Who put the Y in technology?
I saw a great TED presentation by Simon Sinek recently - he talked about how great leaders can inspire action in their troops by looking at the ‘What, How and Why’ paradigm.
He believes that, generally, companies who focus more on what they do and how they do it (and then expect you to buy their products and services purely on that basis), don’t reach customers nearly as well as those who focus more on the ‘why?’
The companies that stand out, like Apple and Microsoft, always start out with ‘why’ (why they are releasing this update or new software) and also talk about their beliefs in everything that they do; their passion for technology really comes across.
The technology and business blogs that I’ve read over the years are mostly about the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ – which is great when you’re trying to find specific information such as how to setup the SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn for example.
In that instance I’m pretty sure people don’t want to plough through multiple explanations about why, like Marmite, they like it but other people hate it...
But generally when you’re speaking to customers I’ve found it’s always best to start out with the ‘why’. I know why I do what I do – it’s because I love it and a lot of my colleagues that I work with at TSG share the same view… I mean how can you not love IT?
Technology is everywhere, even the smallest microchip in your washing machine has more power than the technology used to put a man on the moon!
To receive a challenge from a customer, pull out all the stops to meet their timeframe and budget, see it go live, and then seeing the customer benefit from all the work that has been done is one of the best feelings you can get. I truly believe that you have to be passionate about what you do as this makes for a better customer experience.
Why, why, why (Delilah)
Those people that know me will often hear me asking ‘why?’, in fact at times it can sound like I’m about to break into a Tom Jones song…
The reason I question things is because quite often you can get caught up in creating some awesome piece of software or in putting together, say, Apache on Linux with Sage CRM or Sage 200, and forget to query the rationale behind what you’re doing, and whether you should be doing it in the first place.
There's no worse feeling than when a new piece of technology comes out and gets used in a production environment just because it seems cool… and then goes down more times than a bouncy castle (the old adage leading edge not bleeding edge springs to mind and has always served me well...) It has to meet a specific need, otherwise it’s just technology for the sake of technology – never something I would advocate.
I generally find that the phrase ‘Keep it Simple Stupid’ is always helpful. Again if you take a look at a company like Apple you’ll find this at the core of their beliefs. The iPad and iPhone are brilliant examples of this (they have just one button after all!)
I remember when my niece was about 7 years old when she picked up my iPad and started to use it like it was second nature, and that’s how software and business systems should be. Beliefs.
I hate seeing overcomplicated systems; generally there is no need for a single part to be so complex that only Einstein understands it.
Be a superhero
The final reason that I do what I do, is because I can… now that may sound quite a bold thing to say but it’s not meant to be egotistical.
Helping a customer out of a sticky situation can be one of the most rewarding and exhilarating experiences you can get, and is in abundance in the industry I work in.
So as you can see I work in the technology and services industry because I love it, because I can do it and because it gives me the chance to be a superhero to someone!