Since 1990 – and even before during my younger years, I’ve been deeply involved in the evolving world of technology. As a boy I remember going to work with my Dad in Los Angeles and Long Beach running punch cards and doing BoM data entry into IBM’s System38 MRP. I hated it. I hated the noise of the reels, the punch card readers, the A/C units, the green hue of the CRT Terminals, and the LOUD shrieks of the IBM DotMatrix printers that all of BoM’s were printed on. I did however, LOVE that you could print an ‘image’ of Abraham Lincoln or George Washington out of letters! I mean how cool was that?
Later, as a youth my curiosity started to pique when Dad started dialing into work with his modem and then discovering I could use that modem to dial into different BBS systems – not all for honorable purposes
Fast forward to the magic era of the evolution of IP, it’s unspoken determination to unseat the inefficient protocol IPX, connectivity via Frame-Relay networks and the advent of [more] affordable enterprise-grade routers from 3Com and Cisco. I got to participate all in during this evolution in every step of the way. I was fascinated at the access to information and knowledge that The Internet could provide and became convinced that eventually we’d grow impatient with static websites – just like our forefathers grew tired of printing presses and the static nature of the data on each plate and subsequent page.
I yearned for the day (and still do) when tech would stop running my life but start to make it easier/free-er. I wanted to walk into the house and have it warmed or cooled before arriving, instantly know what I wanted for dinner, read my email to me, and propose casual reading to relax my mind a little.
Well folks, we’re almost there. Yet so far away at the same time. At the time of this writing I see 51 devices on my home network. The fact that I know how to log on to do that is 1. Embarrassing and 2. Ridiculous. I hasten to add however that I choose to know how simply because I’ve wanted to educate myself on what it takes to accomplish the dream outlined in the former paragraph.
On top of those curiosities and tinkerings, I’m an executive in the tech world (I know, HUGE surprise) with the fun job of exploring, proposing, and driving business development and partnering opportunities for my company(ies). One of the skills needed to be effective – I mean REALLY effective – a friend of mine, and mentor to this discipline turned me onto is called strategic “Scenario Planning”. Peter Schwartz is one of the main proliferators of this ideologies and defined a well thought out approach to creating, testing, and modifying strategic scenarios.
In the last 3 companies I’ve been involved in, we’ve been able to influence some rather major changes and even some really minor ones. Scenarios give you the ability to ‘360’ a problem/idea/concept and poke holes in it. As one gets better at them, the more holes one will find and the less complacent one becomes during the data gathering part that comes prior to building scenarios. To me, this is the most wonderful part of understanding my world through the lens I choose to view it. It is, to gather as much data from as many sources around me, sift through it, toss the garbage, consider the other ‘stuff’, and file it away for the inevitable time when creativity and knowledge come together to coalesce into ideas for scenarios that are ready to be tested.
Once you start living in this mindset, you can’t turn it off! I grew up with and in tech. All in. I love the idea that tech can make our lives richer (I’m not referring to money), smarter, give us time for things that REAlLY matter, and give us access to opportunities that we otherwise wouldn’t have. More on this in a blog entry some time down the road.
Best and thanks for sticking with this all the way through all ~700 words!