The New Serially Sporadic is Out: Learning by Doing

This week’s newsletter edition gets back to a theme I’ve always loved: learning by doing. (You can read the full newsletter via the link; this is the introductory essay.)

Part of that bias is due to how I was educated. I didn’t expect to wind up in business, even if I had launched entrepreneurial endeavors dating back to 7th grade (they included a songwriting business, Lyrics Unlimited, and a computer assembly firm, Horizon Computers). I hadn’t pursued formal training in marketing though. In college, I was a psychology major and didn’t take a business class; over the summer, I was a counselor at a day camp for three- to seven-year-olds.

When I started writing Search Insider columns for MediaPost in 2004, thanks to iCrossing’s interim CMO and head of PR Mark Naples, I appreciated how much less I knew than established writers who all seemed to be named Kevin (namely Kevin Lee and Kevin Ryan). I didn’t know enough, so I had to write what I knew. And most of what I knew came from what I was trying to do, and what I pieced together from our work with our clients.

360i gave me the ultimate springboard to create a practice around experiential learning, as they even gave me room to create an Emerging Media Lab (one that still exists today, augmented tremendously under the leadership of Layne Harris).

I still resort to old habits. I just picked up an Oculus Go for the office (see the first article below), which makes sense, since our customers are producing 360-degree videos. Yet what’s more important is to be in environments where people can have first-hand experiences with how media is changing. This is bigger than any pitch or deal. It’s about putting aside TechCrunch and Mashable and forming first-hand opinions. This kind of knowledge lasts far longer, and it’s far more useful – even if, most of the time, it feels like you’re putting off something more immediately pressing.

It’s learning by doing.

So, what are you learning lately? And what are you making of yourself? I’d love to hear it.