Learning From Experience

Intel Booth at 2008 Microsoft TechEd.

Image via Wikipedia

School is mostly bullshit. The only way you learn things is by doing things. Real things. Things that have consequences and things that have rewards. A “C” on some school paper isn’t really a consequence, and an “A” isn’t really a reward.

A consequence is losing money on a sunk venture.

A consequence is damaging a good relationship on a failed project.

A reward is turning an idea into a reality.

A reward is getting recognition for some meaningful contribution to a meaningful endeavor.

When I was in high school I had the privilege of working for a person who threw me into the fire and showed me first hand what consequences and rewards, in the business world, were all about.  That person was Marc Harrison, President of a company called Silicon-East Inc which is a small, very technical and very experienced hands on IT firm.

On day one, Marc had me building computers. Start to finish. From hardware assembly to software installation. Up until that point, my experience with PC’s ranged from basic MS Dos to Sim City guru. And before I knew it, I was building, installing and repairing hundreds of computers and shortly thereafter, I was doing the same with servers, laptops and networks. I was on the phone daily with folks from Intel and Microsoft and attended many, many conferences including Intel Channel Partner Conferences and the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

At a relatively young age I learned what consequences and rewards meant.

I learned that a consequence is incorrectly building someone’s computer or network  and seriously damaging their business.

I learned that a consequence is incorrectly invoicing a customer and losing hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars.

I also learned however, that a reward is making someone’s day easier by educating and selling that person on new technologies.

I learned that a reward is having the respect and endorsement to represent a company at events and conferences nationwide, even if only 15 years old, and flying solo.

Most importantly, I learned that the only way to really learn anything is by doing. Experience matters most.

Thanks Marc.

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