I went to see an entrepreneur I’d met back in 2006. People told me I wouldn’t be able to get a meeting with the CEO of Dunedin’s most successful business startup when we first met. He was building a technology company that helped people to buy services at competive prices. It was a computer system he was building with hugely scalable potential. The company was fresh & valued at well over a million before it went under, & I had watched their journey closely; as I had begun to develop another business startup on the Internet.
People told me he couldn’t be seen. He was high profile, productive & had a big team of developers. I remember walking into their open plan design studios & seeing the team. They were a visionary looking crew with an inspiring leader. The company did not have the right board of directors though – they were accountants, accountants, & investors with some extra cash. Long story short, the company fell over even though they had a guaranteed deal worth a few million in the pipeline, & great plans to expand beyond New Zealand.
My friend talked with me about how he saw the company falling & he knew how to make it work, warned but the board of directors thought that they knew better. Just months later the company went under – they didn’t accept the guarenteed deal, were inefficient with decision making & it had become a cumbersome beast.
After the company failed few people wanted anything to do with him. And now after building a couple of other businesses he is doing well, & enjoying the benefits of creating what he had envisaged without the barriers he previously faced.
So what did I take away from this 85 minute talk?
I was reminded of my own experiences in activating business ideas. After having been away from the enterprising game for five years (attempting to listen to sensible advice from others to have a career) I was feeling disillusioned most of that time.
Activating ideas is a fascinating & exciting journey. When you do it you feel passionate & an immense amount of clarity. There are hoops to jump through; as with all of life but being a creator is truly rewarding.
As I sat there he encouraged me well. He showed me that he genuinely cared about creating & developing ideas that reached people, improving their lives & with a savvy that positions him to grow. He wants profit & builds it well into his plan. He values freedom & fun. The talk was diverse. He linked relationships, identity, how to thoughts, life lessons, details about what he is doing & visionary thoughts for the future. He challenged me, encouraged & spoke in a way that is empowering to me. I too once had a following, & as I write this I am just a few months into the unravelling & pursuing of my own dreams again.
Dreams are something you feel inside. They don’t really justify your life, & often don’t guide others because they have yet to become a reality. Talking about dreams leads other people to question you, & that can be immensely distracting trying to humour others with rational explanations.
This time with my new friend impacted me because I felt his belief in me. He did not ask me to justify myself. In fact I probably only spoke for three minutes in the whole time I was in his home. He asked nothing of me & share a lot of information, personal feelings, views, experiences, ideas, strategies & secrets to how he makes decisions. He made me feel valued, continuing to topping up my glass of water as the time went by.
The challenge for me is to continue what I am doing right now. As I type I’m on an airplane. I’ve been visiting family & friends but must learn to dedicate time on this trip to developing, strategising, learning, connecting with others & taking massive action.
I know from experience that there is a temptation within me to step down from the challenge to be great \ serve \ create what I envisage will enhance the lives of many. And there is no clear cut way forward. But now I have to do what I said I’d do many times before –
The best way to know your future is to design & create it.