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You don't need to be an expert

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Andy Black

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#AndyTalks 016 - You don't need to be an expert

People typically underestimate the value they can add.

Often they feel they need to be an expert to help someone.

That's not the case.

In this video I talk about how I got started in my current business, before I'd even heard of AdWords.


(Transcription below.)
 

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TRANSCRIPTION

I find people typically underestimate the value they can add. The way we've been taught in schools and universities makes us think we have to be an expert.

Back in 2009 I was an IT consultant. I was trying to get out of being an IT consultant. I looked after databases, which is kind of back end boring stuff, but mission critical. But I always knew I was seen as a cost. I wanted to get into something a bit more sexy, like front end web development or something like that. Part of it was that when I was at a wedding or something, if anybody asked me what I did for a living, it was pretty damned boring to tell them I was a database administrator. How does it sound -- Oh, I can write some backup scripts for you. That's not very appealing, is it?

Anyway, because I know how I learn, I decided not to pick up a book and try and learn how to build websites. Instead I looked around at people I knew to see if there was anybody who needed help. I had a friend who was an electrician. This was 2009 so the economy was tanking and basically, all his work had dried up. Things were so bad, he had to hand his van back. This is a man with a wife and two kids and a baby on the way. A man who does electrical work for a living and he's having to hand his van back. That's the beginning of the end for him. Where does he go from there?

I remember talking to him and asking him how things were going. He just kind of looked me in the eye and he didn't say "bad" or anything like that, but I could tell he was staring into the abyss. So I wanted to help him. I thought he'd be a great project for me. "Project"... That's a bad word for it, isn't it?

My mission became -- help this guy get more work. Not build a website. I remember talking to him and saying that I was learning how to build a website. He bit my hand off down to my ankle. Snap decision.

Created the first site in Joomla! I found that pretty complicated. Then found WordPress; threw up a template; got his site up. He loved it, but it didn't get him any phone calls. I then got a book on SEO, search engine optimization, and got him ranked top for Kildare electrician, Kildare being the county we live in. He still had no phone calls though.

An AdWords voucher fell out of another book I was looking at. I created an account and threw the fifty Euros into it. Bid on things like -- electrician Kildare; Kildare electrician; Dublin electrician; wiring and rewiring and things like that. I remember being on a client site in their IT team and my phone rang and he'd rung to tell me, "Andy, Andy, I've had a phone call!". I was in a bit of a daze, to be honest. I stood up; I didn't even know I'd stood up. So I walked around with a phone to my ear, "What? You had a call?" I was delighted. Wow, it works! This is amazing. So you can imagine how he felt. "Andy, it works! It's working!" That month, he had a steady stream of leads and phone calls, enough to keep him afloat. Enough to give him hope. It was a happy ending to a story for my friend.

I'll go through a few of my AdWords learnings from that campaign another time. What's more important to realize is that my goal was not to learn how to build websites. It wasn't even to build a website. My goal wasn't to build a website. My goal was to help somebody I knew get more work. Didn't matter whether it was a Joomla! website, a WordPress website. Didn't matter what the theme was. It didn't matter whether I knew SEO. I'd never heard of AdWords until that voucher fell out of a book. I loaded it up; it started working; I concentrated on that.

If you want to start a business, don't think about starting a business. Don't think about growing a business. Just find somebody who needs help and then go and help them. You don't have to be an expert. He's an electrician. He assumed because I was in IT that I would be able to help him.

If I hadn't got beyond the "programming" in school, I might have said, "Well I better go on a course and learn how to create websites, a five day course. I probably should create a business card for my own business -- whatever that is. Probably should learn logo design and all that kind of stuff."

No. It's a lot simpler than that. Just help people. Help people. Everything else falls into place.
 

TheNextTrump

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What's more important to realize is that my goal was not to learn how to build websites. It wasn't even to build a website. My goal wasn't to build a website. My goal was to help somebody I knew get more work. Didn't matter whether it was a Joomla! website, a WordPress website. Didn't matter what the theme was. It didn't matter whether I knew SEO. I'd never heard of AdWords until that voucher fell out of a book. I loaded it up; it started working; I concentrated on that.
Thanks for sharing, I like the "learn as you go" mindset Andy.

No matter what TASK I'm trying to complete, I ALWAYS overload my self with 10 different obstacles that are a complete waste of time for the most part. Need to study this, practice this, watch this video, research tips on XXXX.

Distracting myself from GROWING MY BUSINESS, and replacing my time with LEARNING MY BUSINESS.

Enough LEARNING, more DOING.

Learn as I go, and have the faith it will all fall into place.
 

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Andy,

Thanks for making this video. It is a good reminder. I find myself falling in this trap of thinking I don't have anything to offer people until I get more life experience. I appreciate you explaining this truth in an easy to relate way through your video.

As far as your endeavor into making videos - kudos to you! As you know, starting is one of the hardest parts. I think your videos are good, but you could tweak some things to make them great. I'm not an expert, but as someone who has recently started making videos there's a few things I picked up on:

The message you are delivering carries valuable wisdom, however, I think you could be missing out on capturing viewers attention who don't know you by the format of your videos. The short, choppy clips felt awkward to watch from my perspective. I'm not sure if you do this intentionally or if your camera can only record short clips or you are editing down the footage to prevent rambling. Either way, try disconnecting the audio from the video footage and edit it together so the audio feels like it has no breaks. I'm not sure what editing software you use, but you can do this in Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro X.

Another tip, I would have the camera facing you the entire time you are speaking because the low quality, narrow shots didn't really create an interesting perspective of what you are shooting for me. This made it harder to listen to the message you were giving. I am assuming people watch your videos to hear what YOU have to say, not to see clips from your walk. You are the star of the video so make the majority of the clips feature the star.

Lastly, consider buying a DSLR camera! An entry level DSLR will make a world of difference for your videos. There is a bit of a learning curve, but once you start to learn how to use it, you won't be disappointed in buying one. I have a Canon Rebel T2i and it takes good video and they're pretty cheap nowadays ($200ish on eBay).

Thanks for all that you do here on the forum! I hope you find my advice helpful.

Blake
 
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Thanks for making this video. It is a good reminder. I find myself falling in this trap of thinking I don't have anything to offer people until I get more life experience. I appreciate you explaining this truth in an easy to relate way through your video.
Thanks for the feedback @BlakeRVA. I hope it helps.


As far as your endeavor into making videos - kudos to you! As you know, starting is one of the hardest parts. I think your videos are good, but you could tweak some things to make them great. I'm not an expert, but as someone who has recently started making videos there's a few things I picked up on:
THANK YOU for the feedback. It all helps me dial it in.

Here we go...


The message you are delivering carries valuable wisdom, however, I think you could be missing out on capturing viewers attention who don't know you by the format of your videos. The short, choppy clips felt awkward to watch from my perspective. I'm not sure if you do this intentionally or if your camera can only record short clips or you are editing down the footage to prevent rambling. Either way, try disconnecting the audio from the video footage and edit it together so the audio feels like it has no breaks. I'm not sure what editing software you use, but you can do this in Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro X.
Agreed. People who don't know me probably won't consume this video. I did notice that people who do know me (even people I've not been in touch with for over 15 years!) have watched it when I posted it to LinkedIn.

Some who watched this video (and others) then shared it with their friends and fed back that they liked it.

Yes, I have to sell the click (on the play button) better, and I have to engage people quicker.

I'll get round to doing that as time progresses.

I'm using the Snapchat app to create the videos. It records video clips up to a max of 10 seconds. It's a case of making it a daily habit, which means making it frictionless and easy. The Snapchat app is both of the above, AND it's fun to use too.


Another tip, I would have the camera facing you the entire time you are speaking because the low quality, narrow shots didn't really create an interesting perspective of what you are shooting for me. This made it harder to listen to the message you were giving. I am assuming people watch your videos to hear what YOU have to say, not to see clips from your walk. You are the star of the video so make the majority of the clips feature the star.
100%. I was sat next to someone on a YouTube Editor course a couple of weeks ago. I'd mentioned in the course that I was using Snapchat to create videos, and the person next to me wanted to see one. I showed her this one and she said she much preferred to see me as I was talking.

I changed tack the very next day, and all later ones (from that day, not from this video maybe) are more talking-head style.


Lastly, consider buying a DSLR camera! An entry level DSLR will make a world of difference for your videos. There is a bit of a learning curve, but once you start to learn how to use it, you won't be disappointed in buying one. I have a Canon Rebel T2i and it takes good video and they're pretty cheap nowadays ($200ish on eBay).
I think I've got a DSLR camera somewhere. It's just not as convenient for me to use as my phone, which is never more than an arm's length away from me. :)



Thanks for all that you do here on the forum! I hope you find my advice helpful.
You're welcome, and thank YOU for taking the time to provide constructive feedback!



You can read more about why I've got a motto of "Video First. Mobile First" here.


.
.
.


I'm taking my own medicine. :)

I'm not a video expert, but I feel I have value to offer. I'm not going to get in my own way. I "Go on the 'B' of Bang".


I did another video about that in this thread:
 

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Thanks for the feedback @BlakeRVA. I hope it helps.



THANK YOU for the feedback. It all helps me dial it in.

Here we go...



Agreed. People who don't know me probably won't consume this video. I did notice that people who do know me (even people I've not been in touch with for over 15 years!) have watched it when I posted it to LinkedIn.

Some who watched this video (and others) then shared it with their friends and fed back that they liked it.

Yes, I have to sell the click (on the play button) better, and I have to engage people quicker.

I'll get round to doing that as time progresses.

I'm using the Snapchat app to create the videos. It records video clips up to a max of 10 seconds. It's a case of making it a daily habit, which means making it frictionless and easy. The Snapchat app is both of the above, AND it's fun to use too.




100%. I was sat next to someone on a YouTube Editor course a couple of weeks ago. I'd mentioned in the course that I was using Snapchat to create videos, and the person next to me wanted to see one. I showed her this one and she said she much preferred to see me as I was talking.

I changed tack the very next day, and all later ones (from that day, not from this video maybe) are more talking-head style.




I think I've got a DSLR camera somewhere. It's just not as convenient for me to use as my phone, which is never more than an arm's length away from me. :)





You're welcome, and thank YOU for taking the time to provide constructive feedback!



You can read more about why I've got a motto of "Video First. Mobile First" here.


.
.
.


I'm taking my own medicine. :)

I'm not a video expert, but I feel I have value to offer. I'm not going to get in my own way. I "Go on the 'B' of Bang".


I did another video about that in this thread:
Thanks for the post and the video Andy. I always want to make sure everything is perfect before I do certain tasks and this helped me realize it's more important to "Get Started". Good information!
 
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Thanks for the post and the video Andy. I always want to make sure everything is perfect before I do certain tasks and this helped me realize it's more important to "Get Started". Good information!
You're in good company!

Thanks for your first post @j0hnh0ck3y
 
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Bump.

Lot's of people getting in their own way - thinking they need to know more before they can help people (aka add value).



"You don't need to be an expert."

"You already know enough."

See the pattern?
 

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Very good point - thanks for creating the video and transcribing it!

It really is too easy to get wrapped up in 'finding a business to start' or 'becoming an expert' as opposed to just simply finding a way to help someone (aka: fill a need). First things first.
 
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Very good point - thanks for creating the video and transcribing it!

It really is too easy to get wrapped up in 'finding a business to start' or 'becoming an expert' as opposed to just simply finding a way to help someone (aka: fill a need). First things first.
Exactly.

"Learning" is often an action fake.
 

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Thank you Andy for that post, it is exactly what I am struggling with - Thank you for mentioning it as well.

Out of curiosity, how did you continue after the first helping? Continued to help other friends for free?

And I agree with the comment about video, your voice is nice to listen too and it is better to see your head! What you can try to do is look directly into the lense and not onto the screen to have eye contact with the viewer! You might need to learn how to position yourself without looking at the screen but it will be worth it :)
 

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Thank you Andy for that post, it is exactly what I am struggling with - Thank you for mentioning it as well.

Out of curiosity, how did you continue after the first helping? Continued to help other friends for free?

And I agree with the comment about video, your voice is nice to listen too and it is better to see your head! What you can try to do is look directly into the lense and not onto the screen to have eye contact with the viewer! You might need to learn how to position yourself without looking at the screen but it will be worth it :)
After helping my friend I had a successful case study. I started picking up small local clients, but realised it wasn't going to replace my IT Contracting revenue anytime soon. I took a job as a PPC Analyst in a company buying €120k of AdWords traffic a day so I could reskill and get into this fascinating new (for me) field. I got the job because I could talk about AdWords as well as data and analysis.


I took that advice about having myself in the video and all future videos are mostly with the camera facing me. I don't try to stare at the camera, but talk to the person I see on camera (which happens to be me of course, but it's still better than talking to thin air).

Funnily enough I'm moving away from video at the moment, to audio. We'll see how that goes.

Check out the radio interview in my signature - it should help you if this thread helped you.
 

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Exactly.

"Learning" is often an action fake.
This.

We should accept that we already possess the skills and knowledge we need already, and pick up anything else that's relevant as obstacles are encountered.

The search for knowledge in never ending. It's really a trap to think that you'll be ready after *insert time-consuming learning activity here* (learned how to code in python or whatever).

One of my biggest realisations is just to start with what you have and not to waste more time worrying that you don't have enough technical knowledge.
 

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TRANSCRIPTION

I find people typically underestimate the value they can add. The way we've been taught in schools and universities makes us think we have to be an expert.

Back in 2009 I was an IT consultant. I was trying to get out of being an IT consultant. I looked after databases, which is kind of back end boring stuff, but mission critical. But I always knew I was seen as a cost. I wanted to get into something a bit more sexy, like front end web development or something like that. Part of it was that when I was at a wedding or something, if anybody asked me what I did for a living, it was pretty damned boring to tell them I was a database administrator. How does it sound -- Oh, I can write some backup scripts for you. That's not very appealing, is it?

Anyway, because I know how I learn, I decided not to pick up a book and try and learn how to build websites. Instead I looked around at people I knew to see if there was anybody who needed help. I had a friend who was an electrician. This was 2009 so the economy was tanking and basically, all his work had dried up. Things were so bad, he had to hand his van back. This is a man with a wife and two kids and a baby on the way. A man who does electrical work for a living and he's having to hand his van back. That's the beginning of the end for him. Where does he go from there?

I remember talking to him and asking him how things were going. He just kind of looked me in the eye and he didn't say "bad" or anything like that, but I could tell he was staring into the abyss. So I wanted to help him. I thought he'd be a great project for me. "Project"... That's a bad word for it, isn't it?

My mission became -- help this guy get more work. Not build a website. I remember talking to him and saying that I was learning how to build a website. He bit my hand off down to my ankle. Snap decision.

Created the first site in Joomla! I found that pretty complicated. Then found WordPress; threw up a template; got his site up. He loved it, but it didn't get him any phone calls. I then got a book on SEO, search engine optimization, and got him ranked top for Kildare electrician, Kildare being the county we live in. He still had no phone calls though.

An AdWords voucher fell out of another book I was looking at. I created an account and threw the fifty Euros into it. Bid on things like -- electrician Kildare; Kildare electrician; Dublin electrician; wiring and rewiring and things like that. I remember being on a client site in their IT team and my phone rang and he'd rung to tell me, "Andy, Andy, I've had a phone call!". I was in a bit of a daze, to be honest. I stood up; I didn't even know I'd stood up. So I walked around with a phone to my ear, "What? You had a call?" I was delighted. Wow, it works! This is amazing. So you can imagine how he felt. "Andy, it works! It's working!" That month, he had a steady stream of leads and phone calls, enough to keep him afloat. Enough to give him hope. It was a happy ending to a story for my friend.

I'll go through a few of my AdWords learnings from that campaign another time. What's more important to realize is that my goal was not to learn how to build websites. It wasn't even to build a website. My goal wasn't to build a website. My goal was to help somebody I knew get more work. Didn't matter whether it was a Joomla! website, a WordPress website. Didn't matter what the theme was. It didn't matter whether I knew SEO. I'd never heard of AdWords until that voucher fell out of a book. I loaded it up; it started working; I concentrated on that.

If you want to start a business, don't think about starting a business. Don't think about growing a business. Just find somebody who needs help and then go and help them. You don't have to be an expert. He's an electrician. He assumed because I was in IT that I would be able to help him.

If I hadn't got beyond the "programming" in school, I might have said, "Well I better go on a course and learn how to create websites, a five day course. I probably should create a business card for my own business -- whatever that is. Probably should learn logo design and all that kind of stuff."

No. It's a lot simpler than that. Just help people. Help people. Everything else falls into place.
sound advice
 

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@Andy Black , you're totally kicking my a$$ + its preconceived notions.

This is me normally:


After listening to this episode, I first wanted to "rationalize" away your argument. But I couldn't (or wouldn't let myself)... instead thinking, "dude has a point..."

Thanks for keeping us in line. It's a helpful reminder that a person's biggest barrier to getting started is oftentimes themself.
 
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a person's biggest barrier to getting started is oftentimes themself.
Closer to the truth without the word "oftentimes"...


Thanks for the meme. Made me laugh.

Thanks for "dude has a point". Made me laugh also.
 

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TRANSCRIPTION

I find people typically underestimate the value they can add. The way we've been taught in schools and universities makes us think we have to be an expert.

Back in 2009 I was an IT consultant. I was trying to get out of being an IT consultant. I looked after databases, which is kind of back end boring stuff, but mission critical. But I always knew I was seen as a cost. I wanted to get into something a bit more sexy, like front end web development or something like that. Part of it was that when I was at a wedding or something, if anybody asked me what I did for a living, it was pretty damned boring to tell them I was a database administrator. How does it sound -- Oh, I can write some backup scripts for you. That's not very appealing, is it?

Anyway, because I know how I learn, I decided not to pick up a book and try and learn how to build websites. Instead I looked around at people I knew to see if there was anybody who needed help. I had a friend who was an electrician. This was 2009 so the economy was tanking and basically, all his work had dried up. Things were so bad, he had to hand his van back. This is a man with a wife and two kids and a baby on the way. A man who does electrical work for a living and he's having to hand his van back. That's the beginning of the end for him. Where does he go from there?

I remember talking to him and asking him how things were going. He just kind of looked me in the eye and he didn't say "bad" or anything like that, but I could tell he was staring into the abyss. So I wanted to help him. I thought he'd be a great project for me. "Project"... That's a bad word for it, isn't it?

My mission became -- help this guy get more work. Not build a website. I remember talking to him and saying that I was learning how to build a website. He bit my hand off down to my ankle. Snap decision.

Created the first site in Joomla! I found that pretty complicated. Then found WordPress; threw up a template; got his site up. He loved it, but it didn't get him any phone calls. I then got a book on SEO, search engine optimization, and got him ranked top for Kildare electrician, Kildare being the county we live in. He still had no phone calls though.

An AdWords voucher fell out of another book I was looking at. I created an account and threw the fifty Euros into it. Bid on things like -- electrician Kildare; Kildare electrician; Dublin electrician; wiring and rewiring and things like that. I remember being on a client site in their IT team and my phone rang and he'd rung to tell me, "Andy, Andy, I've had a phone call!". I was in a bit of a daze, to be honest. I stood up; I didn't even know I'd stood up. So I walked around with a phone to my ear, "What? You had a call?" I was delighted. Wow, it works! This is amazing. So you can imagine how he felt. "Andy, it works! It's working!" That month, he had a steady stream of leads and phone calls, enough to keep him afloat. Enough to give him hope. It was a happy ending to a story for my friend.

I'll go through a few of my AdWords learnings from that campaign another time. What's more important to realize is that my goal was not to learn how to build websites. It wasn't even to build a website. My goal wasn't to build a website. My goal was to help somebody I knew get more work. Didn't matter whether it was a Joomla! website, a WordPress website. Didn't matter what the theme was. It didn't matter whether I knew SEO. I'd never heard of AdWords until that voucher fell out of a book. I loaded it up; it started working; I concentrated on that.

If you want to start a business, don't think about starting a business. Don't think about growing a business. Just find somebody who needs help and then go and help them. You don't have to be an expert. He's an electrician. He assumed because I was in IT that I would be able to help him.

If I hadn't got beyond the "programming" in school, I might have said, "Well I better go on a course and learn how to create websites, a five day course. I probably should create a business card for my own business -- whatever that is. Probably should learn logo design and all that kind of stuff."

No. It's a lot simpler than that. Just help people. Help people. Everything else falls into place.
Thanks for the sharing. Glad to see you find the way out. I agree with you that we can start our own business without being any experts, but I always find difficulties letting others to believe that I can help them in specific areas, especially when I don't have any credential in those areas.

However, I think your experience does give me some confidence that I can somehow using some of my skills to start my own business.
 

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The incredible irony of the "you need to be an expert" advice is that actually getting started and moving forward is how you become an expert in the first place.
 
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The incredible irony of the "you need to be an expert" advice is that actually getting started and moving forward is how you become an expert in the first place.
Whoa. I never even thought of that. It's so true.
 

V8Bill

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I can't think of a single successful thing I've done that I didn't start from a position of trembling, open and accepting ignorance. I've also met enough experts to know that they themselves are as concerned about their skill set as you are about yours. The only thing you need to be expert in is the art of self belief. The rest (as @Andy Black suggested) will take care of itself.

Destinations come and go. Daily growth is the prize.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Here's an interesting fact: Every money-making venture I've had success with since college graduation has come from new skills and self-directed learning.

The knowledge I was taught in college gave me the skills to find a job and navigate employeeland. The knowledge I learned after college taught me how to build systems that create value.

And none of this knowledge would put me at the "expert" level.
 

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Andy Black

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Kennypaul

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Thank you Andy.A wonderful video with so much value.A good reminder also!.
 

Jeff Noel

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I think one thing that stands out in that video for me is the part where you mention "He's an electrician. He assumed because I was an IT, that I could make a website".

Most of us don't know clearly what [job name] implies specifically. I'm a programmer yet my cousins keep asking me to fix their laptop (and I do every year). A programmer writes codes, it does not fix PCs (or should not) !

An "how to make database admin job more appealing" copy challenge would be great hahaha.
"I'm the one making sure that everytime you access the companies data on your computer, all your data is there, safe yet accessible. I'm the one taking care of over one PetaByte of data" (then you ask them how big a PetaByte actualy is just to impress them). "That's about 40% of one person's whole brain data in our servers! We're even using magnetic tape to back up our stuff. One single cassette hold over 15 TeraByte, yet would fit in your walkman. Ask me about that time the power backup didn't work properly."
 
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Andy Black

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I think one thing that stands out in that video for me is the part where you mention "He's an electrician. He assumed because I was an IT, that I could make a website".

Most of us don't know clearly what [job name] implies specifically. I'm a programmer yet my cousins keep asking me to fix their laptop (and I do every year). A programmer writes codes, it does not fix PCs (or should not) !

An "how to make database admin job more appealing" copy challenge would be great hahaha.
"I'm the one making sure that everytime you access the companies data on your computer, all your data is there, safe yet accessible. I'm the one taking care of over one PetaByte of data" (then you ask them how big a PetaByte actualy is just to impress them). "That's about 40% of one person's whole brain data in our servers! We're even using magnetic tape to back up our stuff. One single cassette hold over 15 TeraByte, yet would fit in your walkman. Ask me about that time the power backup didn't work properly."
The fact that you can type with more than one finger often makes you an expert on the computer.


Sorry, good try, but explaining what a production DBA does to a non-IT person will have them glaze over within seconds.
 
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Andy Black

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Here's an interesting fact: Every money-making venture I've had success with since college graduation has come from new skills and self-directed learning.

The knowledge I was taught in college gave me the skills to find a job and navigate employeeland. The knowledge I learned after college taught me how to build systems that create value.

And none of this knowledge would put me at the "expert" level.
Just rereading this, and as time goes on this truth just gets more and more apparent.
 

Olimac21

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This is brilliant advice and I can see applied it to some past/current actions in my life. I have been a tennis coach and spanish/english teacher without any kind of certification (currently getting a certification in spanish teaching though).

As another forum member posted earlier this week, too many people wait for the perfect situation or mastering a skill before going out to the market when they could be impacting the world with their business/ craft long time ago and learn much faster by doing/itirating the process.
 
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