Thursday, October 13, 2005

Different Types of "Memory" and "Processors"

I got into the IT field from a different direction. I never had a formalized education program in CS so I've been "backfilling" my IT knowledge base ever since. I'm now taking an adult education class on how to build a computer. I'm not sure I will be assembling computers from parts on a regular basis but that's not why I took the class. I've always been quite interested about how the "innards" of the PC all fit together and I've been having great fun learning about plugging in video cards, RAM, hard drives and installing motherboards.

At the same time, Sherwood Consulting Services is moving ahead and I am enjoying exploring having my own business and trying to be patient on the other side of government regulation.

Recently, I had the opportunity to brief and be briefed by a telecommunications provider, on their strategy and how they might work better with government. The process went like this. The client team talks about their offerings and which ones they think might be interesting to government or are currently being used by government. Then my colleagues and I discuss what types of "hidden" oppportunities might be available for them to pursue.

From this experience I "re-learned" (forgot and had to be reminded by the experience) how, out of all media devices, the telephone is my least favorite. So, what bothers me so much about the phone? It is verbal-only real-time communication. Not only am I devoid of visual cues but I'm expected to react on the spot in real-time to strangers I've never met. Some folks might interpret this difficulty simply as shyness. "This person should never have a career in telemarketing!" But that's not it. I've found I do reasonably well on the phone if I have a long established relationship. I go jabbering about whatever comes to mind but since I have jabbered with them so much in person I can "see" their face and even pre-suppose their emotions since I have seen them so many times before. I also do reasonably well talking on my feet if my feet are in the same room as the audience.

Secondly, I'm a visual learner. My recall and attention is best maintained by looking at a picture, reading something or seeing someone's face and mouth move. I often sit in the front of the room if I'm attending a lecture.

Thirdly, and to the title of this article, I do not have what I call huge amounts of "RAM memory" but my "hard drive" or "offline storage" isn't half bad. Often my favorite response to a presentation of an idea is: "Hmm...let me think about that, and I'll get back to you with some thoughts..." [probably in writing.] Conversely, I have known people who are desribed as "fonts of knowledge." One of my colleagues on the call thankfully was one of those people given the rules of the game for that encounter.

In some circumstances, I'm able to provide immediate feedback but usually this is in a circumstance where I am pretty heavily involved in the operations side of a project. This is not quite the same as: "Based on our strategy what is the best direction we should take to get the best market share of the e-government business." That's more of a "Hmmm...I'll give that some thought" type question.

Usually, with a bit of research and a clearer understanding of where the client is trying to position themselves, some ideas will come to mind, but not immediately during the time of a conference call. However, particularly after a bit of research, something will begin to gel. It will often come to me in a flash, as I wake up or just about anytime, other than when watching TV. I see patterns begin to emerge and then lots of ideas start flowing out. Other folks store information like a large RAM drive and process directly from it. They seem to recall most things they ever encountered...even if they only have encountered them once. It's a different type of intelligence, and we all need to recognize that, and play to our strengths.

So, I’m the guy running through the streets shouting “Eureka,” not the one “filling up the board” with “off the cuff” comments...and that's just fine too. Only, next time I'll try to vary the structure a bit to accommodate those "Eureka" moments when they come.


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