Welcome to JonCline.com. Why am I launching this eponymous website? I’m a curious person by nature, and I like to share that curiosity. I’m where I am today because of how others shared with me, and so I want to do the same. This site is one more step in that journey.
That story of giving back starts very early in my life. I went into greater detail about that in my story. But here I’d like to talk about how that relates to this new site.
My earliest memory of learning from someone else is when my foster dad, Fred, let me drive the long flatbed truck on the farm. I was only six or seven and, sitting behind the steering wheel on that wide bench seat, I couldn’t even reach the pedals.
“This is your lucky day!” Fred said. He told me I didn’t need to push the pedals, because the truck had a “special first gear” that didn’t require pushing the clutch or gas pedals. He showed me how to push the gear stick from neutral to first. After a short grinding noise, the flatbed truck slowly crept forward with me behind the wheel.
Little did I know, that was the beginning of years worth of lessons from my foster dad. We raised honeybees on the farm, and I learned about calming, transporting, feeding, and extracting honey from the bees.
My second most vivid memory of learning from someone happened while sitting on a wooden workbench at an electronics repair shop called Mr. Video Tech owned by my friend Brian. I was 10 or 11 at the time, and had just gone through a series of custody hearings before returning to the care of my biological mom. I met Brian while wandering around my apartment complex. After connecting with my mom, Brian invited me to come to his shop and learn about electronics.
I helped build that bench—we covered it in shallow-stitch carpet so electronics would slide without scratching. Light flooded the workbench from a long fluorescent light overhead that I also helped assemble. That day Brian showed me how to test a circuit board using a wow and flutter meter. I loved learning about the layers of a circuit board and the curious problem of finding a crack in one or more layers.
I remember following Brian to the front desk and watching him interact with customers. I learned a lot about relating to people and how to help them.
One commonality I noticed between my dad Fred and my mentor Brian is their perpetual curiosity. They were never bored. They were always learning. They were ready with questions to connect with anyone about almost anything.
I’ve discovered the same curiosity in my own life, and it’s opened countless doors. I love to learn. I especially love to share what I’ve learned.
Sometimes that can be an unwelcome thing. There have been times when my enthusiasm comes across as arrogance and has turned people away.
But overall I’ve found curiosity to open more doors than it closes. If we’re not asking why, we’re not learning and growing, we’re not finding ways to be better. Those are exactly the qualities that make for successful people.
I’ve been supporting the curious in the Salesforce ecosystem since 2003 when I became a customer at my first software startup. Lately I’ve led a Slack team of curious and aspiring Salesforce consultants where we ask questions and share what we’ve learned. I also lead a small team of no more than 10 people at a time to coach through various Salesforce projects.
We focus on Salesforce, but there are some deeper values that make us successful:
- Curiosity is a key to growth.
- A learn-in-all posture is the goal, because we don’t know everything.
- Feedback from the team is to be sought, given, and acted upon.
- Intangible skills are a vital part of mastering Salesforce.
- People-first outcomes are the best criteria to measure success.
This website is an attempt to take everything I’ve learned from my journey so far and share it with a wider audience. Curiosity can be invaluable, and I want those insights to benefit as many people as possible.