Thomas Edison was famously bad at math (he said he had a “distaste” for it), but math was essential to much of the work he did. Rather than force himself to learn it better, he focused where he excelled, and hired mathematicians to assist with his work.
Who built your mouse?
Related, Matt Ridley has a great riff on how there isn’t a single person on earth that can build a computer mouse. Between the plastic, metal, silicon, software, etc, it takes a lot of people to make a relatively simple device. Here’s a quick video of him explaining it:
You can take it further with websites. I understand WordPress quite well, but I don’t know every bit of it — not even close.
It relies on technologies like PHP and MySQL that I know even less about. A typical website is often running with Apache software on a Linux server, which is essentially where I tap out.
Of course, the hardware of the server itself is a wildly complex beast, at least a few orders of magnitude more complicated than that mouse. Then you have power running to the server, and then that little bit about the entire internet helping to get the bits from the server to you.
Lastly, that doesn’t even touch on everything needed for my computer to function to pull up a website and get editing. Even just pressing a single key on a keyboard creates a tremendous amount of complexity.
But that’s the cool thing — I don’t need to understand every step along the way. I’m interested in it, and learn pieces as I go, but it’d be literally impossible for one person to put it all together.
I’ve been using WordPress for nearly 17 years at this point, but that would all be for naught if I didn’t have a great team to help with design and other website necessities, and then the flurry of technologies (starting with web hosting) below us to make it all happen.
I’m thankful for companies like Flywheel that provide great hosting, and they’re thankful for companies like us that send more websites in their direction. We don’t need to work to become the other company — we can excel in our own lanes.
Having a wide breadth of knowledge is a good thing, and is a big part of reason this blog exists — I always want to be learning. At the end of the day, though, what matters is what you are great at doing so others know who they can turn to when they have a problem that you can solve.
Originally published at https://www.mickmel.com on February 11, 2021.