My Mediocre Skills

22 Feb 2021

"With every skill you acquire, you double your odds of success."

I read this in How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams, and it got me thinking of success and failure. I don't think there is anything like a failure. Everything is a learning experience, and every attempt that is not in line with your desired outcome gets you closer to your creation. And every skill you pick up on the way will help you in this endeavour.

"Recapping my skill set: I have poor art skills, mediocre business skills, good but not great writing talent, and an early knowledge of the Internet. And I have a good but not great sense of humour. I'm like one big mediocre soup. None of my skills is world-class, but when my mediocre skills are combined, they become a powerful market force."

Surprisingly, I have experienced what Scott mentions in my life. Over the last two decades, I was involved in various things - In 1998, I started as a network troubleshooter at the Computer Science department at UNC-Chapel Hill. Then, I was a Flash developer, Perl programmer and a PHP developer. I even got an internship to be a tester at IBM at the Research Triangle Park. After I graduated in 2001 (ouch!!!) with a degree in B.S. in Mathematical Sciences, Computer Science, I got a full-time opportunity in early 2002 as a Java programmer. Over the next few years, I picked up web design skills in the evenings/nights and pitched to clients for projects so I could make some extra cash. Little did I know, but I had acquired skills to build and launch a Software As A Service product - design, development, writing, testing, marketing, communication (especially helpful in a remote scenario) etc. All of this got me ready to launch a bootstrapped SaaS product from India in 2007 (much ahead of mainstream SaaS/ Cloud) and several consulting gigs. The early mover advantage led to a book publishing deal in 2009 from Tata McGraw-Hill.

Back then, there were many doubts, and it wasn't ever smooth sailing. But, when I look back now, I can connect the dots. When it comes to skills, quantity often beats quality, and the universe has this magical way of tieing everything together.

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever." - Steve Jobs


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