My six-year-old daughter has always loved constructing townhomes, lighthouses, and cars with Legos.  Last year, the introduction of Lego Friends with the pink bricks and cute pets rocket-launched her creativity.  At the same time, her four-year-old brother loves baking, especially with his sister’s Easy Bake Oven.  He was so excited when he heard that an oven for boys was coming out in 2013, thanks to the efforts of another older sister who lobbied Hasbro for an oven in  boy-appropriate colors. I’m not sure if it is because he feels like they are making one for him or that if he gets one he doesn’t have to share with his sister any more.

Either way, it was a small change in perspective that brought to the masses what my two sassy kids already knew:  it’s not just a “boy or girl thing”, it’s an “I like to construct and eat sweet treats thing.”

Similarly, the belief that coding is just for programmers should be transformed to a new perspective that everyone benefits  from some coding knowledge.  Not because everyone needs to be an expert and build the next best app, but that gaining an understanding of the concepts transfers to other parts of the business — and potentially gives you the insight to make adjustments to out-of-the-box tools like Platform as a Service.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook, has said that she believes she would be better at her job if she had more technical skills. Such expansive thinking is about reaching across disciplines and consolidating all you know to be more effective in what you do.

By scratching the surface at learning to code, I have built on my technical understanding of cloud.  And I believe everyone should have some basic knowledge of cloud programming. Here are my top three reasons:

1. 2013 is going to be the year of the cloud.  With an expected rise in the number of cloud consultants, how they help tweak your perception of cloud will make the discussions more decipherable.  On the Chinese calendar, 2013 will also be the year of the snake, a character known for having a good temper and communicating well while saying little.  Knowing the basics will help you ask the right questions to move discussions about cloud forward.

2. People think it’s cool.  Cloud is a cutting-edge growth technology with current relevance regardless of what field is your focus. In Elf, would Buddy have been able to change people’s minds about believing if he went to New York to find his dad around the Fourth of July?  The timing is right for cloud knowledge to have an impact on how cool your business is perceived to be.

3. It speaks globally.  Cloud is a technology that spans across disciplines, industries, and enterprises.  Basic understanding across disciplines can lead to small changes in perception of what the cloud can do.  Small changes in perception can be as impactful as a 13 year old wanting to get her brother an Easy Bake oven for Christmas.  In other words, cloud isn’t just an “IT” thing.

Has a change in perspective ever helped your business to advance new ideas? Do you think learning about the technology behind the cloud could help you maximize its benefits for your business in 2013?