Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Value Is as Value Does

Today I've been looking at different companies and trying culminate a few ideas floating around about "value add" and either beating or staying ahead of the competition as well as what it means to work in high-tech where innovation is "a moving target". I read a case study today which Norman R. Augustine wrote about Lockheed Martin's attempt to restructure and survive while thinking about where I would fit into the management mix when I get that first dream job and why a company would need my insights as an employee. Yes, there is a bit of ego in this post, but I figured I needed the extra boost today as part of my introspective research of the day.

There really are very few people like me and that is a cliché statement because everyone is unique and there is no one person like the other. But if you were to define the market segment that I would fall under, it would be "Gen Y girl geek* in Silicon Valley who has lived in three other countries outside of the US and has seen how economic development can affect people in third world countries." Take a sample size: Out of 100 students of the class of 2000 at the Hong Kong International School high school, I am 1 in 100 and out of those students who live in Silicon Valley, I am maybe 1 in 5, (based on my connections on Facebook).

Take that number and try to find the number of people in the sample size of 5 people (a non-representative sample at best) that really wants to understand the history of our modern world through the fast-changing, fast-paced landscape of high-tech business and you are down to a sample of one. Which says nothing except that I am 100% me and if every competing entity on the free market has varied strengths and weaknesses giving each a fair competitive advantage, then it's true that I am totally and economically unique.

The question that often comes up these days is what is your value add and can you compete in this fast-paced, non-traditional, non "9 to 5" industry? Can you chase a moving target and hit a bull's eye? Do you understand what innovation means? I like to think that in about five years from now I will be more of an expert with a stronger understanding of the high-tech landscape. Right now, like our friend Linus Caldwell, I have the right skills for my profession and they have to be put into practice. Hopefully, within the next 5 years, I will have the means and experience to give back to the community and empower young people.

But for now, give me a challenging question to try and provide intelligent recommendations for your industry, and I will work with you to come up with some relevant answers. In addition to that (and I say this with tongue-in-cheek), if required I can get other examples in three Romance languages and maybe one or two major Asian languages.

*No "Geek" doesn't mean braces, awkward fashion, bad breath and oversized glasses. Believe it or not, in Silicon Valley, it's become a sub-culture and says Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, "After all to be geeky is to be intelligent, have passion for a subject and to know that subject in depth."

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