[lore] Article submission: Everything I Know...
comrade at obverse.com.au
Thu May 11 19:14:47 WST 2006
Here's a draft of the article I suggested I might write. Comments
Everything I Know About the Technology Business I Learned at the UCC
(or, Lectures Were a Waste of Time and I Don't - Often - Regret Never
It's funny. I can't remember doing very much in lectures except being
bored or frightened (exams were coming), playing cards, reading comics
and checking out the talent (not easy in UWA Engineering in those
days). Engineering Entrepreneurship 310 - or whatever it was called -
was meaningless and dull, and hasn't done a thing for me in later
years. Signals and Systems gave me some good lines for meetings, but
not much more of note.
But stuff I did at the UCC has proved to be a great preparation again
and again when starting businesses, buying time to extracting money
from bank managers, bullshitting at interviews, and doing jobs I was
never trained to do. I believe I use these powers for good, not evil.
But you never know ;-)
Lessons for work
Scamming Internet connectivity for club members and later the clubroom
itself back in the days when UUCP was it for commercial access to
Internet content in Australia has made me a much cannier security
specialist looking for social engineering attacks on my customers.
Being on Soc Council and doing work for the Guild taught me much about
the sacred bureaucratic art of a quick thust of the dagger between
vertebrae. Certainly the business world seems like plotting with naive
children after that kind of experience. Achieving a three hundred buck
grant or two for the club showed that doing your (funding) homework
and taking a couple of mendacious chances with documentation and
actually getting involved in decision-making processes was feasible -
amazing how these skills transfer into multimillion dollar project
Sitting around wirewrapping the (original) coke brain, chatting to
people who really have a clue, who had built whole operating systems,
file systems, interactive gaming environments and the like, talking
about design decisions, and how problems were solved, and then
watching them do deep design and very elegant problem solving, to
actually getting my hands dirty solving other problems and doing some
design work (not elegant but sometimes pretty cool) might be one of
the things that has made a difference when hiring and firing time
Lessons for life
It's pretty easy to wrap yourself up in comfortable groups with high
school friends and/or dinking society buddies or even your lecture
theatre scalies. But getting involved with UCC is a bit different.
Sometimes it's socially much easier (you're likely less of a geek than
the dude wirewrapping that robot brain next to you ;-) but more often
it's harder - people with different ways of dealing with others,
sometimes with heartbreakingly few social skills. A word to the wise:
work places are full of people who are much more difficult to deal
with - no shared hobbies and personal habits - I've worked closely
with significantly more scary colleagues than anyone I ever met at
If all you've ever done is group projects with your buds in CompSci
labs, things are going to get pretty grim during deadlines at work
with people with whom you really have to work hard to build any
bridges. Learning to motivate volunteers (and those who are
volunteered!) at UCC is a good way to gain some useful
manipulation^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H convincing skills.
You'll probably be the person everyone else trusts to arrange pizza if
I was pretty lucky getting to go to UWA and meeting some amazing
people in the clubs and societies I was involved with. Some are
probably going to be friends for life, and some have (secretly)
changed my world.
Pass some of the luck around, get more involved, help others do so and
reap the rich rewards.
Working in Europe for a variety of disturbing and sometimes very
broken organisations, after abandoning UWA with an uncompleted triple
major in Sex, Drugs and Rock-n-Roll. Normally working as a
jack-of-all-trades with a telecomms and security twist with titles as
diverse as "programme manager", "technical consultant", "information
assurance manager", or "business process specialist". Laugh.
More information about the lore