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Lessons from Peter Kirtsein


Who as he? He was the first person outside the US to put a computer on the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) thereby creating the first wide-area packet-switching network that became the technical foundation of the Internet, which is why he is called the father of the European Internet. A clever and impressive man.

I wanted to pass onto you the lessons he said had learnt from his life:

  1. The importance of a broad educational background, which allows for the later attainment of new skills, such as learning languages and mastering new technical fields.

  2. Being open to new opportunities when a new direction is seen. It is important to seize them aggressively even if they were not part of your previous plan.

  3. Being straightforward and honest in dealings, not just for moral reasons, but because you need ongoing relationships with people who trust you.

However, there was one overarching lesson – enjoy what you are doing. It is the interplay of work, fun and the people you meet in both work and play that continue to make life fun.

As I read his obituary, I felt that there could be no better set of rules for all of us.

He is right about education, which must be ongoing throughout our lives, our world is constantly changing therefore to succeed we need to be open to new ideas and lessons that will allow us to seize new openings when they present themselves.

Finally, I have always believed honesty is the best policy and for the same reason as Peter, your business will never grow sustainably if people don’t trust you. Honesty, in business is the best policy in the long term, dishonesty gets found out in the end. Oh dear, I am sounding like my father, but he was right.

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