Tuesday, 24 July 2018

So Near, Yet So Far...

Today was not such a good day, the reason?
At best...
It's a case of "Being too early is as bad as being wrong"
At worst?
It was the slow realization that for the last 8 years I've been on a fools errand... that this time has been pretty much a waste of time, I don't think that this needed to be the case (But at the same time am at a loss with some aspects of it all)... and there sure have been some highs and lows. 
The highs undoubtedly include James Stanbridge - from the beginning to the end - that first Skype call in 2015 through to the comment he posted on my blog in Nov 2017... and all the support in between!
On a Skype call as part of the team with a Hot Shot Silicon Valley company the following comment was made:
"We should all share our Bill Gates stories one day" Says one of the Vice Presidents

"But I don't have any" says I, in a depressed tone.

"YET!" James shoots back immediately "You don't have a Bill Gates story, yet. William"
There were opportunities and epic fails, but the end isn't what I wanted for myself ...or the example I hoped to set for my kids.
I include an email in this post that includes the cringe-worthy writing from 2010 (before I started blogging or writing reports I hasten to add) it is an email that I sent to a Microsoft Exec looking for a little bit of career advice.
In 2010 I set myself the goal of "Working with one of the big 3" - Microsoft, Google or Apple. As time progressed this narrowed with more of a focus on Microsoft. The reason for aiming for "The Big Three?" 
Because I gave a company 10 years of my life, to start with the product was great... but the culture wasn't, the product followed the culture and slide down into mediocrity followed by redundancies.

It's not a great feeling not having much to show for 10 years... or the thought that you took up loads of educators time and budget on a project that wasn't "Build to Last" because of the culture the Managing Director set.
The major tech companies sure do know how to develop and scale great products...Go ask educators 
"Which tech products would you recommend to your colleagues" 
And see if and how many products there are that 100% of the school/district staff would recommend.
I bet you struggle to get everyone at the school/district naming the same products and those that are mentioned the most will be Microsoft, Google, Apple... or other major tech company products.
Great products like this is something I wanted to be part of... so much so, that I undertook projects for little/no money that I felt had value instead of taking a wage to do work that I didn't believe in. (You can see the free and paid projects on my Resume Zeemap).
In late 2016 I thought progress was being made during the Skypeathon and in 2017, after reading some LinkedIn articles by former colleague, Michael Marvosh, I gave up trying.
My CV had sat on the Microsoft careers pages for years, and Michael's advice was

"If your resume is on file at the organisation you want to work at for years, how likely is it that you'd fit in?"
A fair point Michael! That said, when you see how the Co-Founders of companies like Twitter met and/or the jobs they had before Twitter... You struggle to shake the feeling that geography has played a role in the end result.  
I wonder if those who know me and is reading these ramblings from 2010 will join me in thinking that I've been consistent and stuck to these same goals/ideas, and maybe even feel that I came close with some of them. 
The call with James Stanbridge in 2015 was a game changer for me... I'm fortunate that my 17 year old son has already had a call like that with a few people now, so perhaps he'll have a few Bill's Gates stories to share if he does consider a career in tech.
I'll do my best to wrap up one more edu project... one that I hope will see the teachers at the three schools in Scotland that my kids go to making some Skype calls, in the hope that their students will have game changing calls like the ones that my son and myself have had... as well as some of the opportunities that these calls have provided on what's ended up being a rather interesting journey.  
13th Oct 2010
[Should have been] Some Cringe Worthy Writing & Career Advice
To: Senior Microsoft Exec (The reply I got back was the reason I got on Twitter)
I appreciate that you will be very busy but was wondering if you might be able to provide me with some advice.

I am currently looking at my next move with my career and a challenge that I have is not that I don’t know what I want to do next, but that what I am looking for is so specific that I think you may be one of the only people in the UK that can assist me!

Please allow me to explain, when considering my next move there are four things that are very important to me – personal development, making a contribution, quality of service and setting an example to my kids – all of which I consider before financial remuneration.
1)      Personal Development – As a person I am intrigued by identity, what shapes us and what drives us – why are Bill Gates & Steve Jobs et al so successful? Why do NEETS lack the drive to contribute? And without the 1-2 alleged chance encounters/reference points/random events would these entrepreneurs have been as successful as they became? And more importantly, can the reference points that inspire people in the right way be replicated to help every child in education to find what they are good at, especially with the use of IT?

     I did not particularly excel at school but have been lucky to have found people who were willing to help me grow and develop, to such an extent that I have out outperformed most of the privately educated Oxbridge graduates who I have worked with.

2)   Make a contribution – This applies to making a difference to the organisation I work for and it is important that the organisation itself makes a difference, in some way.
     One of my own reference points is that I got sacked from the first after school job that I had and I vowed that I would never experience that feeling again – and never have always endeavouring, and succeeding, to make myself a valued member of the teams I work with.

      In an education setting I feel that there are so many ways that IT can make the learning experience a much more enjoyable one, so much so that it has the ability to foster a lifelong love of learning in every (or at least most) children! 

      I may not have the ability to code some of these cutting edge software that programmers produce, but I can certainly demonstrate how great these products are to educators – how they can make their lives more productive & efficient while making the learning experience for children more fun.

3)   Quality of Service – It would be difficult to make any kind of contribution if a company’s service was not fit for service. I feel that this can usually be demonstrated by the relationship with the customer – if close then the level of repeat business and up-selling will be healthy and the customer will help the suppliers’ service to remain up to date.

4)   My Kids – As with most people I want to set an example for my children. Every night I ask my kids “what can you do?” and “what will they find” where the required responses are that the can do “Anything they can set their minds to” and that they will find” their place in the world“.
      As my kids get older I have no doubt that they will start to ask “Dad what have you done...What’s your place in the world?”    
I would dearly love to be able to say “I have helped to revolutionise the education system with the #1 software company in the world.”
As you can perhaps appreciate, when you apply the criteria above, you are only left with a handful of companies globally. Indeed it’s quite depressing when I asked my IT colleagues “Who is the best IT company in Scotland?” and you get a resounding “Don’t Know, no one really stands out!”

By now I imagine that you will either be thinking “This is a bit of a strange approach” and/or “I’m intrigued” (I certainly hope it’s more a case of the latter) – I always think it’s a curious thing that our business correspondence has become so professional that honesty and passion now stands out as “different.”
Assuming that you are indeed intrigued you may be thinking that being honest and knowing what you want is one thing, but having the necessary experience and credentials is another.

I have spend the last 4 years taking a desktop application from nothing more than an idea to managing a project which has seen our distribution network grow to include over 50% of the FE Colleges in England (198 colleges), with a 100% repeat business ratio.

I realise the risk that I am taking by sending such a long and detailed correspondence, and you may be thinking this is a stunt to do things differently just to get noticed, and indeed it can be difficult to get noticed – I can imagine that my CV would be disregarded instantly if it was received through the official Microsoft career channels. But I send this information knowing that all of the above is 100% accurate and is a true reflection of my experience, achievements and motivators.
I started my working life as a labourer on a building site and have taken full advantage of every opportunity that came my way and if there was any way that I could work with you I would not let you down, I would not squander such an opportunity.

I have included my CV for your perusal and if you did have the time to look at this, something that I would be very keen to know is what additional experience and/or qualifications would be needed before you would consider an application from me to become a part of your team?

I don’t know if you are in Glasgow or Scotland much but if so I would welcome the opportunity to meet up for a coffee. If not I would be happy to arrange to meet you at Reading or another location that would be more convenient for you.

I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed this introduction and very much hope that you might be able to find the time to provide me some feedback.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours Sincerely
William Jenkins

No comments:

Post a Comment