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Solving Problems Automagically

Opinion No Comments on Solving Problems Automagically 199
adv. Something that happens automatically, but that also has some mysterious, “magical” element to it. “Smart” appliances, features, etc. that do intelligent things with less help than you might expect.

“Automagically” is probably the single most useful term I have ever used in IT. By simply stating something automagically happens most people accept my explanation at face value and move on.

One of the issues new tech’s run into when they are dealing with clients is that they think the client expects them to know everything.  There is this feeling that the tech should literally be a genius and be able to explain every concept down to the most basic components.  Unfortunately this means that when a client asks a question the new tech feels they have to give a real answer.  They bumble though describing things they barely understand, and end up making the client feel even less confident in their abilities.  Old tech’s know when to admit they don’t know.

The fact is there are so many concepts in the world of IT, and technologies are literally appearing and disappearing daily that no one person can know it all.  Most of the time it’s good enough to simply know that something works, not necessarily how it works.  This is when the term “automagically” comes into play.  A client asks you a question and then you answer, “First you input the data, then it gets sent to the server, then the server automagically turns the data into something useful.”  By confidently answering the parts of the question you know the answer to the client feels comfortable that you know what you’re doing, and by admitting that even you don’t know exactly what happens sometimes it impresses the client because they know you’re confident enough to admit when you don’t know something.

If the client really needs a solid answer you can simply say you’ll do some research and get back with them. In the real world though most of the time saying something “automagically happens” gets a chuckle out of the client, and they leave you alone to do the work you need to do.

Admitting to not knowing is one of the most respected traits of a professional…


Eli Etherton

I am Eli "the Computer Guy" and have been in the tech industry for approx. 20 years doing all kinds of odd projects. I started as an electronics tech in the US Army, worked in corporate IT during the IT Boom, was an individual consultant and grew my tech shop to have numerous full time employees and supported small business clients with computer repair/ server maintenance/ web development/ surveillance systems/ telephone systems until the great recession. After that I started creating video training on all the topics I know and now have a YouTube Channel with over 500K subscribers. I am the founder of and my plan is to create a tech "news" site that I would actually find useful if I was still in the server room.

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