For deeply personal and spiritual reasons I believe in continuous learning. What made graduate school exciting for me was (1) learning a diverse set of theories that can be applied to diverse business fact sets (case studies); (2) learning to analyze data base upon the perspective of many theories–and learning to identify multiple theories that best apply and might best predict success; and (3) learning to create new theories, and to defend them under scrutiny of other scholars–and then applying them to diverse fact sets.
As an undergraduate student in International Relations, I found it interesting to enroll in classes related to electrical engineering and software engineering. This intellectual curiosity later enabled me at both Aureus and Jigabot to better manage engineering activities. And later still, it enabled me to personally do some of the engineering work at Jigabot and thus to function even with cash-flow constraints. (Learn more in the “Real-World Values” post here.)
I personally created two of the three PCBs that we are currently using within our robots. I also did a lot of development on computer-vision based tracking and network communications. I wrote Jigabot’s customer ERP software (discussed in a post here). I programmed our pick-n-place machines used to assemble circuit boards. And I designed the custom aluminum parts, and programmed the CNC machines that have allowed us to produce them. The Jigabot website? Yep, I made that. The marketing videos? Check! (See a sample marketing video here.)
Such capabilities actually allowed Jigabot to (1) survive lean times, (2) quickly change designs as needed, (3) better communicate with vendors and customers, and (4) create a culture of organizational learning.
If we are not mindful, we live below their abilities to learn new things. We miss out on much of life! And over time, we become only a shadow of what we could become.
We can be crippled by fear that our work will be criticized. But those with developed skills and character, seldom criticize–they mentor! And those without skills sound something like our friend Catherine de Borgh in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: “If I had ever learnt, I would have been a great proficient.”
Besides, if you really think about it, isn’t life a learning experience? And isn’t our success and happiness linked to our knowledge and intelligence? So let’s learn!