Be a Leader

What is leadership? It must be important. Everyone’s looking for it. We have a never-ending supply of books, articles, and conferences on the subject. But is there a simple answer? I confess, I don’t have one. I won’t pretend to be the expert in leadership, but I am a student of it, and it is amazing what you learn on your trips around the sun. I think we sometimes equate leadership to popularity or fame. The loudest voice may be identified as a leader, but is it, really? Some say leadership is in your DNA. You are born with it. Some say, it is thrust upon you by your circumstances or perhaps your training. I don’t dismiss that, but I also think it is bigger and broader than that.

I believe anyone can be a leader. Leadership is not about rank or a journey to the top. It’s not about power. It’s not about entitlement, position, or authority. No, instead, leadership is about caring for others. It is about stewardship, it is about nurturing, supporting, and shepherding the world’s greatest treasure: human beings. Our family. People. The most important thing on planet earth.

While people are brilliant, creative, and passionate, we are also complex and messy. We make mistakes. We trip, we stumble, we sometimes lose hope. We need humble leaders to inspire, encourage, and coach us. They help us see beyond ourselves. They help us look over the horizon and face the unknown. They nudge, empower, care for, and benefit us more than themselves. We model them, respect them, trust them, and follow them. They are true guides, true servants, and true leaders. The world needs more leaders. 

Now it’s your turn. Be a leader. I believe in everyone is a spark, an empathetic guide inside seeking to emerge and help our fellow travelers along the way. Let it out. Look for souls that need help. Dream into their lives as much as your own. Take them to the places they always wanted to go, but never had the ambition to try. Challenge them. Care for them. Encourage them. Be a leader.

Four Keys to Happiness

It is undeniable. Some people aren’t happy. In fact, I have heard that 6 out of 7 Dwarfs are not Happy. Sorry, sometimes I can’t help myself. 

All joking aside, are you happy? Do you feel content, satisfied, joyful and serene? Look, I get it. There are times we aren’t happy. Happiness is a complex and multifaceted concept that encompasses many psychological, emotional, spiritual, and social factors. It is a complex gradient that varies over time. That intricacy means it can be as hard to predict as weather in the Midwest and often, even more difficult to change. But don’t lose hope, it can be changed!

I’m not an expert on this subject, but I am a perpetual practitioner of happiness. I can’t help it. There is so much good to experience. Life is an incredible gift. It is packed with so many things to savor and enjoy. Every season of life opens a new chapter of surprises. These are meant to be enjoyed, not just survived. In my experience and studies, I have run across several keys to happiness. Here are four that I’m thinking about this week:

  • Hope – Something amazing is coming! I’m convinced that practicing optimism, focusing on positive aspects of our current and coming situations will help breathe life into those future realities. There is something magical and even transforming about faith. It changes us and begins to radiate out from us to others. It can even change the world. Be hopeful. Be optimistic.
  • Gratitude – There are few things in life that will provide an immediate return on investment. Thankfulness is one of them. With all your heart, express sincere gratitude to someone else, and watch what happens. You will feel it. Your brain will release neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, propelling you towards feelings of happiness and well-being. Wired into us is the need to be thankful. We are optimized for gratitude, yet we often fail to express it. Please, if you are reading this, stop right now and find someone you can appreciate. Express your gratitude. Notice how that changes things. And if you did that, thank you. And I mean that, with all my heart.
  • Engagement – Setting goals and pursuing activities that align with your values, interests, and talents will unlock overall well-being and happiness. You have a purpose. Your life will make an impact. Every human life is immensely valuable and precious. You are holding yours in your hands. What will you do with it? One of life’s greatest joys is being who you were made to be. You are unique and you are needed. You were made to be the part you play in this grand composition of the universe. Play your role and engage in the activities made for you, the hard work and fun work, with all your heart and mind. Are you engaged? If not, let’s talk!
  • Focus – Practice mindfulness. Be present and absorbed in the current moment. Each day is full of everlasting moments. Like Easter eggs, they are hidden all around us. We can walk right by them and miss some of life’s greatest joys. Pause, stoop down and pick up each moment. Focus on it, examine it, and savor it. Isn’t it wonderful? Let the detail and intricacy wash over you. Meditate on this moment and practice all the above. Be optimistic, thankful, and engaged. Don’t let this moment pass you by.

Happiness is a gradual, ongoing process. Setbacks will come. Don’t give up. Plant the seeds of hope, gratitude, engagement, and focus. The harvest of happiness will come soon enough.


Office with clutter and bookshelves full of books.

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I confess, I’m a hoarder. I have boxes full of junk that haven’t been visited in over 10 years. There are ancient RCA, S-Video, Coaxial, and even Apple 30-pin iPhone 4 cables, just in case I ever need them again. I have broken electronics and computer parts for the same reason. My nostalgic tendency means I also collect piles of mementos from trips, photos, and even birthday cards. I love physical books and have shelves packed full of them. My digital life is just as bad. In fact, I don’t think I have ever really deleted an app. I collect them like souvenirs. Are any of you like that too?

Clutter. I’m sitting at my desk today in awe of the piles of things around me. Books, magazines, post-it notes, half-completed forms, empty boxes, and some left-over décor from the holidays. I was about to comment on the several coffee mugs sitting on the desk, but that isn’t clutter, that is essential equipment for survival. But still, so much clutter.

My mind is full too. I have to-do lists, incomplete thoughts, spurious worries about implausible events, un-actionable regrets, doubts, and a collection of unhelpful grudges in the corner. My mind is full. Time to relive that embarrassing moment? Worry about something? Think about something you can’t take any action on right now? You might have forgotten it or left something behind, time to worry about it. My mind keeps sorting the useless junk, going back and forth, wondering if it can collect more. It’s like trains of thoughts going in circles. Stop! 

The mental clutter is a bit noisy at times, isn’t it? It can be overwhelming. Do you ever have that? If so, it’s time to clean house. Yes, it’s time for some Marie Kondo magic of tidying up. Go through the clutter… Start with what is around you. What can be tossed. What needs to be kept? Start with what is in reach in front of you. As the haze clears, expand to the office area or room you are in. Be careful, it may get away from you! Don’t try to do it all. After all, we still need to visit the most important place of all. The mind palace. Those trains in your mind that are doing circles around each other, tell them to stop. Look around. Can you do anything about that thought? If not, cast it aside. Wrap up those worries, regrets, and grudges. Pack them in tight, thank them for their better days and ship them off to the garbage. Sweep out the useless fears and self-doubt. Is it getting better? 

Distill, reduce, minimize, and simplify. Clutter happens. In fact, it seems to collect around us like dust with little or no effort. It takes energy to remove it, but happiness awaits! I encourage you to join me in spending a few minutes this week purging the clutter, taming the thoughts, and sweeping out the mess that saps our energy. Find that clarity. Enjoy it and appreciate it! Oh, and set a reminder to do this again next week.

Have a great week!

Turn up the Temperature of your Thinking!

How to Approach Problems with a Creative Twist

The kitchen sink wasn’t draining. The Super Bowl was about to start, and a pile of dishes and pre-game food prep was queued up on the counter. “Well, this is great,” I said to myself. I could hear SpongeBob commenting about the pre-game show. Yes, that’s right, we tuned in to Nickelodeon, as all sports enthusiasts would do.

Several years ago, I bought a drain cleaning machine to help clear roots out of our side yard area drain. It’s one of those drum type with a motor and a 75’ auger cable. It has paid for itself ten times over for things like this. I went to the garage and wheeled it to the super small clean out drain opening. I fed the cable into the drain and watched the sink start to slowly drain. As I have done in the past, I added a garden hose to increase the water pressure and ensure the line was clear. The sink was draining. The crisis was over. Well, or so I thought. As I began to pull the cable back out, something happened. It locked up. I tried pushing it back in, but it wouldn’t budge. I wanted to get a look, so I needed to pull the water hose out to see. Oh no! It was stuck too! I pushed, pulled, and even switched the auger direction. Nothing. Then it happened, water started backing up too and was spraying all over me. I felt like I was in one of those cartoon sitcoms where everything goes wrong. I started imagining if I just cut the hose if that would help, but then that would likely permanently clog the drain. I sat there on the back patio, staring at the problem, covered in drain goo.

Large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT are complex systems that use artificial intelligence to predict answers based on context. You provide a statement or question prompt, and it will attempt to answer it. It is like an elaborate function call. The input is the prompt. To derive the output, the model feeds the input into its neural net. The network produces a set of possibilities as to the “next word” (token). Some of those next word options can be equal or similar in probability. It randomly picks one of them. A model parameter that you can use to influence that randomness is called “temperature”. The higher the temperature, the more diverse and unpredictable the output. Using 0.7, as is the default for ChatGPT, provides the model with some creative freedom (including some hallucination). A setting of 0.0 will create nearly identical responses. Turning it up to 0.9 or even as high as 2.0 will produce pure creative output, possibly with little technical relevance.

I’m not a large language model, and even my intelligence may be suspect. At least that is what I was thinking, sitting there in the pile of goo. But maybe I just need to turn up the “temperature” on my thinking. I stopped for a minute and thought about those math problems that you just couldn’t solve. After 5 pages in, you were still unable to reach the conclusion. You were stuck. The only way to proceed was to reframe the problem itself. Start over. Pick a more improbable path and see where it takes you. That’s what I needed to do. I looked at my “stuck drain” problem and decided to turn it over. Literally. I twisted the hose and the cable together. Pop! I heard the cable unwind deep in the wall. It was unstuck and began draining again. And all in time to see the Super Bowl kickoff at Bikini Bottom. I mean, that is, after a shower.

Do you ever get stuck? Does that frustrating problem seem to have no solution? Well, turn up the “temperature” of your thinking! Reframe the problem and approach it from a completely new angle. Explore the less probable path and see if it unwinds the knot and sets the problem free.

Keep Growing

Keep Growing - Green plant growing in the glow of technological advancement.

What are your skills? I recently saw some research by IBM that suggests that general skills typically have a “shelf-life” of about 5 years. More critically, technical skills expire in about 2.5 years! Fundamentally that means that for us to stay relevant, we are always re-skilling, learning new things and mutating our skills to meet the fast-evolving landscape of technology. How does that feel to you? Exciting, exhilarating and well, maybe even a bit exhausting? I agree!

Constant change is the very nature of life and all of creation. Life and creative energy strive to grow against the gravity of the status-quo, branching and evolving to become more than it was before. Each generation breaks through the bedrock of normalcy and sends roots into the unknown and absorbs it, learns from it, and flourishes. Our generation is no different. Even today, we are on the verge of a vast shift in terms of technological change and disruption.

But there is a danger. Life yearns to become greater, yet our rival, death is in the shadows, lurking to devour us. Progress demands energy and determination, but it is difficult, and the burden can become heavy, sapping away our enthusiasm. There will be the temptation to stop, to stand still, or to give up. That negative propulsion tugs on us every day. But we have a choice. We can defy gravity. We can send our roots into the unchartered unknown, learn from it and grow. How do we do that?

Stay curious! Move forward, do new things, try new ideas, open new doors. What is current in tech? Explore it and learn about it. A world of endless possibilities lies ahead. We are made for this! To grow, to explore, to experiment, and to enjoy life and all creation. And yes, I know, we are but imperfect dust, stardust to be exact. But that stardust was reborn with a glorious purpose to shine and make a difference, to help each other, to learn, to build, and to grow into what has never been before.

The frontier awaits! Technology doesn’t stand still, it keeps moving, powered by human imagination and energy. Embrace the challenge and keep learning, keep growing.

Imagine 2029

Imagine it is 2029. Describe it to me. What is going on in your life, your family, your job and in the world? What were those amazing things you dreamed about in 2024 and did those dreams come true?

Five years ago, Gene Kim, a good friend and mentor of mine, challenged me to do a thought experiment. He asked me about my goals for 2024. I started off giving general aspirational goals around making a positive impact in the world, at work, supporting my team and my family. He dared me to get specific. He told me to imagine my future self 5 years from now. What would I be proud to have accomplished if it could be anything in the world? Write it down, he said, so you can pull them out in 2024 and compare your dreams to reality. It was so clarifying, so motivating and so powerful.

When I started this exercise in 2019, I confess, I thought some of my goals were audacious if not ridiculous. But as my friend challenged me, I wrote them down anyway.  Here is what I imagined in 2019 about my 2024 future:

  1. My team and I helped Disney deliver a large new guest delighting product that wouldn’t happen without our SRE efforts.
  2. I became an author of a book and several papers on leadership and using DevOps practices to accelerate business.
  3. My team and I partnered with our businesses to expand the impact of SRE and our SRE approach to toil reduction.
  4. I’m an inventor listed on a published patent and have several patents pending.
  5. My family and I enjoyed several vacations together, managed to stay out of debt and were able to fund college.
  6. I’m the maintainer for at least one Open-Source project with over 100 stars and an active community on GitHub.
  7. We updated our home with energy efficient windows, solar panels, and built a domestic robot to help our family at home.

Not all my dreams have come true. But many of them have. In fact, all but one! My robot is still a bunch of lines on a paper, a 3D printed arm and a pile of wires in the garage. Still, I can say with absolute certainty that I wouldn’t have accomplished even half of those things if I hadn’t listened to my wise friend and made note of my goals.

We hunger for a mission and objectives that we believe in. We prioritize time for what we think is important. State your mission. Define your objectives. Make those dreams come true, one step at a time. But it requires that first step… Imagine.

Are you ready? Let’s dream into 2029. Take a breath. Close your eyes and push out all other distractions. What will make you happy? What do you want your world to be like? After imagining that, open Notes or your favorite note taking tool with the title, “Goals for 2029” and write down 7 things. Do you believe in them? If so, save your dreams, revisit them every year or so and make them happen!

Imagination Realm

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination” – Albert Einstein

What are you going to be for this Halloween? For me, I think I’m going to be… out of candy! I don’t know who keeps munching down our supplies for tomorrow but we may need to make another run to the store.

Last Tuesday, my family and I took some visiting family down to Disneyland. Pumpkins were everywhere! Some of them were even walking around. Little Jedi Padawans, princesses and heroes. I absolutely adore these little ones. A tiny Rey ran up and gave a huge hug to the actual Rey cast member walking across Galaxy’s Edge. A two foot tall Jedi with his light saber, clung on to the leg of Mando struggling to walk through the market with Grogu. At Avengers Campus, a miniature Spider-Man ran with arms open wide towards his hero who had just appeared after flying through the air. The park was full of dreamers, decorated with capes, robes, hats and sabers. I saw Captain Marvel, Tinker Bell, Elsa, Jack, Little Mermaid and so many more…

Tomorrow is Halloween. Kids of all ages will become whoever they want to be. They will wrap themselves up in the wonderful world of imagination and make-believe. They will go on epic adventures, explore new worlds as their favorite character, and if all goes well, pick up some candy.

What will you be? This time of year reminds me of the power of imagination. It unlocks restrictions we place on ourselves and lets us explore alternatives. It would be good to have some of this fantasy magic throughout the year. Try on some new “what ifs” and “why nots” and see if you can gaze into the crystal ball of the future and imagine some new “what can be’s”. We propel ourselves and our human family forward when we step into the imagination realm. Dream it. Do it. The future awaits… and so does some candy.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!


I have a terrible memory. I get frustrated with myself when I can’t remember someone’s name. Worse, you know those login screens that prompt you for a number they text you? Ideally you should just be able to glance at it and then key in the number, right? Well, I sometimes have to look multiple times to get it right. It’s the same with dates, phone numbers and addresses. It’s embarrassing. I used to say, I have a photographic memory, but I’m always out of film. Sadly, that joke is about to run out of generational memory too.

How is your memory? Do you sometimes get “out of memory” errors when you try to learn something new? You’re not alone. If you are like me, you will find yourself leaning a lot more on notes and digital tools to help “remember.” I have lists for birthdays, groceries, food orders, clothes and gifts. This external memory storage is an incredible blessing. Now I just have to remember where I put the notes.

How do we remember? It turns out that we are made up of tiny little chatty organisms that love to talk to each other. They sit on our shoulders, at the apex of the human structure, behind our smile and the light of our eyes. We have about 100 billion of these little creatures. Their tiny arms reach out and connect with each other. With their dendrites they branch out and listen for incoming chatter from their neighbors. With their long axons arms, they pass along that information, ever the while adjusting that signal through the synaptic contacts. They subtlety change their connections, including adding brand new ones, in response to experiences or learnings, enabling them to form new memories and modify existing ones. Everything we experience through our senses is broken down into signals that are fed into this incredibly complex neighborhood of neurons, listening, adapting and signaling. This is how we remember. Sometimes, I wonder if my friendly neighborhood neurons are on holiday.

Artificial Intelligence seeks to replicate this incredibly complex learning ability through neural networks. Large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT, have had their massive networks trained on enormous amounts of textual data. Over time, that learning encodes into the digital representation of synaptic connections. Those “weights” are tuned so that given an input prompt signal, the output produces something that matches the desired result. The amount of memory that these can contain is incredible. You can ask questions about history, science, literature, law, technology and much more, and they will be able to answer you. All that knowledge gets compressed into the digital neural network as represented by virtual synaptic weights.

LLMs are often categorized by the number of synaptic “weights” they can adjust to gain this knowledge. They are called parameters. You can run a 7 billion parameter model on your home computer and it will impress you with its vast knowledge and proficiency. It even has a command of multiple human and computer languages. The most impressive models like ChatGPT have 175 billion parameters and far exceed the capability of the smaller ones. It contains the knowledge and ability to pass some of the most advanced and rigorous exams.

Sit down for a minute. I’m going to tell you something that may blow your mind. Guess how many synaptic connections we have sitting on our shoulders? 100 trillion! That’s right, 1000 times greater than the current LLMs that seem to know everything. But that is just the start. Our brain is capable of forming new connections, increasing the number of parameters in real time. Some suggest it could reach over a quadrillion connections. The brain adapts. It grows. It can reorganize and form new synaptic connections in response to our experiences and learning. For example, when you learn a new skill or acquire new knowledge, the brain can create new synaptic connections to store that information. So answer me this, tell me again why I can’t remember my phone number?

Do you understand how amazing you are? I mean, really. You have an incredible ability to learn new skills and store knowledge. If you manage to learn everything your head can store, the brain will grow new storage! This biological wonder that we embody is infinitely capable of onboarding new information, new skill, new knowledge, new wisdom. Think for a minute. What is it that you want to learn? Go learn it! You have the capability. Use it. Practice expanding your brain. Listen. Look. Read. Think. Learn. You are amazing! Don’t forget it!


What is your dream?

As a kid I would dream of being a scientist and working in outer space. Like many of my generation, I was inspired by Star Wars. I loved the Jedi and fancied being one myself, but I was absolutely fascinated with spacecraft. I would spend hours in grade school drawing spaceships and orbital space stations while the rest of the class did their lessons. I wasn’t alone. My friends were all enamored with Star Wars and epic adventures. Then I saw the movie TRON. A new passion formed. I wanted a computer so bad I could taste it!

TRON inspired me. I dreamed of creating virtual worlds my programs could live in. I even imagined living in the Grid myself. In fact, I would ride a light cycle all the way to school. To be fair, everyone else just saw an old beat-up BMX bike, but for me, I was fighting for the users. I wrote my first real program in 7th grade. No surprise, it was a space game with flying sprites of rockets, asteroids, and invading aliens. I remember how incredible it felt to deliver that experience and hearing how others were enjoying it. I was a computer astronaut pushing bits around and manipulating the world through code. After college I worked as a civil engineer shaping the physical world through software. I still dreamed of creating fantasy worlds where my love of space, science and technology could collide. Then it happened.

It smelled like dirt and diesel. Large earth moving vehicles were roaring around us. Steel and concrete workers were busy shaping the terrain. We navigated across deep dirt ruts and board covered walkways, eventually making our way to a center area. Tall rock work spires pierced the sky all around us. Then I felt goosebumps. A grin shot across my face as we rounded a corner and suddenly before us was the Millennium Falcon. I couldn’t believe it! The terraforming of Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland was almost complete. It hit me. I was seeing my dream come true. We had spent the last several years helping craft the software pipelines and systems that would power this adventure. Soon guests of all ages would experience this fantastical journey into the world of Star Wars powered by technology, science, and imagination.

One hundred years ago, Walt Disney had a dream. He dreamed of a company that would inspire and entertain the world through the art of storytelling. It was a vision of a bright and hopeful future. A dream that would cherish and learn from the past but push boldly forward into the future. And it would require the most important thing of all. People. Artist, workers, Imagineers, cast members, and of course, guests. Today, 100 years after Walt and Roy Disney started the company, we keep moving forward, creating new ideas and inspiring others like we were inspired. Every day, we ship encouragement and delight to our fellow humans all over the world. It is what Walt envisioned. It is what we do. We are part of that magic. Walt’s dream continues because of all of you. With a little faith, some trust, and a bit of pixie dust, I’m convinced that we will continue to delight and surprise the world for years to come.

Congratulations, team! Let’s celebrate one hundred years of Disney magic, inspiration, and storytelling… and here’s to 100 years more!


“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong

July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first humans to ever set foot on the moon. But it almost didn’t happen and it almost ended in tragedy. As the Apollo 11 Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) was preparing to land on the moon, the onboard navigational computer started flashing a “1202” alarm. The crew had been meticulously following their checklist. Each step, nominal. But now, something was wrong. Abort? As the crew radioed in the situation to mission control, they could feel the adrenaline surge and anxiety rise.

For months, the crew, the nation and the world were anticipating this historic moment. It was one of the most heavily covered and widely watched events in history. An estimated 600 million people were watching worldwide. The mission had captured the imagination of people. Now, all of it was in jeopardy. “1202” alarm! The alarms kept going off. Each time the LEM guidance computer flashed that alarm, it would reboot and restart. Not good! I can almost feel that tension myself. This was a critical stage that would demand precision to guarantee the safe landing of the module on the treacherous moon’s surface below. Sounds like bad news, right? Would this require the mission to abort?

With millions of people, sitting on the edge of their seats, Mission Control finally responded. The mission would proceed. Relief! It turns out that this was a “known error” that NASA had seen many times before during simulation testing. The computer had a capacity of 2KB erasable memory and 16KB of fixed memory. The computer would run several concurrent programs related to navigation, all competing for the limited memory. If a program couldn’t allocate memory, the “1202” alarm would be raised and the system would reboot. At restart, the most important programs would start up again where they left off. Thankfully, the mission would proceed. Neil Armstrong would soon step off of the LEM and millions of people would hear him say those “one small step” historic words.

But the mission wasn’t over. The mission was to get them safely home as well. Unfortunately, while the astronauts were suiting up for their moon walk, they accidentally bumped into the button of a circuit breaker. It broke off. This switch controlled the power running the ascent engine, the one responsible for getting them off of the moon. Unless it could be fixed, they would be stranded on the moon. NASA and US President Nixon were preparing for the worse, drafting speeches to be given when their oxygen supply ran out. Thankfully, it wouldn’t be needed. Mission control didn’t have a solution, but Buzz Aldrin did. His background in mechanical engineering paid off! He looked at the small opening where the circuit breaker had been and realized he could manage to depress the breaker with a small felt-tip marker. He did and it worked! Mission control reported the circuit was closed. In my mind’s eye, I can’t help but play out that scenario. I imagine Buzz pushing in that pen and saying with confidence, “To Infinity and Beyond!”

Problems always happen. It isn’t a matter of “if” but “when”. What do we do to prepare for them? What do we do when they happen? The story above reminds me of the importance of preparation. The “1202” alarm could have killed the mission, but it didn’t because NASA had invested in time to play through the simulation many times. Seeing this exact alarm gave them confidence in the LEM computer’s ability to recover from this condition. Testing is important, not just to prove that something is ready for launch, but to build knowledge. The testing didn’t remove the alert, but gave the mission team a foundation of experience to make difficult decisions in the heat of the moment.

Not every possible condition can be tested or will be discovered during simulation. As the circuit breaker example highlights, creative problem solving is still needed. The Apollo mission is full of stories like this, but it isn’t alone. We need engineers. We need smart creatives who are capable of plotting solutions across seemingly impossible odds.

Hopefully you won’t find yourself stranded on the moon anytime soon, but I bet you could be running simulations for learning or plotting solutions to problems. You are engineers. You are creatives. You are critical to the mission! Thanks for all you do in helping making the impossible, possible, every day.

To infinity and beyond!



  • NASA – Aldrin on the LM footpad
  • NASA – Aldrin beside solar wind experiment