"What has your bike done for you?"

What has your bike done for you?

by William DeMis, HGS Director 2022-2023


Back when I kept a summer home in Denver, I had two neighbors who bought mountain bikes. They were beautiful bikes. Each had 18 gears, shock absorbers, and were tricked out with all the cool, mountain-bike bling. Their very image conveyed a hip athleticism.

Two years later, I bought one of the bikes for 10 cents on the dollar. It was in pristine condition. I asked my neighbor why he was selling it. He said, “It never did anything for me.“ I asked him how often he rode it. He replied, “Ride it? You mean I have to put energy into this thing?”

The HGS is the same as a mountain bike. They are both wonderful vehicles that can take you to exciting places. But you must put energy into them. Call it “participatory effort.”

You have to join HGS, volunteer for committees, give talks, teach classes, attend luncheons, and chair sessions. Or you are just like my misguided neighbor who thought his cool bike was going to “do something for him” by sitting in his garage.

Let me continue with my bike analogy. The most energy efficient animal on the planet, in terms of miles traveled per unit of energy expended, is the Andean condor. But the mighty Andean condor is a distant second to the energy efficiency of man on a bicycle.

A bicycle is an extreme energy-multiplier tool. The HGS is an extreme multiplier tool for professional exposure. Tools have to be used to have an effect. Tools require energy input; participatory effort.

Messaging is part of HGS’ problem in recruiting. We often use the word “networking” to describing one benefit of HGS. But the word “Networking” can be grossly misinterpreted as meaning the same as a sophomoric “social network” like Facebook or Twitter. HGS does not function like that. HGS provides leveraged professional exposure to members who put in participatory effort.

I was a geologist at Southwestern Energy. I got laid off. The best my professional resume and professional exposure could leverage me into was a job as senior VP and Chief Geologist at Goldman Sachs. They called me. I don’t have a Twitter. My Facebook is years out of date. My professional exposure was through professional societies.

Other companies have hired me based only on my professional society publications. Employers pay for professional gravitas that gets known by way of professional exposure through a professional society.

The HGS is a tool, a career multiplier, for professional exposure that can take members to great places. But it requires members put in participatory energy to get those benefits.

So if a person is asking, “What will an HGS membership do for me?”,
I suggest their thinking about how HGS works is entirely wrong. I also suggest they check their garage. Is there an unused bike parked out there?