uGovernIT

A Practical Approach for IT Governance

Hindsight is 20-20

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LinkedIn invited me (I am sure several of you as well) to write a letter of advice to youngsters who are just embarking on their careers. The theme was “If I were 22”. They asked me to address:

  •    What do you know now that you wish you’d known then?
  •    Are you where you thought you’d be?
  •    What advice would you give to a young person entering the working world today?

As I embark on my new role as Consultant CIO in a mid-sized firm in the Bay Area, it was nice to look back decades into the past.

If I were 22 today, the first thing I would remember is that vision for the past can be perfect, but the future will always entail an element of uncertainty. At 22, I would have to take you back to 1977. I was a computer operations manager (a big sounding name) for $5 an hour job on campus at the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California. I was studying my Masters in Computer Engineering where I was working on operating systems designed with pipeline processing in mind. I sent a message using Arpanet to a friend in India studying at IIT. I had to write a complex script to do it. I was intrigued by the fact that it was free. Even a phone call to my family was around $4 per minute. I proposed to develop the free message idea further to make it easy to send messages. My friends and colleagues laughed at me. They said I lacked focus and it was just a wild idea. I wish I had known that the Arpanet I was using for communicating between universities would eventually lead to the world-wide web. I wish I had persisted with my idea.

That was not the only mistake I made. Intel was interested in my work on pipeline processing. At that time Intel was a small company. I wish I had accepted it. Two mistakes are good enough for life, but that is not all. I had a golden chance to move into medical industry, but I chose to work in the aerospace sector. Not that it was a bad area, but it was very bureaucratic. I wish I had good mentors around me.

Lessons Learned

  1. Nobody can predict the future, but please be around friends who can encourage you and experts who can mentor you.
  2. Failure is the best way to learn – do not take failure personally.
  3. Persist – the only real failure is giving up. Nearing 60 now, I recently got VC funding for an innovative software enabled management solution I have developed.
  4. Most important, enjoy the journey. For the ultimate success in life is joy.

Written by Subbu Murthy

June 1, 2014 at 4:18 pm

One Response

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  1. love reading your blogs.. very well written and fascinating. It gives me immense positive vibes and you have helped me more than you know in the recent times. Thought I would reply to this one since it hits home. While there never was a doubt about your brilliance at any point, I truly am happy that you associated with the right people, especially friends, to focus yourself to reach your goals. AT 53, I realize all the mistakes I have made in the past, and am on a recovery path with the right people around me. As soon as my girls were ready for University, I myself am back in school doing my degree in Medical Information Systems having finished 1st semester with a 4.0 GPA. The first path to my recovery as a person is to unconditionally love people around me, and to have clarity in mind, thoughts and focus. I only wish, a leader like you had kicked me you know where and put me on track early in my life. I could have been a better man much earlier. But, its never too late, and I pray God for everyone’s health and happiness at all times. This is not an effort to reach out to you in person, and your blogs and advice is good enough. I find my happiness and peace by being a good student of life first, and it has helped me to be a good student at school. Thank you, and God bless you.

    Kris Murthy

    December 12, 2014 at 6:49 pm


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