Viewing entries tagged

What I've learned about business after ten years in business.

Somehow, unbelievably, Event 360 – the company that I founded with two of my most loyal friends – turned ten years old today. It is amazing to me, and for one of the few times in my life I find myself at a loss for words. 

I woke up this morning early so I could head downtown for a meeting. It took me a few minutes to remember what day it was, but it hit me while I was fumbling around the coffee maker. When I remembered, my first thought was to call a few people to say "thanks" and "happy birthday." My second thought was about my long to-do list. And maybe that's the sum total of my advice: Recognize the people you work with, and keep plugging away. 

Frankly, I feel like I should write a long, thoughtful post about all the hard lessons I've learned. But as I sit down to type, I realize I don't have that list. My list is pretty short. 

Here's what I've learned about business after ten years in business:

  • Love what you do.
  • Love the people you do it with.

That's it.

Wait! I know it sounds trite, so before you move on let me offer a bit more exposition. When I write "love," I don't mean it as the kind of passive, reactive, "I hope I fall into it" love that we often think will come and seek us out in our lives. I mean LOVE in the sense of a powerful, active choice we each can decide to make every day. 

To all would-be business owners, entrepreneurs, leaders, and change agents, let me tell you this straight up: What you're trying to do is going to be hard. If it weren't, you wouldn't need to do it; someone would have already solved the problem you're trying to solve, or created the product you're trying to create. Nope, let's be honest and say, wow – it's going to be hard.

And so I've learned to make an ongoing, passionate, persistent, proactive choice to fully engage with what I do. You have to choose to love your work, particularly during the challenging times. Otherwise you're going to be employed at best and miserable at worst. You're too good to just be busy. Decide to be passionate.

More importantly, you have to choose to love the people you do it with, because without them you're sunk. I know they have their faults, but let's be honest, you have plenty too. Nothing, zero, zilch gets done alone. If you can set yourself up to be the least important person in the organization, then you've achieved one of the great accomplishments of leadership. 

I'm grateful for what I do and who I do it with. I wish you the same. It's onwards and upwards from here.

Test, test, test.

Oh, I can be so silly. Jeff, Jeff, Jeff. 

I use the rather wonderful Squarespace for my blog. I really love it; it isn’t free like Wordpress but in my opinion the cost is more than balanced out by great ease-of-use and powerful tools. 

I’ve been really excited about the new Squarespace Version 6 that is in beta. It looks so fantastic! Wowza. And the social integration is great. A few months ago I requested a beta invitation and I got one!

And thus the trap closes. 

It started innocently enough. I had a few spare minutes today between meetings and thought, what the heck? I’ll upgrade my blog. The beta has been running for months — I’m sure the kinks are sorted out. Right? Right?!?

I logged in, chose an awesome new template, and hit migrate. This is going to be awesome! And then… 90 minutes of panic and frustration ensued as — of course — none of the pictures migrated over correctly, the new user interface left me confused, and my custom domains were changed. The blogger’s worst nightmare: Editing your DNS entry. It means something has gone wrong. Very wrong.

It’s all sorted out now and I’m mostly feeling stupid for ignoring the advice I give my clients: Test, test, test!

That new blog is going to be awesome. The toolset looks incredible. But I think I’ll experiment first…