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Are you a poet or an engineer?

engineer 9dfeb326
When they welcomed us into business school, very quickly the professors categorized us as either poets or engineers. Obviously, people come in all different kinds of packages and defy categorization, but sometimes it helps. Although there is a part of me that likes to pull together manuals …
By Seth Barnes

When they welcomed us into
business school, very quickly the professors categorized us as either poets or
engineers.

Obviously, people come in all
different kinds of packages and defy categorization, but sometimes it
helps. Although there is a part of me
that likes to pull together manuals and ensure good procedures, I’m definitely
a poet.

engineerPoets are like artists – they see
things in their mind’s eye and then create them. They get the big picture, but not necessarily
the details. They understand problems
and conceptualize solutions, creating the superstructure for the engineers to
come along behind and build around.

What do engineers do? Our business school dean talks about them
being “technicians, such as actuaries, time-and-motion efficiency experts,
accountants who get the books to balance down to the last penny, logistics
honchos who slim down your inventory, and derivatives analysts.” Engineers
actually build stuff, whereas poets may just talk about doing it.

At the end of the day, while we all need poetry in our lives, we probably need
more engineers than we need poets.
Dreams may be inspirational, but they don’t put bread on the table.

If you find a poet whose work is real
artistry, then you want to hitch him to a bunch of engineers and you’ll change
the world. Just look at guys like Steve
Jobs or Richard Branson.

If you’re a young person, you
would do well to find clarity about which of these you are – a poet or an
engineer. It will save you a lot of pain
if you focus on your strengths.

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