“I was not impressed. This is Harvard. I expected more,” said my friend I’ll call John.
John was invited to Harvard for a symposium on the drone industry. It was conducted by the school of engineering and the business school. Harvard sees the importance and growth of this new unmanned flight industry.
John is a nuclear physicist from Georgia Tech, a veteran and pilot from the first Gulf War. He worked as a selling executive and strategist for two successful drone companies. He is the founder of his own company developing solutions with major manufacturers for the agribusiness. He is a recognized international speaker at drone industry events and speaks on software and applications. Amazing amount of experience.
Answering the Question
Harvard wants to be sure they are offering the right curriculum to their students who will be the future leaders of this developing industry. So the question they wanted to have answered was: What should we be researching and teaching?
They invited 50 recognized experts from all the different companies addressing the industry. They put them in one room, shut the doors and had the noted professors and researchers ask the experts questions.
“It appeared to me from the questions, they wanted to know the most important element of the drone business. What is it now, and what will it be in the future?” he said.
Knowing the Answer
“I was a bit surprised. I mean we all know that software is eating the world. It is all about the software. The rest of the drone industry is simply hardware. We know how to build planes and helicopters. That’s the easy part. Did we really need to spend most of the day coming to this conclusion?” he opined.
I replied, “Why do we give people so much credit for knowing what we think they know and give ourselves no credit for what we know? We assume if we know it, then everyone must know it. I do this, and now you’re doing it too!
“We minimize our body of knowledge. I am all for humility, but we’ve taken it to a level I would categorize as intimidation. You are one of the smartest dudes in this industry. You are a sought after expert who is a practical thinker. You are building a business which is profitable and solving real problems for a developing market. Think about what you know.
“Harvard and those notable professors disappointed you because you thought they were smarter than you. And they may be, but not when it comes to unmanned flight. You are the expert, and they are the students. The whole point of the symposium was to understand your future needs so they can supply properly educated Harvard graduates to solve them.
“Don’t be disappointed in Harvard. You need to walk away confident and feeling accomplished as a recognized expert by Harvard in this developing industry. You are the right person with the right body of knowledge at just the right time.”
But I am like John. I am impressed with credentials, but academic accomplishments don’t hold a candle to on the ground market and business experience. What you know is unique because your experience is unique. Value it. If you do this, then you will not be afraid to share it. If you don’t value it, then you won’t share it and the world will miss out.
Be confident. People will listen, and you will help them with what you know. Speak, share, and continue to learn.