What does 'early maker'​ mean and how the concept changed along the journey.

This personal article is dedicated to the current cohort of the Master's Degree in Digital Marketing & Data Science at emlyon business school and to the great students that will join in future promotions. Everyone else is also welcome and I hope I can make an 'early' impact before it is too late!

When I began my journey in this program I discovered that many universities and companies nowadays market themselves with a particular catch-up phrase, word, and or principle such as 'early maker' in the case of emlyon.
Why is it important for a school, university, or company to build culture, principles, and values?

The Amazon Leadership Principles

During my first semester I had the opportunity to visit Amazon Paris as part of one of my digital marketing classes. There, we were introduced with the well known 14 Amazon Leadership Principles, which to be honest, did not make any sense to me at first (sorry Amazon). Perhaps because back then I had zero professional experience and was never exposed to such a thing and also because I saw them as imposed rules rather than values (sorry again Amazon).
The point is that I started studying them and they started to make a bit more sense specially when it was about time to apply to internships. I was extremely fortunate enough to be accepted by Amazon Munich for my mandatory internship. This meant I was going to discover the real meaning and importance of such principles inside the company.
After my first 3 months I referred to them and still continuously refer to them when I get stuck on a task at work. Most of the principles serve as a starting point to identify key areas of improvement and, as I have learnt from my supervisor here, having a starting point is better than having nothing. So what I usually do is I ask myself:

  • What can I do now to continuously Deliver Results?
  • Have I done a proper Deep Dive into the task yet?
  • Am I Insisting on the Highest Standards?
  • Is there any way I can Invent and Simplify?
  • Am I taking Ownership of the project and thinking long term?

Since this has been my first professional experience I feel like these questions have definitely helped me. They allow me to find alternatives every time I get lost at work. It is fascinating to think about how something as simple as a catch-up phrase, word, or principle can genuinely make the difference when applied correctly to your daily routine. This is why not only I decided to apply those principles on a regular basis but decided also to find and adopt principles from other places.

The Zen of Python

When I learnt Python as part of my Master's Degree I discovered the Zen of Python and it was not only until the beginning of my internship that I was able to take advantage of it. They are the guiding principles for Python, created by a huge contributor called Tim Peters. You can Google them or you can write the following line on your Command Prompt using Python to get the full list of 19 principles:

Thanks to my internship experience so far I have been able to learn from those principles. When you think about it, most of them can be applied to any scenario. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Beautiful is better than ugly.
  • Explicit is better than implicit.
  • Simple is better than complex.
  • Readability counts.
  • In the face of ambiguity, refuse the temptation to guess (this is my favorite one!).
  • Now is better than never.
  • If the implementation is hard to explain, it's a bad idea.
  • If the implementation is easy to explain, it may be a good idea.

Also as part of my experience I have been able to come up with some new principles, which I find very important and extremely relevant for the projects I am currently working on:

  • Having a starting point is better than having nothing (adopted from my supervisor).
  • Documentation matters! Be an owner and think long-term.
  • Both reproducibility and scalability also count.

What does it mean to be an 'early maker'?

Finally, it is time to talk about the real meaning of an 'early maker'. This term was introduced to us since the very beginning of the program. Now that I have learnt a bit more about these kind of values and principles, I feel like I should have definitely paid more attention at the impact of this philosophy in my personal growth.
An 'early maker' is defined under the following philosophy:

  • I move forward to make it happen, try, fail , and do it again, make it easy and even better with others.
  • I am more than an entrepreneur, I am a maker.
  • I do, undo, and redo.
  • I learn, unlearn, and relearn.

I will be honest, they don't sound as cool as the ones by Amazon and Tim Peters (sorry emlyon), but for sure they can make similar if not even greater impact in your experience, just like they did on me.

The end of my studies is approaching and I can definitely say I enjoyed my learning journey that was surrounded by amazing people. I considered and still consider myself an 'early maker'. Even though I achieved many personal great things during my Master's Degree I still wonder what would have happened if I paid more attention at the real implications behind this term.

So now I ask you:

What if you implemented all the principles I mentioned here into your new experience and become even a greater 'early maker'?

Ultimately, you are now investing in 18-months of your own time (take emlyon out of the equation):

  • What would you do, undo, and redo in that time** outside the class**?
  • What would you learn, unlearn, and relearn before, during, and after class?
  • How much would you be willing to try and fail to really make it happen outside the class?

emlyon business school will not make it for you, you are the one responsible to make it happen. So start now because now is better than never, and because having a starting point is better than nothing. Refuse the temptation to only rely on the classes and start insisting on the highest standards outside of them.

That's the meaning of an 'early maker' and now it's your time! Good luck!

Written by Fabian Cabrera class of 2020