Last night, I was talking to a friend about how excited I was that I just pre-ordered a new toy. She responded by asking why I spend so much money on gadgets. I simply said, “It’s what I do.” After a few back and forth jabs about her shoe and handbag collection and my nerdy tendencies, I eventually got to my main point, which is that all consultants should be early adopters.
In my case, being an early adopter means dealing buying gadgets and software before most of the bugs have been worked out. There are certainly a number of disadvantages to this; any technology adopted early one has the potential to be a complete failure, so there is the risks that you have found yourself out a good bit of money and with something that no longer gets updates or support. There is also the inconvenience factor of working through the trials and tribulations that come with early stage adoption: functionality issues, incompatibility, and even appearances.
However, not all consultants are built alike. That is part of what makes a consultant, a unique collection of education and experiences that lend to a particular area of expertise. So you may not be the type to love gadgetry the way that I do but that doesn’t mean you can’t be an early adopter.
Innovation is moving at a compounding exponential rate and so new practices, software applications and even large equipment are changing how effectively we can do our jobs, every day. The obvious advantage of early adoption is getting exposed to the next big thing before your competition and having a demonstrable knowledge of whatever that thing may be.
A less apparent advantage of early adoption is constant practice of problem-solving and troubleshooting skills. In the course of our daily work we get this kind of practice, do we really need more of it? There is a difference, with early adoption you don’t have colleagues or prior experience to rely on. Early adoption test your tenacity in problem solving. It is also an incredibly rewarding feeling when we overcome issues we are having and the psychological effect of thinking you can take on the world can easily carry over into you work.
I could on for a while about the advantages of being an early adopter but I have a new Power Point plug-in that I want to test out. Check out some of the links in this article and try your hand at a new kind of challenge.