Onboarding with creative skills? It’s not enough!


Get thy shit together.

I bought my first PC in May of 1996. I bought it at Comp USA at the behest of my then-current girlfriend, who I had just moved in with. She said we needed it for Quicken to co-mingle and manage our finances. I would soon be turning fifty and couldn’t tell a megabyte from a mosquito bite. I brought the three large IBM boxes home, plugged everything in and that was it. My life would be forever transformed.

There have been maybe a half a dozen seminal moments in my life up until that point and this was the big one. That day would take me on a journey until today, damn near twenty years later.

My life changed on the spot. There was magic in that box. Needless to say, the relationship was doomed from then on. I never came to bed. I wouldn’t go out at night and would lock myself up all weekend. The sound of Windows 95 booting up was music to my ears. I could fit in a five mile run waiting for that thing to fully load.

Then the books, the lessons, Scottsdale Community College, the workshops, scanners, software and gadgets. I started writing a newsletter for my district called, News From The Left, naturally, being based on the left side of the country. Then came web design and in 1999, video. Video was the big one. The game changer. I read “Video for Dummies” and almost had a nervous breakdown. Thought I met my match there.

I couldn’t understand how you could get the film into the computer. Then, what to do with it. The terms, codecs, cameras, decks, lighting, shooting, and depth of field. Another universe completely. My head hurt!

But…it wasn’t long before I was e-mailing my special brand of home grown video nonsense to everyone in Dupont and scaring the bejeezus out of the home office. After a 30 minute telephone modem download, of course. I shot product commercials from my tub, telling the VP of Sales and Marketing she was just getting a heads up before customers received it. Mass hysteria. Oh, the power.

As you can tell, moderation means nothing to me. Anything worth doing is worth over doing. I also don’t do anything as a hobby, like golf, knitting, gardening or stamp collection. Everything has to have a payoff. When I learned how to make my fist G chord on the guitar I said. “OK, who wants to be in a band?”

I bought more PCs, Macs, laptops, took Avid editing lessons and went on a ten year technological crash course. There was no part of a computer function that didn’t interest me. I was the only one in the company that had a web site. Not even the company had one yet. I created a patient education video for the medical imaging product I was selling.

It started raising eyebrows though, especially when a straight laced, buttoned down company like Bristol Myers Squibb bought us. Then it was, “we got some clown running all over the desert with a video camera, get him in here.” When they saw the Spanish version of a marketing video I produced, I was re-located on the spot. Created a new position for myself and never looked back.

To be honest, my main motivation was a selfish one. My personality requires that I be heard. I’m under the impression that I’m a very interesting, savvy, engaging, extremely witty and funny individual. I can never get enough stage time. From music to stand up, if that mic is plugged in, I’m sucking on it. Never had a need to overcome my shyness or had a creative block. But that’s my take, your mileage may vary.

Now, having shared all of my skills, experiences and passion for technology with you, I will tell you here and now, it’s not enough. There needs to be a knowledge/skill/talent mix. A cross functional understanding between all the involved corporate entities and a link that ties them all together. That would be you.

I’ve been in many a fishbowl with marketing and IT and watched many a communications misfire. Marketing doesn’t know what to ask and IT doesn’t know what to answer. They are on different planets. Like being at the United Nations. You need an intermediary: again, that would be you. Most IT folks live in a mostly binary universe while marketing, sales and the C-Suite need to stretch the limits of their imagination.

So, beyond all those software certifications you’re wearing on your sleeve, you need an understanding of the big picture. Education without experience is just a piece of paper. You need to be doctor, a lawyer (for the copyright ignorant, and I have met my share) therapist, life coach and mentor if you are to utilize those increasingly in-demand skills.

You also need to be humorous, patient, supportive, charming, loving, understanding and a joy to be around. You know, like…me. 🙂

If you have any questions or need advice, please feel free to reach out to me here.

Bob O’Hearn

113 Wintergreen Lane
Groton Ma. 01450

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Please note: I welcome comments that are offensive, illogical or off-topic from readers in all states of consciousness.

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