John Mann

John Mann

About not being the best

There are a lot of sayings, "To be the best, you have to beat the best" or "Practice makes perfect" or the one I heard a lot "Big fish in a Small Pond".

Well, those clichés are clichés for a reason, that reason is because people say them a lot to make themselves motivated, focused, or feel better about their situation.

In the rarest of situations will you ever be the best at anything, most often the "best" is associated with sports, A gold medal Olympic winner is often considered the best, but has everyone in the entire world actually competed, or are they simply the best of the ones chosen to represent all the countries that are allowed to participate. You get my point, the best is a superlative, and it is often a dream, but never an attainable goal in the truest sense of the word "best".

You will not be the best.

Let me tell you point-blank, you will not be the best coder in the world, the best manager in the world, and whatever determines "best" will change even if you come close to what you think you want.

Is the richest software developer the best? Or is the best who wrote the cleanest, simple, elegant code but never got a dime for it? It depends on what you are measuring the "best". Here's what I have learned, the people that are making the money are not the best, more often than not they really aren't even that good, they are a solid C player. They get lucky to land the one client that is dumb enough to pay them an exorbitant fee and that creates a sense that they are worth that much, and that snowballs into more clients, because that one client paid so much for them, they MUST be the best. People are stupid. However, it happens all the time. What is really frustrating is knowing how good you actually are, and then charging a sub-par rate because you are more interested in helping your client than taking them for every dime you can get. However, that perpetuates the opposite effect, they are doing you a favor by allowing you to do  some work and they will pay you a small fee to help you get your company moving. Then your next client will operate in the same way, and it is you who are under-valuing yourself.

You don't have to be the best to be successful

You do not have to be the best, but you need to know how good you actually are. It's not about walking in cocky and demanding a ridiculous fee, but it is proving that your time and your skills are a valuable commodities and are worth more than you realize.

I've been doing development, managing teams, building teams, and teaching/mentoring developers for decades, and the one's I see who choose their clients, who make the amount they want, and are excited are the ones that realize they aren't the best, so they always keep improving, and they aren't doormats either and realize the Power of No and how it can shift the power to them.

I'm a great developer, an amazing solutions architect, and from what my students have said, "one of the best teachers they ever had" (which means more than anything).  Am I the best? I hope not, that means I can only plateau and I want to keep learning and growing.  I have a lot of experience in the tech industry from B2C and B2B products.  With all of that experience, I am excited about helping new clients learn about the potential of technology, how to become more efficient in their own process, and how to improve the world as a whole by some minor changes over time.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, I do appreciate your time.

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