Shan Pin Koh's Blog Travel, Photography, Food, Randomness

13Apr/110

There are no Technology Challenges, Just People Challenges

A couple of fact and points. I don't consider myself the smartest person, or the fastest cyclist or the best photographer by any means. I consider myself having known just enough for what I need to do. If I wanted to be the smartest person in the world, I would need to keep learning, and learning but someone else would still be smarter than me, another example of people challenge.

That was an example of an external source. What about internally, with yourself? For this, I have another example. I started biking again 3 years ago. In the 3 years, I had set a goal to bike enough miles in a year. I remembered my first 40 mile ride. I was convinced I had what it took to ride it since I had done a 300 miles ride that summer. Well, by mile 30, I was completely winded. The guys I was riding with was WAY ahead of me. They didn't quite wait...

Well, I continued riding and never looked back. Today, I find myself leaving the same guys behind me when we ride. I'm at a point where I've motivated and kept up with my training that I am able to do so. I've overcome my personal challenge and if I continued, I may even ride professionally. Well, to do that, I would need a new bike and dedicate just about every waking hour to train. By the time I am ready, I would be ready for retirement. 🙂

I'm in the technology business. I am into automation - equipment, process, data. When I first started as an engineer, I remember telling others, "It's impossible" to describe how it is just difficult to get something done. I would then do it and others would remind me of what I had just said...

Few years ago, I changed my phrase to "Everything is do-able. It's just time and money." With enough time and enough money, you can do just about anything - build a city on the mood, send someone to Mars, etc.

Then a couple of years ago, after years of writing code in various languages, I started grad school. This is when I learned to abstract the programming language into just simple words. These words can be used in any programming language. By then, I was no longer thinking about code and the specific programming language but rather the concept of what's being accomplished.

The work that I do today involves various technologies and based on the way different projects have been executed, I've realized that we really don't have technology as a barrier. With enough creativity and thought, you can work around issues, fix application bugs, simplify processes. What we really face is people challenges. In the sense of people holding people back. Or people making a mistake and doing their best to cover it. This is when we stop solving the problem and start placing blames. I've been a strong advocate of, "Let's solve the problem first and we can figure out the rest".

I have other examples... They say most projects fail because of miscommunication or not understanding the requirements. Well, who talks, who writes requirements? People do. If you don't communicate, then you're the barrier... If you don't understand the requirements and don't ask the questions, guess what, you're the barrier...

So, to conclude... There are no technology challenges. We have the brain that's powerful enough to solve just about anything. If we put our minds together, we can do just about anything in the world. Let's start collaborating!

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