This tweet by Henk Kleynhans arrived on a day when my 5.5 year old business and my variable success rate with the business is very much on my mind. Without going into too much detail, I been particularly sensitive to snippets of knowledge and inspiration on the topic of success and working smartly. This particular one comes from a post by Joe Botha (whose business, TrustFabric, is doing some very interesting work in the growing vendor relationship management space, by the way) titled “The Way I Work: Round 3” and this paragraph in particular:
I co-founded and sold my shares in 3 technology businesses by age 33. I’m working on the next one. I’m turning 34 this year. Steve Jobs started Next at age 31, so I figure early 30s is a good time for a big change. My primary job is CEO and Product Owner at a new tech start-up. TrustFabric is self funded and incubated, but we are busy talking to a few investors to help fund the business. It’s a big, scary, global, change the world idea that’s been bugging me for the last 7 years. I believe we are drawn to exciting projects and happiness is a product of excitement. Wealth is a side effect of passion.
He has another quote which is his favourite quote and is along similar lines:
My all time favourite quote:
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
–- George Bernard Shaw
Don’t be afraid of designing and creating your own reality. That’s what entrepreneurs do.
I feel like I need these quotes, bits of shared wisdom and knowledge at the moment. My passion for the work I do, exploring the point where the social Web and the law connect, grows daily. Some days it feels like I am looking at a fractal when I look at specific legal issues (one of my current favourites is ORM, legal compliance and corporate governance). Its an exciting space for me and, in many ways, it feels like the late 90s when new business models were emerging online and, despite the Dotcom Bust/Boom, that period shaped much of what followed in the early 2000s. I know the potential exists for a very new legal discipline and I am right there on the edge. My biggest challenges are the mechanics of running a business (I majored in philosophy and law, for goodness sake!) and marketing to the mainstream. This is where I seem to be coming up a bit short, despite me being one of a few people (if not the only person) who specialises in digital and social media law.
I’ve been picking up on snippets from Seth Godin which have been resonating quite strongly with me as I deal with these paradoxes in my business. I don’t know where Godin is in the general management and business guru continuum but he has written a couple things which appeal to me:
Metaphorically, we have the chance to declare either kind of bankruptcy whenever we work on a project or consider a habit, a social media addiction or even a job.Teetering on the edge of bankruptcy is painful. Declaring is often a relief.
Acknowledging that you’re stuck is the very first step in getting unstuck…
Perhaps it’s time to stop fighting a losing fight and start creating value doing something else instead. Bankruptcy is never fun, but when you give up something that wasn’t getting you where you needed to go, sometimes you discover a future better than you ever expected.
Reject the tyranny of being picked: pick yourself:
If you’re hoping that the HR people you sent your resume to are about to pick you, it’s going to be a long wait. Once you understand that there are problems just waiting to be solved, once you realize that you have all the tools and all the permission you need, then opportunities to contribute abound.
No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself.
Our normal approach is useless here:
If it’s a new problem, perhaps it demands a new approach. If it’s an old problem, it certainly does.
I’ve been thinking that I should settle down with a couple hours and just read posts on Godin’s blog.
This business creation and development thing is tough for me, not because the subject matter is difficult (on the contrary, it exhilarates me), but because the other important stuff doesn’t come easily to me and that makes a big difference when done properly. If anything the last 5.5 years have been a massive learning curve but something has to change now. What’s that quote about doing the same thing expecting different results? Its also a bit like that.
What do you think?