I have started at my new job and just got through my first 2 weeks. I was so impressed by what I saw that I was phoning up everyone I knew and talking to them excitedly about how awesome things were. Within the first week I realized that running a corporation of this size and sophistication is not an easy task. Especially when there is not much room for error. It became obvious to me that it takes lot more than a bunch of engineers to operate a technology company.
The incredibly complexity of the things and how systems are continually evolving towards better efficiency and reliability is simply amazing. It is not just one’s capacity for creative work that counts in such an environment. We are standing on the shoulders of giants. There is already so much of work done and so many systems in place. One must first thoroughly understand them in order to even start making one’s presence felt in such an environment.
More than the systems and equipment and technology that were in place, what impressed me most was the people. These were people who solved problems of incredible complexity on a daily basis. If they were in an academic atmosphere they would have been able to publish a tonne of papers by now. But, they do not really care about recognition or money. All they cared about was their work. Unless a company can attract and harness people like this they won’t be able to stand modern day competition. After all, cutting edge technology won’t come to life with a laid back style of functioning. It takes passion, aggression, team-spirit and tenacity to face the challenges of high technology.
I was sitting amongst some of my team members as they were debugging a problem that was cropping up during testing. Their line of reasoning and the speed and agility with which they identified possible causes, referred to schematics and tried to come up with possible causes was simply inspiring. It was like watching a martial arts performance except that this was performed at a cerebral level.
I am a little worried about whether I will be able to catch up with them.
But, I am an incurable optimist and I will give it my best shot. Recently, I used to become a little moody after reading the newspapers. Wherever one looks, there are problems. And they seem to be growing bigger. Global warming, terrorism, poor governance, poverty, inefficiency, corruption etc. etc.. I used to think that there really was not much hope that things might start looking up. After all, humans are vulnerable and weak and like Theoden, The King of Rohan says in the LOTR,
What can men do against such reckless hate?
But, I now know that when a bunch of smart people put their heads together miracles can happen. All we need to do is just wait for one to happen and meanwhile play our little role in the scheme of things well.