Chris Weston - Making IT Work
The power of show-and-tell

Following on from my last blog post about the rise of local search, this is another lesson from the school-of-stating-the-bleeding-obvious.  As a comparitively old fogey I haven’t used YouTube other than to see video I would otherwise have no access to.  Old programmes, specialist video from science and technology institutions, clips for the kids.  It’s only this year I’ve really seen it as the fantastic educational resource it is. 

Here’s my example.  A few weeks ago I bought a Mazda MX-5, a small roadster, as a project over the winter.  I’m no mechanic, but I can fix basic things and thought it would be fun when the summer came.  One of the things that was wrong with it when I bought it was the electric aerial, which didn’t retract all the way.  I did the sensible thing and googled ‘MX-5 antenna replacement’, which took me to several sites, one of which was this one, which showed I didn’t necessarily need to replace the whole mechanism.

Brilliant stuff.  I bought the replacement mast, followed these instructions and I’d fixed this problem for about 25% of the cost of a complete replacement aerial complete with motor and no doubt 10% of the cost of a garage job.

This is happening in all areas of expertise, including the IT world.  A colleague of mine recently showed me his web site, where he has dozens of instructional videos on various technologies, such as MS SQL server and Photoshop.

Here he gives an introduction to the basics of Fuzzy Lookups in Microsoft Integration Services

Being able to see how something is done is so much more powerful than reading it in a book - good written instructions are rare, because they are difficult to produce.  ’Here, let me show you’ really works.  

When we produce training or handover documentation for delivery of new systems to customers, internal or external,  do we ever think about using this type of collateral?  I think it’s an underused method - it has to be done well, but if it is it can be phenomenally useful.

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