Monday, June 05, 2006

One hand clapping

I finished my first (but hopefully not last) MBA class last week.

The four weeks and eight sessions went by in a blur of alternating terror and exhilaration. In keeping with the best teaching traditions, I was exactly one session ahead of the class in preparing my lessons.

Some lessons just went along on auto-pilot, reaching the end of the 90 minute session having worked through less than half of my slides. Some lessons I would look out at a sea of dazed faces about half-way through the lecture and realize that I was not even close to being prepared enough to convey what I wanted to say.

Just before I graduated from college and just after I had announced that I wanted to go into the world of business I was the subject of a family intervention. My doctor father, artist mother and caring sister sat me down and said that the cruel world of business was no place for an amiable and somewhat absent-minded computer geek.

The objective of the intervention was to channel my career interests away from the shark eat dog world of business and towards the back-stabbing but more genteel world of academia. But I, flush with the enthusiasm of seeing Steve Jobs launch the Apple Lisa with extraordinary panache, chose the macho, over-achiever world of entrepreneurship.

The class gave me a standing ovation at the conclusion of the course. I did what any macho over-achieving entrepreneur would do when faced with a situation like that. I cried.