Today and tomorrow I am at CodeConnexx – An Open Source Technology and Life Conference. There are some great talks…the first talk this morning is Secrets and Success in the Style of GLEE – a bunch of songs and how they relate to being successful. By Jennifer Marsman of Microsoft.
Taylor Swift, “Speak Now” – be vocal, if you have an idea, do not be shy about it. In an interview, “don’t stop talking” – meaning show them your passion – but don’t force it, of course. Ask lots of questions, do not make assumptions. And if you get stuck in a problem, you can reason your way through it by talking out log.
Bonnie Raitt – “Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About”. Communicate! Let your manager know what’s going on and what you are doing. “Give them stories to tell about you” – and good ones too! Trip reports if you go on a trip, summary status e-mails, one-on-one meetings, etc.
Aretha Franklin – “Respect”. At the end of the day, diversity of opinion, education levels, backgrounds, is key to having successful business ideas. You can learn something from everyone. You can go around at a party, meet people and figure out what they are better than you at.
Frank Sinatra – “Luck Be a Lady”. At some other conference, Jennifer saw a formula for success: Success = hard work + intelligence + luck. She did not like that, because luck is a bunch of randomness, and if we work hard and are smart, we should be successful, right? But it’s completely true that luck is part of the equation. For example, in an interview. You can control working hard and you can control learning, and you will be well-positioned for when opportunity knocks.
Bette Middler – “Wind Beneath My Wings”. Role models – people that you worship from afar, perhaps stalk on Twitter, but probably won’t have a relationship with. Mentors are folks that are actively helping you grow, which you have a relationship with. You can choose a mentor to help you work on a skill or set of skills, and you can choose different people based on what they are good at. Someone who is good at MySQL might not be good at blogging or work/life balance. Jennifer challenges all of us to be role models to other people by speaking and blogging, because those folks are seen as industry experts, so you will become a role model.
Brittany Spears – “Oops I Did It Again”. The importance of making mistakes – making mistakes is good. Take big risks, because when a mistake does happen, you can learn from them. When a panel of successful tech women were asked what they would do differently, they said they would have taking more big risks.
Bill Withers – “Lean on Me”. Delegate if you need to. Ask people for help. Out of time, health and money, you can have any 2 of the 3. Young folks usually have time and health but not money. In your 30’s, you might have health and money but not time. And when you get older, you have time and money, but not health. Optimize for what you do not have. If you do not have time, then make it so you have more time – e.g. buying pre-made salad or getting a cleaning lady is a money/time tradeoff.
Journey – “Don’t Stop Believing”. Believe in yourself. Imposter Syndrome at Wikipedia. If you do not know, say you do not know something.