Be a “Student Of The Game”

Patrick Kane is an impressive American hockey player on the Chicago Blackhawks. He is only 25 and he has already won two Stanley Cup Championships. If you are unfamiliar with his stick handling skills, this video is worth watching.

Pretty incredible. I refer to Patrick because he is described by his teammates, coaches, and family members as a “student of the game”. I love this phrase. This means he puts time into not just honing his own abilities, but watching film of the great players before him, reviewing and critiquing his performance, and knows the history of hockey.

I’ve heard this locution used to describe Tiger Woods‘ appreciation of the sport of golf.

Richard Sherman, the vocal cornerback for the super bowl winning Seattle Seahawks, also gets this moniker.

There are tennis players, baseball stars, NBA elites … many examples all across the world of sports.

Why is it that we never hear folks say this about technologists? Are there not lessons to be learned from the storied history of technology? Wouldn’t the experiences already learned of avoiding technical debt or designing around a bottleneck be worth learning from, worth studying, worth being a student of?

I think we need more people reviewing the tape, watching film of the historic and monumental achievements in technologies. We need more appreciation of the innovation and creativity in IT. We need to apply our past learning’s to our future selves, and stand on the shoulders of those who blazoned the trail previously. I bet the next failure in your IT system will be caused by something someone else has identified and already fixed in their system.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797), a British philosopher, stated “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it”. Maybe those kind of people are the opposites of the “student of the game”. Don’t fall into the same pitfalls that others have encountered and solved.

Whenever I see a post mortem posted publicly about a prominent failure or service interruption I flag it. That’s the history we can, and should, learn from. I applaud those that expose this level of detail and endure the scrutiny these public admissions usually bring.

I’m working on being a better student, join me.


One thought on “Be a “Student Of The Game”

  1. This is SUCH a relevant post at any time in history. Just today, on a whim, i asked about some award sitting on someones desk from over 14 years ago. I got the greatest history lesson of the Internet that I have ever heard. There is value from learning from your past, even if that past exists within your life time.

    Please keep these posts coming. There are those of us out there that believe!!!!


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