This past weekend, I attended my first face-to-face Board of Directors meeting with ODTUG. Monty Latiolais, current president of ODTUG, asked me to let him know if there was anything "less than stellar" about my experience, and I have say the answer is "no”. It was a stellar experience, all weekend. Here’s why…
For 20 years, I’ve been a member of the Rocky Mountain Oracle Users Group. My boss at Oracle at the time, Valerie Borthwick, told everyone in our team that the best thing we could do for our career and for our business practice was to “become famous”. Not famous (or infamous) as in “celebrity” or “rock star”, but famous as in “known within our industry”. Today, she would be telling us to blog and tweet, but back then, she was telling us to write and post white papers and to do presentations. Put our ideas out there. Discuss what we knew. Submit to peer reviews.
The biggest thing I learned then is that you cannot claim to know something until you’ve tried to explain it to others. Lots of people know something well. But unless they’ve tried to explain it to others, there will be gaps in knowledge, fuzzy areas in understanding, and lack of depth. Explaining to others fills gaps, clarifies fuzzy areas, and deepens the superficial. Weak points are rapidly exposed while presenting information in public. So, as I found ways to explain what I thought I already knew, I had to fix these problems, and my career flourished.
So in 1995, I joined the board of directors at RMOUG, because I wanted to spend more time around smart people, and see how they make things happen. That’s where I learned my next big lesson, which is when you have an important task, give it to a busy person, because they get it done. It seems a bit counter-intuitive, but as you stop and observe those around you, it becomes obvious. Some people like to think about doing things, others plan to do things, others talk themselves out of doing things before they ever get started, and others simply refuse to do anything. The people who are always busy are always getting things done.
That is what I found with the board of ODTUG, busy people who have plenty to do already, doing one more thing.
My favorite kind of people.
I’m hoping to find my own niche in this impressive group. I have some ideas, but that’s for another posting…