Time is a very slippery thing. I know I’ve been here a full week. The first day however, was by far the longest. I think that day lasted about seven weeks. However the rest of this week flew by incredibly fast and I know I’ll look back on the last day and say that it feels like I got here yesterday.
We have a limited number of times we will actually meet in class and those times go by just as quickly as the rest of the day. So what does a day in class actually consist of? Well, here’s what happened today.
First we start off with a little humor. Last week we reimagined Jeff on the cover of Vogue Magazine.
Today at the beginning of class while he was out of the room we loaded the image onto the screen.
Then we dove into the good stuff. Today we discussed the importance of transitioning from students into professionals. One thing that stuck out to me was the idea of not just waiting for someone to give you a problem but instead actually discovering problems on your own and solving them. In the workplace this is what I’ll be expected to do. If I require constant direction or supervision than I will probably be of much less value.
Although being able to listen and take directions is still an incredibly important part of any job especially when it comes to maintaining relationships. In order to maintain relationships it was stressed in class today that you must read everything and reply to everything. I was surprised at first that this was the one piece of advice we were given about keeping connections, but when I thought about it made a lot of sense. If you take the time to write a long and detailed email you expect people to read it so if someone doesn’t even look at an email I can see how that could immediately damage that relationship. If you take the time to write an email and someone not only reads it but takes the time to reply with an equally thoughtful and genuine reply your respect for them would likely increase greatly.
We also touched on how most collaborations in school are designed in an artificial way that does not foster the growth of real professional relationships. Everything would have to line up perfectly and go as smooth as possible to make a real connection with your classmates. Anyone who has ever worked in a group that was randomly assigned knows this is not how it usually goes. Usually the group struggles to divide up work then nothing gets done for a long time until someone finally steps up and does the majority of the project on their own. Then the people in the group turn it in, part ways, and probably don’t see much of one another again.
The article we read by Susan Cain, When Collaboration Kills Creativity, which focused on how working alone is often when the most important creative work really gets done. It cited the story of Apple and Steve Wozniak as an example. It described the way Wozniak created the company’s first computers by working late into the night when he was all alone with a single goal in mind and an unstoppable drive within that kept him going.
I agree that most great ideas originate like this. In the mind of one person. As the idea takes shape it roots itself deeply to the point where it can no longer be ignored. With enough motivation and perspiration this one person can build that idea into something they’re proud of, but in order to take it to the next level they can’t stop there.
This is when I believe the power of collaboration can finally shine through. The idea has been built into a respectable prototype and it is time to share it with the rest of the world. However, to actually make this happen you need the right people to take this idea to the next level where it will be able to have right kind of impact on the right kind of people.
This is why Steve Wozniak needed Steve Jobs. Wozniak built his idea into something amazing but he still needed Jobs to help him spread this idea. Jobs was exactly the right person for this job. This is why connecting with the right people and being able to maintain those relationships is so important. You never know when you might have an incredible idea in a jolt of inspiration and if you happen to know someone with similar interests they could be the missing piece you need to expand that idea into something greater.
As I sat and listened in class today this is what I thought about. There were other things too. Some of them were probably just as important, but this is what I was able to recreate from the notes I took. The reason I’m writing this all down is because it is important, but also mainly because of what Jeff told us today, “Render this experience in as much detail as possible. Write it down because you will forget.”
And I am forgetting already. For the last three nights I’ve had dreams that it was already time to return home. Once I am home it will be far too late to remember most of what I learned. Maybe I wrote much more than I needed today in order to remember, but even if I don’t write in this much detail I still want to take note of each important idea I come across before it’s gone forever.