Self Awareness 101: Knowing where I'm an expert... and where I'm not
I know what I know, and I don't what I don't. Including... about Ukraine.
There are some topics I have a pretty high level of expertise on.
Specifically, the computer software industry.
I’ve worked at some of the largest software companies in the world… and some of the smallest. I went from entry level… all the way up to Vice President — working in testing, engineering, and marketing. And that’s on top of working in Tech Journalism for over 15 years. The reality is, when it comes to the software industry, there are very (very) few people that have the same level of experience and expertise I have.
But that’s the software industry.
When it comes to, say, conflict between Russia and Ukraine? My opinion is just about as worthless as a twice used kleenex.
Never been to the region. Don’t speak any of the languages. Only have a (very) high level understanding of the modern history and politics.
Some of my wife’s family escaped from Ukraine during the pogroms in the early 1900s (they smuggled their children out in a hay cart). This is just about my only experience with Ukraine. But that was a hundred years ago, and an awful lot has happened since then.
When I see what is happening in Ukraine, I have a reaction. Just like most of you.
And, while I can certainly chime in with my thoughts and opinions (and am likely to do so as the days go on), those thoughts and opinions should be taken with all the weight and gravitas of any other software executive weighing in on Ukraine.
That is… with very little weight. And, most definitely, not a lot of gravitas.
There are some countries where my opinion may actually be worth listening to, at least to some degree.
The USA, Israel, and Canada — for example — I can speak about with at least some level of confidence. Heck, even China I have a teeny-tiny bit of experience with (having managed multiple teams of developers, and worked with hardware suppliers, in China).
Technically, I did manage one software engineer who lived in Russia. But I learned next to nothing about Russia because of it. It was only for a short time… and that guy just wasn’t much of a talker.
But Ukraine? Pssh. Any opinion I have is, at best, a good guess.
Why am I saying all of this?
Well. Just like all of you, I’ve seen the countless people taking to the Internet to exclaim their opinions on the Russia / Ukraine conflict. I’ve listened to all of the talking heads, politicians, and journalists telling me what the “facts” are about the situation.
And, the more I hear from all of them, the more I realize that the vast majority of them have the same level of expertise on Ukraine as I do. Many of them far, far less (which is saying something).
The ones that do seem to have an expertise with Ukraine… all seem to have shady business dealings with politicians in the country. Which makes me doubt their honesty and sincerity.
My opinion, right now, is not fully formed. Because I am not fully informed.
I smell a lot of bologna. Until I have a stronger understanding of the modern history of the region… I shall remain skeptical of pretty much everything I hear on the conflict. From all sides. Because, again, lots of bologna flying around.