Day 8~ Initiative: A Synonym for Trial-and-Error


InitiativeDay 8 Prompt: What steps did you take in order to get where you are today, be it in your personal or business life?

Back in 1998, Bill Clinton was president, the Denver Bronchos won the Super Bowl, Titanic was the #1 movieAnd I was trying to learn to code a webpage. Back then, in the “Gee-Whiz” days before web-editors, facebook, myspace, or the blogoshere, webpages were coded in html. I spent SO much time trying to learn html. When well-meaning people would ask if I had a boyfriend, I would smile and answer, “yes. His initials are h.t.m.l.”
Other folks, mostly programmer-men, were already in the html coding field and snapping up all the webpage real estate. If I took the Initiative, it would be worth it.
My daughter was 9 years-old. After carpooling, homework, baking endless “healthy snacks”, she would go to bed and I would rendezvous with the html coding book. The book lay across my lap and I attempted to replicate what I saw in the book’s code.

Life between the brackets is dry and barren.
Trial-and-Error became more than a whim for me. Trail-and-Error became my entire mantra.
During 1998, there was no “Tech support”. There were ICQ and IRC chat rooms, murky galaxies of computer nerds, suspicious of any female life form who dared to invade techno-manland. Still, I thought, “this is America! Built on initiative and enterprise! Surely there will be kind-hearted help available.”
My entreaties were met with RTFM. As in, “Read the ___ Manual”.  And the letter “F” did not mean “family”
My friend SmartMary became the Thelma to my programming Louise and slowly, with trial-and-error our website emerged from brackets to domain. When it hit 4 million hits years later, I was glad for our combined Initiative and the atta-girl support we gave each other. We launched a business that funded our kids’ braces, middle-school trips, cars, high school graduation, college tuition, and a few fun trips for us along the way.  And Mary found the one programmer who did not speak in tacky acronyms and they married.
Key Initiative Steps for us: We did not waste time over-analyzing. Since we kept our day jobs, all work was done at night. Such a schedule fueled our resolve to not waste time thinking about what might go wrong or worrying about effects of what we were doing. We also told no one so we did not have an audience. Our mission statement provided for our eventual obsolescence. We thought in six years everyone would be tech-savvy and would no longer need our website resources. That was an incorrect forecast, as the business continues to provide income. (Predictions are often misguided and it is best not to let them poison initiative.)
Amanda’s quote from Robert Bresson is so true… “Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”
 And, I might gently add, “never take the RTFMers too seriously.”
Bravo to the Initiative of everyone in our Be Gently, Be Love class, the wonderful blogs and the beautiful art created through your Initiative.  (Tried to get as many as possible in the Wordle cloud below)

2 Responses

  1. Wow- what a terrific story! You were a modern day pioneer, bravely stepping out into that unknown Man-territory to lead the way for all the girls & women that do that work now. Bravo to you for teaching yourself and being successful!!

  2. Thank you, Raven: you captured it best at the top of your blog: “Life’s a dance you learn as you go
    Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow
    Don’t worry about what you don’t know
    Life’s a dance you learn as you go.”

    Hope you saw your blog within the Wordle cloud!

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