I didn’t come from a computer science background, so when I started working with computers I spent a lot of time asking questions. I knew nothing, so there was nothing to lose by asking others for directions. As my knowledge progressed I found myself less able to ask questions of others because of pride. I didn’t want people to know I didn’t know the answer. It took a few years before I was confident enough to say, “I don’t know”, and ask others for their opinions again. Looking back at it you have to laugh…
I was reminded of this issue recently when someone asked me some questions about storage best practices. The first thing I suggested was to speak with the storage vendor and ask what recommendations and whitepapers they have. Googling aside, this seemed like a pretty reasonable starting point to me. Their response was essentially, “I don’t want to look stupid in front of the vendor”. Sound familiar?
I’ve been there and know exactly how it feels. Hell, it’s still happening (here). Swallow your pride and start asking questions again. You’ll be surprised how well people respond when you do. Sometimes because you are stroking their ego, but mostly because they are genuinely interested in the technology and like to chat about it. We are geeks and geeks love to talk about geeky stuff.
Of course, remember to look for information from credible sources and always test what you’re told. If you can’t prove it, it isn’t real.
PS. As a result of the storage discussion I knocked up a quick overview of a couple of performance measuring tools from Oracle (here).