At the heart, I am an entrepreneur. But, having the experience of running a business makes one, ironically, a better employee as well. When I started my career at Microsoft right out of college, I wish I would have known then what I know about being an employee. I’ve learned that there are two types of knowledge: “Domain Knowledge” that pertains to a particular subject matter or industry (medicine, software development, construction, etc.), and “Domain-Independent Knowledge,” which is logic, reason, and virtue. Domain knowledge can be acquired given enough time and some level of aptitude. Malcom Gladwell validates this in his book “Outliers,” with his rule that anyone who practices a skill for 10,000 hours can become expert. I’ve had the chance to learn several domains, including entrepreneurship, software design, user interface design, the music business, and recording engineering. Although having domain knowledge is valuable, it’s not the whole picture of what is needed to really drive great business. I’ve found that domain-independent knowledge is much more difficult to master, but it is the key to becoming disciplined, efficient, and of character, helping me become a better business leader, employee, and human being.
For more information on my journey read this article from the Microsoft Alumni Foundation.
“If you make meaning, you’ll probably make money. If you make money, you might not make meaning.”
– Guy Kawasaki