Reading time ( words)
I met with Bert Simonovich, founder of Lamsim Enterprises, to discuss a new mentorship program and panel discussion at DesignCon, where veteran authors of technical papers mentor new authors through the process. Bert explained the benefits of publishing technical papers and shared Wayne Gretzky’s advice for any engineers or technologists who are considering publishing their technical work.
Andy Shaughnessy: Bert, I understand you’re going to be taking part in a panel at DesignCon. Tell us about it.
Bert Simonovich: Andy. It’s great to see you again. We seem to meet every year at DesignCon.
That’s right; I’m doing the panel with a few other attendees, including another columnist, Istvan Novak, and a couple of other new authors. The title of the panel is “How to Become an Industry Influencer,” but it’s not what it sounds like. It’s meant to promote new authorship of research. There are a lot of benefits to it. The key is to encourage new authors to start publishing their research work.
Shaughnessy: I know some technologists are confused about how to get published. There are many avenues to publish because everyone’s a publisher now, but that has its own pros and cons.
Simonovich: That’s part of the issue, but one of the benefits of publishing your work is that it allows you to become a leader in your field. It’s not what you set out to do, but that’s the net result. By publishing your work, it forces you to go deep into the subject, and when you try to capture that, it shows whether you understand your own work or not. You gain a deep understanding of it, and by doing so, you become an expert.
As you publish good work, other people will pick it up and carry it further to inspire others. Then, if you do something for a conference, you get a chance to present it. The very first time you present, you may be nervous, but after that first presentation, you get an adrenaline and dopamine rush. That, as everyone knows, is addictive, and you want to do more and more. It seems self-serving, but you’re also contributing by sharing your work.
Shaughnessy: You’re helping and getting something in return.
Simonovich: Yes, and furthermore, it helps your career. By doing that research, you become an expert in your company. Then, you’ll find that the path leading to your desk is all worn down, which shows that you’re the one with the knowledge. For your career, it benefits everyone.
Shaughnessy: Once you have something published and shared by a publisher, even if you have written on a subset of a topic, you start getting calls.
Simonovich: Yes. And for the people who have known me over the past 10 years of doing consulting work, in my off time, I do my own research. By doing your own research, you’re able to start publishing new things. That’s also good self-marketing because you become known in your field if your work is good. It’s a sample of what you can do, so working for yourself has benefits.
Getting back to the panel at this year’s DesignCon, we tried something new. We now have a mentorship program where experienced authors of papers mentor new authors through the process. I was fortunate enough to participate with that to help some new authors out. Also, for authors with less than seven years of experience in the industry, who submitted papers, they qualified for the new “Early Best Paper Award.”
From my experience, it was very satisfying for the new authors I helped mentor because they didn’t know what to expect or do, and they had a lot of questions. Part of the panel will include some of the new authors as well, so it will be a mix of experienced authors like Istvan Novak and young authors. Hopefully, the new authors will be inspired afterward.
Shaughnessy: What advice would you give someone for their first or second time at DesignCon?
Simonovich: If you want to share your work, go for it. I’m from Canada, and the national sport is hockey, so everybody knows Wayne Gretzky. One of his famous quotes was, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Similarly, if you don’t write, you won’t become noticed or have influence. For a new person coming in, you have the whole future ahead of you. There’s an opportunity to take that forward.
Shaughnessy: When you write, it forces you to address potential holes in your thinking or in the concept. It makes you challenge yourself.
Simonovich: I’ve done some writing for I-Connect007. With anything I start to write, I think I know what I’m talking about, but when I try to capture it and put it on paper, I start questioning certain things. I wonder, “Am I right or not?” It makes me want to double-check and forces me to go deeper into what I think I know. Sometimes, it surprises you, and you find out that your intuition was not quite right. Writing helps you solidify things, and that’s what this panel and mentorship program are all about.
Shaughnessy: Thanks for sharing this. It’s good to see you again, Bert.
Simonovich: Thanks, Andy. It’s always a pleasure when we run into each other.