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I could be a rock star

“I could be a rock star” I say to my family’s horror and often embarrassment as I have tried to match Freddie Mercury hitting the high note in “Somebody to love” or David Bowie crescendo in “Life on Mars”. This is often made worse as it is in front of a best friend or a new boyfriend.

In saying this I have done nobody any harm, except possibly myself in the respect stakes, but what you don’t have, hey, you won’t miss (but that’s another story).
Theoretically, what I say is true, but I know that to achieve a fraction of what Freddie and David achieved takes a lot of practice and time. Something I know I certainly was never prepared to give with the speed I escaped my piano lessons, especially as they were after rugby practice…oh so butch!

It is something I am prone to quite frequently:

“I could be an actor”, after “Are you looking at me?” in a style that Robert might find a tad offensive.

“I could be a politician”, after “We will fight them on the beaches”, which gets more people cringing behind the sofa, rather than standing to attention, shoulders back, ready to stare the enemy in the eye.

As I said, there is no harm in this. It is far from slanderous, more respect for the achievements of the professionals who have succeeded in these fields. Yes they may have gifts, but it has taken a lot of learning, training, practice, mistakes, experience and time to use these gifts like they do. As such I also respect the pleasure and in most cases the rewards they receive.

Now I am going to come out of the closet. I have been in IT for over 25 years, making my best efforts to help businesses benefit from the rapid improvements in technology. I, too, believe myself to be a professional and believe I am entitled to reasonable rewards for passing on my advice.

Throughout my career I have met people in businesses I am trying to help, who say I or we can do that. This is even more the case over the last decade and certainly the last couple of years with development of the Web. The great thing is that the Web and related technology and services have meant that the opportunities for business to succeed in a short period of time have increased many times. However it has also meant that businesses can fail in a short period of time, by not taking advantage of the Web, often while others have.

This is often because, in theory, they CAN do that. The advance in tools means that such things as applications, marketing and digital strategies and (business) networking are achievable in days or weeks rather than months or years.

BUT, I advise caution. You can try to do all of your web strategy yourself or in-house, as it can be achieved in a short period. This includes the learning. It does not however include the training, practice and experience. Therefore it will very often lead to avoidable mistakes or incompleteness.

Additionally this short period will often have to be achieved outside of the full time you have to spend operating your existing business. Whether this is a small business where the business leaders have to do the work in their “spare” time, or, in a larger organisation, where the IT department have to do it while still supporting the existing infrastructure. In these cases the short period is not so short meaning opportunities are missed or the competition gets there first.

So when I am talking to a car mechanic who says “I have downloaded a template and am building the website myself to save myself money”. I do not reply “I am changing my own alternator to save myself money”, because I know that to do this will take weeks, if not months, may never be achieved, will probably cost more and probably lead to more damage and cost in the near future, while losing opportunity now as I am not on the road.
I also do not say, although sometimes sorely tempted, “I could be a professional footballer”, while nodding the screwed up paper from my notes at him.

I do not say, “I could be a lawyer” (I did do three months, before giving it up at university), when a true lawyer says to me “Our IT guys have said they can build us a website, and they are sure lots of people will want to look at it. So we’re covered.”

I may think “I could be a playwright,” as I exit stage right.

It is the experience and specialisation that allows me and others like me to say we are professionals at what we do. These and extra time cannot be downloaded. But we cannot help you and your business without you (more of that another time).

So, I have come out of the closet. It’s not rocket science. I am a business man who helps other people use the web…by the way did I ever tell you,” I could be a rocket scientist.”