Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Is there still value in experience?

Yesterday I had a conversation with Hayk, my business partner. He said that my experience was more relevant than his. My experience encompasses both more life (I am 20 years older) as well as more business experience.
I did disagree with him. Why? Because in todays 'state of the world' experience of the past is no guarantee for the future. I am even inclined to say that what worked in the past, will not work tomorrow. Look at the changes in the Fortune 50 list (compared with 10 years ago) and the IPO's of new companies like Facebook, who didn't exist 10 years ago.

There is another sort of experience relevant now.
From a life perspective, how experienced am I in coping with obstacles and changes (where I live, the language, relationships, finances, health) and thus growing as a person, as a human being. If I would have stayed in my comfort zone throughout my life, I will not build up very relevant experience.
From a business perspective, relevant experience is how fast I can learn and unlearn, how quickly can I adapt, to keep up to date on the latest developments in the market. A synthesizing mind (the ability to integrate ideas from different disciplines or spheres into a coherent whole and to communicate that integration to others- Howard Gardner) is crucial and more relevant than memorizing old experiences.

Clearly it is the type of experience which counts. If you look at it from this perspective then there is not so much difference between Hayk and me (as the number of years would imply).

What is relevant is the mindset! In Fast Company's article on Generation Flux ( this mindset embraces instability, tolerates – and even enjoys- recalibrating careers, business models and assumptions.

So, is your experience becoming more relevant or is it becoming obsolete?


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