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Exploit Your Advantages!

I got into information technology back in 1995. I was almost finished with my master’s degree in psychology, and my partner asked me why I didn’t go into computers. I said, “Oh man, I’m not going into another degree program. How am I going to do that without a degree?”

I wasn’t very up on the field, but I did like computers. She was working at IBM and she told me I already knew more than some of her co-workers about how computers work. I figured I’d trust her intuition and give it a shot. I was already a bit worn out on psychology. Helping people takes a lot of energy, but that isn’t what wore me down. It was the empathy I had for people as most of them didn’t get any better at all. Medication seems to stall the dysfunction a bit, mellow it, but there was no question that when most went off the meds, they lost their minds so to speak. That sucked, and I was looking for something that was a bit more rewarding. A bit more logical.

Information technology (IT) was it.

I started studying books on computers. I started tearing computers apart and fixing my own computers and friends computers. I got on Ebay in 1999 and sold “Fat Burners”, “Creatine” supplements, and other stuff – for a good profit. I could have turned that into a business, but selling bottles of chemicals wasn’t doing it for me. I was intrigued with computers though.

Already I had an advantage over 99+ percent of the population of the world at that time. I knew how to make Ebay ads that sold things. I knew how to program basic web pages. I forget what tool I used, but it was all code by hand of HTML. I sucked, but still I was better than most people. I had an advantage that I could exploit.

To fast forward a bit, I learned about computer hardware. I learned about Microsoft Windows operating system, Windows 3.1, Windows NT, Windows 95, 98, 2000. I learned about networking. I got certified as a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. I got certifications in hardware (A+ Certification), and I got a score of (20+) hardware certifications for fixing DELL, IBM, COMPAQ, HP, desktop and notebook computers, and printers. I liked the field for a bit. I made decent money, even more than I would have with a master’s in psychology with 6 years of experience in the field.

I then learned HTML to a higher degree, and SEO – Search Engine Optimization. This was to be my forte for the next 8 or so years. I was at the top 5% level in the world (guessing), and I had a number of projects I worked on for other people. I created some of my own websites and online businesses. I sold some, I kept some. I ignored most of them and they gradually faded away. One I sold to a helicopter pilot in Hawaii made him $3,000 per month on average for the next decade. I sold it to him for under $20,000 USD. It was a good deal on my part – it had taken me about 2 weeks to make the site. It was only making me $1,500 per month with about 10 hours of work a month. I didn’t want to continue it. I felt like it was a win-win to sell it. I was, and am still, very happy to have sold it.

That’s just one example. I had other businesses that did OK online. Nothing was a major success. I never shot for anything bigtime. I attribute this to my upbringing. I just never thought about doing something HUGE. It wasn’t even a consideration. I just targeted small or medium projects. I was happy enough with that.

In hindsight, I see now. I had giant advantages at the time – and should have exploited them to shoot for something very big. I needed a massive project that took all my energy, creativity, focus… and I just never did that.

I see it now though. I see it now because I’ve done a lot of things in life. The internet has turned the world upside down and into new dimensions. I’ve lost my advantages. Many people can program websites MUCH better than I can. Many people can harness the power of SEO much better than I can.

I need new advantages. I realize now, that at 47 years of age, I need to learn something that will give me new advantages that I can exploit and turn into a big success.

Otherwise, I’m washed up at 47. I can still write books, sure. I can still build websites and do some other things online, but, so many other people can still do the same. I need to set my ‘sites’ higher, and learn something that sets me apart from others. I need to go back into learning mode.

Over the years one thing I’ve not done is learn to program at a high level. I stopped at HTML. It was intuitive as a language, and the rest of it – C, C++, JAVA, etc., seemed like it had no meaning. It was dry, without any fun to it. I talked my cousin into going into programming about 15 years ago because I knew it was THE area to be, if one could stomach it. It is STILL a great place to be, because it is so dry and tough to learn. Certain people can dive right in, and others just get bored and do something else.

I have had a number of ideas for applications – usually for websites, that I’ve never had made. I just never wanted to risk it by paying someone to develop the apps for me. I definitely didn’t see the need to do it myself. It never made sense before. It’s starting to make sense now.

I have a number of ideas for iPhone apps, iPad apps, that I think could do very well. I don’t trust anyone to make them. I don’t trust anyone enough to pay them to make them for me. The development process is something I’d have to own. I’d have to do it myself in order to feel good about it.

I read a book recently – couple months ago – by Allen Wong. In 2008 he started coding on his own part-time to earn some more money for his mentally ill mom. His dad had passed away unexpectedly. He was the only one working. He started coding. He created an app that did VERY well on the iPhone. He has been making 7 figures since 2011 I think it is. He’s in his twenties.

I was thinking today… I need something to set myself apart. I need something to give me an edge. I need an advantage I can exploit.

Is it learning Objective C and programming iPhone apps?

Looking into it…

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