||What's your job?
I'm a Principal at DB
Kay & Associates, a
does that mean?
I work with technical support organizations to help them adopt
implement self-service initiatives, and take advantage of collaborative
and social software.
My focus is on business processes and organizational change,
but I also develop technology
requirements, advise customers with technology selection, and help them
adjust both their
technology and processes to work better together.
||How does a typical
my favorite things is that there isn't a typical workday!
I spend probably 20% of my
time on-site with clients, either facilitating workshops, assessing
their current work, or providing
input to their strategy. I do a fair amount of writing and
speaking at web seminars or conferences,
both for revenue and to let people know what I do. In
particular, I co-wrote Collective Wisdom: Transforming Support with
Knowledge in 2006. The next book is probably on how to use
Web 2.0 in
technical support, but examples outside of open source aren't common
do you like about your job?
I love the fact that a small amount of my time can really help my
customers -- I've focused on this
one little area, so I'm pretty confident I can provide them with
lessons learned much faster than they
can learn them themselves. I've also enjoyed the range of
customers I've been able to work with.
It's exciting getting an inside view of what these tech
leaders are doing.
I also really enjoy having technology be part of my job, but
not the entirety of my job.
With my CS background and software development experience, I
get very quick credibility with my
customers, and I can give informed advice about trade-offs for
different information retrieval and
knowledge representation approaches in the real world. On the
other hand, the primary focus of
my job is people, and what they do. Over time, I've found
that to be more interesting and fulfilling
than software development.
advice for a CS undergrad?
Balance the technology with the liberal arts. Even if you
devoted 100% of your time on computer
science classes, you'd still have a tremendous amount to learn.
And, because technology keeps
evolving, lifelong learning isn't really an option: it's just how
things are. On the other hand,
learning how to read, write, persuade, develop a benefits statement,
complete a return on investment
analysis -- ALL of this is essential for being a leader at work, even
in supposedly strictly technical
roles. So, get enough technology background to be useful;
intern, so you can learn how to learn
and participate in an office environment; and make sure to cover
English lit, economics, and wherever
else your passions and interests lead.