At the backend of last year, I was invited to give a demonstration to the Year 2 children at a local school about computing type toys. I agreed that I would go up and show them Lego Mindstorms, SAM Labs kit and Scratch Jr on the iPad.
On arrival though, I realised that I needed to try and explain to a group of 6 and 7 year olds, what I do and what they were going to be doing. I wanted something a little better than just firing up a load of Lego bricks – they probably just wanted the bricks! I started the demo by introducing myself and explaining that I tell stories every day and that I was going to get them to tell stories too. I went on to explain that everything I do is really just telling stories and working out how to tell the right story in the right way at the right time. I explained to them that the stories they were going to write were simple ones that we could get the ‘toys’ to understand and indeed they did and they eventually got the ‘toys’ to do some reasonably complex things by giving them a set of ‘stories’.
That thought has been quietly resonating around my head every day ever since. Today I realised, that actually, that is a really good description of most of what I do. I write computer software – I’m telling a story to the computer about what I want it to do. I work with business to understand their requirements – I tell them a story about what they want at the end of the process. When I stand and teach, I am telling stories and making analogies that I hope people will understand. By drawing images and process maps on the whiteboard or the iPad I’m trying to get to the picture that tells the legendary 1000 words. I’m a story teller and I think that I pretty much always have been and more importantly, sometimes I get listeners.
I may not be a story teller in the traditional sense but that is what some of this updated blog will be about. There are problems that I solve on a daily basis, some of which have been seen before and some of which are new. By sharing the stories of what I have done and more importantly how I have done it, then maybe someone else will find a solution to an issue they are facing. Maybe, in turn, they will share the story of what they have done and how they have solved it and maybe, just maybe the story will grow.
With the power of social networks now, if we all shared a real story everyday instead of just the latest cute kitten video how far would the story travel? We’re all story tellers in some way and that’s why social media works, we’re all trying to tell something of ourselves and what we have done – I’m just a little late realising some of that…