Monday, November 17, 2008

while I'm waiting

While I'm waiting for action on my pinion, which I'm sure the general sentiment is that it will be when hell freezes over, I must advance on my business of computer consulting.

I was thinking about it and I believe there needs to be a clear difference made in my approach to people who, in the one case, want me to execute things for them and aren't interested in learning how to do much themselves, and in the other case, want me to teach them how to do things.

I would call the first case, where I execute things for them, a shadow service. In this case the client is a person totally without delusions about their computer skills, recognizes nevertheless the computer is a dandy thing, and wants to cash in on it any way he or she can. So he or she becomes a shadow sitting beside me and I become a shadow sitting beside him or her. Between us goes on all kinds of communication until we get the job done. But at the end of the session, the client is no different a person than he or she was at the beginning. I enter like a shadow and I exit like one. And he or she appears to me like a shadow too, except that in the process I have learned a lot about the person's needs and limitations of terminology and knowledge of computer processes.

The other type of client, who wants me to teach him or her how to do things on the computer, I will call simply a learner client. In this case really the door is wide open, anything is discussable, and the wider we set the agenda the more satisfied the client will eventually be. This of course requires also that my knowledge is much greater than the client's, and for many computer users this will just not be the case, and I will not be of use to him or to her. I am not a technician. I am a well-rounded scientist, and some people will find that useful and impressive, but some people will anticipate pretty much what that entails in terms of computer knowledge, and pass on it.

Next, a discussion of my background in computers.