The Advantages of Being 15 Minutes Ahead
15 years ago I landed a pretty nice job as a web designer based on very little experience. I didn’t get it by lying in the interview, just by having more experience than anyone else did at the time. The web was still very young and relatively simple. One person could code an entire site in a sitting (without the help of WordPress because no such tools existed), but not many folks knew how. I like to tell people that “because I could spell H-T-M-L, they gave me the job.” From then on, I realized that to stay relevant I would have to keep learning new technologies and basically stay “15 minutes head of everyone else” to keep getting decent jobs.
Of course, that 15 minutes could mean a few weeks or months, but the 90’s were such a wild ride for information technology that it definitely felt like 15 minutes. I eventually moved away from the web when I found I was not interested enough in it (and way too many other people still were) to keep ahead of that curve. Now my day job is in digital video production, which has also have been evolving pretty quickly.
I say all this because I think I lucked out again with Ping just by being a few minutes ahead of the curve. Virtually overnight, I appear to have picked up more followers in Ping (nearly 1700) than I have in Facebook in over a year. The only explanation I have for this is that there are currently fewer indie artists around in Ping, and because Ping is still young, fewer artists in general than other services. Less noise, more signal, and more opportunities to be noticed.
Having been shut out of Ping when it initially opened, I guess we all became despondent about the network. I used to grumble about it, and initially did not let go of my pingy angst when I first saw that I had an avenue into the network. Then I decided it couldn’t hurt to take the small proactive moves necessary to create a Ping presence, and then ping! A small, not insignificant following!
Maybe this post is more about doing things even though you don’t think they will matter. Or maybe it’s just about being lucky (and we’d all rather be lucky than good any day). Like all things on the Web, this windfall is probably short-lived. I was initially getting hundreds of new ping followers per day and now I’m just getting a couple. But I’m once again reminded that being just a little bit ahead of the curve can make all the difference, even if it’s just 15 minutes.
(See also my earlier post about Ping.)