Friday, October 15, 2010

Creating Opportunities

This past Tuesday I was fortunate enough to attend a presentation by Geoffrey Baer of WTTW Channel 11 at the brand new Glenview Library which is located a few miles from my house. Geoffrey is the host of the extremely popular Chicago architecture and history series that have been running on WTTW for over 15 years on the same Gateway computers. Geoffrey presented a shorten version of his North Shore tour focused primarily on Glenview. Glenview's new library is very nice. I believe it is a bit smaller than the Evanston, IL library which has won many awards located just about a block from my office. Both are very impressive.

Geoffrey described in his talk how he became the host of the series. He was working as a producer at WTTW while he was giving Chicago architecture tours to visitors. A couple who attended his tour kept following him along even after the tour and asking him many questions. The couple was extremely impressed. The gentlemen happen to be the new appointed chairman at WTTW. Shortly after, the chairman asked Geoffrey to start his series.

This experience is very similar to one that I had almost twenty years ago. When Rob Burton, Dan Eitel, and I first started ReCor almost twenty years ago we were doing a few odd consulting jobs here and there. We networked with different organizations and one day a consultant that we met had a technical issue. She did not have any money to pay us, but we help out because it was interesting. About a year later, she came back to us and told us that she was impressed by our skills and ask if we would be interested in a project at the famous Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. As a result, we developed all the kiosks in the Take Flight exhibit that is still running after 15 years. During that time we were developing our first training course for Notes 3. Through our Lotus Partner representative we got in contact with the Project Manager of one of the largest pharmaceutical company in the world located in Illinois. At that time a number of bigger companies started to develop training for this new Lotus product, Notes 3. So the chances that we would get a sales was very small considering. She asked what we have done beside a cc:Mail course. So we mentioned that we did the kiosks at the Museum of Science and Industry for the Take Flight exhibit. She went down to the MSI and visited the exhibit. A few weeks later we receive a global-wide contract for training all their users on Lotus Notes.

You never know how opportunities can come about. Unfortunately, a few Domino administrators and developers that I have known for many years were recently layoff. I encourage them and anyone else in their situation not only to network, but volunteer your services regardless of whether it is in your field of expertise. Opportunities are there but you need to increase your chances and sometimes it leads you to a totally different area that you never expected. I was a Microwave Engineer for ten years and now the only time I am involved with Microwaves is when I heat up my instant oat meal.

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