Ted Dziuba is a senior engineer at eBay, which acquired his startup in 2010. He’s also an excellent writer.
Dziuba recently wrote a post telling the story of how he went to Las Vegas and got a life lesson about working from the bartender.
Dziuba and his buddy are sophisticated bourbon drinkers, and after they sat down at the bar, they got into a long conversation with Max, the bartender, about Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon Whiskey — “the best Bourbon in the world.”
Dziuba and his pal then watched Max make a drink that actually uses smoke as an ingredient.
Watching Max prepare this drink was almost as amazing as the drink itself – he fired a piece of charcoal – charcoal from the inside of a bourbon cask – with a propane torch and covered it with the glass as it smoked, some of the residue remaining on the inside of the glass.
A little while after Max finished making this drink, a very different kind of customer from Dziuba and his pal showed up at the bar.
Dziuba says this customer was “a Bro, sunglasses-on-indoors, hat-sideways, popped-collar and all.”
The Bro ordered a “Coke and Captain.”
Max made one.
After, Dziuba asked Max how he feels about making a Coke and Captain for “a Bro.”
This is when Max dropped a life lesson on Dziuba.
He said: “No, it doesn’t bother me. If the customer orders Pappy and can talk about fine whiskey, I’ll pour Pappy and talk about fine whiskey. But if the customer orders a Captain and Coke, I’ll make the best Captain and Coke I can.”
For Dziuba, a professional coder, the life lesson was a reminder that he shouldn’t be so snooty about which languages he programs in. He may like working in Python better, but sometimes the order is for Java. When it is, he should do the best he can.
But the lesson applies well beyond coding, obviously.
Sure, you may rather talk about fine bourbon and make cocktails with smoke in them all day. But if the customer orders a Captain and Coke, make the best Captain and Coke you can — and you’re better off if you try to find pleasure in that.