A few years ago, the most excellent Kevin Spacey presented at the Lotusphere Opening General Session Keynote. In my most humble opinion, it was the best guest speech I have seen at all my seven times attending. Not as amazing as Neil Amrstrong, or as heartwarming as Michael J. Fox, as funny as John Cleese, or William Shatner (or as batshit insulting as Bob Costas), but simply the best speaker giving a superb talk in an eloquent, structured style. The premise of his speech was “sending the elevator back down”. As you get older and possibly, wiser, you try not to forget what it was like to be starting off in your trade. Broke, insecure on knowledge and scared of the older person in the room. I was that person. Fortunately, or unfortunately I am now turing into the other person in the room.
I don’t consider myself old. I don’t consider the Yellow bubble as old. But we are all getting older. I would be curious to see the average age of Connect 2013 attendees. These days, I do try to help younger people in the IT industry if I feel I can. Sometimes this doesn’t work out. I have found myself putting time and money into people, trying to get them to better themselves, only to learn that not everyone will listen, as is their right. Once in a while though, you get to play a small part in watching someone develop. It is most rewarding. I can feed off it. You don’t have to teach (like Mr Elgort has just announced) but you just have to guide if you can. Accept that when you were younger you were far from perfect, and that you need to need to nurture the talent and forget the mistakes.
Today I got this in the post from someone shooting their way up the elevator in a big company. A small Christmast geek gift, and it made me smile to think that in a tiny way I helped someone get there.