I met the lady from Qantas in 2002.
The previous few months had been crazy.
In 2001, I was in my early 20's, living in Japan and working as a teacher with my future wife.
Our jobs as teachers came to an end. Since my wife is from the U.S., we decided to move there. A week after arriving, the 9/11 attacks ended any hopes I had of getting a work visa.
Next, we accepted teaching jobs in China. While we were packing our bags, the SARS outbreak happened.
Then, we headed for London, only for my wife to get detained at Gatwick Airport on suspicion of looking for work. She was given 2 months to visit and then get out.
After three strikeouts in a row, we went back to Japan and went back to being teachers again for another year.
Finally, after saving some money in Japan, we ended 2002 by starting Masters degrees in Sydney.
In Sydney, we ended up living in an apartment above a woman in her 50's who worked for Qantas, the big Australian airline. We got to know her and one day she told us she was going back to university to study "Change Management". Qantas was going through huge changes and they needed people to guide and reassure their staff.
I looked at her and laughed. What kind of person needs help to deal with change?
I loved change. It had defined my life over the last few years. What kind of idiot doesn't want to do 180 degree turns with their life every few months?
Two views of change
The story of me being a moron and failing to understand the lady from Qantas is the story of the web today.
You've got two groups of people and both think that the other group is crazy:
- Web builders, mostly in their 20s, who love change and don't mind 180 degree turns with their software and career every few months.
- Everyone else.
The key to running a large project and business is keeping both groups happy. Without web builders you don't have any passion or progress. Without everyone, you don't have any users or customers.
Small projects and businesses can focus on one group or the other. To grow, you must have both.
Change Management is about the most important skill you can have.