Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Place of the Way

A dojo is a hall or space for immersive learning or meditation. This is traditionally in the field of martial arts, but has been seen increasingly in other fields, such as meditation and software development.

The term literally means "place of the way" in Japanese.

For many years I have been teaching (preaching?) to everyone that works with us, that "the way" that you work is the work. Especially with remote work. 

I was selling "car phones" for a living in the 80's. The birth of the cellular phone industry happened in the New York market, with only 9 cell towers (the NYCGSA - New York Cellular Geographic Service Area).  Wow, some things you never forget, eh?

I was there for the birth of the Palm Pilot, the first PCs, (I had an Apple IIe) and Modems. Ah yes, I remember buying my first modulator-demodulator don't you? 

It seems that all my life, all of my working business career the path was to remote. To work "away" from the office, away from the desk. Computer > Portable Computer. Office Phone > Car Phone. Then portable phones, then smartphones. Technology (all my life, in reflection) has been about making things work - remotely. Chinese Tao (or Dao) means "way" or "path". 

And here we are. COVID-19 has thrust the entire world into a remote lifestyle. We used to go into the city because that was where the office was - the office with the business phone system, the filing cabinets, the conference rooms. If you are old like me, the office was where the typewriters were, the copy machines, the fax machines. You HAD to commute to the city, there was no alternative to producing valuable work. Cue the skyscrapers. 

Contact Centers, Call Centers - with rows and rows of cubicles were necessary for massive corporations to function. 

The world has flipped. We now have Box and Dropbox and GoToMeeting and Zoom and Zoom Phone and Workplace and Shopify and BigCommerce and iPhones and iPads and Basecamp and Salesforce and.....

Ah so. But, THE WAY that we work, "the way" that we use these tools - has become the work. The way that the work is done - is the work. 

One of my favorite Zig Ziglar quotes is "You are not paid by the hour. You are paid for the VALUE that you bring to the hour". 

For the next several months, the business world is going to pinch every penny twice before they spend money - on anything. There will be less room for error. Competition for work will increase 10x as remote work just becomes - work. Just as Distance Education has become simply Education, and Telemedicine has become just Medicine and how Commerce became eCommerce - but is now back to just being Commerce!

My "OK, Boomer" brain just thought about the 2004 Pixar movie "The Incredibles" which had a famous line: When everyone has a superpower, then no one does. 

When we all have access to superpowers (Box, Zoom, Zoom Phone, Workplace, G-Suite, Microsoft Teams, iPads, iPhones, etc.) then we are all "Supers" and when we ALL have superpowers - then we have rendered the difference meaningless. 

The global playing field has been leveled by COVID-19. New York or Nebraska. Miami or Milwaukee. London or Los Angeles. The size of your skyscraper no longer matters. 

But "the way" that you work - the VALUE that you bring to the hour - that shall indeed be your superpower. 

And back to the dojo. The place of the way. Just remember this: not every White Belt will become a Black Belt. But EVERY Black Belt was once a White Belt. 

Congratulations, Sensei - YOU (yes you) are now the proud owner of your own dojo! And it looks like your dojo (spare bedroom) can hold a few million students. 

Now, THAT is truly...Incredible. 

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