Master of None

Episode #643

May 29, 2021

“Jack of all Trades, Master of None.”
Not a criticism, but a virtue.


Flexibility, innovation, intuition and improvisation come from a broad base of knowledge.

A competent man should be able to…

“… change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyse a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
— Lazarus Long, Robert A. Heinlein, “Time Enough for Love”

It does not take a master programmer to solve a computer problem.
A familiarity with the operating system, its applications and the configuration settings combined with the skill of critical thinking should give a consultant mastery over any problem.

Most technology is modular. A computer consists of hardware, an operating system, applications, configuration files and documents.
Hardware seldom fails. Most hardware has no moving parts. Spinning hard drives fail, but a good backup allows a hard drive to be replaced and its contents restored. Peripherals such as a mouse or keyboard are easily replaced. The knowledge needed for component replacement is mostly that of cabling and connectivity. The actual device operation can remain mysterious.

Applications and even operating systems are replaceable. Malfunctioning software can usually be resolved with an upgrade or a remove and replace.

The cyclical process of troubleshooting almost always focuses on configuration. The specifications of configuration files are well documented, so the major skills required are search and research.

Leonardo Da Vinci was a jack of all trades.
He was an engineer and bridge builder.
Bridges he designed were light, strong and transportable, but Da Vinci was not a trained civil engineer.
He designed weapons, such as mortars and machine guns, with an intuitive understanding of physics.
An understanding of materials allowed him to create protective armor. 

As an artist he was a draftsman, painter and sculptor. 
Da Vinci demonstrated his familiarity with geometry and mathematics in his rendering of the Vitruvian Man.
All these skills enabled Da Vinci to invent the helicopter 420 years before the first practical helicopter took flight.
The “Last Supper” reveals a philosophical side. 

Renaissance humanism is an embodiment of “Jack of all Trades, Master of None.”

i never wanted to be a programmer, physicist, engineer, politician, businessman, craftsman, aviator, mechanic, philanthropist, architect or artist.

i have always striven to be a human man.


  1. Karen May 28, 2021
    • Rick Thues May 28, 2021
  2. Sharon G Simpson May 28, 2021
    • Rick Thues May 29, 2021
  3. Terry May 28, 2021
  4. Luana Langlois May 29, 2021

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