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Challenge and Reward

I love making music.

This February, I took part in a world-wide event to create ten original songs or 35 minutes worth of original music during the shortest month of the year, called the RPM challenge. This isn’t a contest, but a challenge, and the reward is the satisfaction of having created something that wouldn’t have existed if I didn’t just do it.

For this third attempt at the challenge, I teamed up with one of my best friends who lives across the country, and we did it! It was an amazing experience that helped me find new ways to be a good collaborator, sparked our creativity, and lead us to create something we’re both incredibly proud of.

So, why am I telling you all this?

Recently, I joined a new team within Epicor University and brought my experience and ideas to Epicor Retail Cloud. If you’re watching embedded video in our guided learning tool, that’s my voice you’re hearing.

In both of these experience, I’ve learned a few things.

Collaboration enables us to reach new highs if we take full advantage of the technology, tools, and strengths available to each of us.

The virtual collaboration tools I’ve used in both projects have afforded my teammates and I the clarity to target the weakest links of these projects, be it lyrics, a drum fill, or a guitar line—or some narration that could be friendlier, an on-screen box that needs to linger for another second or two, or an additional scenario that should be discussed.

Additionally, the technologies available to us today enable us to share and collaborate like never before; with someone in a different part of the country—or world—we can collaborate to make something better than what one of us could achieve on their own. I was born in 1982 and when I think of the evolution of technology, it’s breathtaking—we can accomplish so much more together than we ever could before.

Shared goals, flexibility, and a clear deadline are key

For my musical project, my partner and I would tackle each piece as we could, but if one of us had an instrument or idea that fit the mood of the song better, we would make room for each other to shine. The end goal was 10 songs worth of good music; not to play the most instruments.

Similarly, my primary role on the ERC team was to provide narration for our videos. We had a firm release date and our end goal was to create material that felt like a friendly coworker, friend, or trainer leaning in and offering you just what you needed at each step of learning how to use the software. Sometimes I’d pivot to writing, producing a video, or tweaking an image that we use in our Guided Learning.

Collect Inspiration!

“Strength in numbers” isn’t just a quote for motivational posters. I used to be a horribly bossy bandmate—I always knew just what I wanted, and little else mattered. I built things without a lot of input from others, and in the end, my work didn’t reach its potential. Before this album, I had a serious case of writer’s block—chords and melodies just became mathematic structures defined by rules—but when I’d get fresh ideas from my partner, it would light up my brain with new ideas. I found myself writing some of the best music I’ve written in my life in the span of one month.

With the ERC team, I’ve been taking in what my teammates are doing; looking at what excites them, considering their perspectives and experiences, and enjoying their personal flourishes and unique touches. All of this makes for something that’s far better across the board because everyone feels valued, creates something that they’re proud of, and excited about.

Gratitude is everything.

This may not seem like it has a lot to do with either of these projects, but I’ve come to realize I have a lot to be thankful for. The teachers, leaders, and mentors who have helped me reach the place I am from both professional and creative perspectives made a conscious chose to help me when I asked for it.

The skills I’ve developed have opened doors for me to do things which I never would have thought possible: when I fell in love with music in my teens, I wanted to create just one album in my lifetime. Now that I’ve finished my fifth, I’m grateful for all of the experiences which gave me the opportunity to write better songs, play instruments with more feeling, and make something I’m incredibly proud of with a good friend.

Similarly, my career is something I really enjoy—I geek out about Guided Learning and my team after hours. I owe my success in my career to many of the same people: teachers, mentors, and in this case, especially, our customers. I’ve said it many times, but it bears repeating: the clothes on my back, the instruments hanging on my wall, and the food on my family’s table comes from satisfied people who choose to use our software.

It’s my pleasure to serve you, and I’m grateful and honored for your continued patronage.

Chris Scharling