Friday, November 23, 2012

Art of learning by doing it

I believe in learning-by-doing principle.  It is about doing things with my own hands and understanding what is involved to do things right.  I found that it is very time consuming and difficult to do this.  But I feel that it is absolutely necessary to have greater ownership of what I do.


This blog is a good example.  I am learning a lot about running a website, and what it takes to generate traffic to a site.

I am a computer science major.  I knew little about social network or product management just about two years ago.  I didn't know if I had topics to write about.  If the topics were about software design, coding, debugging, running development organization, challenges with running off-shore development team, I would have had easier time finding topics.  Unlike MBA students who graduated with product management training, I had to figure out what is involved in making and delivering a product.  And I am still figuring out every day.

I took the product management job about 2 years ago.  Since then I had to quickly learn how to do things.  I had to make sure that I understood what's happening with social networks, enterprise social software, and new startups.  I also needed to jumpstart my product management career, how to start a new product, ensure product-market fit, write requirements, iterate on and deliver the product.  And to do all these while I had 11-hr work day 5 days a week.

So I did what anyone else would do.  I started to do homework.  To train myself to keep up with social network, product management and startups, I started blogging.  Starting this year, I set a goal to write one blog entry every day.  Blog entry will be anything that I did or read that day about the topics that I wanted to catch up the most.

For the first few weeks writing was a long drawn out process.  Although I had earlier blogging experience, it was difficult to find a topic and perspective that I wanted to write about.  Sometimes it took hours to read and research before I could figure out what to write.  But it forced me to do one thing.  To keep up with the latest in the areas that I set out to learn.

I am still learning.  I learn from all the greats: Steve Blank to Mark Suster to Chris Dixon to name a few.  I also learn from how people are finding and reading my articles, or the lack of their readership.  I get to learn by doing it.

That's gotta be the art of next economy.

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