Acrobat, Adobe Creative Suite, Adobe Digital Marketing Suite, and many, many, others.  It’s a global company with over 10,000 employees and a strong corporate culture and values. As I went through the interview process, I found the opportunity too compelling to resist.

So, yesterday was my last day at Silver Spring. When I arrived home my daughter could see it had been a tough one. She asked me how it went and I shared with her how I was feeling. She then asked if Adobe had announced my new role and I explained that the company had issued a press release that afternoon.  As we were talking I could see her doing an internet search until she located the release online. As she silently read it, I supposed she would be proud of her father and say something complementary.

She finished reading, looked up from her laptop and said:

“You know the part where they describe you as an ‘industry veteran'”?

“Yes, I saw that.”

“That means you’re old.”

Which sums up nicely why it is easy to stay grounded in the Dillon household.


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The Name Game

We know a wonderful couple that live in the City.  They could be poster children for San Francisco chic – handsome, young, urban, successful. Living in the Sunset District, a few blocks from Golden Gate Park, they seem to know every event, restaurant, bar, gallery, and museum. Black clothing predominates their wardrobe – as well as skinny ties and skinny jeans.

And, they have decided to trade it all for diapers, car seats, strollers, and portable playpens.

Yep, they’re pregnant.

They now face the biggest challenge of their marriage. It’s not daycare or whether to breastfeed. Nor is it finding the right pediatrician or where the child will attend school. No, it’s not any of these. Instead, it’s what to name the child.

I speak from experience.

When my wife was pregnant with our first child, I excitedly offered a few names that I thought would be perfect.

“How about Mary Ann, if it’s a girl?”


“Why not? It’s a lovely name.”

“I don’t like it.”


“I just don’t.”

“That’s not a very helpful response.”

“It was the name of your girlfriend.”

“What? Are you kidding?”

“Well, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, it was the name of my girlfriend. My girlfriend in the FIRST GRADE! A person I haven’t seen in twenty years.”

“I don’t care. I know you would be thinking of her whenever you look at our daughter.”

It was then that I discovered that hormones create their own unique form of logic – one inscrutable to husbands.

Using my child’s name to pay homage to my favorite author (“Dylan Thomas”), guitar player (“The Edge”) or rock star (“Springsteen”) were similarly rejected. (On reflection, she was probably right about this.)

Ultimately, we ended up with a more Democratic process. We each prepared our own list of girl and boy names. Then on an appointed evening, we enjoyed a glass of wine, giggled at our good fortune and took turns striking names off the other’s list until just four were left.

Then my wife chose whatever name she wanted.

Hoping to make the process easier for our friends – we will call them “the Bennetts” – I enlisted my family to come up with suggestions.

These include:

Boy Names:  Buck, Finn, Bruce, Busta Rhymes, Oliver, Maverick, Braveheart, Hudson and Hayden.

Girl Names: Samantha, Maddy, Sarah, Maggie, Ciara, Emily, Gaga, Mia, Rachel and Zooey.

Of course, “Mike” is always a great name.

If you’ve got suggestions for “Baby Bennett”, please post them below.


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