This website has undergone a few changes through the years. A period of extended unemployment has made me take a good hard look at who I am and what I’m good at. The conclusion I have come to is that I am good at figuring things out.
Whether it be image-manipulation software used to sell custom wheels, what needs to go into an ISO 9000 program, what’s the best way to archive close to a million pages of documentation each year, how to build a successful business, how to run a successful social media campaign, or how to get data from different systems to play nicely together, if you point me at a problem and ask me to figure it out, I will do figure it out.
Who I am is a seeker of beauty. Anything deeply and poignantly beautiful hits me hard, grabs on tight, and won’t let go. There are pieces of music that I avoid—not because they are ugly, but quite the opposite. They are so beautiful that they can be hard to endure. There are books that I keep coming back to over and over again. Cities at night speak to something deep within me. I sometimes think I’m simply an emotion-junkie, but it’s deeper than that. Certain forms of beauty speak to me, and beauty comes in many flavors.
Who I am and what I’m good at don’t always get along. I spent significant chunk of my life immersing myself in beauty while convincing myself I was figuring it out. In the end I was no closer to being able to create beauty than before. Being a participant in beauty no matter how satisfying, is not a viable career.
But figuring things out can be a good career only if you learn how to apply the right names to it so people know what to have you do. Call yourself a “guy who figures things out” and you’ll soon figure out how to survive on unemployment. Call yourself a business analyst or a tech support liaison and you’ve got a job. And yet if you look at all the varied jobs I’ve held through the years, the common thread is “I figure things out.” Some of the things I’ve figured out for people:
- Why this particular customer’s system always breaks , while no one else’s does.
- In a multi-store chain, what are some of the best practices from individual stores that should be pushed across the enterprise, and what are some of the weak spots that need to be addressed.
- What’s the best way to get over 700,000 pages of documentation per year digitized and stored in a system in such a way that you can find them again with near-perfect accuracy.
- How do we take a document storage system and make it reliable and expandable to meet changing business conditions quickly.
- How does a business leverage social media to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty, boost revenue, and head off problems.
- Do we have enough money to start a business, and what objectives do we need to hit to succeed? What do we need to know/do/have to get started? Are we on track?
- How do we take information stored and processed in disparate ways in disparate systems and bring it together into a single source structured in a single way?
I’ve had a lot of fun figuring out a lot of things for people. Meanwhile I continue to search out beauty; not just beauty to enjoy, but beauty I can create by myself. Time after time I keep returning to writing, but it’s always eluded me. This blog is an example. I write because I enjoy it, and because it’s a near compulsion at times. But beauty? I believe I’ve approached it a few times, but I don’t think I’ve been able to bottle lightning yet.
But recently I had an epiphany. Writing is something I can “figure out.” I have the creativity to create beautiful ideas, and if I work at it, study it, and practice it, I will be able to learn how to express those ideas in beautiful ways. At least that is the hope. This much I do know: I’ve never been happier in my writing (which is not synonymous with “happy with my writing,” mind you). I have a purpose. I have a goal. I have a way to combine the two sides of me in a single endeavor.
And perhaps that is what this blog will ultimately be “about”: my path to learning how to create beauty through my writing. Hopefully I’ll make it interesting for you.