Figuring Out Your Life? Build A Prototype (For Free)

This is astonishingly good knowledge.

Jennifer Turliuk figured out how to figure out what she wanted to do with her life: she built a prototype.

To find a new path, whether personal or professional, you have to juggle the responsibilities of daily life (and if you’re lucky, your current job) with your future goals.

You think you don’t have time. Turliuk says phooey to that.

There’s a process of idea generation, presentation, data collection, analysis and learning called Minimum Viable Product; MVP for short.

MVP is a subset of the agile management philosophy, very much in vogue in Silicon Valley. Here’s a slideshow that explains the basic principles.

When you create a MVP, you are deploying a product or service to early adopters or fans, a forgiving bunch of folks who can give you feedback on what works and what doesn’t, allowing you to make significant tweaks before you even start writing the code.

What Jennifer Turliuk did was imagine several different work experiences she might be interested in, using the lowest possible commitment of time to each. She sought out feedback from people she wanted to meet that were already great at these experiences.

It is unbelievable how many big-shot CEOs and decision makers will correspond with you. People  believe these women and men “don’t have time” to deal with us.

Phooey.

Turliuk set up meetings, asked questions, shadowed people, and ultimately discovered that she wanted to start her own business.

I mention the words “little jobs” a lot on this blog. Turliuk has perfected the art.

She constructed some prototypes of what positions she might be interested in, then dipped her toes in the waters of several types of job experiences to see if there was a spark.

Brilliant. She got the knowledge and experience, with very little time invested and virtually no money spent.

There are some quantifiers here. You need to:

  • be prepared
  • be focused on what you desire from the experience
  • not waste your contact’s time
  • not be a stalker

LinkedIn is awesome because it gives you entre to powerful people, people who, like you, share dreams and big ideas. Who wouldn’t want to connect with someone who shares their values?

People do.

I talked with several job hunters at a tech recruiting fair in San Francisco yesterday. I was dumbfounded at the responses I received from some of the searchers.

“What do you want to do?” I asked.

“Make money” was the number one answer.

That’s about the worst possible answer. These people not only lacked focus, but also had not constructed any prototypes to test out.

Read Jennifer Turliuk’s Forbes blog here, and be impressed at her journey that resulted in a clear and educated decision on what path to walk.

You say you don’t have time? Phooey.

John Scott is the National Online Learning Coordinator and a media history professor at the School of Multimedia Communications, Academy of Art University, San Francisco. He also counsels clients and groups on the art of reinvention. His first book, “Broken Glass and Barbed Wire” will be released soon.

Follow John on Twitter @johnscottsf.   

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