Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The "Yes" Man

A while ago, I worked for my brother.  It was a tremendous learning experience.  We built a business to business web site.  It was a really great product, but it came out just about the time the DotCom bubble burst.  Looking at the program now, I'm still impressed with how well it turned out.  It is still the most functional and useful piece of browser based software that I have ever seen.

It used to be that Alan would tell me what he wanted changed about our program, and I would balk.  My too frequent refrain was "Can't do it."  Alan would have none of my realistic, logical nonsense.  "Yes you can", he'd correct me, "and you'll need to finish this change and one more this afternoon."  Sometimes, of course, the schedule had to shift a bit...but the change always happened per his specifications.  Always. 

Many of us try to bend our business model to fit technology, but Alan was the other way around.  He bent technology around the business.  That's the way it's supposed to work.  Technology changes a lot faster than stable business models.

At work today, I miss having my brother sit on the other side of the room, making outlandish requests and throwing the occasional missile at me.  When we work with people who know precisely what they want, and will accept nothing else, they inspire us to do better work than we thought possible.  Even in the absence of my old boss, mentor, and brother I try to keep him in mind when I get technology requests.  If my memory is working well, I catch the "can't" before it gets out of my mouth and replace it with "Sure, we can do that."

No comments: