High Performance everywhere
I started writing High Performance Web Sites in 2006. I got the idea for the title from High Performance MySQL by Jeremy Zawodny. I had lunch with Jeremy before starting my book and asked if it was okay to borrow the “High Performance” moniker, to which he immediately agreed. Jeremy also gave me advice on becoming an author, including an introduction to Andy Oram, the fantastic editor for both Jeremy and my books.
I suggested to O’Reilly that they create a series of “High Performance” computer programming books. Although this wasn’t adopted explicitly, there have been several O’Reilly books that use this naming convention:
- High Performance Computing – 1998(!)
- High Performance MySQL – 2004
- High Performance Linux Clusters – 2004
- High Performance Web Sites – 2007
- High Performance Python – 2009
I’d love to see other High Performance topics including mobile, PHP, node.js, CSS, video, and graphics.
The point is: I think about “High Performance” a lot.
During my summer travels I’ve noticed the use of “High Performance” is getting wider adoption. This first struck me in an Accenture billboard at the airport. Accenture has an entire ad campaign based on the slogan “High Performance. Delivered.”. They even have TV commercials with Tiger Woods, reef predators, triathlons, and analytics.
On the plane I saw an ad in Stanford Magazine for the Graduate School of Business, “Turn High Potential into High Performance”. The ad is for an executive leadership program called Analysis to Action highlighting the need for critical analytical thinking tools.
Given that we’re in the middle of the Summer Olympics the most exciting High Performance reference was in Wired’s article, One One-Hundredth of a Second Faster: Building Better Olympic Athletes. The article itself is intriguing, discussing the role of technology in athletic competition. What really caught my eye was the mention of two people with the title of Director of High Performance:
- Andy Walshe, former US Ski Team sports science director, is Red Bull’s Director of High Performance. (Red Bull sponsors Lolo Jones to the tune of 22 scientists and technicians with 40 motion-capture cameras.)
- Peter Vint is Director of High Performance for the US Olympic Committee.
Given that Velocity Europe 2012 is being held in London (Oct 2-4) I’m trying to contact Andy and Peter to see if they’d like to deliver a keynote address. (If you know either of them please contact me to help make an introduction.) Although athletic performance and web performance are different disciplines, they have in common the process of defining a success function, gathering metrics, and analyzing data to identify best practices for optimizing performance. In both worlds hundredths of a second can make the difference between success and failure.