How’s my patient?

I use analogies all the time when trying to explain about information technologies, best management practices, and maintenance concepts to my non-tech savvy colleagues. However, finding the “right” analogy that sticks with certain people can be an interesting challenge as well (because it can backfire).

At work, I try to illustrate that organizing and managing your electronic documents, files, and reports is like organizing your wardrobe, your closet or even food pantry and maintaining the health and longevity of your computer is like maintaining your motorcycle or car.

(Backfire: many Nepalese have told me that they only bring their vehicles to the shop when it breaks down…sigh).

One new analogy that I have come up with that seems to be very receptive to my colleagues is the notion that I am their “IT Doctor”.

As their IT Doctor, the title seems to possess a high moral standard as I am either assessing a “spaghetti-like” local network, resuscitating a sickly old desktop, or even attempting to exorcise a possessed laptop (I wasn’t able to solve Elijah’s solo-moving cursor problem).

As a trustworthy authority figure, I also provide IT health consultation (ie. always exercise scan your USB drives/external hard drives twice a day, etc.) and prevention advice (um, you do not know where that USB drive has been, so always use anti-virus protection, see my previous post about Anti-virus protection in Nepal).

An “IT auto mechanic”, another analogy that I sometimes use or the typical repairman may in fact provide the same technical services and also the same advice but ahhh the allure of the title “IT Doctor” seems to have more credibility, better bedside manners, and is a lot more sexier than the prototypical laid-back, geeky IT consultant.

IT Doctors work for the greater good ….¬†we want to help prevent the spread of viruses, educate the community about IT health issues, through mainstreaming and sensitization, and help alleviate IT network empidemics from potential mass data lose biblical proportions.
– possible mission statement for the fictional organization,
“IT Doctors without Borders”

Case in point, compare the number of medical drama shows that are out there to the number of IT drama shows.

Coming soon analogies…

  • Creating web sites is like cooking.
  • Matching volunteers with partners is like internet dating and rollercoaster marriages.
  • Organizing a workshop in Nepal compared to back home is like a jazz band versus an orchestra. – from Julie

One Reply to “How’s my patient?”

  1. I love the analogy! I use them in my work too. Here’s one I use to explain high blood pressure to the home handyman.
    The heart is the pump and the vessels are the hoses attached to the pump. It is a closed system and if one part of the system is out of whack if affects the whole system.
    1) Too much fluid in the hoses means the pressure in the system goes up! (this happens if you have too much salt)
    2) If the hoses aren’t pliable (plaque build up from too much fat) the pressure in the system goes up!
    3) If the diameter of the hoses is smaller ( from plaque build-up or adrenalin from too much stress)the pressure builds up too!
    4) If the pressure in the system builds up, it causes back-pressure on the pump. This is not a good thing because it will affect all of the valves and gaskets in the pump and the pump will go kaput!

Thoughts?