I’m Chen and I Read Minds

I ran into this post by Seth Godin about super powers. Essentially, he claims that everyone has a superpower, something we are extremely good at. And he thinks we should let everyone know what it is. To quote:

“When you meet someone, you need to have a super power. If you don’t, you’re just another handshake. Don’t say, “Hi, I’m Don, I’m from Cleveland.” Instead, try, “Hi, I’m Don, I tell stories that spread.” It’s not about touting yourself or coming on too strong. It’s about making the introduction meaningful.”

I’ve been fascinated by superheros for most of my life, so this really resonated with me. I immediately knew what’s my super power – I can read minds.

I can sit at one of those meetings where the customer is annoyingly vague about his requirements and keeps waving his hands around as if it explains anything. I ask few questions, drilling down into specific requests he’s made and after the meeting, I tell my team: “The customer wants X. He forgot to ask for Y, but he’ll need this too. He’ll be very happy if we’ll throw in Z as well. He doesn’t need W, even though he asked for it, so we can skip it.”. I always get this right.

In the university this translated to the uncanny ability to accurately predict which topics will appear on the final exam, and which topics you can skip while preparing. This superpower also helps me stay married 🙂

Obviously my superpower is not something I can do for a living, but working in a team, it is nice to have someone who understands what the customer wants.Especially since the customer does not.

Other DBAs on the team have other powers. “Cut through red-tape”,”Work at 10 times normal speed” and “Make bugs disappear” come to mind, but perhaps my colleagues see their powers differently.

What we are missing is someone who’s superpower is fortune-telling. How much storage will this system require next year? What will happen if we add this application on this server? Will my design scale for the next three years? I’m sure those questions are easy if you just happen to have the right superpower or own a crystal ball.

I’m interested if my readers know what superpowers they have. I’d love to read about them in the comments 🙂

15 Comments on “I’m Chen and I Read Minds”

  1. joel garry says:

    “Hi, I’m Jor-El, I look into your soul and you feel uncomfortable. My kid has superpowers too.”

    Best keep my mouth shut.

  2. Moshe Zadka says:

    Hi, I’m MosheZ, and I make it to cons nobody expects to see me in..

  3. jep says:

    I’ve been reading for a while, and this seems like a silly way to de-lurk, but my line has always been “Hi, I’m John, and I make other peoples’ software work.” Don’t know if it’s a superpower, but maybe it qualifies for sidekick status. Now that there’s a burgeoning meme, maybe I’ll try to polish that up a bit. 😉

  4. Frederick Tang says:

    > This superpower also helps me stay married.

    That made me laugh Chen.

  5. Noons says:

    Long before your time, there used to be these things called steam engines.
    They were marvels of engineering, complex engines full of complex articulations and things that ran hot.
    They spent long amounts of time in the maintenance sheds, where a little man with an oil can in his hand went around them, squirting oil into weird places and making sure it all worked well together.

    I’m one of those men!

  6. Mick Mills says:

    I have a super power –

    P.S. No you can’t

  7. Narendra says:

    Hi, I am Narendra and I play “angel” for my team when needed most…

  8. Iggy Fernandez says:

    I’m Iggy and I can spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and antidisestablishmentarianism.

  9. Chris_c says:

    I’m Chris, I’m an Englishman whos been to a Scotland vs England Rugby match in the stands at the Scottish end and lived..

  10. Bob Watkins says:

    I’m Bob, and people just feel more comfortable when I’m around. Don’t laugh – lots of meetings and various crises need this superpower!

    (It also helps me stay married!)

  11. Omer Zak says:

    I’m the TDDPirate and I solve technical problems after they have had the opportunity to withstand other people’s efforts to solve them.

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