You Can’t Afford to Stop Learning

The late Jerry McBride, founder of the Marist College information systems program and mentor to many of us in it, gave our capstone class a bit of advice that I’ve always remembered:

“Never stop learning.”

Plenty of people, regardless of industry, argue otherwise. Play it safe, take few risks and stay with the tried and true — that keeps the bills paid and the lights on.

Decades ago, “No one ever got fired for buying IBM” was a phrase you could bank on. IBM had it all — the kings of the air-conditioned mainframe, making oodles of money, and very snug in their white-shirt-and-tie ways. But they were slow to learn. PCs came along, the mainframe business withered, OS/2 failed to unseat Windows, and tens of thousands of people in IBM-hometowns found themselves unemployed. IBM’s come back, but it’s nothing like the company it was in 1980.

Stop learning, rest on the existing models, and it’s easy to become a mainframe-hawker in a PC revolution. Or a railroad tycoon watching with disregard as Henry Ford mass produces Model T’s.

I’ve practiced Jerry McBride’s advice better at times than others. Lately, very much so. I’m on a learning jag. My latest quest is Ubuntu, Apache, PostgreSQL and Django. Last night, this little screen brought a smile or two:

P.S. My bookmarks and RSS feeds prove one thing: There’s no excuse for not learning; the Internet is the best free library you’ll ever find.

One Response to “You Can’t Afford to Stop Learning”

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