“In the new world of self-publishing, no publisher gave me a half-million dollar advance. This is me, rolling up my sleeves, figuring out how to get this done.” – Harry Patz, USA
When it comes to the world of work, the only certainty is change. That’s why we talk so much about 21st century skills, and what today’s employers look for in their employees of tomorrow. Simply put, access to a world of infinite information has changed how we communicate, process information, and think. Innovation, creativity, and independent thinking are increasingly crucial to the global economy, and it’s vital that students – and employees — adapt.
So today I’m very happy to share my discussion with a former colleague and long-time friend, Harry Patz. Harry – a 20-year veteran of the technology and media industry, has just undergone a pretty major career shift by realizing his life-long dream of writing and publishing a book. Harry’s first book, The Naive Guys: A Memoir of Friendship, Love and Tech in the Early 1990s, was just recently published and I was honored to write the forward for my friend.
Harry and I not only worked together after college, but we also attended high school together. It was our early days at Microsoft that inspired Harry to write his book. Today he shares the process he went through to learn to write, self-publish and market his book – all skills that were not necessarily part of Harry’s toolbox. And – you guessed it — Harry had to adapt.
“A number of folks said to me…you’re crazy to self-publish, go pitch it to a publisher,” Harry says. “And I could have done that, but after I did all the work writing it…I wanted to put the power into my own hand. It’s hard to think you can be all things…you need to know what skills you’re good at, and where to outsource help.”
What does Harry think it takes to adeptly change course? “You want to continue to challenge yourself to build new skills,” he says. “I had to learn and embrace some very new experiences and it invigorated me to enter a new creative side of my world. It’s also a bit scary in some ways. You don’t have a security blanket beyond you.”
I want to thank Harry for sharing his story with us here at Daily Edventures. While it’s not our usual subject matter, Harry’s dynamic shift to new skill sets as he changed careers is certainly applicable to today’s students, who will be entering a radically changed workforce. Enjoy!
Harry Patz, Jr. is a twenty-year veteran of the tech and media industries. He has been a participant of the Nantucket Atheneum Writer’s Group since October, 2013. Harry contributed a short story, “Off Season” for the group’s published anthology collection, The Moving Pen: A Nantucket Atheneum Writer’s Group Anthology, published in June, 2014.
Harry holds an MBA from The Johnson School at Cornell University and a BS in Management from Boston College. He splits his time between Westchester, New York and Nantucket, Massachusetts.