Show me your bookcase…

Show me your bookcase, the ideas that you’ve collected one by one over the years, the changes you’ve made in the way you see the world. Not your browser history, but the books you were willing to buy and hold and read and store and share.
Every bookshelf tells a story. You can’t build one in a day or even a week… it’s a lifetime of collected changes
Seth Godin

I recently had the pleasure of meeting a training GP (General Practitioner) and we chatted about the subjects he’s currently studying, with end-of-year exams looming. In retrospect it seems so obvious, but it actually blew me away the diversity of subjects he was doing, ranging from psychology, mathematics, physics, obstetrics, gynaecology, physiotherapy, etc. Each is a field of amazing depth in its own right, with people who dedicate their careers to single verticals within what a medical doctor must study.

In some ways, OSS exponents are the GPs of the telco world. All of the OSS linchpins I’ve come across have an amazing depth of knowledge on so many verticals within telco / ICT organisations. They’re just as adept talking about sales, marketing, operations, planning, management, assurance, fulfilment, technology, networks, human resources, contract/legal, IT systems, programming, CSP services, financials… and the list goes on.

They have become linchpins because they have the ability to connect ideas and people across these verticals and tie together all of the tentacles of a complex OSS. They are able to triage problems quickly and plot a course towards resolution. In my humble opinion, this is what we should all aspire to in OSS.

Your daily role at any point in time is unlikely to give you opportunities to learn across all these verticals, but collecting and then reading through a diverse bookshelf can help obviously.

Long-time readers will have probably noticed that I repeatedly quote authors like Seth Godin even though they probably have little knowledge of the inside workings of a CSP and would seemingly have little relevance to a site like PAOSS. I quote them regularly because I read their content regularly and I read their content regularly because they come up with insights that are brilliant in their ability to see a subject from a different angle than the mainstream. They seem to read voraciously, which perhaps gives them a head-start in taking a lateral perspective on their content.

I’d love to hear about your greatest sources of insight that have no direct relationship to OSS or telco/ICT. What’s in your bookcase?

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