I’ve been really enjoying Questlove’s new book “Creative Quest,” especially the section on creativity’s need for mentorship. I feel lucky to have had a couple of mentors in my life. First (and always) it will be my dad. My dad has worked in the wire and cable business for over 40 years.
He always encouraged my love of technology and trying things. My first computer was a Commodore 64. I’d play games like Pong and [Dino Eggs]. Eventually, I graduated to an Apple IIGS and later to a Macintosh Centris 610. Being really fascinated with how computers worked, I convinced my dad that we should build computers together.
There were no online support communities that we knew of so much of learning how to assemble computers happened the hard way. Between a pile of giant computer magazines (that resembled a phone book) and the sparse instructions that came with the computer components, we’d figure out how to to build a working computer. My father would struggle through small font to figure out why the cd drive wasn’t powering on or the memory wasn’t registering. It’s amazing what we were able to accomplish especially considering my dad loves instructions about as much as I do.
I learned a lot in the process of assembling computers, installing operating systems and troubleshooting problems, but my biggest lesson came later in my life. Yes, assembling computers was a great bonding experience for us, but it allowed my father to continue to learn, technologically evolve and grow outside of the workplace. It’s something I think a lot about now. It wasn’t a formal education. It was tinkering, making mistakes and fixing them.