My Talent

Written by Michael Lee on July 4, 2013

On May 11, 2012, I graduated from NC State University with a BS in Computer Science. Each student had the opportunity to submit a sentence of their post-graduation plans to our advisor to be read during our introduction — as we walked up to accept our diploma.

I hope to create software that will enrich the lives of people.

I submitted the sentence not really knowing how bold that statement is. Could I create pieces of software that could have a positive impact on people? Am I able to provide value to people through the work that I put forth? Am I making software that matters to people?

It has taken me a whole year to realize that I am living out the quote above. This is because I did not realize my ability to program and make things that I imagine in my mind was my talent.

Numerous times I’ve had to sit through group exercises as we went around and shared what our talents were. And I’d struggle all the time to come up with a talent that I could share and be proud of.

I never really highlighted my talent to program because I believed anyone could program, it wasn’t unique enough. Instead I would say things like, I’m a good listener or I share good life lessons I’ve had to learn in the past. Talents that I thought would be beneficial for others.

But as I took inventory of the various projects I’ve worked on in the past year since graduation, it helped me to realize that I really am living out that bold statement. Realizing this has forced me to reevaluate my current projects and ideas.

Are these projects only for my own pleasure and benefit or am I thinking of others? Because the cool factor and scratching my own itch can only go so far.

A project that I’m currently rebranding and rebuilding is called Print Squares. At the beginning of its inception, Print Squares was going to be a service to print actual print products from Instagram photos.

Although Print Squares I believe did what it was set out to do — easily allow people to print their Instagram photos — it failed at enriching the lives of others.

When I retuned the focus of the purpose of Print Squares to enriching the lives of people, I realized that Print Squares could be more than just another site that prints square photos. Print Squares is a site that allows you to print your memories. You see the reason why Instagram is such a huge success isn’t because of their filters or apps. It’s because they realized that people enjoy sharing their memories with their friends and family and created a platform to do so.

Photos that are worth keeping are the ones where you’ve captured a special moment in time that you will never be able to experience or recreate again.

And with the relaunch of Print Squares, that’s what we’re focusing on. Creating resources for the photographer/Instagrammer that will allow them to better capture these fleeing memories. The new focus of Print Squares is you.

My talent — enriching the lives of people through software — is what gets me excited to wake up early in the morning to work on my projects. It’s what keeps me dreaming throughout the day. And if I’m doing it wrong; if I’m not bringing value to your life through what I’m making; please, please tell me. Let me know how I can better serve you. Because in helping you, I know I can help other people and make their lives better through the constant honing of my talent.

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