This was a great year. Not a good year, not an okay year…this was greatness. For as long as I can remember, I have had a dream of owning my own company. I saw it as a type of freedom, I saw it as an opportunity to work on things that mean the most to me, and I saw it as a way to build something bigger than me.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I love Star Wars so much, why it holds up so well for me, and why 38 years after I saw the movie for the first time, it is still such a large part of my life.
Star Wars is a fully formed world. You get dropped right in to the middle of the story, which means you have to figure out what is going on, and while the story is a very basic good vs bad guy story, there’s levels of nuance around family, redemption, and destiny.
Rob passed away a year ago this past Saturday.
He was my comics guy for the better part of a decade. He was the reason I travelled an hour in to his store every week for a year. It’s because of him that I became a comics guy. In a lot of ways, the guy who called himself “The Man Who Did Nothing” changed my life.
For comics fans, there are few relationships more intimate than your comics guy. As a former comics guy myself, you learn a lot about a person by what they read. You learn to anticipate what they will buy, and you find commonalities to talk about.
I am doing a number of different things right now, and from the outside looking in, it probably looks like too much stuff, with none of it connected.
That’s not the case though, see…it’s all part of the plan.
Here are the things I have on the go right now.
Thursday September 3rd is officially my last day at the Info-Tech Research Group where I have been since December 2006. I had a blast in my eight years, eight months and twenty four days, but it’s time to move on.
I’m incredibly grateful for everything that Info-Tech did for me. We were able to move from Ajax to London, and during the transition, I worked out of the Toronto office from December until March 2007 when we officially made the move to London. We managed to cut our expenses so much that Charlene was able to stay home with Kaylin and then later with Maks without having to worry about our finances too much (although times were tight during those diaper-heavy years).
While it feels like just yesterday we were trudging through mountains of snow, it’s already June, and I’m wondering what it is exactly I’ve accomplished half way through the year.
What did I get done so far this year?
We had a pretty fun family vacation back in February when we took the kids to Las Vegas. In addition to seeing Red Rock Canyon for the first time in my many trips to Vegas, we went to a Cirque show, did the Adventuredome, and got to see the all new container park that Tony Hsieh is firmly behind.
After eight and a half years at the Info-Tech Research Group, I have decided to move on to new challenges. I’ve enjoyed my time at Info-Tech, I’ve learned to become a much better manager, and I’ve made friendships that will last my lifetime. The hardest part about leaving Info-Tech is that it’s the place where many of my best friends go every day.
I’m incredibly excited about the future though, and I want to share my plans here.
As of mid-August, I will be taking on clients and advising them on digital strategy. If you or someone you know someone who’s struggling to put their brick and mortar business online, or who needs help working through how to get new customers, we should talk.
I will be announcing my first client shortly, in the meantime, here are some things I can help you out with.
Help! I need a digital strategy
Places like LinkedIn and Facebook will tell you that you should build your online presence with them. I can show you why this is not only a horrible idea, but why you are making them money while costing yourself money.
I will work with you to create a solid digital strategy. You will create an asset that you own, and with that asset, you’ll be able to take advantage of traffic you weren’t aware existed. Combine more traffic with proven techniques that will bring you more customers, and I will make you more money.
Oh no! I think my website sucks.
I’m sorry, but your website does indeed suck, and your friends are too nice to tell you otherwise. Your website needs some tough love. You need a solid platform that is easy to update and addresses your present, as well as future needs. I’ll give your website the facelift it badly needs, and put you in charge with the tools that will let you be in control of when and where your website gets updated.
Am I even being successful online?
You need some help setting up some analytics and figuring out what the right metrics to track are. I can help you get this done and give you a shiny dashboard to keep track of all of it.
Jim Collins in his amazing book “Good to Great“, talks about the Hedgehog concept, which is the core of your business. If you understand your hedgehog concept, and stick to it with devotion, your company can become great.
Collins uses the parable of the clever devious fox and the simple hedgehog. The fox keeps coming up with new ideas to eat the hedgehog, but the hedgehog beats him by employing his one simple trick.
Rolling up into an inedible ball of thorns.
As I sat there listening to him, my mind wandered. Why all the ten dollar words? Do people actually think it makes them sound smarter? Oh god, do I do that? What would I have for lunch today? Something just vibrated, was that my phone? My eyes feel heavy, I wonder if he notices that I’m about to fall asleep. Seriously, what is the point of this conversation. Oh god, he just used a noun as a verb, that is seriously my biggest pet peeve. Wait, I just think he may have actually hit on the point of his inane rambling.
“I’m sorry, could you repeat that last part?” I said, leaning forward and changing my body language to indicate active listening.
If you are still writing “marketing copy” in 2015, your business is suffering because of it.
I have a very good track record of building incredible teams. At TSN, I found and recruited my first truly amazing team by getting to know great people, working with them for a while, and then bringing them on board along with me. I met Loc, and John through the Globe and Mail’s technical team, and I was introduced to Liam from Discovery’s group. When it came to recruiting new people, I saw literally hundreds of resumes, interviewed dozens of people, and eventually hired both Neil and Kate.
My hiring back then was all trial and error, and I happened to luck into great people because I knew that I was looking for both a specific skill set, and also people that I would want to spend eight hours a day around.