Sunday, June 14, 2009

Business School is like Business Books - Useful in Snippets

Let me preface this by saying that some (or much) of this may not make sense to many people reading it. I have a strange way of processing information. I'm sure there is a psychological name for it, but I've never found it. It essentially goes like this.
  • Read a lot, almost anything you can get your hands on, in all formats (newspapers, blogs, magazines, books, etc.). Sometimes read the entire piece, and sometimes scan it.
  • Listen a lot, to people from many of different backgrounds and social levels.
  • Ask questions that sound broad, but are typically only looking for a partial answer.
  • Do not consciously coordinate the things you read or hear or ask.
  • Periodically have a whole bunch of facts, ideas, concepts, quotes and other relevant pieces come together into ideas or pictures. Scratch your head wondering how they all came together.
This piecing together sometimes happens on purpose, like when it's time to finish a paper or analysis. And sometimes it just "clicks" in the middle of a sentence as I'm talking to someone. The latter are the ones that I can never quite figure out, but occasionally I let it flow and it sounds like a reasonably intelligent set of thoughts (note: that's not bragging...I honestly don't know how it pieces together).

So what's the point? So what? Hang on a second, I'm getting there.

As I mentioned before, I read quite bit. Since I pay my mortgage by doing things that are semi-business related, I often read books on business. I'm currently reading Made to Stick, Innovation that Fits, and Free. I'm also reading Serve the People and The Blue Sweater, not so much for their business content but rather as a way to gain some inside into foreign culture to help augment this semester. Each one of those books is sitting on my nightstand, and each one is somewhere between 10% and 60% finished. I rarely seem to finish the books, but I always find a few interesting snippets from one that relates to one of the others. It's my favorite part of reading these various types of books, when one snippet connects to another and seems to create something new. A new idea, or a bigger concept.

As we've moved farther into our MBA program, we're now at that stage when more and more snippets from various courses or experiences are piecing themselves together in my head. The broader concepts these create are becoming interesting, useful and fostering a bunch of ideas for new businesses.

I'm not sure if this is the case for many (or any) of my classmates, as I often get blank stares when I try and explain some of these conjoined snippets. I'm not sure if they don't see things the same way, or if I still needed to work on explaining the new concepts, or if I'm just off base. Many of them are incredibly knowledgeable about specific topics, so it's quite possible that it could be the latter.

Either way, more and more pieces are starting to connect with each other or are at least in each other's gravitational field. For me, this is when fun stuff happens. Now the challenge becomes not over-thinking things.

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