They don’t care about your GIS, Your Education, Your Skills, or You… They care about having their problems solved…. STEP 1: Build the Skills

I love geographic information systems. The visual creativity feeds my artistic side. The spatial analysis and complexity feed my science side. And all of this has massive cross-industry value.

But here is something you probably don’t want to hear.

No one cares how much you care about GIS, or how willing you are to learn… they care how much you can help them RIGHT NOW.

This is a case of “Knowing is the half the battle” Because if you don’t know this, you will be stuck spinning your wheels.

Knowing what the real problem is put you half way to solving it.
Knowing the real problem will put you halfway to solving it.

Don’t believe me? How about I give you a quick example.

Your car dies in the middle of the freeway. As you are pulled over to the side, a guy wearing a lion tamer outfit comes up with a spoon in hand and opens the hood.

He starts randomly poking around. You ask him “Are you a mechanic?”

“No, but I am really interested in being one” he replies.

Pipes get punctured (very sharp spoon), he hits the battery and ground a few times… sparks fly.

What the heck is this person doing? You stop him and say “You don’t look like a mechanic, you don’t act like a mechanic, and you certainly don’t have the skills of a mechanic… now get out of here”.

The guy may have been keen, the guy may even be nice, but you don’t need him.

This is the world. You have the skills to fix the problem, or you don’t.

To get there faster you have to start with step one.

Build the skills.

There are three components to building the skills. The first is through formal, online, or on the job education.

Get the skills, this takes "responding" to peoples needs first. This is where you start to learn
Get the skills, this takes “responding” to peoples needs first. This is where you start to learn

I would suggest formal education at a University or College. They SHOULD have up to date education standards and SHOULD have good instructors.

Online also works, and helps you learn self-discipline at the same time.

These types of learning are responding to a very specific demand. They want X, you do X. They need Y, you do Y.

This is an important step when it comes to GIS. Learning this way is a necessity. This is building the basic market skills GIS needs.

You need to know what a buffer is, what a datum is, what a projection is. There are a thousand concepts (roughly speaking… could be more… could be less) that you need to learn.

This learning process can take months or years. This is also the time where you focus your skill set and begin to engineer your success.

Find out what specific skills will be needed in the future, and what industries need them the most, and focus in.

Do this and the skills you have at the end will be unique and valuable.

You can take a college education and make it 100 times as valuable by actively focusing ahead of time.


Fail Win Fail Win or the Path of Iteration

Failure is good. Failure is normal. It is after failure that we find some of the best learning.

Failure is good, failure makes you stronger, failure is the only way forward.
Failure is good, failure makes you stronger, failure is the only way forward.

It is through this “Fail Win” iteration that you find out what works.

This is where you find gold that people really need for their GIS.

At this stage, find mentors in person, online or in literature.

This stage could be years in making.


Teach What You Know

Something magical happens when you teach someone something you know.

Teaching is the best way to learn the skills... WAAAAAAY better than just doing them.
Teaching is the best way to learn the skills… WAAAAAAY better than just doing them.

A switch in your mind gets’ turned on and says “Holy crap… I need to know this before I tell someone else about it”. It is a responsibility switch. It is a switch that says “Don’t look like an idiot… do it right”.

Finally the last stage of Build the Skills.


Purposely advance what you do, without permission, on your own, with your own ideas.

Many people don't do this step. They are content with not taking this level or risk. RISK TO BE THE BEST.
Many people don’t do this step. They are content with not taking this level or risk. RISK TO BE THE BEST.

You have built your skills and understanding to the point where creativity takes over.

You no longer have to ask permission because you know what works and what doesn’t.

Not many people go to this point. It is the riskiest of all the skill steps.

But I will help you… se e how easy it is! (well… at brainstorm phase anyway)

GIS for arborists.

GIS for Automotive Experts

GIS for Entrepreneurs.

GIS for shoe repair.

You figure it out.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out my other links!

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