What Would You Suggest Your Kids Should Do For Work?


Thursday, 9.30pm

Sheffield, U.K.

There’s more than one way to do it. – Perl motto

I’ve been thinking a bit about where one really adds value.

The late Felix Dennis wrote a book called How To Get Rich where he said that there is one talent you must have.

And what is that?

The talent to spot talent in others. To recruit that talent and nurture it.

But what if you’re that talent… how are things going to work out for you? Or for your kids?

Felix has a lesson later on. As talent gets older, he says, it gets expensive. Young talent can be underpaid if the work is challenging. Then, it’s paid at the market rate. Finally, it’s paid for what it did in the past, and that’s when you part ways with it.

And really, that’s an important lesson. In a traditional career path we climb a ladder. The idea is that we get on the ladder because of what we do and then we climb it because of what we can get others to do.

Its the whole making versus managing thing.

But really, what is a manager other than an intermediary between an owner and the customer?

When you look around you at people and what they do you start to see that programming is increasingly at the heart of everything.

If you work in an office you probably spend a lot of time doing stuff using Excel. That’s programming.

If you’re creating music, or art, or architecture you’re still probably using a computer.

Even if you do something that is a craft, like designing and building wooden stools or jigsaws, you’re probably going to use a computer to help you.

Telling a computer what to do is programming.

Okay – so that’s obvious you say – clearly the world is heading that way. What’s the insight here?

Well, the point is that there is a period of transition.

A period of pain for those who don’t get it.

And a period when they have to make choices.

The kinds of jobs where we add value really fall into two areas.

Either we make something that people will buy.

Or we sell something that people will buy.

Anything else really is a cost – and costs are things that you really want to get rid of.

If you’re doing something that gets you labelled as a cost then you’re going to have a rather fear-filled working life.

I think kids need to get this straight.

Either they’re good with people and can build relationships with them.

That’s worth a lot.

Typically between 10 and 60% of the value of a product.

For example, wouldn’t any of us pay 20% of the price of our product if someone else brought in the customers?

The remaining 40-90% goes to the owners after they pay their staff – the ones that make stuff, and the other ones.

I’d tell my kids to make sure that they’re making something.

And that making is the same as programming – programming an app, automating something, creating music or creating a product.

And if they don’t like that then just go out and learn how to sell.

I suppose you might, at this point, point to the public sector.

Well… that’s where you need to ask how much value is being added by some of the things that happen over there…

Brexit anyone?


Karthik Suresh

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