A strategy? From Cleveland?

Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported a strategy I had not considered in letting all of these free agents walk. The Browns, namely, are trying to get compensatory draft picks for losing free agents, and only targeting players who were cut (and thus cost no pick). Tramon Williams might cost Cleveland a pick, but they’d still be at +3 in terms of bonus picks.

I actually feel a little better about Cleveland’s inactivity now. I think Farmer’s been a very solid drafter. Most of his first draft has already made an impact on the roster. Just because Justin Gilbert isn’t immediately Joe Haden 2.0 or because Cleveland fans want to string up Johnny Manziel for seven freakin’ quarters doesn’t mean those picks won’t turn out too.


Bills Might Sign Clay

Buffalo has offered a small country to Charles Clay, setting him up a 5-year, $38 million offer with $20 million guaranteed.  Clay signed the offer, and now the Dolphins have 5 days to match.

Buffalo’s strategy looks to be overpaying for a good pass-catching tight end.  If they didn’t offer a lot, the Dolphins could keep him around, but with this offer, there’s almost no way Miami can match, especially after signing Jordan Cameron.

I’m generally in favor of this deal.  Buffalo has needed a receiving tight end for years, and this now gives whichever quarterback gets the reins a number of short- and intermediate-range options in Shady McCoy, Clay (if the Dolphins do not match), Percy Harvin, Sammy Watkins, and Bryce Brown.  If the offensive line can hold long enough for a quarterback to get the ball out, somebody should be open.  Last year, the team didn’t have many offensive options outside of Watkins, as CJ Spiller was completely mishandled, Scott Chandler’s talents as a tight end begin and end with “is really tall,” and the rest of the wide receivers were somewhere between “meh” (Chris Hogan, Robert Woods) and awful (Mike Williams).

Earning The Right To Say “No”

I’m a little late to the party here, but Grant Fritchey had an interesting post about DBAs being auto-naysayers.  Let me preface this by saying that I agree with Fritchey and I believe he would agree with me.  Our difference here is more in tone than content.

I believe that protecting the data is a data professional’s most important job.  These are people who have specialized in methods of data storage and access which most developers want to ignore, and I like developers who freely admit that they don’t want to deal with this stuff; it lets them specialize in other techniques and technologies and work with me to figure out the best way to collect and retrieve what they need when they need it.

There are three important words in the paragraph above:  “work with me.”  In other words, data professionals need to work with UI professionals and web service professionals and guts-programming professionals and all other kinds of professionals to build products for which customers are willing to pay.  Protecting the data is vital within the constraint that the company needs to be able to deliver features and functionality that customers want.

Putting this in monetary terms, good ideas debit your psychic account, and saying “No” to people credits your account.  If you run out of cash in your psychic account, people stop listening to you and start trying to go around you.  What this means is not that you need to be a doormat.  Instead, I draw three conclusions from this:

  1. Build up your psychic account.  You do this by making processes faster, getting difficult reports out, and generally getting off your lazy butt and doing work.  Show that you’re improving your code base, delivering products, and not just acting like an anchor.  Show that you can work with developers, with operations, with management.
  2. Say “No” when you really mean it.  People who are not data professionals (should) look to you for advice and understanding.  They will often have naive or incorrect understandings of how things work.  Sometimes, these ideas are terrible.  Shoot them down.
  3. Try to have an alternative when you say “No” to someone.  That psychic credit isn’t nearly as steep when you say “No, we can’t do X because of reasons A, B, and C.  Instead, we can do Y, which will get you the same result, but will reduce database load by 40% and prevent this from blocking ETL process Z.”  You don’t always need an alternative, but it certainly helps.

It’s easy to fall back on “No” as the automatic answer, and that’s generally the wrong answer.