Half awake this morning, a quote on O’Reilly Radar caught our eye: “Harness the power of being an idiot”. That’s for US, for sure!
So we followed the link to PeteSearch, the blog of Pete Warden. He is a programmer, software engineer (including years at Apple), graphics researcher and serious technology guy (he’s developed an interesting search module for Firefox). He tells the story of running into someone he went to school with at a conference, and remembering his abysmal academic career:
“I learn by trying to build something, there’s no other way I can discover the devils-in-the-details. Unfortunately that’s an incredibly inefficient way to gain knowledge. I basically wander around stepping on every rake in the grass, while the A Students memorize someone else’s route and carefully pick their way across the lawn without incident. My only saving graces are that every now and again I discover a better path, and faced with a completely new lawn I have an instinct for where the rakes are… my successes have all come when I’ve just gone ahead and just did something instead of studying it. It’s the only way to discover something new and unexpected, and even the failures build judgment.”
Boy, do we relate to Warden’s unkempt “try it and see” approach, falling into brambles, getting lost, then found. We love his declaration of POWER inherent in mistakes, which, invariably teach us a lot and often point to an unexpected path.