I took the commuter rail into Boston today for the Enterprise 2.0 conference. A guy sat next to me and pulled out his Vsphere book by my colleague at EMC Scott Lowe. Of course I had to start talking to the guy (you know me!).
I asked if he was studying for an exam, and he wasn’t. He’s a sysadmin at one of our customers, trying to stay in front of the curve. He asked me about Scott, and I said he’s a nice, smart, very knowledgeable guy. Then he told me – ask him this question for me. So as he spoke I typed his question into my phone:
And right away someone answered me:
I gave the guy my card, and wrote Scott’s twitter handle on the back. But he said he wasn’t on Twitter! So I also wrote down Tweetdeck.
Here you have a highly experienced sysadmin, who is using his commute to read up on a skill he knows he needs to acquire. Reading a book by an author who blogs, who tweets links to his blog (and other blogs) that provide critical information that would help this guy in his quest to learn this new skill. But he doesn’t know about it because he probably doesn’t have the vocabulary to explore the social tools that would connect him to this valuable network.
This makes me crazy! This sysadmin is obviously extremely motivated and experienced. And I honestly believe that it is time for the old geek prophecy to begin to come true: sysadmins will inherit the earth. They understand systems, storage, and networking. But they will still need to evolve their skills to truly rule the world. How can we get them to learn faster? How can we get them to trust Twitter?
Is this something learning professionals need to think about?