Libraries are often the last bastion of peace and quiet for many young people who find solace in a good book, away from the hustle and bustle of school life. I remember my first library experience when I was just six years old, spending all day in there reading books despite feeling trapped by the other kids that were waiting to beat me up.
I spent so much time at my elementary school library that they had my name on a sign-in sheet hanging near the entrance door. It’s incredible how much you can learn about this world and its inhabitants through literature. Still, it’s also heartening to know that libraries continue to exist as places where anyone can explore their interests with an open mind without fear of being judged.
I interviewed some Microsoft .NET developers for a junior role and asked them to describe what -in their understanding- the .NET Framework was.
They gave it their best shot, and to be fair, none of the candidates gave a Microsoft textbook definition. But I was a little surprised that none of them referenced it as a library or used a library as their description because the easiest way to describe the .NET Framework to a non-techie is to tell them to see it as a library of books. The books are ordered by genre or type and then further ordered into subsections of those types. For example, if you want to know how to fix an engine, you would first go to the bookshelves in the library that deal with engineering, and then find the ones that deal with mechanical engineering and then the combustion engine.
Likewise, in .NET software development, if you want to write a web application, you go to the part of the framework that deals with “web” within that. If you want to deal with graphics or audio-visual on the web, you then step into the web subsections that deal with those areas.
Like in an actual brick and mortar library, the .NET Framework is a repository of information that tells you how to do things. The first thing you need to learn is to know where to look.
The same thing is true in your business, don’t just hear the words. Hear the meaning when you come across an upset or worried customer, or a supplier that seems uncooperative, or partners that don’t respond as you might have expected. Don’t hear the words they are saying but hear what they mean. What is the root problem?
In all aspects of your business, don’t judge a book by its cover.