On The Road With Steve Barriault

Steve Barriault

June 15, 2015

People in the office know that I appreciate good food. And the road certainly gives me the opportunity to expand my culinary horizons.

Case in point: I am in Japan now, and I got the chance to have a few nice adventures. First, it is all about location. Take that place, for instance, just outside of Shimbashi station. I picked it because it struck me as typical Tokyo, which means ambiance, more than a bit cramped (but then the Japanese are so polite, even cramped feels comfortable!), and handwritten pieces of paper hanging all over the place explaining what is on the menu. And, hopefully, no English (a sure sign they may water down the experience because they think your stomach is somehow different than theirs). They tried to provide me an English menu, which had much more limited variety. I had none of it: just ordered from the "real" menu, and in Japanese (I need to practice). The result: a selection of sashimis and a bowl of noodle soup with clams with a ubiquitous "nama biru" (draft beer). Most delicious indeed!

Sometimes, that strategy may backfire, as you may not really know what you are asking for. For instance, if you cannot imagine eating a raw egg, you probably don't want what I just ate for breakfast (see first picture).  And similarly, if something that is moving is not that appetizing for you, you probably don't want to give this dish a try here is the link (account on our Web site required).

But then, you would be missing something. Both were quite delicious (I have been told the dish on the video is a delicacy). Just keep in mind, if it doesn't kill them, it won't kill you either. But then, a less risky alternative may be to bring a friend from that culture with you, a friend willing to introduce you to special dishes. That can also work and help you while you learn to stand on your own two feet.

Standard compliance is pretty much the same. I just met two prospects whom are leveraging their long experience in industrial automation into Medical and Avionics fields. All of them expressed concerns about what they need to do in order to ensure their projects are certified. This is wise. Validation activities in both industries can be quite complex, navigating these waters can at times be tricky, and especially if you don't know where the shoals are.

But then, a guide can help you explore that brave new world. At Vector Software, we are fortunate to count Vance Hilderman as a team member. Vance has years of experience in industrial standards, he is a top-notch expert in Avionics (DO-178B/C), Medical Devices (FDA, ISO 62304) and many more. He "eats and drinks" that stuff, and he has a knack for turning the most dried information into something, well, pretty entertaining during his classes (which he offers regularly all over the world). His group of certification wizards are currently helping lots of different companies ensuring their projects are delivered on time and on budget.

Exploring is exhilarating. But a helpful hand can sometimes make the experience even better. You just need the right amount of help. That is what good consulting does.

Alright. This trip will be travel-intensive. Heading for Shanghai, Hong Kong, South Korea and India, in that order. There is much to be done, and miles to be flown. Ready to go...