The Flash “Expert” is primarily an expert because others are willing to refer to him or her as such. It does not matter how much you know or how good your skills are. There are always those who know less then you, and those who know more. Being a big fish in a small pond can make one as “successful” as being world famous if you exploit what you have to achieve results you want. When you think of it, you could be really smart and really talented but if no one knows about your abilities then no one thinks you are and expert. Just the same you can have one or two successful projects that the other folks in your office were not able or inclined to try and sure enough you will be billed as the resident genius no matter how hard you try to tell them, “It really was not that hard. Anyone can do it.”
So at this point some readers are probably thinking, “sure that happened to me” or “no way I had work hard to be this good” and more generally “ok so what’s your point?”
Well the point is that often words define us. Once you become the “Expert,” well people expect miracles from you. And while that may sound like a lot of pressure, the funny thing is when you are always honest with yourself you start producing those miracles. By virtue of you being and “Expert” or local “genius” after a while anything you produce becomes a miracle. You spend a little more time on your challenges; learn to look at things from different perspectives. You start putting priority on delivering results and waste less energy worrying about how. You evolve the attitude that you know you can achieve your goals because it’s what everyone expects you to do and it’s what you expect of yourself. After all, that is what “Experts” do. Experts keep learning about their professions. Experts keep expanding their skills. Experts start socializing and sharing with other experts so they can learn from each other. In reality the “Expert Flash user” is just a “Flash user” that took on a new title and thus a new definition.
The same can be said for words like “Novice, Beginner, Designer, Developer, Scripter” etc. They put us in a box that tells us what our expectations are. A Scripter is not supposed to develop complex things from scratch, a Designer is not supposed to code, a Developer can’t tell you what looks good. If you want to grow beyond your box, then you need to give yourself a new title, a new definition and think of yourself that way. Do what “those” people do because it is different. Go where “those” people go because you have not been there before. When you believe you are one of those people, everyone else will too, and then you become one of them. It does not always happen right away. Sometimes it takes some time. There has to be a sense of comfort in the change.
It’s that willingness to make a change to step outside the group, challenge the conventions of your box that starts the journey from “user” to “Expert”.
“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.”
– Henry Ford (1863-1947)
As a member of the Flash team I can tell you it is always a challenge balancing “technical/ API” enhancements along with “design / visual” enhancements with Flash. Ideally anything that provides a visual design improvement is maximally exploited when it can be used dynamically applied ActionScript.
The problem is, as features get more complex, the amount of code a user has to write, and the degree of coding skill tends to increase proportionally. It is enough to keep some users lingering in the world of ActionScript 2 while the things that most express their creativity are best built or only possible in ActionScript 3.
Jump on Labs and check out the latest player. Tell me if we broke your site, tell me if you like the new Full Screen feature for video. Tell me if you wanna come work for the Flash Player team.
Like Val Kilmer in Real Genius ActionScript 3 is both impressive and scary. It offers the best performance Flash developers have ever witnessed from the Flash Player and in my opinion enough power to rival the capabilities of Java. Although like Val’s character you are not quite sure how much sanity is there to balance that genius. You don’t really feel your idle threats will keep it under control and you fear that when you are not looking you might end up with an ice rink in your hallway or a house full of weapons grade laser cooked pop corn. Is potential disaster is actually worse then the reality?
To me this article is interesting for two reasons. First, I have authored it with Loren Leed from CollegeNet, and educational solutions company in Portland, and the first time I have actually seen Loren was when his picture hit the website yesterday.
Second, this project actually began with a support call probably about a year or so ago and I think shows, at least a little, of the thought process that went into coming up with a solution to a problem we had not faced before. Loren brought his needs and perspective to the project and I brought my understanding of ActionScript to the problem. We met in the middle with our different perspectives on video and result was not just a solution that helped Loren to meet his project deadline; but an experience which really helped me to gain some understanding of Captivate and its potential fit into the grand scheme of things as a fairly recent member of the Flash family of products.
Hope you enjoy it.
Have you experienced Flash Technical support?
What did you think?
Oh ya? Think you can do better?
Well now is your chance to prove it!
After about two and a half years in Flash Technical Support, and more then a year as the Support lead and subject matter expert in ActionScript and Application Architecture I have decided to take my experience helping users fix problems and innovate solutions to helping the Player Engineering team solve problems, innovate solutions and bring new features to the Flash Player.
That means that soon I will be looking for some new blood. You experienced coders, you quick witted, good humored Flash developers who love to think on your feet, and you hard core jack of all trades who love a never ending challenge, now is your chance to get your foot in the door and help shape the evolution of Flash and its user community.
Applicants must have nerves of steel, be passionate(or nutz) about Flash, enjoy a good party, and enjoy occasional travel, and good pool playing skills are a plus but not required. 😉
Show us what you got!