When people think about coding, they usually associate it with launching lucrative IT careers. However, as the CEO of a startup, you’re not exactly looking for an opportunity to express your potential. You’ve already got your hands full running a promising company.
Your situation is very different from someone who is trying to get into the IT field. For one thing, you’re responsible for training key staff without spending a fortune. For another, you have to wear many hats to keep your ship of enterprise afloat as you might be working with a skeleton crew.
With so much on your plate, should you spend an hour a day (at a minimum) learning to code?
The answer to this challenging question is counterintuitive…
Coding and Killer Apps
To the uninitiated, coding is about using a cryptic language to write long lines of instructions for a computer. However, to those in the inner circle, it’s about as close to magic as possible. First, there was nothing. Then there was something. Before creating any type of software, you just had a lot of confusion about how to handle a process. However, after creating a piece of software, anyone who uses it can transform a piece of work into a work of art.
Let’s take a well-known example: the first killer app.
Dan Bricklin created what many now consider the first killer app. He created the electronic spreadsheet.
Before the development of spreadsheets, it was a cumbersome process creating ways to tabulate numbers and draw charts to get an accurate quantitative model of anything.
However, after the invention of the spreadsheet, anyone – even a high school student – could create elegant tables, graphs, and other forms of visual representation.
What you do with a spreadsheet depends on your interests.
- A businessman might use it to grow a business.
- A parent might use it for building a budget.
- A track star might use it for creating a running schedule.
- A high school student might use it to keep track of grades.
The software helps structure thinking based on your interests. It offers the user a chance to follow clean lines of logical and mathematical thinking.
Now that’s magic! The magic, of course, is not in the software, which is nothing more than the logical representation of a process, but in the way it teaches the user how to think about things to organize their experiences.
Learning How to Think
Here’s the secret of CEOs who run successful companies. They know how to think in a precise and analytical way. They think things through from one developmental step to another. Along the way, they might also experience quantum leaps of insights that unite disparate elements of their business into a comprehensive whole. In other words, they think like coders.
Coding, it seems, is not always about developing apps or improving organizational flows. It’s actually about how to think. This is not a new idea. It’s been around for awhile. “Everybody in this country should learn to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think,” said Steve Jobs.
While you can always hire someone to develop apps to streamline your business process, you still need to get good at thinking things through before you assign any work.
The Cost Of Digital Illiteracy
CEOs develop a knack for knowing how to build out a company. They get good at launching ideas that tap into market trends, giving consumers what they want before they even know that they want it. For instance, Steve Jobs created the iPhone before people even knew much about the value of having a pocket-sized computer that you can use anywhere you go.
However, sooner or later, CEOs bump up against an invisible wall—the wall that divides those with management skills from those who have IT skills. As a CEO, it makes a huge difference to at least understand what IT consultants are talking about when they propose ideas on how to streamline workflow processes and improve performance metrics.
Thinking Like A Coder
To understand our modern challenges, let’s cast a glance back in time:
Our modern history began after the Middle Ages. The Age of Reason arose in the 17th and 18th centuries. This led to the Industrial Revolution. The language of the Age of Reason was logical thinking, as opposed to the faith-based thinking that came before it. Today we are in an age of Knowledge Workers and the lingua franca of our times is digital literacy.
In essence, then, today the pace of knowledge is so fast that the only way to keep up is to learn how to think like a coder.
Here are 3 good reasons why learning to think like a coder is important regardless of what type of business you are running:
- You become sharper at spotting trends in the marketplace.
- You get better at coming up with stimulating ideas that align with the power of technology to fully build out your vision.
- You find it easier to collaborate with other like-minded, smart people who are interested in building a better world for us all.
So can you really afford to miss the opportunities presented in this new day and age? Do you really want to cling to the obsolete and archaic ways of building a business used for most of the 20th century?