Lessons Learned From Something I Didn’t See Coming
I don’t know if this has been your experience, but I have found that most jobs that I have taken include things that I didn’t see coming. That includes the ubiquitous statement “other duties as assigned” and the changes in corporate life that are, like Thanos, inevitable.
When I took the position of Director of Education at the Academy, I had my share of things that I didn’t see coming. It started with writing promotional emails every week, which included writing the Monday email that stopped being about what the Academy is offering and became more about my thoughts on business, insurance, life, et al.
There was also the blog. I didn’t see that coming. Our esteemed Andy said to me, there’s this blog that belongs to you now. It’s the Academy Journal. Wait. What blog? Oh, this blog. So that’s how that ended up being a part of my life here. That ended up expanding as they allowed me to write for Insurance Journal.
Before you think I’m looking at all of these things the way Tony Stark looked at Thanos right before he snapped, you’re wrong. I’m setting up the rest of this post because we’re getting to one more thing that I didn’t see coming, but (spoiler) I totally love doing.
You might know this, or maybe it’s news to you, but we have a library of books that we’re publishing. Most of them are the work of my predecessor, and they’re great. What’s really been exciting to me is learning how to publish a book. A couple of years ago, I was introduced to Barry Rabkin. The conversation centered on a book he was working on, based on his analyst career. You may have heard about it. It’s From Stone Tablets to Satellites, a #1 new release on Amazon.
What I’ve learned over the last couple of years is that getting a new book out into the wild is work. Hard work. It’s like Sam learning how to throw and catch the shield. To be fair, Barry did the tough work. He wrote every word and created the drafts of all of the illustrations (over 100 of them) that we put into the book. He did the analysis. He drew conclusions. He put out over 80,000 words and put them in order so that they made some sense.
What did I learn? I learned that I’m not the best editor in the world, but I’m learning how to do it. Turns out that you have to slow down and read the thing and not just read it to read it but read it multiple times. You have to get the sense of the tome, making sure that everything supports the endgame. You have to read it to make sure that the story (yes, even this has a story flow to it) is told in an order that makes sense to the reader. You also have to proof for spelling, grammar, syntax, and all that other stuff that English majors like. That’s the bit that really gets me. Seems like every time I read it, I find things I missed (and so do some others…).
After that, you have to develop an eye for design as the design aspects of the book come together. For most books, that means getting a compelling cover designed and put together (which if you ask me, we did in spades this time). For this book, it means getting someone to work on those illustrations that Barry created. No offense to him, but they were rough. They communicated exactly what he wanted, but they didn’t look interesting. I hope we fixed that. To be totally accurate, I don’t do any of the design work. I get help on that, but I have to make the decisions about what I like and what I don’t like.
There’s more to it than that, but in the end, everything came together to create a book that we’re very proud of. Personally, I enjoy the fact that I was a small part in putting out a book that can help anyone in insurance or insurance-related technology to understand why insurance companies are so bad at implementing new technologies. I enjoyed every part of this process, even the grammar bits. I think the next book will be launched better and It’s been an education and if nothing else, by now you know that I really like to learn new things.
If you’re interested in Barry’s book, From Stone Tablets to Satellites, you can check out its landing page at https://www.ijacademy.com/stone-tablets-to-satellites/.
In 400 pages, Barry details many of the pitfalls that insurance entities have stumbled in their implementation of technology and ways that they can overcome their issues. It’s not impossible for the insurance world to have a great relationship with technology. It’s just going to take time, patience, and work.
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