"Rubbing Technical Antennas"
January 19, 2009
By Jeff Freund
One of my favorite quotes ever from talking to a customer is when someone mentioned “getting the engineers together to rub technical antennas”. What better metaphor could be used to portray the idea that engineers and technical people just plain communicate differently with each other.
[Interesting side note: Antenna has two plurals. Antennae is used for the jointed, movable, sensory appendages occurring in pairs on the heads of insects and most other arthropods, while Antennas is use for a conductor by which electromagnetic waves are sent out or received. In this case, I think antennae would have been more appropriate, but I am just relating what was said.]
Being able to communicate effectively about technology with technical people is obviously a critical function for any CTO. However, equally important is the same effectiveness in communicating about technology with non-technical people. The true duality of this jumped to the forefront for me last week as I was immersed in days straight of Power Pointing.
The two diagrams below are of the same thing (our technology platform). The first was created as part of a marketing/investment pitch deck, while the latter was prepared as part of our architectural planning process. Are they each effective in their intended context? Yes, I’d say so. Are they interchangeable? Certainly not! I don’t even think that I used the same parts of my brain to create them.
The ability to communicate in both the technical and non-technical context is something that I continuously work at – in fact, I consider it one of the most important parts of my role, perhaps just below driving technology vision.
And finally, a closing message for all the other techies out there: bzzz – buzzzz – bizzizz – uzzzib – bizzo.